One of our family holiday traditions is to purchase a new Christmas book (or two) each year and add it to our expanding collection (I’ve been doing this since my 11-year-old was a baby)! We put them away after Christmas each year and don’t bring them out again until the tree and decorations go up. It makes for a fun December to revisit many of our favorites each night, and it keeps the girls interested since the books are only out one month per year.
This year, I decided to do something a bit different–The 12 Books of Christmas!! I chose twelve of our favorite kid’s books for Christmas and paired them with a craft or activity. The girls and I will be completing them together over the next 25 days…and sharing them with you! I tried to come up with easy and simple activities that could keep the attention of a variety of ages and books that you could use with a variety of ages as well.
As we complete the activities, I will be updating this post with all of the Christmas books and craft ideas, so feel free to pin this page to find them all!
Here are some of my favorite and best Christmas books for kids (in no particular order). The links to the Christmas crafts and activities will be added below each title.
Christmas Books for Kids
Gingerbread Baby by Jan Brett – I love this book for preschool and early elementary ages. Jan Brett books are some of my favorites for those ages, and this one is no exception. Gingerbread Baby is like the old Gingerbread Man stories…but with a silly twist (and thankfully the Gingerbread Baby doesn’t get eaten)!
Christmas activity to go with the book: Gingerbread Playdough Recipe
The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree by Gloria Houston – This book is one you need to add to your collection. With beautiful artwork and a touching story, it really is that good. The story is set in the Appalachian mountains where a young girl waits for her father to return from war for Christmas. With no sign of him, she and her mother set out to get the “perfect” Christmas tree for the church.
Annika’s Secret Wish by Beverly Lewis – This book is perfect for a study on Christmas traditions in various countries as it shares a sweet tale about a family gathering in Sweden. All her life, Annika has dreamed of the chance to make a special wish if she finds the almond in her rice pudding. When that chance appears, she winds up making an unexpected…and completely selfless choice.
Christmas Tapestry by Patricia Polacco – Supposedly this story is based on a true story, and what an amazing story it is! This is another teary-eyed book for me as a couple torn apart by WWII are reunited because of a tapestry sewn by the woman many years before. It’s such a great book to share with kids and talk about how we are all part of a bigger story…and nothing happens by chance.
Christmas activity to go with the book: 100+ Christmas Coloring Pages
Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg – What can I say? This book is just magical to me and brings a smile every time we read it. It gently introduces the idea that maybe Santa isn’t real, but the spirit of Christmas is. The illustrations are beautiful, too!
The Pine Tree Parable by Liz Curtis Higgs – This is a lovely story of selflessness and sacrifice for younger children. When a family grows Christmas trees to sell, they choose the most beautiful pine to keep for themselves. One evening, a young child who is part of a family unable to afford a tree, asks if they can purchase it. What happens next is a lesson in Christmas giving.
The Gift of the Christmas Cookie by Dandi Daley Mackall – Set in the Depression era, this book is another one about the spirit of giving and what Christmas is all about. Jack’s father is away looking for work, and it is almost Christmas. When Jack smells cookies baking in his home, he is excited that they will actually have something special for Christmas…until his mother tells him the cookies are for the needy at church. Although he is disappointed, Jack later has the opportunity to help someone in need and gain a new perspective on the season.
Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree by Robery Barry – This is another one of those stories that just makes me smile. Mr. Willowby has a Christmas tree delivered, and it is just too tall. They chop off the top and throw it out, but it’s rescued and recycled…and you’ll just have to read it to see the rest! Truly, a delightful little story!
Christmas craft or activity to go with the book: Rice Krispie Christmas Trees
God Gave Us Christmas by Lisa Tawn Bergren – “Who invented Christmas?” is Little Cub’s question. This cute little story leads children on a journey to find God’s handiwork in the world around us and see how He gave us Christmas. This is probably more for the preschool kids, but my younger girls (ages 9 and 7) loved it, too.
Christmas craft or activity to go with the book: Marshmallow Sculptures
The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey by Susan Wajciechowski – Jonathan Toomey is a grouchy woodcarver in the valley, and no one knows about his past and the secret mementos he has stored away in his drawer. When a young widow and her son approach him with a special carving project, it leads to a special Christmas miracle. This is another beautifully illustrated book…and a tear-jerker (so be prepared)!
Christmas craft to go along with the book: Charcoal Nativity Christmas Art Project for Kids
Room for a Little One by Martin Waddell – Another wonderful story for preschoolers to early elementary, this one gently tells the story of baby Jesus and His birth. It focuses on themes of generosity, friendship, and sharing. Again, this is a story with beautiful illustrations and a beautiful message, too.
The Crippled Lamb by Max Lucado – This book is a precious reminder of the love God has for us. No matter our lot in life, there will be times we feel different and alone, but God has a plan for each of us…just like He does for Joshua the lamb in this book.
There they are…our 12 Books of Christmas. I can’t wait to share our Christmas crafts and activities with you over the next few weeks!
How about you, do you have a favorite Christmas book I should consider adding to our collection? I’d love to hear any of your recommendations!