Children's christmas stories

The 25 Best Children’s Christmas Stories to Read Aloud

In Christmas Party Ideas, Christmas Stories by threetigersmedia

Christmas stories are a fun part of Christmas and in my house growing up having them read aloud was a tradition I looked forward to every year!  

In this article we’re going to cover the Best Children’s Christmas Stories to Read Aloud.  It’s a fun filled list and I hope you find a book that inspires you to read to your little ones!  You can also check Amazon’s Top Selling Children’s Christmas Stories which has even more fun Christmas stories to choose from.  

The Polar Express

What do you read on Christmas Eve?

Every year, multiple generations get together at my cousin’s house for our Christmas Eve celebration. The food and music may vary year to year as Mom likes to experiment with her cooking, while my aunt makes the same lasagna each year that we know and love.

And the entertainment changes every year, too. Sometimes, the children will sing Christmas songs that they’ve learned in Sunday school. Or they might put on an impromptu Christmas pageant.

Some years we have a very spirited Christmas trivia game, usually dominated by my father, who is the king of holiday trivia!

And other years we have a hilarious White Elephant, a game that involves exchanging one excruciatingly terrible Christmas present for someone else’s equally horrible Christmas gift.

But, one thing we do every year is read an old copy of the Christmas story book, ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.

After dinner is done, before dessert, we gather round in the living room. Kids and adults on every available piece of furniture and sprawled on the floor. The lights are dimmed and the reading begin.

An almost magical silence comes over the crowd as the reader tells us the story of Santa coming down the chimney, delivered presents to all the good little girls and boys. You can see kids at our gathering getting excited to see what’s under their own family’s Christmas tree!

Once the reading is over, that magic spell is broken and we go back to the noise and commotion of our typical Christmas party.

I do think, however, that reading ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, or any holiday story for that matter, really hits home as to what the holiday is all about. It clears out the clutter of commercialization and lets us get back to the reason for the season!

Keep reading for suggestions for good children’s Christmas stories for your holiday celebration.

the elf on the shelf: a christmas tradition

The 21 Best Children’s Christmas Stories

Just about every family has their favorite Christmas story. The one they read aloud each Christmas Eve. That one dog-eared slightly crumpled book that has seen better days but is dusted off every holiday season to read to eager ears.

And there’s nothing warmer or more inviting than sitting around with your favorite relatives in front of a warm fire. Christmas lights twinkling. And then grandma or grandpa gets down the family’s favorite Christmas story.

This is the moment you’ve been waiting for. The one that really reinforces to all that the magic of the season is upon us.

A hush comes over the Christmas gathering as the reader begins, reciting those passages that you know so well. And perhaps, if you listen closely, you can even hear sleigh bells jingling on the roof.

Magical Christmas Tales for the Whole Family!

Below I’ve listed the 21 most popular Christmas stories. There are stories for everyone. Religious stories that capture the grace of the season. And fun stories that capture the mischievous fun of the season. And others that will teach your children how to share and even make crafts.

The stories below are great for loved ones to read aloud at a Christmas gathering, for pre-readers to follow along to on mommy or daddy’s lap or for young readers to read on their own, reveling in the fun pictures and inspiring messages.

So, check out the stories below. Maybe you’ll find your new favorite children’s Christmas story tradition!

1)     The Polar Express

One of the most classic and constantly topping Christmas Story lists!  This is a wonderful children’s book by Chris Van Allsburg.  The story surrounds a doubting young boy who travels to the North Pole on an extraordinary train. 

The story is a journey of self-discovery that shows the young boy  the wonder of life never fades for those who believe.

2)     ‘Twas the night before Christmas or A Visit from St. Nicholas by Clement Clarke Moore

One of the most popular Christmas books of all time, ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas has charmed countless generations with the story of a loving family excited for Santa to arrive. Its charming illustrations are the basis for Santa’s chubby belly and long white beard, as well as his team of helpful reindeer! If this beautiful poem isn’t part of your Christmas tradition, it should be!

3)     I want a Hippopotamus for Christmas 

With Christmas just around the corner there is nothing that a little wants more than a Hippopotamus to play with.  But, as Christmas draws near, will her parents and Santa Claus make the little girl’s Christmas dreams come true?  Find out in this fun and imaginative tale. 

This story has also become a classic song we’ve come to know and love, sung and recorded by Gayla Peevey in 1953. 

t'was the night before christmas
4)     How the Grinch Stole Christmas! by Dr. Seuss 

This is one of my best-loved Christmas stories. The crabby to the core Grinch hates Christmas, and well, pretty much everything else. When he sets out to ruin Christmas in Who-ville, little Cindy Lou Who shows the green grump that there is good in everyone.

The Grinch is a staple in my household around Christmas. And readers young and old will be touched by the charming tale.

5)     A Nest for the Savior: An Interactive Christmas Tradition by Didi Zayas and Deja Sessa

A Nest for the Savior is the sweet, inspirational tale of a sparrow named Sadie, who hears about the newly born Jesus. She gathers her fellow animals together to build a nest for the Savior. And then, the adventurous Sadie travels with Jesus throughout his life.

The book also offers instructions that show children how to create their own nests and make gifts to put in the nests each day, as a sort of advent calendar.  

It’s a wonderful book to add to your Christmas tradition.

I want a hippopotamus for chirstmas
6)     The Tale of Three Trees: A Traditional Folktale by Angela Elwell Hunt and Tim Jonke (Illustrator)

Another good children’s Christmas story, this age-old folktale of three trees dreaming of growing up and achieving their dreams is perfect for young readers. The illustrations are amazing and the story so quiet and brilliant. Make it a part of your Christmas library!

7)     Mortimer’s Christmas Manger by Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman 

Your children will love this cherished story of Mortimer the mouse, who, unhappy with his current living conditions, moves into a small Christmas manger, someone’s holiday display, evicting the current cradle’s occupant.

It’s a warm and funny tale for the holiday season.  

8)     Snowmen at Christmas by Caralyn Buehner and Mark Buehner

Children will delight in reading about the antics that snowmen get up to after humans have all gone to sleep. It’s a funny, rollicking story, perfect for the Christmas and the entire winter season!

9)     Splendiferous Christmas (Fancy Nancy) by Jane O’Connor and Robin Preiss Glasser

Read along as Fancy Nancy’s Christmas preparations don’t go the way she planned. Even though things doing go the way Nancy wanted, she’s still able to create a Splendiferous Christmas!

10)     Sparkle Box by Jill Hardie 

Young Sam is anticipating the opening of a sparkly box on Christmas morning. Little did he expect that the box contains not a cool toy, but scraps of paper, each documenting a good deed done by a member of his family. This faith-based Christmas tale will teach children to help those less fortunate, just as Jesus did.

11)     Carl’s Christmas by Alexandra Day 

Carl the Rottweiler enjoys an exciting Christmas in this fun picture book. He even helps the needy in this popular holiday read. Children and adults will be touched by the kindness taught in this lovely book.

12)     Snow by Cynthia Rylant and Lauren Stringer 

This beautiful book, sure to be a Christmas favorite in your family, follows a grandmother and her two charges enjoying a snowy day. Your children will love this sweet picture book as they prepare to go out on their own snowy adventures.

the elf on the shelf: a birthday tradition
13)     The Legend of the Poinsettia by Tomie dePaola 

Caldecott winner dePaola retells the legend of the poinsettia, said to be the flower of the Holy Night in Mexican legend. This beautifully illustrated book will teach your young ones the importance of unselfishly giving gifts and of embracing family and tradition.

14)     Snuggle Time Christmas Stories by Glenys Nellist and Cee Biscoe

Teach your children about the wonder of the Nativity by reading to them this collection of wonderful poems. The padded board book is perfect for your tots to enjoy the drawings and interact with the tale of Jesus’ birth. It’s something they’ll cherish for many years.

15)     Red and Lulu by Matt Tavares 

The magic of the season is front and center in Red and Lulu. Two cardinals, deeply in love, are tragically separated, and need a Christmas miracle to find their way back to each other. Tavares shows us how wonderful the season is and how love conquers all.

16)     The Clown of God by Tomie dePaola 

Discover this French folktale about a poor, homeless boy in need of a Christmas miracle. This heartwarming tale of the poor juggler will show your young reader that anything is possible, especially at Christmas.

17)     Pete the Cat’s 12 Groovy Days of Christmas by James Dean and Kimberly Dean

A favorite of young readers, Pete the Cat is back in this fun Christmas book. Pete “rewrites” the 12 Days of Christmas, updating it for our modern season of fun and joy.

18)     Bubba Heard a Reindeer (Eating His Kibble) (Volume 2) by Bubba’s Dad and Faryn Hughes 

Oh, no. Bubba the dog discovered a reindeer way off course. He’s in the kitchen eating Bubba’s kibble. Bubba and his friends need to cooperate and work together to return the reindeer to the North Pole. This fun read is perfect for ages 4-8!

19)     Nancy and Plum by Betty MacDonald , Mary GrandPre, et al.

A tale that’s sure to warm your heart during the Christmas season, two orphaned sisters are bound and determined to get out of their horrible living situation find happy lives. Though published in 1952, this inspirational tale is timeless!

20)     Eddie Versus the Shadow Shifters: in the Battle for Christmas (The Adventures of Eddie) (Volume 1) by Brandon Stevenson 

Older readers will love this fantastical tale of evil Shadow Shifters who make Eddie’s neighbors forget about Christmas. Heroic Eddie travels all the way to the North Pole in his quest to save Christmas!

21)     When the Clock Strikes on Christmas Eve by Lisa Ferland and Pei Jen

Your little ones (ages 3 to 8) will learn to tell time and practice their counting as they wait for Santa to arrive. And they’ll love the fun illustrations in this lyrical Christmas picture book.

22)     Secret Santas and the Twelve Days of Christmas Giving by Courtney Petruzzelli and Melissa B. Snyder

Make this beautiful Christmas book the new tradition for your holiday season. Your eager readers will learn the joy of being generous at Christmas and throughout the year!

23)     Winter Song: A Day In The Life Of A Kid by Anetta Kotowicz and Nina Ezhik

Not only is Winter Song a beautiful tour through New York at Christmas, it’s supplemented by the Arts Kindred Magic YouTube channel, where Kotowicz’s verses are put to music. The book also includes a game you can play with your family during your Christmas celebration!

24)     Little Blue Truck’s Christmas

Follow Little Blue Truck as he delivers Christmas trees to his friends and animals.  This is a fun book to read for those just learning to count!

25)     How to Catch and Elf

This is a hilarious Christmas book from the creators of ‘How to Catch a Leprechaun’ from the cartoonist Adam Wallace.

Finding catching an elf challenging?  That’s why there are gadgets like the Elf Catcher 3000!  Enjoy!


Christmas is my favorite time of the year. Our traditions are what make us a family. All during the year, we look forward to getting together during the winter holidays with our closest relatives.

And each family is different. My family has those special foods that we eat every year, like grandma’s homemade cannolis. And it isn’t Christmas until my aunt puts on her Johnny Mathis Christmas album. And, of course, we always read ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.

Joyful Reading

Whether your family has a favorite Christmas read, or you’re looking to start the tradition of reading a Christmas book to your kids, there are plenty of wonderful Christmas books out there.

There are books that your toddlers will love to listen to you read. And they’ll be charmed by the fun and colorful illustrations of holiday celebrations.

There are also those books that your young readers will take joy and pride in reading to you. They’ll be beaming with happiness as they make their way through their favorite Christmas story. And then there are the books that will really set the tone for your Christmas party. They’ll bring you in touch with your religion, they’ll teach selflessness and they open your heart to joy and wonder of the season.

Christmas Shopping

Take a look at the list above. Go to the bookstore and talk to one of the sellers. See what your friends like to read to their children on the holiday. You could even choose more than one book. Perhaps one that you can read to your kids and, if they’re old enough, one that they can read to you.

There are so many things to experience and learn during the Christmas season. So, go ahead, keep those old traditions and make some new ones.

And most of all, have a very Merry Christmas!