Do you remember that wonderful feeling of snuggling up under the covers with your favorite book? Or a cold winter night when your parents read you a story while a fire burned in the fireplace and snow fell softly outside.
With books, these memories come alive again. And those old books and treasured memories can be shared with your own children, building a bond across the generations.
Besides being a superb way of spending time with your children, books are great for their development. I mean, who could actually be in favor of reading less? With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of our favorite Christmas classics that are sure to help get you in the festive spirit!
The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg
Although Chris Van Allsburg is adored by older children for Jumanji, The Polar Express remains his stand-out work for younger tots. With a story that’s at once relaxing and breath-taking, it’s no surprise that it won the Caldecott Medal when it was originally released. When you see the quality of the artwork you won’t be able to put it down.
Recently adapted into an Oscar-winning movie, The Polar Express is the tale of a young boy lying awake in anticipation for Christmas. The adventure that follows is beloved by readers of all ages. It’s sure to enchant your little one!
The Puppy Who Wanted a Boy by Jane Thayer
A sweet tale with a classic Christmas twist, The Puppy Who Wanted a Boy is one of the older books on this list. Originally published in 1958, the artwork and text have been modernized to reflect how times have changed but the story still retains its classic charm.
This wonderfully adorable story about a puppy whose Christmas wish is for the perfect boy to call his own will certainly delight your kids. And parents might even find themselves delighted as well.
Li’l Rabbit’s Kwanzaa by Donna L. Washington
While not technically a Christmas book, Li’l Rabbit’s Kwanzaa is a great holiday story, full of bunnies that are too cute to resist! And if bunnies aren’t your thing, the entertaining and endearing storyline will keep your attention.
In this book, Li’l Rabbit, the youngest rabbit in the family, desperately wants to help his grandmother prepare for Kwanzaa, and finds his own special way to contribute to the celebration. The message of helping each other out as a family will really shine through as you read this to your kids.
A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote
Although anything by Truman Capote seems like it might be too serious for a list of kids’ holiday reading, trust us on this one. A Christmas Memory is a beautiful story about a young boy and his best friend and the time they spend together.
The story will make you understand what Christmas is about: the spirit of giving. But it will also expose your heart to loss and loneliness. If anything, this is one of the more complete stories on the list and the most poignant.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss
Everyone loves How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Its rhyming lines, courageous characters and amazing illustrations put this little picture book in the very top tier of children’s picture books.
Not only is the story fun and amazing to read out loud, the message is just as good. When the Grinch tries to ruin Christmas “by stealing all the presents, the townspeople react by coming closer together.” Oops, spoiler alert! Anyway, this is a great way to remind your kids that the holidays aren’t just about the toys.
Strega Nona’s Gift by Tomi dePaola
A beautiful story about Strega Nona and Big Anthony’s adventures during their eight-day Italian holiday festival. Strega Nona is a old Italian woman who has magical powers (her name actually means “Granny Witch” in Italian).
Well ‘Ol Batty’s magical power is that she has a magic pot that creates pasta on demand. She leaves Big Anthony behind to clean her house while she performs good deeds for the neighbors. The problem is Big Anthony has an even bigger appetite and decides to use the pot to make lunch. It’s all OK at first, but then he realizes he doesn’t know how to stop making pasta and all heck breaks loose.
If you want to find out what happens next, you’ll just have to read Strega Nona’s Gift with your kids.
The Spirit of Christmas by Nancy Tillman
This is one of those sweet books that has an understated charm. With drawings of sleds dashing through the snow, trees that are topped with sparkling stars, and children everywhere dreaming of candy canes and presents, The Spirit of Christmas is a festive treat. But the feeling of warmth you will get from this book will be the best gift of all. Never forget that Christmas is about spending time with those you love.
If you weren’t in the Christmas spirit before, by the end of this picture book, you’ll be filled to the brim with it!
The Night Before Christmas by Jessie Wilcox Smith and Clement Clarke Moore
The Night Before Christmas was originally written by Clement Clarke Moore as a gift for his six children. Jam-packed with colorful illustrations and beautiful poetry. Every time you take it out, you’ll notice something new- whether its some trick of language or some overlooked detail in the artwork. It’s one of the most popular and beloved Christmas tales – read by just about everyone who celebrates the holiday.
Well there you have it. The list of books you must read for the holidays. But there are still loads of other great books out there, and we’d love to hear your favorites! Add to our list of holiday classics by posting the tales you treasure in the comments section below.