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Most children want the latest toy for the holiday season, but don't forget to throw in a book as well. A great Christmas book, whether it's a new release or a classic, can teach about the importance of the season or impart great character lessons that can be applied to life anytime of the year.
Below are the best children's Christmas books.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas
No Christmas season is complete without the Grinch and all of the Whos in Whoville who help him find the true meaning of Christmas. With its whimsical images and hilarious rhymes, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas delivers a serious message about the commercialization of Christmas.
With a heart “two sizes too small,” the Grinch steals all of the Whos’ gifts, decorations, and food. Those Whos, however, aren’t phased, and Christmas goes on anyway. Their simple, yet still joyful celebration helps the green guy see the error of his Grinchy ways and realize that Christmas is really about the spirit of the season and being together.
The Elf on the Shelf A Christmas Tradition
No holiday story time would be complete without the Elf on the Shelf! Elf on the Shelf is a mischievous, fun-loving elf that helps Santa Claus with his Naughty and Nice lists. After all, most children don't know about the magical scout elves that help Santa determine who is on the Naughty List and who's on the Nice List each year!
If you decide to buy the set that includes the book and the elf, you can hide the elf each morning for your child to find. Reviewers note that seeing how happy this makes their children is the best gift of all. It's a lot of fun during the holiday season—or throughout the whole year. This book is 26 pages long, so it's perfect for ages four through eight.
Llama Llama Jingle Bells
In this short and sweet rhyming book for kids, little llama and his friends participate in holiday activities like gift-giving and decorating holiday cookies. Each Llama Llama book teaches a lesson, and this one encourages little ones to spread holiday cheer through their actions.
This board book is great for babies and toddlers because the thick pages are easy to turn, and the bright illustrations will captivate even those with short attention spans. Llama Llama Jingle Bells is sure to get your youngsters excited for the holidays!
Perfect for the toddler set, Dream Snow paints a beautiful picture of an animal-loving Santa Claus. It tells the story of a farmer dreaming of Christmas snow and how he takes care of his animals after the flakes actually begin to fall. The animals just so happen to be named One, Two, Three, Four, and Five, making the book not only entertaining, but also a good lesson in counting.
Fans of Eric Carle’s other titles such as The Very Hungry Caterpillar will recognize the bright, colorful illustrations and simple, catchy words. Bonus: This hardback version includes plastic sheets decorated with snowflakes that hide each animal’s identity until they’re lifted as well as a button on the last page that provides a surprise musical ending to light up their Christmas dreams.
The Tale of Three Trees: A Traditional Folktale
For those who want to stress that Jesus is the reason for the Christmas season, The Tale of Three Trees is a perfect pick. Geared toward the preschool crowd, it tells the touching tale of three trees, each who thinks they know who they want to grow up to be. Spoiler alert: They grow up to be wood for Jesus’ manger, boat, and cross -- not exactly what they imagined, but just what they were meant to do in life.
This simply retold classic folktale is a lovely way to focus on the religious aspect of Christmas. While the trees make it a particularly festive book, its message is one that is relevant all year long and makes a great Baptism or Easter gift as well.
The Polar Express 30th Anniversary Edition
Pure magic fills the pages of the Polar Express as it beautifully captures every child’s dreams of meeting Santa Claus. It tells the tale of one boy who is whisked away by Santa Claus on Christmas Eve.
The Caldecott-winning book makes a great gift that families will enjoy for years to come. It’s a great choice for those who are beginning to question the season’s traditions and will put to rest their doubts that the magic of Christmas is real. From the gorgeous pastel images to the quietly poignant message, it’s a favorite for children and adults alike.
Room for a Little One: A Christmas Tale
The story of Jesus’ birth in that Bethlehem manger is told in this sweet tale from the perspective of the animals who were there. It begins as Kind Ox welcomes the animals one by one to share his stable on that cold Christmas Eve. “There’s always room for a little one,” he says repeatedly as a dog, cat, and mouse seek shelter. Finally, along comes Tired Donkey along with Mary and Joseph, and they all witness the baby’s birth.
It’s a great choice for parents who are introducing the nativity story to their animal-loving children in a charming and meaningful way. It’s short and simple enough to keep the attention of preschoolers, but also beautifully illustrated and sweetly told enough to captivate older children as well.
Yes, Virginia, There Is A Santa Claus: The Classic Edition
If/when little minds start questioning if Santa Claus is real, this book provides the perfect answers. It’s based on the real-life story of 8-year-old Virginia O’Hanlon who in 1897 had her own doubts about Old St. Nick. Her father encouraged her to write to The New York Sun, telling her, “If you see it in The Sun, it’s so.” So she wrote the paper asking if there is indeed a Santa Claus.
The book reveals the editor’s sweet response, which contains the famous words: “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.” His message confirmed for Virginia (and millions of others who have read it since) that Santa and other “wonders unseen and unseeable in the world” are real.