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?
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.
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!
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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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
(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.)
- The Tale of the Three Trees: A Traditional Folktale
- Christmas Oranges
- The Legend of the Candy Cane
- The Polar Express
- How the Grinch Stole Christmas!
- A Christmas Dress for Ellen
Does your family have a tradition incorporating Christmas books or stories? We’d love to hear about it in the comments!
What a great tradition you guys have! I am sure your kiddos enjoy the stories a lot 🙂
Thank you! It’s definitely one of our favorites this year!
Thank you for the book list, I found some that I am going to seek out! And wrapping the books is such a fun surprise.
Oh I love this tradition! Thank you for sharing!!
Oh my goodness, I love this tradition! My family is all about books so this would probably work really well for us. Thank you!
Thank you! I think your family would love it! It’s such a fun way to add a little sparkle to something you already love doing together.
Both of those are great ideas! When my kids were little we had a Christmas countdown on paper gingerbread men. My kids decorated the gingerbread man, and each day we opened one and did that activity. I included things like reading Christmas books, decorating a tree for wildlife, making cookies, and watching some of the Christmas movies. It was a lot of fun!
This is perfect and a great tradition to start with your little ones!
There is nothing better than Christmas tradition, i wish we have one, but unfortunately no. You guys are having great time for sure, and love all the wrapings xo
I love this idea! We have had advent calendars and “Elf on a Shelf”, but this idea is wonderful!
I love the best Christmas Pageant Ever! I have not read it in years. I will have to bring it out with the grandkids.
I love this tradition and can’t wait to try this with my daughter when she gets old enough!