Once we had our tree up and decorated, I knew it was time to start incorporating some Christmas themed books into our nightly bedtime story routine. But have you seen the amount of Christmas books out there? It’s a little overwhelming, especially when I wanted to make sure we were passing on the real meaning of Christmas, along with a few funny holiday stories, to our little girl. So, I asked some of my favorite NOLA moms to share their favorite children’s holiday books.
Traditional Christmas Books
The Night Before Christmas by Clement Clarke Moore is the first book that everyone usually thinks of when they are asked for their favorite Christmas book. For some, it’s a book that brings back memories from their childhood. Somewhere between my mom’s house and my grandmother’s house is a cassette tape of me when I was three years old reciting the story word for word. We always say we will need to record Addison reciting it when she is three and somehow get the two audio pieces on one cd. For Ashley, it’s the memories when “every year until the year he passed away my grandfather read it to us after church. Even when I was a senior in college we’d all pile on the couch together.”
The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg is another popular favorite. Jennifer recalls how her dad used to read it to her and her sister: “I can’t tell you how much I wanted that train to stop at our house!” Sarah agrees that even though, “it’s not really for Emma aged kids (under 2), my mom read it to us growing up and she had the magic jingle bell and everything! I’ll plan to start reading it to Emma this year.”
If you’re looking for a little Southern twist to The Night Before Christmas, one book that makes an appearance every year in our house (even before we had Addison) is The Cajun Night Before Christmas. Complete with Cajun accent and all, Michael reads aloud the story of Santa delivering the gifts in a skiff pulled by eight alligators. I don’t think we’ve ever gotten through the whole book without laughing.
Toddler Christmas Books
When searching for Christmas books that are appropriate for toddlers, Courtney recommends “a lot of old school Little Golden Books: Santa’s Toy Shop, The Night Before Christmas, Frosty and The Biggest, Most Beautiful Christmas Tree. We’ve also gotten turned on to Olivia and have Olivia Counts Down to Christmas and Olivia Helps with Christmas.”
And Linzy reminded us about Rudolph, the Red Nosed Reindeer. You just can’t forget about that adorable little reindeer with his friend Herbie the misfit elf who wants to be a dentist! Another great book is That’s Not My Reindeer, which is actually part of a touch and feel series with other books suitable for toddlers.
Ashley recommends What is Christmas?, which is one of her personal favorites: “the reason is because it teaches children the real reason for the season, rhymes and is easy for kids to engage with and earlier this week we read it and Thatcher – without prompting – said “baby Jesus” and it totally melted my heart that he had internalized the book to some degree.” In keeping with this theme, Amber shared two books she just recently bought for her son Nathaniel: “One is a cardboard book, You Are My Miracle, and the other one is a touch and feel book called One Night in Bethlehem. We are really enjoying these!” I can’t wait to add these to our library!
Personalized Christmas Books
Last, but definitely not least, if you’re looking for a great gift idea for a baby’s first Christmas, you have to check out I See Me! personalized children’s books. You can personalize a “my very own name” book with a Christmas theme for that special little one in your life. This would surely be a gift they would treasure for a long time to come. There’s still time to order one for this year with the last day for Christmas delivery (select Expedited Christmas Delivery at checkout), and right now, I See Me! is offering 12% off your order using discount code 12days!
We love The First Christmas by Carol Heyer and My Treasury of Christmas Stories published by Sandy Creek and illustrated by Caroline Pedler.
Twas the Night Before Christmas is definitely my favorite, it brings back so many good memories, also has great potential for making memories with the grandchildren.
I did a similar post today with a few of my children’s favorites. One I would definitely recommend for toddlers is “‘This is the Stable” by Cynthia Cotton. It’s a wonderful rhyming narrative of the first Christmas with beautiful illustrations.
Thanks for the post. You have a beautiful site.