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There are so many beautiful stories and books centered on Christmastime! Today we’re sharing two traditions to help you enjoy some Christmas stories with your family and loved ones!

Post updated November 2020 with new book lists and tradition ideas!

Christmas Book Traditions

Reading Christmas Stories Each Night by Candlelight

My family hasn’t done this tradition, but I experienced it once with another family and it has always stuck with me. We’re actually going to try it this year in 2020! We need something new with all of the crazy! This peaceful tradition is perfect.

When I was twelve, I spent the night at the home of a young couple from our church around Christmas. This was their sweet tradition:

Every night in December they would light a special candle with 25 marks down one side. They would turn off the lights and read from their personal collection of Christmas stories and poems until the candle burned down to the next mark.

It was so beautiful and peaceful listening to this couple read stories to their little baby in the candlelight. Isn’t this a lovely tradition?

Reading books by candelight each night can be a sweet Christmas tradition
What Christmas book or story would you want to read by candelight?

A Wrapped Christmas Book Advent

Have you seen the Christmas Book Advent idea floating around Pinterest? You wrap 25 Christmas books and open one each day in December to read together leading up to Christmas! My kids loved this one.

I used to not have enough Christmas books to do this, and library fines for late books around the holidays were too stressful for us to try that route. But that might be a good option for you if you have enough books! You could even just do a “12 Days of Christmas” version.

Wrap a Christmas Book a Day for December

Depending on how fancy you wrap the books  (I adore wrapping and had fun adding the numbers), the prep for this tradition is simple once you’ve gathered your books!

If you don’t have 25 Christmas books yet, scroll down for our Christmas book ideas list!

Numbered wrapped books for a Nightly Christmas Stories Advent

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#1 The Christmas Tree That Grew

My husband Joey and I both grew up reading this sweet story about a family that buys a living Christmas tree that grows as tall as an apartment building. I love that we get to read it from the original copy Joey received as a gift when he was a boy!

#2 *A Christmas Carol (illustrated and abridged)

A beautifully illustrated version of A Christmas Carol. I’m picky about abridgments of my favorite classics, and this one makes it fun for children without changing the original story.

We have a tradition based just around reading the unabridged A Christmas Carol. Joey and I started our 14th round of reading it tonight, and I love it more each time. You can read more about that and find some of our other favorite versions of this story here.

#3 The Clown of God 

Tommie DePaola is one of my favorite authors/illustrators, and his version of this Christmas time legend pulls at my heartstrings every year.

#4 *Christmas Mazes

My children love mazes, so this high-quality holiday maze book is a family favorite.

#5 Slide and Find Christmas 

A fun, interactive book that my parents got for my oldest when he was a baby. Even my bigger kids still love it!

#6 The Mitten

A short but classic wintry tale that is enchanting for all ages and perfect for little animal lovers.

#7 A Christmas Carol

We read this story every year as a family, and we bought this lovely unabridged version for our oldest to have his own copy to read along with us.

#8 *My First Christmas Keyboard

An awesome musical keyboard book that helps even small pianists play some famous Christmas carols–and just may inspire your bigger kids to play more too!

#9 The Worst Best Christmas Pageant Ever

Such a fun story. I do use it as a read aloud and edit for name-calling type stuff since our kiddos struggle with that.

#10 Little Women

We won’t be able to read this whole book during the holidays, but I at least want to read the lovely Christmas scenes to my children.

#11 *Wipe Clean Christmas Activities

A variety of activities for children with my favorite dry erase marker ever. And I love that it can be shared by several children and reused each year.

#12 *Usborne The Twelve Days of Christmas

The classic lyrics told with unique and colorful illustrations that remind me of a modern quilt. Your children will love singing the story with you!

#14 *1001 Things to Spot at Christmas

Seek and find lots of Christmasy things in this beautifully illustrated book. Great for counting skills and conversation starters.

#15 Disney Christmas Storybook Collection

Honestly, even though I love most Disney music and movies, reading these stories isn’t my favorite during the holidays. But my children love them so I’m sure it will get some good reading time. And my Dad recently gifted us a different Disney collection, so it will be fun to have more variety!

#16 Spot’s First Christmas

Does your family love Spot the Dog? This is a cute lift-the-flap book for Christmastime.

#17 Santa is Coming to Missouri

Missouri is home to me, and it’s fun to read this personalized book with cities and sites that my family loves. Check to see if there is a book for your city or state!

#18 *Christmas Patterns to Color

There are some cute coloring books at the dollar store, but this takes Christmas coloring to a whole new level. The patterns are classic and gorgeous!

#19 The Reader’s Digest Merry Christmas Songbook

Joey and I both grew up with this book also. What better book could there be for Christmas than a book for caroling or singing around the piano together! I was thrilled when my in-laws gave me my own copy a few years ago!

#20 *The Nutcracker

The pinkiest take on the Nutcracker I’ve ever read, and my girls adore it.

#21 The Mansion (illustrated, included both abridged and unabridged text)

Another book that my family reads all together each year, right before Christmas. This gorgeous illustrated version makes the timeless lesson easier for little ones to understand.

#22 *Magic Painting Christmas Book

I love a good, messy art project, but this book will be a lifesaver during the last minute holiday prep. Just add water and paint beautiful Christmas scenes. Paint without the cleanup.

#23 Frosty the Snowman (Little Golden Book version)

The book match to my favorite movie version of Frosty the Snowman.

#24 *The Sticker Book Nativity

My children think sticker books are the best thing ever, so they’re going to love doing this as we prep to read and act out the Nativity.

#25 *Touchy Feely Nativity

A darling take on the Christmas story that will make a sweet companion to reading the Christmas story in Luke 2.

My children love our Christmas Stories Advent tradition
Wishlist Books

(These are books that we don’t own but already love and recommend! We’re planning to add one every year from this list to our collection.)

Does your family have a tradition incorporating Christmas books or stories? We’d love to hear about it in the comments!

Christmas Book Advent Traditions
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