The 34 Best Christmas Books for Kids of 2022

'Christmas Cookies' lets kids scratch and sniff scents of freshly baked cookies

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Amazon

Winter break is right around the corner, and there’s no better way to keep kiddos entertained while they’re off from school than with a good book. Reading out loud as a family not only helps foster a love for books but also improves little ones’ literacy skills and cognitive function. Whether your kids are ready for board books, picture books, or chapter books, there are many options to get them into the holiday spirit, no matter their reading level.

Reviewed and Approved

Santa in the City” is a heartwarming book about finding the Christmas spirit in your own community. For an interactive reading experience, “The Crayons’ Christmas” comes with envelopes kids can open to reveal fun letters and activities.

When researching kids’ Christmas books, we took reading level, diversity, and entertainment value into consideration. We also spoke with children's librarian Betsy Bird, who blogs at The School Library Journal’s “A Fuse #8 Production,” about the importance of reading as a family.

So pour some hot cocoa, grab a book, and snuggle up by the tree, because these are the best Christmas books for kids of 2022.

Moo, Baa, Fa La La La La

moo-baa-fa-la-la-la-la

Amazon

Join Sandra Boynton’s familiar cast of barnyard animals as they sing their own version of “Deck the Halls.” Little listeners will love the sing-songy rhythm and the cute drawings of dancing pigs and caroling sheep.

Price at time of publication: $7

Winter Wonderland Sound Book

winter-wonderland-sound-book

Amazon

Little ones will love the cheery sounds this festive book makes, from chiming bells to Christmas carols. Some pages also have eyeholes to peep through and tactile finger trails to follow.

Price at time of publication: $21

I Think My Grandpa Might Be Santa (Love You Always Series)

i-think-my-grandpa-might-be-santa-love-you-always-series

Amazon

What if Santa Claus were a member of your own family? Nick suspects his grandpa might secretly be Santa, with his beard, workshop, and love for snow. The embossed cover has glitter for kids to feel, and the pages are sturdy so your family can enjoy the book for Christmases to come. 

Price at time of publication: $10

Teach your little one some of their first words in English and Spanish with this bilingual book, inspired by the story of the three wise men. Learn about the estrellas amarillas (yellow stars) that the wise men followed, the camellos rosados (pink camels) they rode, and more.

Price at time of publication: $10

In this classic Eric Carle book, a farmer takes a nap on a barren Christmas Eve and dreams of a big snow covering the farm and his animals. When he wakes up, it’s miraculously snowed, and the farm enjoys a white Christmas. Plus, the flaps can be lifted to reveal the animals for an interactive experience.

Price at time of publication: $10

Parents may be familiar with this precocious piglet, who is making sure that her family is ready for Christmas, from hanging up the tree to supervising her Mom as she cooks Christmas dinner. The book features the series’ classic charming, largely black-and-white illustrations with touches of red and green, and the story is sure to resonate with other little ones eagerly awaiting the holidays.

Price at time of publication: $8

In this festive version of the “Llama Llama” books, a little llama sings carols, decorates Christmas cookies with his mama, and daydreams about what Santa might bring him. Babies and toddlers will love the simple rhymes, and the durable board book pages are great for little hands to grip.

Price at time of publication: $7

Christmas Cookies for Santa

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Amazon

Your little one might not be old enough to bake Christmas cookies quite yet, but you can simulate the holiday tradition with this touch-and-feel board book, which lets them “feel” the icing, roll out the dough, and even scratch to smell the scents of peppermint and freshly baked cookies.

Price at time of publication: $10

Picture Books

City kid Deja worries that Santa Claus won’t be able to visit her since her apartment doesn’t have a chimney and there’s not enough street parking for his sleigh. She starts to doubt her belief in Santa, but with the help of her family and community, she finds the Christmas spirit alive and well in this heart-warming tale about holidays in the city. 

Price at time of publication: $18

Fans of “Bear Snores On” will love this Christmas story about their favorite sleepy bear, whose animal friends are determined to keep him awake for the holiday. Together, the woodland creatures pick a tree, hang up stockings, and learn the magic of giving.

Price at time of publication: $10

Daddy Christmas and Hanukkah Mama

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Bookshop

Perfect for kiddos who celebrate both Christmas and Hanukkah, this story details how Sadie’s blended family celebrates the holidays, from hanging candy canes on the menorah to putting out latkes for Santa.

Price at time of publication: $17

A Piñata in a Pine Tree: A Latino Twelve Days of Christmas

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Amazon

Forget partridges and pear trees—this family puts festive piñatas in a pine tree to celebrate the holiday season. Enjoy this bilingual spin on the “Twelve Days of Christmas” carol with something to find and count in Spanish on each page and a sweet sibling surprise at the end.

Price at time of publication: $18

Fans of the Mercy Watson series will love this holiday installment. After their friends and families are too busy for an impromptu caroling session, Mercy joins next-door neighbor Stella, General Washington the cat, and Maybelline the horse to sing their “not very musical” version of “Deck the Halls.” By the end of the story, the whole community joins the eclectic choir and comes together to celebrate each other. 

Price at time of publication: $19

Construction Site on Christmas Night

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Amazon

Perfect for little ones who love trucks and construction, this sweet rhyming book follows characters Excavator, Bulldozer, Crane, Dump Truck, and Cement Mixer as they build a home for fire trucks, getting Christmas surprises at the end.

Price at time of publication: $17

The construction of this book is just as crafty as its art supply characters! Kids will enjoy opening the envelopes on every few pages to reveal letters, ornaments, a game, and even a Hanukkah dreidel.

Price at time of publication: $20

Bluey: Christmas Swim

bluey-christmas-swim

Amazon

Based on an episode of the popular Australian kids’ show, Bluey the Heeler receives a stuffed animal named Bartlebee for Christmas. The family decides to go for a swim, and Bluey worries that her relatives aren’t being careful enough around her new toy.

Price at time of publication: $8

How the Grinch Stole Christmas

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Amazon

Take a trip to Whoville with this Christmas classic. Kids will love Dr. Seuss’ signature rhymed verse, and the book is a nice reminder that Christmas means more than just presents. 

Price at time of publication: $17

Eight Candles and a Tree

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Amazon

Many kids have classmates who celebrate different holidays. In this sweet story, Tommy, who celebrates Christmas, is invited over to Sophie’s house to experience her family’s fun blend of Christmas and Hanukkah traditions.

Price at time of publication: $20

Learn about Latino Christmas traditions in this spin on Clement Clarke Moore‘s poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas” (more commonly known as “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas”). Follow along as this family celebrates Nochebuena, or Christmas Eve, by making tamales, hanging adornos (decorations), and singing festive canciones (songs).

Price at time of publication: $17

If You Take a Mouse to the Movies: A Special Christmas Edition

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/if-you-take-a-mouse-to-the-movies-numeroff-laura/1134896818;jsessionid=F3892DC8E88B47DEAE87B3707981E667.prodny_store02-atgap17?ean=9780061762802

Amazon

This Christmas edition of “If You Take a Mouse to the Movies” comes with extra activities for the family to enjoy, including sheet music for two Mouse-inspired Christmas carols, a CD with songs and a reading of the book, three holiday recipes, a special letter from the author and illustrator, and more. 

Price at time of publication: $19

Disney 5-Minute Christmas Stories

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Amazon

Celebrate the holidays Disney-style with this collection of quick, five-minute tales. Stories include “A Gift for WALL-E,” “Christmas in Never Land,” and “Merry Christmas, Winnie the Pooh.”

Price at time of publication: $13

My Magical Snowman Personalized Book

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Pottery Barn

Little ones will love hearing their own name in this sweet tale about a snowman friend. Plus, they’ll get to see their name on the cover!

Price at time of publication: $35

The Sweet Smell of Christmas

the-sweet-smell-of-christmas

Amazon

Part of the Little Bear series, this book invites kids to scratch and sniff six yummy holiday scents, including apple pie, pine tree, and hot chocolate, as Little Bear goes sledding, tastes his mom’s pie, and more. 

Price at time of publication: $10

Set in New York City during the Harlem Renaissance, this book tells the story of how a young girl finds her voice thanks to a magical toy. There’s also a history of the Harlem Renaissance included at the end.

Price at time of publication: $18

A Pirate’s Night Before Christmas

a-pirates-night-before-christmas

Amazon

You might think that pirates belong on the naughty list, but this book proves otherwise. Instead of Santa and his reindeer, Sir Peggedy and his giant seahorses pay the young pirates a visit on Christmas Eve in this nautical retelling of “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.”

Price at time of publication: $8

The Christmas Owl: Based on the True Story of a Little Owl Named Rockefeller

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Amazon

Based on a true story, this book recounts the tale of the little owl that was found in the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree in 2020. (It’s also co-written by the owl’s caretaker!)

Price at time of publication: $18

The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree: An Appalachian Story

the-year-of-the-perfect-christmas-tree-an-appalachian-story

Amazon

Ruthie’s father is off at war, so the task of finding a Christmas tree for their small town falls to Ruthie and her mother, according to local tradition. Ruthie is also cast as an angel in the church Christmas play, and the costume her mother fashions out of a wedding dress is nothing short of miraculous. Supported by Caldecott Award winner Barbara Cooney’s illustrations, this story highlights the importance of hard work and community.

Price at time of publication: $8

Chapter Books

Return of the Christmas Witch

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Amazon

The Christmas Witch is back, waking up in her icy chamber to discover that her beloved holiday has been taken over by a mysterious corporation. Along with sidekicks Poppy and Donner the reindeer, the Witch sets out to fix Christmas … and get revenge.

Price at time of publication: $20

Nikolas, whose nickname is “Christmas,” must travel to the North Pole to save his father. Along the way, he discovers the village of Elfhelm, which has lost its Christmas spirit. It’s up to the boy called Christmas to save the day!

Price at time of publication: $18

The Girl Who Saved Christmas

the-girl-who-saved-christmas

Amazon

Ever wonder about the first child to ever receive a Christmas present? The sequel to “A Boy Called Christmas,” this story tells the tale of that lucky child, Amelia Wishart, whose belief in the season inspired Santa to take his first Yuletide sleigh ride. But magic levels at the North Pole are low, and Amelia herself is starting to lose her Christmas spirit, so Santa sets out to find her.

Price at time of publication: $19

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

the-best-christmas-pageant-ever

Amazon

Ralph, Imogene, Leroy, Claude, Ollie, and Gladys Herdman aren’t exactly a well-behaved bunch. When they suddenly take over the church’s Christmas play (after all, they heard there were free snacks), the town expects disaster, but the Herdmans’ unique twists on the nativity story are surprisingly heartwarming.

Price at time of publication: $8

Christmas Stories

christmas-stories

Amazon

Adapted for younger readers, this collection of “Little House on the Prairie” Christmas stories is a great introduction to Laura Ingalls Wilder’s classic series. Join Laura, her family, and even Laura’s frenemy, Nellie Oleson, as they celebrate Christmas on the frontier.

Price at time of publication: $7

Letters From Father Christmas

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Amazon

From the author of “The Lord of the Rings” comes a collection of letters that J.R.R. Tolkien’s children would receive from “The North Pole” every Christmas. Tolkien’s imagination is evident in the fun stories about an accident-prone polar bear, reindeer on the loose, and more, and it’s a heartwarming testament to a father’s love for his kids.  

Price at time of publication: $25

Hart Evans is the most popular kid in sixth grade. But when his misbehavior causes the chorus director to quit right before the holiday concert, Hart must step in to save the show.

Price at time of publication: $8

How We Selected the Best Christmas Books for Kids

We studied best-sellers, new releases, and reviews to select a list of Christmas books with diverse topics, perspectives, and writing styles for every age group. We also spoke with Betsy Bird, a children’s librarian and blogger for the School Library Journal’s “A Fuse #8 Production,” to better understand what makes a Christmas book special and ideal for family bonding.

What to Look for in Christmas Books for Kids

Reading Level

When picking out Christmas books for kids, consider the child’s age and reading level to make sure it’s a good fit for their skills and development. Babies and toddlers will benefit from board books with thick, durable pages they can touch (and even chew), while older elementary-aged kids and tweens may be ready for beginner chapter books. Picture books are a great middle ground, as they’re great for family read-aloud time and for independent exploration, depending on your child’s reading fluency

Diversity

There are a wide variety of holiday traditions and celebrations to learn about, and Christmas books can be a great introduction to a range of perspectives and cultures. “I think it's key to mix up your older titles with your newer ones,” Bird tells Verywell Family. So, in addition to classics like “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” and “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” she suggests “[working] in some newer titles that feature a diverse range of voices,” such as “Eight Candles and a Tree” and “‘Twas Nochebuena.”

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What role does reading play in kids' development?

    Whether they’re reading independently or being read aloud to by a loved one, reading helps improve kids’ linguistic and cognitive skills by introducing them to new, complex vocabulary. Reading not only helps hone kids’ brain development, but it can strengthen family bonds as well. “Reading is a critical habit to introduce to children from day one onward,” Bird says. “It's not simply because it helps grow young brains … It's also key to giving kids an association between books/reading and bonding time with their parents and guardians. When a very young child reads books with their caretakers, they associate that happy time with reading for the rest of their life.”

  • Are there any particular benefits to reading around the holidays and/or reading books about the holidays?

    “A lot of it comes down to creating memories,” Bird says. Holiday traditions can help support a child’s development by strengthening family ties, building imagination, and providing stability, and books are no exception. “Reading certain books during the holidays easily becomes part of [family] traditions,” Bird notes. “This is particularly true if you read them again and again, each and every year. That goes double if those kids, decades later, read the same books to their own kids.”

Why Trust Verywell Family

Phoebe Sklansky is Verywell Family’s Associate Commerce Editor. As the daughter of a children’s book author, she grew up reading with her family every night. Her favorite holiday tradition growing up was listening to her Grandpa read Clement C. Moore’s “A Visit from St. Nicholas” on Christmas Eve.

1 Source
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Massaro DW. Reading aloud to children: benefits and implications for acquiring literacy before schooling begins. Am J Psychol. 2017;130(1):63-72. doi:10.5406/amerjpsyc.130.1.0063