38 Best Christmas Picture Books for Children
Looking for the best Christmas picture books to get your kids in the holiday spirit? The most magical time of the year calls for cosying up by the fire with a festive and heartwarming story.
Picture books bring Christmas cheer through vibrant illustrations and charming tales that spark the imagination of children of all ages. From classics like How the Grinch Stole Christmas and The Polar Express to newer hits like The Christmasaurus and The Christmas Boot, this list of 38 best Christmas picture books has something for everyone. These holiday stories are full of humour, friendship, imagination, and holiday spirit. So get comfy under your blanket, make some hot cocoa, and get ready to explore the most wonderful reads for the season with your little ones. The best picture books for Christmas create memories and traditions that will last a lifetime.
How to Pick the Perfect Christmas Picture Book
With so many options, how do you choose the right Christmas picture books for your family? Here are some helpful tips for selecting stories that will become cherished holiday favourites:
- Consider the age and interests of your child: Picture books span a wide range of age-appropriateness and themes that appeal to different children. Select stories that match your child’s developmental stage and align with what captivates their imagination. See this post on the best Christmas books for preschoolers.
- Look for engaging illustrations: Picture books rely heavily on illustrations to tell the story and convey wonder. Choose books with art styles that draw your child in, create a holiday ambience, and bring the tale to life visually.
- Seek out classics and variety: It’s good to have beloved Christmas classics like The Polar Express in your library, but also bring in new stories each season to find unexpected gems. A diverse mix ensures there’s always something new to explore.
- Find stories that reflect your family’s holiday traditions and values: Christmas stories can highlight your cultural backgrounds and customs. Seek out tales that represent your unique holiday spirit.
- Consider interactive and activity books: For younger kids, look for Christmas books with hands-on elements like lift-the-flap, touch-and-feel textures, and pop-ups to actively engage them.
- Match books to your child’s interests: If your child loves vehicles, sci-fi, ballet, or animals, there are Christmas books tailored just for them. Tap into their passions to get them excited.
- Ask your local librarian for recommendations: Librarians are children’s book experts and can suggest the most delightful new and classic Christmas picture books to match your child.
With a little planning, you can find the perfect Christmas tales to read together this holiday season. The best books create cherished memories and new traditions.
Best Christmas Picture books
The holiday season is the perfect time to cosy up with beloved Christmas stories. Enjoy classic tales and discover new joyful reads with this recommended list of the best Christmas picture books.
The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg
A magical Christmas Eve train ride to the North Pole allows one young boy to get into the holiday spirit and receive a special gift from Santa. This beautifully illustrated classic captures the essence of Christmas magic and imagination.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss
The grumpy Grinch tries to ruin Christmas for the happy Whos of Whoville by stealing their gifts and decorations, only to learn that Christmas is about more than just presents. Silly rhymes and playful illustrations make this Dr. Seuss classic a fun holiday tale with a meaningful message about the spirit of Christmas.
You might enjoy this list of top Dr. Seuss Christmas Quotes for the holiday.
The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore
On Christmas Eve, Santa and his reindeer land on a roof and deliver presents down the chimney in this classic poetic tale full of holiday magic. The descriptive language helps visualize Santa’s memorable flight.
A Charlie Brown Christmas by Charles M. Schulz
Charlie Brown seeks the meaning of Christmas amidst commercialism by choosing a tiny tree to decorate in this heartwarming Peanuts holiday story. The illustrations and messages about friendship and love capture the Christmas spirit.
The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
Peter explores the wonder of a fresh snowfall by making tracks, snow angels, and gathering snowballs in this creatively illustrated Caldecott Medal winner. The snowy urban landscapes spark imagination about winter magic.
Dream Snow by Eric Carle
Vibrant collage illustrations tell the story of a farmer who wishes for snow on Christmas Eve and awakens to five feet of it, perfect for playing in. The textured cut-paper artwork creates a delightful holiday tale.
The Snowman by Raymond Briggs
This wordless picture book uses beautiful illustrations to follow a boy whose magical snowman comes to life, leading to an adventurous flight around the world together. The images portray a poignant friendship.
Bear Stays Up for Christmas by Karma Wilson
A sleepy bear struggles to stay awake on Christmas Eve to share in the excitement of traditions like decorating, reading stories, and awaiting Santa’s arrival. The rhyming story captures the anticipation of Christmas.
The Twelve Days of Christmas by Jan Brett
This song is visualized through colourful illustrated borders showing Christmas preparations. Brett’s signature folk-art style enhances the classic carol with charm and visual interest for young readers.
Olaf’s Night Before Christmas based on Disney’s Frozen
Silly Olaf accidentally ruins Christmas gifts and traditions, but Anna helps him understand the holiday is really about family forgiveness and love. Vibrant scenes of favourite characters will delight Frozen fans.
Christmas Trolls by Jan Brett
When Treva searches the wintry forest for legendary Christmas trolls, she becomes lost until the trolls finally appear and guide her home in this Scandinavian-inspired tale with Brett’s distinctive snowy forest scenes.
Pick a Pine Tree by Patricia Toht
Rhyming verse provides a step-by-step guide to picking the perfect Christmas tree, from site selection to decorating, in this lively story that builds anticipation for bringing home a tree. The charming illustrations add to the seasonal fun.
Spot’s First Christmas by Eric Hill
Spot the puppy knocks over the Christmas tree while trying to help decorate in this lift-the-flap board book. The simple story and hands-on interactivity allow young children to participate in the holiday preparations.
Angelina’s Christmas by Katharine Holabird
Angelina the little mouse secretly gathers supplies to make Christmas goodies and surprises for her best friend Alice in this sweet tale of generosity between friends. The charming illustrations enhance this feel-good holiday story.
Duck & Goose, It’s Time for Christmas! by Tad Hills
Silly, colourful characters help Goose get into the Christmas spirit in this funny friendship story as the two birds work together to decorate their home and learn about holiday traditions. The lighthearted illustrations add to the humour.
Little Santa by Jon Agee
A fearful Little Santa thinks Christmas Eve may be too much for him alone, until Mrs. Claus encourages him to have confidence, in this humorous twist on Santa’s origins. The illustrations create an amusing holiday tale with heart.
There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bell! by Lucille Colandro
In this humorous twist on the old lady series, a woman swallows a bell, garland, and even Santa Claus, before finally spitting everything back up. The rhyming cumulative tale builds in silliness to amuse young readers.
Merry Christmas, Curious George by H.A. Rey
Mischievous monkey George tries to gift wrap a ball and decorate a tree, with hilarious messy results, in this charming holiday story. The troublemaking antics and simple illustrations stay true to the classic series style.
The Christmas Wish by Lori Evert
Lost in a blizzard on her way to feed the reindeer, brave Anja is rescued by the reindeer and brought to Santa who grants her special wish in this magical tale of kindness. Radiant illustrations create an enchanting storybook feel.
Christmas Day in the Morning by Pearl S. Buck
On Christmas morning, a boy surprises his father with heartfelt homemade gifts to thank him for his sacrifices in this moving story of family love. Beautiful illustrations enhance the poignant tale.
Construction Site on Christmas Night by Sherri Duskey Rinker
The hardworking trucks of the construction site celebrate Christmas together with a feast, lights, and gifts presented creatively as only trucks could in this fun read-aloud rhyming story. The vivid truck personalities shine.
The Carpenter’s Gift by David Rubel
In Depression-era New York City, a boy and his workmates create special gifts on Christmas Eve to surprise families, spreading joy and kindness. Soft illustrations and a moving story capture the spirit of giving.
The Littlest Christmas Tree by Barbara Janis
A little crooked fir tree wishes to be a beautifully decorated Christmas tree and finally gets its wish when an elderly man selects it and makes it the most special tree of all. The heartwarming story promotes kindness and hope.
The Christmas Boot by Lisa Wheeler
With love, a poor mother stitches a stocking together from scraps for her young son to hang on their sparse Christmas Eve, and he’s overjoyed to find an orange inside, in this uplifting tale of generosity. Expressive illustrations enhance the simple story.
Santa’s Stuck by Rhonda Gowler Greene
When Santa gets stuck in a chimney on Christmas Eve, a fireman, a police officer, and finally a brave little girl work together to free Santa in time to deliver presents in this suspenseful holiday tale. The fun rhymes add to the adventure.
Dragon’s Merry Christmas by Dav Pilkey
Dragon knocks down the Christmas tree when trying to help decorate it, so he dresses up as Santa to deliver gifts that lift the townspeople’s spirits in this funny holiday story. Pilkey’s humour shines through the vibrant cartoon illustrations.
The Christmas Quiet Book by Deborah Underwood
This creatively illustrated book highlights all the peaceful, calm ways to experience the typically busy holiday season, from baking cookies to sitting by the fire. The serene vignettes cultivate holiday mindfulness.
The Christmas Pine by Julia Donaldson
A brave tiny pine tree dreams of becoming the famous Trafalgar Square tree in London, and through courage and hope, achieves her wish in this inspiring holiday tale. Rhyming text and whimsical illustrations create Christmas magic.
The Christmasaurus by Tom Fletcher
A dinosaur-loving boy named William meets the energetic Christmasaurus and they journey to the North Pole for magical adventures in this imaginative tale brimming with holiday spirit. The fun wordplay and illustrations match the laugh-out-loud story.
Carl’s Christmas by Alexandra Day
Lovable Rottweiler Carl helps a baby get ready for Christmas, wrapping gifts, baking, and finally giving the child a sled ride, in this sweet wordless story told through lively illustrations. The endearing dog and baby scenes shine with holiday warmth.
Santa’s Book of Names by David McPhail
Santa’s magical book listing naughty and nice children causes worry when one boy can’t find his name inside. Luckily the list isn’t finished yet in this playful holiday story featuring glowing illustrations.
Mr Willowby’s Christmas Tree by Robert Barry
Mr Willowby’s too-tall Christmas tree is trimmed and trimmed again to be given away to others, spreading holiday joy. Simple illustrations and repetition make this a delightful Christmas read-aloud.
The Nutcracker by the New York City Ballet
This classic Christmas tale is retold with colourful illustrations featuring the New York City Ballet, following young Clara through the Land of Sweets with the heroic Nutcracker prince. An enchanting book for aspiring ballerinas.
Dasher by Matt Tavares
A determined little doe helps pull Santa’s mail sleigh and gets chosen to be the lead reindeer when she gracefully leaps hurdles, in this lovely origin story of Dasher’s determination and heart. Vibrant illustrations bring the tale to life.
The Christmas Eve Tree by Delia Huddy
A homeless family gathers discarded trees on Christmas Eve to build a beautiful community tree, reminding them that Christmas is about togetherness. The poignant story celebrates the holiday spirit.
The Jolly Christmas Postman by Allan Ahlberg
A postman delivers holiday cards and gifts to fairy tale characters like the Three Bears and Humpty Dumpty in his enchanted mailbag in this cleverly illustrated interactive book that brings favourite stories to life.
Father Christmas Needs a Wee by Nicholas Allan
When Santa gets stuck in a chimney after an urgent bathroom break, firefighters comically attempt to free him in time for Christmas in this humorous holiday tale with fun-spirited illustrations.
The Christmas Owl by Gideon Sterer
The Christmas Owl is about a young owl who gets blown out of his tree on Christmas Eve. Lost and alone, the little owl is found and cared for by a family, and he gets to experience Christmas traditions and warmth before being reunited with his owl family. With its messages of kindness, friendship, and the spirit of Christmas, this is a delightful holiday tale brought to life through charming illustrations.
These heartwarming stories are sure to get you and your family feeling the Christmas spirit. Cuddle up by the fire and enjoy the magic of the season with these best Christmas picture books. Which tales are your favourites to read this time of year? Do you have any new Christmas books that should be added to our collection? Let us know in the comments below!
We’d love to hear about the stories that bring your family holiday joy and make cherished Christmas memories. There’s always room for more books on our Christmas reading list. Happy holidays and happy reading!