Now that we have three boys, our Christmas book collection is growing! Every year, I love adding a book or two to our holiday story library and wanted to take some time today to share a few of our favorite Christmas and winter-themed books. (Note: Our family celebrates Christmas, so many of the books center around Christmas but I’ve made a note by the books that are more winter-themed for those looking for some winter wonderland magic!)
Please let me know of holiday or winter-themed books your children love. We are always looking for new books to read in our house and I’d love for others to benefit from your recommendations in the comments section of this post!
Christmas Books for Kids
The Sweet Smell of Christmas by Patricia Miller, Illustrated by J.P. Miller
The Sweet Smell of Christmas is a classic in our family and was one of my favorites as a little girl because I loved all of the scratch-and-sniff smells. I was so excited to see it still available and ordered it to read to our boys a few years ago. It’s a book that constantly gets plucked off the pile by our boys because they love the sweet story about a little bear who loves smelling everything from hot cocoa and candy canes to pine trees and gingerbread men as he anticipates Christmas Day.
Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree by Robert Barry
A couple of years ago, when I mentioned my desire to build a small collection of holiday books for our boys on the blog, a blog reader recommended this book to me. I immediately ordered it and oh my gosh you guys it is the cutest!! It’s all about a big Christmas tree that’s too tall to fit into the house of fancy schmancy Mr. Willowby and so he chops off the top, setting off a spiral of additional tree trimmings from various people and animals who all end up with a little piece of Mr. Willowby’s tree in their homes.
The Mitten by Jan Brett
I have an affinity for Jan Brett novels, as the author came to my elementary school as a kid and we all had the chance to meet her! The illustrations in her books are realistic and stunning and her stories are always interesting and beloved by our boys. The Mitten is a favorite in our house around the holidays, as it’s all about a mitten a little boy’s grandmother knits for him that he loses in the snow. The mitten becomes the perfect cozy spot for a whole crew of animals until it somehow finds its way back to the little boy again. For kids who like to guess what happens next, there are illustrations of the upcoming animals on the sides of each page and our kids love yelling out which animal is going to find its way into the mitten next!
Little Red Sleigh by Erin Guendelsberger, Illustrated by Elizaveta Tretyakova
Little Red Sleigh is a sweet story about a small sleigh with big dreams! She longs to one day become Santa’s sleigh and sets off on a journey to the North Pole. Along the way, she meets some friends, a train and a yellow truck, who talk to her (in a very kid-friendly way) about the importance of working hard to achieve our big dreams, making note that we can achieve anything we believe. The pictures are snow-filled and beautiful and the story is charming with an unexpected turn for the Little Red Sleigh when she finds joy in making children happy as they take her sledding.
Dasher by Matt Tavares
Dasher was a new one for our family this year but Chase (age 5), in particular, really loves it! It’s all about a little reindeer who loves children but wants more out of her life than traveling with the circus. When she learns about her family’s previous home under the North Star from her mother, she longs to go there and feel the snow beneath her hooves and the chilly air on her face. She soon finds herself out on her own after a surprise escape and ends up running into Santa. What follows is a charming story about how Dasher and her reindeer family help Santa in his time of need.
Bear Stays Up for Christmas is a sweet story about a bear whose friends are determined to make him stay awake for Christmas, despite Bear’s intense desire to hibernate through the winter. They work hard to keep him awake, by searching for a Christmas tree, making popcorn garlands and thoughtful gifts for each other, singing Christmas songs, baking cakes and more. Our boys love all of the different animals in this book and the pictures are beautiful.
Little Blue Truck’s Christmas by Alice Schertle, Illustrated by Jill McElmurry
You can’t go wrong with any of the Little Blue Truck books and Little Blue Truck’s Christmas is no exception. Little Blue Truck is in charge of delivering Christmas trees of various shapes and sizes to his animal friends. The story also works on counting and concludes with a light-up Christmas tree that blinks and mesmerizes little ones.
Pick a Pine Tree by Patricia Toht, Illustrated by Jarvis
Pick a Pine Tree is one of those books that looks beautiful on the outside and is pretty enough to leave on a coffee table to pick up to read with the kiddos at any point during the holiday season! It features fun rhymes and gorgeous illustrations of a wonderfully diverse assortment of families and children who spend time together, selecting and decorating the perfect Christmas tree.
The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
This book is a classic for a reason. It perfectly captures the magic of freshly fallen snow and follows a little boy during his first encounters with the snow. We love this book right before bed because something about the way it is written feels calming and a little bit magical. What’s not to love about a snow day!?
Additional Christmas Book Favorites
- Christmas in the Manger – A sweet book perfect for introducing the story of Jesus’ birth to little ones.
- The Polar Express – Lives up to the hype. Gorgeous illustrations and a wonderful story about believing in Christmas magic.
- Jolly Jingle Christmas – A great interactive book for toddlers. Ryder loves pressing all of the noisy buttons on this one! I also appreciate the fact that there is a great amount of diversity featured among the people in this one.
- How the Grinch Stole Christmas – One of my personal favorites! Love the message behind this classic.
- How to Catch a Snowman – A silly book about children’s attempts to trap a sneaky snowman. *Not Christmas-themed
- Jack Frost vs. The Abominable Snowman – Chase loves this choose-your-own-adventure book. *Not Christmas-themed
- Click, Clack, Ho! Ho! Ho! – A silly duck gets stuck in a chimney in this story and it cracks our boys up!
Santa mouse!! ❤️ This was MY book growing up, so much so, that my mom ordered me an out of print copy as an adult for my own house. On my first Christmas away from my family (visiting my now in laws), my husband secretly packed Santa mouse for me. Of all our memories, him packing my Christmas book and reading it on Christmas Eve still makes me give him a hug. Crazy, the power of a book 🙂
On a silly note, sneezy the snowman is a TOTAL favorite for my house and a bunch of my friends’ kids—winter themed and so fun!
That is SO heartwarming!!! <3
This is the sweetest ❤️❤️❤️
Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree! I remember when I recommended that to you. My grandmother read this to me every Christmas, and now I read it to my son. Glad you ended up loving it too!
Such a great recommendation! Thank you. One of my very favorites!!!
I have 3 boys—similar ages to yours—and they also LOVE The Mitten. I can’t wait to try out some of these other books!
We recently got The Miracle of St. Nicholas by Gloria Whelan from the library, and it is beautiful.
Such great books! My boys are 4 and 7 and they live Pete the Cats 12 Groovy Days of Christmas. They live to read or sing along- and I lose it when my youngest scream “5 ONION RIIIIIINGS”. It’s a good laugh, and has become our tradition. ❤️
Jennifer Maynard says
The Sweet Smell of Christmas and Santa Mouse were 2 of my favorites from when I was a child. My kid’s favorites are Santa’s Suit by Kate Lee and Olive, the Other Reindeer by Vivian Walsh. Both super cute books!
We have the tradition of putting away the Christmas/winter books and only bringing them out when the decorations come out. I wrap each book and put them under a special little tree we call the “Christmas Book Tree” and every night in December leading up to Christmas each kid (we have 2) gets to open a book. As our stash has grown and with some books being shorter there are nights that they get to open two (because I’m not about to stop getting more books!!). The kids love it and look forward to it. This year I was planning on just setting the box out but they requested that I wrap them. We have a lot of your list but some other favorites are:
Snowmen at Night by Caralyn Buehner
The Biggest Christmas Tree Ever by Steven Kroll
The Animals’ Christmas Eve (Little Golden Book)
and so many more!
This is such a fun idea! My first child is 9 months old right now and I am starting to think about what Christmas traditions I want to start with her and this sounds perfect. Thank you for sharing!
These all sound so precious!
Thanks for these recommendations! Loved The Mitten when I was little. And we just got The Snowy Day from Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library (which I encourage everyone to sign up for!). Our three truck-loving little boys also love Construction Site on Christmas Night.
Yes!! We LOVED imagination library. My son has since aged out of it but it’s such a wonderful program. We both looked forward to getting our book in the mail every month. I agree everyone should sign their little one(s) up for this!
The Snowy Day is such a special book. There was a wonderful article about it in the Atlantic earlier this year: https://www.theatlantic.com/family/archive/2020/01/why-generations-children-love-snowy-day/605044/
Have you watched the movie on Prime Video? I think it’s amazing. Bonus – you may also enjoy the incredibly soothing music of Boyz II Men in it!
No, I will check it out! Thanks!
Vera Beasley says
Love the book suggestions!!! Thank you!!! Reading books is my kids and I’s favorite activity!!!
These are a couple of my kids favorites!
I highly recommend Snowmen at Night by Caralyn Buehner. We passed our copy to my cousin a few years ago when she had children and just last night she sent me a text that her and her boys were reading it.
Just a thought I had-perhaps could you link the books to support some small local book stores (online) or locally as opposed to amazon? These small businesses (especially book stores) are suffering terribly and they very little bit helps.
We have so many of these, but the sweet smell of Christmas is by far the favorite…I will find my girls (2 and 5) snuggled in bed scratch and sniffing allege pages!