Christmas Picture Books We Love

Book Lists

November 19, 2018

Making a Christmas book list can feel almost impossible because of how many amazing books there are out there for this special holiday, but we did our best to narrow it down to some of our very favorite picture books. There are a few new books from this current Christmas season, but most of these titles are ones we have been reading for years and still love!  Also, I left off a few classics like The Grinch or The Polar Express, knowing you probably already have those in your collection. The books listed below are Christmas stories that we look forward to reading together every Christmas season, so I hope you will find a few to add to your family’s Christmas book collection.

And if you liked the activity pages for toddlers (from Little Ones Learning) for Fall, here is a link to the Christmas Activity pages you can download. I love to print these off and laminate them–the kids can use playdough and dry erase markers on them over and over.  Or just pint them out and use your dot markers for tons of fun too.

Printable Activity Packs

Last time I had questions about coloring pages for older kids too.  These coloring pages are great for all ages. Like my kids sit and color these magical pages for hours.

Rad And Happy Coloring


25+ Picture Books We Read Over and Over at Christmas

Santa Bruce

By: Ryan T. Higgins


This book is a new one to us this year. It is part of a series of Bruce books (Mother Bruce, being the first in the series) that my kids adore.  Grumpy old Bruce is a loveable bear who makes kids laugh and spreads Christmas cheer throughout the forest, even if he is dragging his feet the whole time he is doing it. Bruce is a lot of things, but this year he is also filling in for Santa, even if he would rather be hibernating through the holidays.



I’ve Got The Christmas Spirit

Written By: Connie Schofield-Morrison

Illustrated By: Frank Morrison


These illustrations had me from the minute it arrived in the mail this year! Do you have the Christmas spirit? This little girl is bursting with it and finds it all around her, from the smells in the city air, to the carolers in the street. To find the Christmas spirit all you have to do is look around yourself and look deep inside, because it is everywhere!


The Lost Gift: A Christmas Story

Written By: Kallie George

Illustrated By: Stephanie Graegin

One Windy Christmas Eve, a present tumbles out of Santa’s sleigh. Santa doesn’t notice, but four forest animals do. It is cold wand way past their bedtimes, but the brave animals set out to deliver the Christmas present themselves.


The Little Reindeer

By: Nicola Killeen

On Christmas Eve, Ollie is fast asleep until she hears Jingle, Jingle, Jingle. As the ringing bells sound, Ollie wonders what could be making this sound. So, she grabs her sled and races down the hill where the sounds become louder. She takes a deep breath steps into the forest and finds a reindeer who has lost its way. With a little help from Ollie the reindeer is back up and flying in no time.


The Night Before Christmas

By: Clement C. Moore

We have more than one version of this classic Christmas story and I actually included two versions (in this post) but they are different and we love and read BOTH so I had to include both of them in this post. The format of this book is really unique. It is tall and skinny and has bright bold vintage illustrations.  It is the classic familiar poem of the night before Christmas.


The Night Before Christmas

Illustrated By: Christian Birmingham

This version of The Night Before Christmas is beautifully done.  It is warm and cozy and offers a different feeling than the other one I listed above.  They really are both great, but I couldn’t pick my favorite.



The Day Santa Stopped Believing In Harold

Written By: Maureen Fergus

Illustrated by: Cale Atkinson

This is a hilarious twist on kids not believing in Santa anymore.  Rather Santa has decided it is all a ruse and he doesn’t believe that Harold is real anymore.  Harold has been a big part of his Christmas, and he still likes the idea of Harold, but lately he has realized there are a lot of things about Harold that just don’t add up. Even Santa’s friend’s–Jack Frost and the Abominable Snow Monster agree he isn’t real. He is certain Harold isn’t real.  Mrs. Claus tries to comfort Santa, but Santa won’t have it. This hilarious book will have your kids rolling in laughter.


Maple and Willow’s Christmas Tree

By: Lori Nichols


Maple and Willow are getting their first REAL Christmas tree!  And they couldn’t be more excited about it. But when it comes time to decorate the tree Maple starts sniffling and sneezing.  Is she allergic to their perfect new tree?!!  What will the girls do without a Christmas tree? I guess they can have an outside tree, but Willow is not happy with this idea and is a little snappy with her sister for ruining Christmas. However, Willow can’t sleep because she feels bad for the way she made Maple feel and comes up with a plan to still make it a great Christmas.


Pick A Pine Tree

Written By: Patricia Toht

Illustrated By: Jarvis

We added this book to our shelf last year and it had an instead classic feeling about it.  It is beautifully done and carry’s the anticipation of Christmas on its pages. One of the most beloved Christmas traditions begins each year with picking out the pine tree.  Then bringing out all the boxes of ornaments and trimmings to set it up and make it yours.  It is no longer just a pine tree when you are finished with it, it is a beautiful Christmas Tree.


Santa Rex

By: Molly Idle

Molly Idle is a master at making her illustrations come alive.  Things don’t always go as planned during the Christmas season, but we can share one of the happiest spirits of the season, laughter, when our plans go a little sideways.  Santa Rex is coming for Christmas and he is bringing some VERY large elves with him.  They bake and decorate and trim the tree, but nothing turns out quite as they imagined.


Oliver Elephant

Written By: Lou Peacock

Illustrated By: Helen Stephens

Such a sweet story of a little boy Christmas shopping with his mom and baby sister.  Noah follows his mom from store to store with his little stuffed elephant tucked under his arm. It is a long day of  Christmas shopping. But when it is time to go home Noah realizes he has lost is stuffed companion along the way. Oh, Oliver Elephant where can you be?


Little Christmas Tree

By: Jessica Courtney-Tickle

I beautiful lift-the-flap book of a little Christmas tree sitting in the forest on the morning after a big snow storm.  The earth is blanketed in white and the woodland critters come out to the new white world around the sparkling  tree.  By lifting the flaps on each page you will discover plants and animals that call the forest home.


A Christmas For Bear

Written By; Bonny Becker

Illustrated By: Kady MacDonald Denton

Bear and Mouse are another duo that my kids love (check out all the books in this series) and the Christmas book doesn’t disappoint.  One frost night, Bear hears a tap, tap, tapping on his front door. “Merry Christmas!” says Mouse. Mouse is anxious to open presents, but Bear wants this Christmas celebration to have poems, food, and more. Will they have a happy celebration and find the Christmas spirit?


The Christmas Quiet Book

Written By: Deborah Underwood

Illustrated By: Renata Liwska

The Christmas season can be filled with happy noise. But some of the Christmas moments come wrapped in quiet: the hush of snow, the silence of a winter walk, the peacefulness of twinkling lights and more. The sweet calming story is one to snuggle up to and see the stillness that comes alongside the hustle and bustle of the season.


The Christmas Fox

By: Anik McGrory

“Come!” drummed the woodpecker. “A baby is coming. There’s work to be done. There is news to spread.” But the little fox stayed to dance with the snowflakes. “come!” lowed the cow. “A baby is coming. There’s a place to make warm with sweet-smelling hay.” All the animals from the forest to the field are making their way to the barn. Fox is shy and realizes he has nothing to offer, but soon finds maybe he does. Discover the nativity story in a new way and how the truest gifts of the season come from the heart.



The 12 Days Of Christmas

By: Greg Pizzoli

You have heard the 12 days of Christmas song, but this is a fun new take on a favorite carol. The illustrations will have your kids laughing.


Finding Christmas

Written By: Lezlie Evans

Illustrated By: Yee Von Chan

Hare, Mouse, and Squirrel are busy trimming the tree and decorating their burrow on Christmas Eve.  But Mouse stills needs to find the perfect gift for Hare. While searching for the perfect gift, Mouse stumbles upon a sick swallow laying in the snow.  The three friends bring Swallow back to the burrow and nurse her, helping them learn that the best presents at Christmas don’t always come wrapped and under a tree.


The Jolly Christmas Postman

By: Janet and Allan Ahlberg

Once Upon a Christmas Eve, just after it had snowed the Jolly Postman came down the road with an interesting load.  Follow the Jolly Postman as he delivers mail and packages to familiar fairytale friends.  My kids love turning the pages and pulling the letter out of their envelopes.  It is such a fun format and interactive book.


Bear Stays Up For Christmas

Written By: Karma Wilson

Illustrated By: Jane Chapman

The day before Christmas Bear is sleeping soundly on the floor of his cave, when Mouse shouts, “Dear Bear, Get Up! We won’t let you sleep through Christmas this year!” Bear sits up and sees the rest of his friends gathered in his cave, but bear is struggling to stay awake. His friends are determined to show him a good Christmas celebration, helping him find a Christmas tree, hang stockings, and sing carols. Bear struggles to stay awake through the day, but when the rest of his friends finally fall asleep on Christmas Eve Bear stays awake and makes a surprise for his friends.

Llama Llama Holiday Drama

By: Anna Dewdney

It is Christmas time and little Llama is sooooooo excited!  He can’t wait! How many more days again? Little Llama watches the snow fall, helps with the shopping, and cookie making…but he can’t wait!  How many more days until Christmas? The days are going soooooooo slow Llama Llama can’t wait any longer! This is way too much anticipation for just one day!  Luckily, Mama Llama is their to swoop up little Llama and comfort his Holidrama.



Santa’s Favorite Story: Santa Tells the Story of the First Christmas

Written By: Hisako Aoki

Illustrated By: Ivan Gantschev

One cold December day Fox was walking through the forest when he smelled something in the air. Fox followed his nose to a tree and found Santa sleeping under it.  Fox ran off excitedly to tell his friends that Santa had come early this year. With the animals gathered around him Santa wakes up. The animals are filled with questions about Christmas and Santa tells them a story of why we celebrate Christmas.

When Santa Was A Baby

Written By: Linda Bailey

Illustrated By: Genevieve Godbout

From the moment Santa’s parents hear his booming voice they knew they had a special baby on their hands. After all, not every child loves the color read, is quick to share their play things, and looooooves chimneys! His mom thought he might grow up to be a firefighter and his dad thought maybe s scientist, but they never would have guessed he would decide to move to the north pole and open a toy workshop. However, they couldn’t be more proud of their baby.


Frosty The Snowman

Written By: Steve Nelson and Jack Rollins

Illustrated By: Richard Cowdrey

We have loved this book for year and years! The words are the lyrics to the song and the illustrations a beautiful. We love to sing this book as we read it…not sure if I could ever just read it.  It just begs to be sung and everyone joins in with me.


Snowmen At Christmas

Written By: Caralyn Buehner

Illustrated By: Mark Buehner

This is another book that we have had for years and years…and years! It is Christmas Eve and people are snug in their beds, but outside the snowmen are stirring.  The snowmen slide away from their houses and under the glow of the moon gather to celebrate Christmas.  With snowy treats, games, dancing, and even a visit from Santa.  Each page is filled with fun details and hidden pictures and the story is just so fun!


Samuri Santa

By: Rubin Pingk

It is Christmas Eve and all Yukio wants for Christmas is an epic snowball fight! But Yukio’s friends are too worried about being good little ninjas to join in.  YUkio sets out to Sabotage Santa.  And what will happen with the other ninjas Christmas wishes if Yukio succeeds?

This is Christmas

By: Tom Booth

It is Christmas Eve and deep in the wood little chipmunk has a big question “What is Christmas, Mama?” His wise mom tells him that Christmas is many things, but it isn’t until Christmas Day that little chipmunk discovers the true meaning of the holiday.

Construction Site On Christmas Night

Written By: Sherri Duskey Rinker

Illustrated By: AG Ford

If you love Goodnight Construction Site, you will love this Christmas sequel. The mighty construction trucks are busy building a very special gift in time for Christmas Eve. But there’s a surprise waiting for each of them, too. If you have a truck lover on your hands, you will love this and its adorable illustrations.

Olive, The Other Reindeer

Written By: Vivian Walsh

Illustrated By: J.otto Seibold

Olive is no ordinary reindeer. In fact, she’s not a reindeer at all! She is a small dog with a big imagination, and when listening to Christmas music she suddenly realizes she might have a calling in life she needs to answer to. And when some bad weather nearly ruins Christmas, Olive’s special skills are exactly what are needed.  Your kids will be laughing at the silly dog and her imagination.

How Do Dinosaurs Say Merry Christmas?

Written By: Jane Yolen

Illustrated By: Mark Teague

Another series that your kids and YOU will love! Christmas is coming and little dinosaurs can’t help but cause a little mischief while helping to decorate the Christmas tree, wrapping presents, and hanging stockings.  But kids are trying their hardest to be good while waiting for Santa to arrive.



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