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books to read aloud at christmas

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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  1. The Tale of Three Trees: A Traditional Folktale, by Angela Elwell Hunt and Tim Jonke

  2. Jesus Storybook Bible, by Sally Lloyd-Jones

  3. Song of the Stars, by Sally Lloyd-Jones

  4. The Wonder of the Greatest Gift: An Interactive Family Celebration of Advent, by Ann Voskamp

  5. The Littlest Star, by Richard Littledale

  6. The Advent Storybook: 25 Bible Stories Showing Why Jesus Came, by Laura Richie

  7. 5 Minute Bedtime Christmas Stories for Kids, by Renae Brumbaugh Green

  8. Humphrey’s First Christmas, by Carol Heyer

  9. Mortimer’s Christmas Manger, by Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman

  10. Jesus Calling: The Story of Christmas, by Sarah Young and Katya Longhi

  11. The Prophet, the Shepherd, and the Star (Volume 1), by Jenny L. Cote

  12. The Last Straw, by Fredrick H. Thury and Vlasta van Kampen

  13. Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree, by Robert Barry

  14. Snowmen at Christmas, by Caralyn Buehner and Mark Buehner

  15. Room for a Little One: A Christmas Tale, by Martin Waddell and Jason Cockcroft

  16. Bear Stays Up for Christmas, by Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman

  17. How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, by Dr. Seuss

  18. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer—Little Golden Book, by Rick Bunsen

  19. Olive, the Other Reindeer, by Vivian Walsh and J.otto Seibold

  20. Peef: The Christmas Bear, by Tom Hegg and Warren Hanson

  21. God Gave Us Christmas, by Lisa Tawn Bergren and David Hohn

  22. How Santa Got His Job, by Stephen Krensky and S.D. Schindler

  23. This Is the Stable, by Cynthia Cotten and Delana Bettoli

  24. Santa’s Stuck, by Rhonda Gowler Greene and Henry Cole

  25. The Legend of the Candy Cane, by Lori Walburg and Richard Cowdrey

  26. Merry Christmas, Amelia Bedelia, by Peggy Parish and Lynn Sweat

  27. The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree: An Appalachian Story, by Gloria Houston and Barbara Cooney

  28. My Penguin Osbert, by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel and H.B. Lewis

  29. A Bit of Applause for Mrs. Claus, by Jeannie Schick-Jacobowitz

  30. Santa’s Favorite Story: Santa Tells the Story of the First Christmas, by Hisako Aoki and Ivan Gantschev

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