A few years ago, I published a list of 24 Christmas picture books for Advent, but it’s been a while and we’ve discovered some new holiday books since. Over the years, we’ve acquired the most cherished collection of children’s books—something I never feel guilty about buying but have become pickier in my selection only because we simply don’t have space to house them all. Our holiday books are some of our favorites, tucked away in a bin in the garage all year long until November when I pull them out and refreshen all our book shelves to offer festive stories for the end of the year. We probably have 50 Christmas books, but there’s a small collection that has become our most loved. Sadly, some of these are out of print, and let me tell you, nothing frustrates me more than when I go to link a favorite children’s book to share and see that it’s out of print with used copies going for $40. That said, Christmas in the Country by Cynthia Rylant is out of print, and I don’t know why any of Cynthia Rylant’s books would be because they’re all enchanting.
We’ve also enjoyed reading aloud a Christmas chapter book the past few years and are excited to choose our new one for this year. This list includes both our favorite holiday books, chapter books and some new ones we were delighted to discover this year. Yes, yes—there are several popular ones we love that aren’t on this list. I had to curate and cut down a bit. :o) Happy reading!
Together by Heather Stricker
This is my favorite new holiday book this year. The illustrations are ridiculously charming, and each one basically represents things on our holiday bucket list, embodying the message of the book which is that simple moments and celebrations with our family are what make the holiday special, not things. The illustrations though—
5 More Sleeps ‘til Christmas by Jimmy Fallon
This brand new book from Jimmy Fallon totally embodies the excitement of those last few sleeps before Christmas Day. It’s written in the cutest rhyme, and the cartoon illustrations capture the Christmas spirit with glowy bedtime scenes.
Christmas is Coming! An Advent Book of Crafts, Games, Recipes, Stories & More
Chronicle Books is one of my favorite publishers. Their children’s books are always works of art, and this one is no different. It’s full of beautiful illustrations and offers a different activity or story for each day of the advent.
Winter Story by Jill Barklem
This is a long time favorite of ours. You want all the cozy winter feels? This is it. Bonus—it takes you into the home of the sweetest family of mice! The illustrations are dreamy, and the descriptions of winter will make you want to huddle under quilts with a cup of hot cocoa.
The Nutcracker in Harlem by T.E. McMorrow
A great reinvention of the classic story, this book is set in New York City during the height of the Harlem Renaissance and spins jazz inspiration together with the holiday sights and sounds of the city.
Christmas in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder
When it comes to cozy Christmas feels, our favorite will always be the Little House stories. We have this in paperback, and we love to huddle together and ooooh and ahhh over the illustrations—log cabins, snow peaks, oil lamp glow, cozy quilts—and imagine what it would be like to be together in a cabin in the woods for Christmas.
Christmas in Noisy Village by Astrid Lindgren
More cozy cabin vibes and simple holiday traditions for a group of Swedish children enjoying Christmas in the 1920s. You’ll recognize the illustrations from Olson Wikland (who brought Pippi Longstocking to life).
I Got the Christmas Spirit by Connie Schofield-Morrison
The book doesn’t need a lot of text because the illustrations are so vibrant and tell their own story. You can feel the spirit of Christmas in a big city through each one (makes me miss Chicago in December!). Minimal text with great onomatopoeia.
The Little Reindeer by Nicola Killeen
This book is nothing short of precious—simple greyscale illustrations with red and pink highlights, interactive die-cuts, flashes of foil overlay and the sweetest story of a little girl who meets a lost reindeer in the woods. Lots more cozy vibes—night time scenes in the snowy woods and an enchanting little house with, yes, more quilts.
Chapter Books and Short Stories
A Little House Christmas Treasury: Festive Holiday Stories by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Compilation of Christmas stories from the Little House books. Great cozy feel-good read aloud stories before bed.
The Lotterys More or Less by Emma Donoghue
A Christmas sequel to the popular Lotterys Plus One, the nine-year-old star of this book tries to save the Christmas traditions of her large diverse family when everything feels like it’s going wrong.
The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street by Karina Yan Glaser
The kids in a large biracial family fight to save their beloved brownstone home just days before Christmas.
The Family Under the Bridge by Natalie Savage Carlson
This book was published over 30 years ago and won a Newberry Honor. It tells the story of Armand, an old Parisian who enjoys his solitary life until he finds children under a bridge who he befriends and takes on as his family.
Nancy and Plum by Betty MacDonald (the author of the Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle books)
We’re excited to start this old classic this week. Two orphaned sisters live in an old boarding house with Mrs. Monday, the Miss Hannigan-esque headmaster and scheme to never spend Christmas alone again.
The Last Holiday Concert by Andrew Clements
A fun modern story from the author of Frindle. Hart Evans, the most popular kid in sixth grade, is put in charge of leading the last holiday concert at school before budget cuts shut down the chorus program. He realizes popularity isn’t as important as he thought and sets out to make this concert the best one ever and certainly not the last.