One of my favorite childhood memories growing up was gathering around the tree on Christmas Eve and reading our family’s go-to Christmas stories. At 5 years old I would proudly recite “Twas the Night Before Christmas” from memory, my dad grinning behind his camcorder as he captured holiday home videos. My older sister would then read the story of Jesus’ birth, and my younger brother and I would pipe up throughout, asking questions like, “Why is that cow so funny looking?” or “Why was Jesus sleeping on hay?” As we grew older, our questions grew as well, and soon we were asking, “Why did Jesus come to earth as a human?” and “What does it mean that Jesus died for our sins?” Our Christmas read-aloud tradition became something that shaped us, grew our faith, and taught us the story of redemption.
Below are 30 of our team’s favorite read-alouds for the Christmas season. Some are light-hearted classics like “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” while others are beautifully-touching renditions of the Christmas story, written to prompt a child’s heart to wonder at our Savior. Whichever books you choose for your own family’s read-aloud time, we pray this tradition will be one that prompts your kids’ hearts, and your own, to meditate on the grace, mercy, and wonder of the Christmas story.
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- The Tale of Three Trees: A Traditional Folktale, by Angela Elwell Hunt and Tim Jonke
- Jesus Storybook Bible, by Sally Lloyd-Jones
- Song of the Stars, by Sally Lloyd-Jones
- The Wonder of the Greatest Gift: An Interactive Family Celebration of Advent, by Ann Voskamp
- The Littlest Star, by Richard Littledale
- The Advent Storybook: 25 Bible Stories Showing Why Jesus Came, by Laura Richie
- 5 Minute Bedtime Christmas Stories for Kids, by Renae Brumbaugh Green
- Humphrey’s First Christmas, by Carol Heyer
- Mortimer’s Christmas Manger, by Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman
- Jesus Calling: The Story of Christmas, by Sarah Young and Katya Longhi
- The Prophet, the Shepherd, and the Star (Volume 1), by Jenny L. Cote
- The Last Straw, by Fredrick H. Thury and Vlasta van Kampen
- Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree, by Robert Barry
- Snowmen at Christmas, by Caralyn Buehner and Mark Buehner
- Room for a Little One: A Christmas Tale, by Martin Waddell and Jason Cockcroft
- Bear Stays Up for Christmas, by Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman
- How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, by Dr. Seuss
- Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer—Little Golden Book, by Rick Bunsen
- Olive, the Other Reindeer, by Vivian Walsh and J.otto Seibold
- Peef: The Christmas Bear, by Tom Hegg and Warren Hanson
- God Gave Us Christmas, by Lisa Tawn Bergren and David Hohn
- How Santa Got His Job, by Stephen Krensky and S.D. Schindler
- This Is the Stable, by Cynthia Cotten and Delana Bettoli
- Santa’s Stuck, by Rhonda Gowler Greene and Henry Cole
- The Legend of the Candy Cane, by Lori Walburg and Richard Cowdrey
- Merry Christmas, Amelia Bedelia, by Peggy Parish and Lynn Sweat
- The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree: An Appalachian Story, by Gloria Houston and Barbara Cooney
- My Penguin Osbert, by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel and H.B. Lewis
- A Bit of Applause for Mrs. Claus, by Jeannie Schick-Jacobowitz
- Santa’s Favorite Story: Santa Tells the Story of the First Christmas, by Hisako Aoki and Ivan Gantschev
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