One of my favourite parts about Christmas is reading and books. For me, you can’t have Christmas without books. Whether it’s giving or receiving them, or just spending time off reading. Now N’s older, and they’re often out on the farm over the Christmas holidays, it means I’ve got lots of time to catch up on my to read pile. Or make a fast start on my Good Reads challenge.
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As a child, Christmas meant new books. I used to collect book series – Nancy Drew*, St Clares*, Mallory Towers*, Trebizon*, Sadlers Wells, Drina ballerina, Jill’s pony series. I would look out for these books across the year at car boot sales or buy them when I’d saved pocket money. But mostly, my Christmas list to give to my nan, would be full of books to complete the series or the next few books.
Themed Christmas books weren’t really a big thing back when I was a child. But once N was born, there seemed to be so many more around, both for children and adults. We’ve never done an advent book calendar. But there are certainly enough Christmas books to create one for your children. You just need 24 (or 25) books, wrapped in a pile, to unveil each day of advent.
Over the years we’ve read a lot of Christmas themed books, mainly picture books. I thought it would be good to share some of our favourites.
N’s never been a big reader himself (he’s been better since this summer when he’s read each day and finding more books he’s interested in). But when we used to read picture books at bedtime, we got through a lot of books. And Christmas books were some of his favourites, coming out year after year over the holiday season.
Our favourite Christmas books for children
The night before Christmas – Clement CY Moore
The traditional verse is available in several book formats. Make sure you choose one that’s not an americanised version, and has the original verse.
The Empty Stocking – Richard Curtis and Rebecca Cobb
We loved this story. With twin girls, one who’s good and one who’s bad, and what happen when Father Christmas fillings their stockings. A lovely message and happy ending.
Father Christmas – Raymond Briggs
Cartoon style picture book, where children see Father Christmas finding doing Christmas a bit of a chore, but then see him going on holiday and having lots of fun before Christmas comes around again. N used to find this really funny to look through.
The Snowman – Raymond Briggs
A boy’s snowman comes to life, then takes the boy off to the North Pole to visit Father Christmas. A classic picture book loved by so many. And I always seem to get teary at the end.
The Snowman and the Snowdog – Raymond Briggs
Follow up to The Snowman but with a different boy. More adventures but this time there’s a snowdog too.
Mog’s Christmas – Judith Kerr
A Christmas story a few years ago introduced a recent Mog the cat book. Mog feels left out from the family. What does she get up to.
A Christmas Carol – Dickens / Bah /Humbug – Michael Rosen
Enjoy the original or share with children a retold version set in the modern world which is more approachable to children.
The Nutcracker – ETA Hofffmann
Not just for girls or ballet dancers, The Nutcracker is a fun magical adventure with different worlds and magic taking place.
The Christmasaurus – Tom Fletcher
All the fun and adventure that happens when William Trundle meets the Christmasaurus dinosaur.
How the Grinch stole Christmas – Dr Seuss
A classic rhyming story about the heartless Christmas hating Grinch (we love the Grinch film too)
Letters from Father Christmas – JRR Tolkein
An anthology of years of letters that Tolkein wrote to his children each December from Father Christmas. A collection of fun and imaginative stories.
The Girl who Saved Christmas, A boy called Christmas, and Father Christmas and Me – Matt Haig,
A series of Christmas themed books, aiming to help keep the tradition of Christmas alive.
What Children’s Christmas books would you add to the list of your must reads during the holiday season?