Beautiful Christmas Books for the Whole Family
It’s almost December again and that means it’s time to share a round-up post of some favorite Christmas books.
There are so many beautiful Christmas books to choose from, and because of this, the following list is fairly lengthy. At the end, therefore, you will find a printable list of all the titles I will mention.
The Legend of the Candy Cane by Lori Walburg is one of my favorite Christmas picture books. It is one that I received as a gift for St. Nicholas Day many years ago, and I still treasure it. It fills me with nostalgia every time I read it.
The Legend of the Candy Cane is a story about a mystery man that comes to a small prairie town on a dark night in November. All the townsfolk are very curious about him, and they debate about what they hope he is. Some of the adults hope he is a doctor, a dressmaker, or a trader. The children, however, have the greatest wish of all.
A young girl who lives in the town, by the name of Lucy, bravely befriends this strange newcomer and discovers his true identity. He also shares the beautiful legend of the ever famous Candy Cane.
This story is so beautiful, it deserves a place on every Christmas Picture book list, and in everyone’s personal library.
The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey by Susan Wojciechowski is a family favorite that we read every Christmas. It is a magical story that shows how kindness can thaw an icy heart, not matter how gruff a person may seem.
Jonathan Toomey is a woodcarver, the best woodcarver in the valley, in fact. The people there, however, call him ‘Mr. Gloomy’ because, though it is never nice to call people names, this one seems fitting. Mr. Toomey never laughs, or even smiles. He stays alone in house and carves wood all day. He doesn’t go to church, and he doesn’t talk to anyone. No one therefore, knows of his tragic past and the heartache it left behind.
One day, Jonathan Toomey hears a knock on his door. When he opens it, opposite him he finds a young woman and a small boy.
The young woman is a timid widow who gently asks Jonathan Toomey to carve a Nativity set for her. He gruffly agrees to do it, and eventually even gives in to letting her son sit and watch him under the condition that he is silent and still.
In the following weeks Mr. Toomey works on the Nativity set, while without either being aware of it, the widows son works on Jonathan Toomey slowly warming his heart and letting in the light that was for so long shut out.
The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey is both beautifully written and illustrated and is sure to become a Christmas favorite in your house.
The Little Matchstick Girl by Hans Christian Andersen is a Christmas classic. The version illustrated by Debbie Lavreys is particularly beautiful. Her gorgeous illustrations take the over 170 year-old tale and bring it back to life.
The Little Matchstick Girl is alone and tired. She doesn’t dare go back home, for she hasn’t sold any matches to make money. It is snowing and the temperatures are dropping. The only thing she has in the whole wide world are the few matches she has in pocket. As she lights one for warmth, before her appears a magical vision. When the flame goes out she lights another match and once again sees a different vision. She continues to light a new match each time the old one goes out, until she sees her beloved grandmother in a vision. At once she lights all of the remaining matches together to make the vision last longer. The beautifully tragic tale ends with the The Little Matchstick Girl begin reunited with her Grandmother in a better place than the cold lonely world.
The Donkey’s Dream by Barbara Helen Berger is another wonderfully illustrated picture book.
An ordinary little donkey is being to led to Bethlehem by a seemingly ordinary man. On the donkey’s back rides a young woman, as they go along their journey however, the donkey dreams about carrying something much different. Whether it is a city with gates and towers and temples, or great ship, he kept dreaming until they arrived in Bethlehem where he discovers that he carried the very best thing of all.
Christmas Day in the Morning by Pearl S. Buck is the story of a young man’s recollection of a past Christmas, the Christmas when he first discovered the meaning of love and how it was the perfect gift for his father.
This beautiful book which jut got a brand new cover design, is bound to become a family favorite and one that will be read year after year.
A Small Miracle by Peter Collington is the tale of a lonely old woman who wakes on Christmas Eve with no food and no money. Though she tried many different things, after all her efforts to earn some extra money for food in town fail, she turns toward home, despondent but still with enough goodness in her heart to stop a thief from robbing a small church and tenderly reassemble the nativity set he had knocked over.
When she collapses on the snowy road back to her home, the figures in the church’s nativity set magically come to life, eager to return the kindness she so willingly showed to them. Together they toil to give her a Christmas she will always remember and show us all that even the very small can work miracles.
The Legend of the Poinsettia by Tomie dePaola is the story of a little girl who undergoes much sadness and disappointment which turns into a wonderful miracle.
This is the Mexican legend of how the Poinsettia came to be. Lucida is a small girl who lives with her parents and younger siblings. One year at Christmas, the village Padre comes to Lucida’s family’s house and asks her mother to weave a blanket for the figure of the baby Jesus for the Christmas procession. Lucida’s mother agrees to help. Unfortunately, before the blanket is completed, Lucida’s mother falls ill and is unable to finish it in time for the Christmas Procession.
Lucida is determined to have the blanket finished in time, so she decides to weave it herself. However, she is not yet skilled at the art and the blanket ends up ruined. On the day of the Christmas procession, Lucida goes sadly to church. On the way she picks an armful of weeds, but when she leaves, something very special has happened.
The Night of Las Posadas by Tomie dePaola is another wonderful Christmas story for children to enjoy.
Las Posadas is magical procession that happens every year. The tradition is that two people playing Mary and Joseph go around town knocking on doors and asking for a place to stay. The town joins in on the fun and makes Christmas very special for everyone.
Sister Angie is in charge of the celebration this year, however, she has to stay home because she is sick.
Lupe and Roberto are the two lucky people chosen to play Mary and Joseph, however, they get caught in a snow storm. In their place a mysterious man and woman arrive in the town leaving before anyone can find out who they are and thank them for their performance.
When Sister Angie goes to church to pray before the Nativity set there, she notices that there is fresh snow on some of the figures…
The Story of Holly and Ivy by Rumer Godden is the story of three special characters and their deepest most precious wishes.
The first is a young orphan girl named Ivy, who wishes for more than anything else in the world to have a home. She sets out in search of her grandmother, who she is certain she can find in order to make her wish come true.
The second is doll by the name of Holly. This special doll wishes for nothing more than a little girl who can bring her to life.
The third person is a woman named Mrs. Jones. The only thing that Mrs. Jones wishes for in the whole wide world is a son or daughter to love and cherish.
Can all three wishes providentially come true?
The Legend of the Christmas Stocking by Rick Osborne is the story of a young boy named Peter. The story is set in the late 1800’s and teaches true generosity and selflessness.
Peter works hard selling newspapers to help his family financially while his father is away at sea. Out of his hard-earned money, Peter is able to set aside a little bit in order to buy something very special and beautiful.
He is saving up to buy a model Schooner from his friend, Uncle Jim’s woodworker’s shop. After Uncle Jim tells him a story about Saint Nicholas’ generosity, though, Peter thoughts for his extra cash go somewhere else.
The Legend of the Christmas Stocking is a beautiful story about kindness and giving.
The Legend of the Christmas Tree by Rick Osborne is the magical tale of the beginning of a new Christmas tradition for the Johnson family. When they go to pick out the perfect Christmas tree from the tree lot, they come upon three wonderfully decorated trees standing in the center of the lot.
Underneath of one of the trees is a mysterious silver gift-wrapped box…
When the owner of the tree lot sees the Johnson family’s interest in the trees and the mysterious package underneath of the one, he tells them something that they will never forget.
The Legend of the Christmas Tree will bring new meaning to your children as they see the familiar Christmas tree in a whole new light.
An Orange for Frankie by Patricia Polacco is a sweet story close to the author’s heart as Frankie, the young boy, was her grandmother’s youngest brother.
It is almost Christmas time, and Pa hasn’t returned from his trip to Lansing. So, while everyone is excited and preparing for the upcoming season, they can’t help but worry that Pa won’t make home in time for Christmas.
To make matters worse, Pa had promised to bring oranges with him. So, with the heavy snowfall and storms, there is the possibility of no oranges for Christmas and worse still, no Pa!
An Orange for Frankie is a beautifully illustrated and written story of giving and loving.
Room for a Little One by Martin Waddell is great Christmas story for younger children. It has plenty of beautiful pictures and simple, yet magical text.
Kind Ox lives in a stable. On a particularly starry winter’s evening, Kind Ox gets a visitor. It is Old Dog, who needs somewhere to rest. Kind Ox offers a place in the stable saying that there is always room for a little one.
After Old Dog is settled another animal comes in search of refuge. Children will see as animal after animal gets invited to stay in the stable, that being generous and sharing is very important.
Finally, after a while, a donkey comes to the stable carrying a woman. The animals in the stable make room for the newcomers, because there is always room for a little one.
The Miracle of Saint Nicholas by Gloria Whelan is the enchanting tale of a young boy and his Babushka who tells him about Christmas when she was a little girl. In the same Russian village that young Alexi and his grandmother still live in, is a church. The church of Saint Nicholas.
Alexi’s Babushka tells him that before the soldiers came, “Our church was as crowded as a pod full of peas. Candles made the church as bright as the sunniest day. Watching over us was the blessed icon of St. Nicholas.”
Alexi asks her why they can’t celebrate Christmas in Saint Nicholas church this year, to which his grandmother sadly replies that the church is too run down and hasn’t been used it sixty year. It would take a miracle to be able to celebrate Christmas there…
The First Christmas Stocking by Elizabeth Winthop is a heartwarming tale of a little girl who learned to knit from her mother at a very young age.
Claire knit plenty of stockings while her mother knit mittens, scarves, and other pieces of clothing for the wealthy people in town. Claire and her family were very poor, and didn’t have much money, so her mother would sell the knitted items.
With Christmas approaching, and not much money to go around, Claire obeys her mother’s words, and knits her Christmas dreams into the wool. She begins making stocking, after stocking. Soon people began to call Claire the stocking girl and she had many orders to fill.
One day, she gets an order from a very wealthy person. Fulfillment of this order would procedure a very handsome payment. Claire’s family would no longer be so destitute. They would be able to live comfortably. However, Claire has to choose between this promise of a better life, and giving to someone in even more need than herself.
The First Christmas Stocking is a beautiful story of a young girl’s generosity and kindness. It is sure to stir emotion in everyone’s heart.
Who is Coming to Our House? by Joseph Slate is the perfect Christmas book for younger children. It is so sweet and the illustrations are eye-catching.
All the animals prepare the stable for an anticipated guest. They don’t know who it will be, but they know it is someone special, so they do what they can to make the mysterious guests comfortable.
Humphrey’s First Christmas by Carol Heyers tells the story of the Wise Men’s journey to Bethlehem. It is told from the camels’ point of view, as they for a very long time in order to reach their far-away destination.
Along the way, Humphrey, the camel, loses his blanket. He works very hard to get a knew one. But, when he finally arrives in Bethlehem, he is draw to the little baby laying in a manger. In a rush of loving generosity, Humphrey parts with his new blanket, offering it to the special little newborn babe.
Humphrey’s First Christmas is yet another wonderful book that teaches generosity and giving.
The Legend of the Christmas Cookie by Dandi Daley MacKall is the story of a named Jack who learns the story behind Christmas cookies from his very generous mother.
A tradition that Jacks family has, is that every year around Christmas time, they bake hundreds of cookies to give to the poor and needy.
This sweet story can encourage children to be kind and happy givers. The Legend of the Christmas Cookie teaches the importance of generosity.
The Legend of Old Befana by Tomie dePaola is an Italian Christmas Story. As legend would have it, there once was grumpy old woman who lived by herself. All the children stayed away from her, and mocked her for sweeping so rigorously every morning and every afternoon.
One night, Old Befana see a light in the sky. A very bright star is shining high above her. After she encounters the three wise men on their way to Bethlehem, her life is forever changed. She goes from being dreaded and mocked by children, to being someone that is held in high regard by them.
The Legend of Old Befana: An Italian Christmas Story is a wonderful book for teaching children kindness.
The Star Tree by Gisela Colle is another book that we read every year at Christmas. The illustrations are so calming and beautiful, and the story so heartwarming, it’s hard not to fall in love with this book.
An old man lives in a small house, in a large city with many tall buildings all around. He has lived there since he was a boy, when none of those buildings even existed. But, none of the people in the city know him, or even know of him. Most barely even know each other.
On one winter night, near Christmas, the old man looks sadly out of his window. He thinks of all those Christmases from long ago when friends and family would gather together to tell stories and sing carols. He remembered when the children would make gold paper stars to hang in the windows to greet the newcomers.
After a while of sad reminiscing, the old man has an idea. With a basket full of homemade gold-paper stars, the old man begins to spread some Christmas cheer. The result of his efforts is wonderful.
The Legend of the Christmas Rose by William H. Hooks takes you a time-travel journey back to Bethlehem, over two-thousand years ago into the life of a nine-year-old girl named Dorothy.
It tells the tale of young Dorothy’s journey to visit the newborn baby Jesus, in Bethlehem. She witnesses the miracle of a tiny white flower, transforming into a beautiful Christmas Rose.
The Legend of the Christmas Rose is touching story of a small girl giving the best she can offer, and receiving so much in return for her efforts. The illustrations in this book are simply wonderful.
Letters from Father Christmas by famous author J. R. R. Tolkien is a collection of the wonderful letters his children received at Christmas, from Father Christmas. Written in a strange spidery script and illustrated with magnificent paintings, Tolkien wrote these letters to his children every year.
They tell the story of Father Christmas in the North Pole and of his funny and clumsy Polar Bear friend. Each letter is filled with entertainment and wonder. Letters from Father Christmas would make a great family read.
The Carpenter’s Gift by David Rubel is a very heartwarming and beautiful story.
Opening in Depression-era New York City, The Carpenter’s Gift tells the story of eight-year-old Henry and his father selling Christmas trees. They give a Christmas tree to construction workers building Rockefeller Center and celebrate together. Through the kindness of the construction workers and neighbors, Henry gets his wish for a nice, warm home to replace his family’s drafty shack. He plants a pinecone from that first Rockefeller Center Tree. As an old man, Henry repays the gift by donating the enormous tree that has grown from that pinecone to become a Rockefeller Center Christmas tree. After bringing joy to thousands as the Rockefeller Center tree, its wood will be used to build a home for another family in need.
One of my younger brothers got Santa’s Favorite Story by Hisako Aoki for Christmas one year, and he still loves it. It is such a sweet little story with cute pictures that it would be difficult not to like this book.
Fox is going for a walk in the woods and comes across Santa Claus. Concerned that Santa is not already working on getting ready to deliver presents, fox and a few other woodland animals approach him. Santa explains to the woodland animals that he is feeling tired. Christmas isn’t about the gifts. He tells them his favorite story; a story about a special baby who born in a stable many years ago.
Santa’s Favorite Story is such a special little story. It is sure to become one of your family’s favorite Christmas stories.
Here is the entire list of books mentioned in this post. If you would like a printable version, you can find one below.
Happy Reading & Writing!