The Best Christmas Books For Preschoolers

Christmas Books For Kids.

One of my favourite Christmas traditions is reading our ever-growing collection of Christmas books for kids.

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Each year we acquire a few more special Christmas books, and they get added to the collection. They get carefully packed away along with the Christmas decorations so that they feel fresh and exciting when December rolls around again.

(Most of them get packed away, there are always a few escapees that stick around for the whole year. This year it’s Father Christmas Needs A Wee, which has been in heavy rotation all year!)

Looking forward to hot chocolate, a mince pie, and a special Christmas story at the end of each day is a magical ritual that you’ll all come to look forward to.

Skip down if you’d like to read about our book advent calendar.

Many of our books are looking decidedly well-worn by now. Quite a few of them have been around since my eldest was tiny. Some have been around since I was tiny.

The dog-eared pages, occasional taped-up spines and random repair jobs are all part of what makes these books special. I could go out and replace them all, but those new books wouldn’t hold the same treasure trove of family memories that the old ones have.

Is it weird that I’ve actively chosen not to replace Mary from our nativity set, even though she was chewed by our family dog the first year we got him and has never looked the same since? I kind of like the temporary Sharpie repair job I did to make her look presentable.

As an aside, my Grandma gave us a wooden nativity scene the year of my eldest’s first Christmas. It was similar to this one, but with even more simple, peg-type figures. It’s easily been the most-loved, most played-with of all our Christmas toys.

All kinds of animals have taken up temporary residence in that stable, and all kinds of pretend games have been enacted using the nativity characters. (Most memorably the year of my youngest’s first Christmas, when Joseph (aided by a big sister) announced that the baby was too loud, and decided to live on the mantelpiece for the whole of December!

Anyway, we were supposed to be talking about Christmas books for kids.

Each year I like to look for a few new books to add to the collection. I usually buy them ahead of time, and then quietly slip them into the basket along with the old favourites. It’s always exciting when someone comes across a new book for the first time.

This year I thought I’d share some of our family favourites with you so that you can start, or add to, your own collection of Christmas books for kids.

My Favourite Christmas Books For Kids

1. The Christmas Wish – Lori Evert

A beautiful tale about Anja, who sets off on an adventure to become one of Santa’s elves.

Your little ones will love the images of rosy-cheeked little Anja as her journey progresses, and she meets many friends along the way.

2. Father Christmas Needs A Wee – Nicholas Allen

Preschoolers are usually big fans of silly books, and they don’t come much sillier than this one!

Father Christmas needs a wee,

He’s been drinking drinks since half past three …

All the festive drinks the children have left out for Santa leave him racing to get home, desperate for a wee.

A funny, silly counting book for the festive season. (And still sitting on my 5-year-old’s bookshelf and being chosen as a bedtime story at least once a week since last Christmas).

3. The Night Before Christmas – Clement Moore

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house,

Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.

The classic Christmas poem describing Santa’s visit, climbing down the chimney and filling the stockings before driving his reindeer on to the next house.

Somewhere there’s a family heirloom copy of this that belonged to my grandmother, and I can remember her reading it to us when we were little. Sadly, I’m not sure who has it at present. So, we have this lovely version instead, and also one like this, with flaps to lift.

4. Aliens Love Panta Claus – Claire Freedman

Another one for lovers of Christmassy silliness.

Part of the Aliens Love Underpants collection, this is one of our favourite Christmas books for kids. It shows what happens when Santa’s sleigh gets broken, and the aliens decide to help him out.

If you’re feeling really silly, you could even do this to your Christmas tree:

5. Dear Santa – Rod Campbell.

Rod Campbell’s Dear Zoo has been a staple on our bookshelves for many years now, so it wasn’t a surprise when Dear Santa quickly earned a special place in our Christmas book collection.

Following along the same lines as Dear Zoo, this book looks at Santa’s challenge to find the perfect gift, with fun lift-the-flap elements on each page.

6. The Jolly Christmas Postman – Allan Ahlberg.

Here’s another one that’s a festive version of an old favourite.

I love the interactive nature of the original book, The Jolly Postman, with all the little letters. The Jolly Christmas Postman is just as much fun!

This book draws on all kinds of well-loved traditional tales, and imagines the correspondence between the different characters.

I’ll confess that our copy of The Jolly Postman lost most of its letters very quickly, but because the Christmas version gets put safely away each year, it’s survived much longer.

This one definitely gets marked down as one of our special books.

7. Letters From Father Christmas – J. R. R. Tolkien.

I’ve included this one for myself as much as for the children.

These are letters that Tolkien wrote for his children each Christmas. He wrote from Father Christmas’ perspective, and there are other fun characters who make appearances as well, including a troublesome polar bear.

The letters change as the children get older. You’ll probably want to read ahead, and just dip into a few letters each year.

The thing I love most about this Christmas book is that it can grow with your child. So many Christmas books for kids are aimed solely at little ones, so it’s lovely to have something they’ll continue to want to read as they get older.

8. The Snowman – Raymond Briggs.

I couldn’t write a list of Christmas books for kids without including The Snowman!

I loved this Christmas book when I was a child, and my children all love it too.

It’s a story constructed entirely of pictures, no words at all, so it’s perfect for little ones. Look at it together and tell one another the story of the little boy who builds a magical snowman.

We also watch the magical ’80s TV adaptation of the book, another fond memory of my own childhood. This is one of the Christmas films that we usually watch several times over the festive season.

9. Dream Snow – Eric Carle.

Everyone knows and loves The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and Dream Snow shares the same richly-coloured collage illustrations.

It’s a fun and simple Christmassy story, with flaps to lift and animals to find.

10. Bear Stays Up For Christmas – Karma Wilson.

Bear’s friends are determined to help him stay awake for Christmas this year.

This sweet, cosy story is perfect for snuggling up with candles and hot chocolate. It’s a lovely, gentle story full of hygge and friendship.

11. Stick Man.

I’m not sure that this one really qualifies as a Christmas story, but it does end at Christmas, so I’m giving it a bonus spot.

This is a book that we don’t pack away with the Christmas decorations. It lives on the bookshelf all year round, along with most of the rest of Julia Donaldson’s books.

Stick Man wakes up early one morning to go for a jog, but his morning run turns into an epic adventure, with Father Christmas making an appearance at the end.

Making A Book Advent Calendar.

One of my favourite ways to use our Christmas books for kids is to make a book advent calendar.

This is one of those traditions that takes only a little time and effort but offers big rewards when it comes to memory-making.

If you’ve already got a collection of Christmas books for kids, then you have a headstart.

Simply gather 24 Christmas books, wrap them individually, and add a number to each parcel.

That’s it. All you have to do now is let your children open a book each day, and then read it with them.

Of course, you can make the reading ritual as simple or as elaborate as you like. Hot chocolate and popcorn always go down well here.

I like to use a mixture of mostly old favourites, and just add one or two new additions each year to keep things fresh.

If you don’t have enough books in your collection yet, then you could always do a mixture of books and envelopes with activities written in them. I have a post on Christmas activities for kids that should give you some good ideas.

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