Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Favorite Christmas Books & Traditions for Toddlers

This time of year is a favorite at our house!! Going to the tree farm and picking out a tree, bringing out our tubs of Christmas decor and setting everything up, and starting in on our little list of family Christmas traditions...these memories are priceless from year to year with the start of December! Elliot just remembers last Christmas so he refers to last Christmas as "the first Christmas" which is so adorable. =)

Today I wanted to share with you all one of my favorite Christmas traditions to do with littles. A couple years ago, I heard about this tradition of doing a book a day opening countdown until Christmas Day. It has become one of the kids favorite things! We love books and reading here at our house, but even if your kids aren't into books as much as ours are, this would be a great way to get them more excited about reading and books in general.

For this tradition, you wrap Christmas themed books (or any books, really; I just do Christmas/winter theme) and let the kids unwrap a new one everyday. You can do this with books you already have, books you have purchased to add this year, or even books from the library! I put away our Christmas/winter kids books along with the Christmas decor, every January, so they are new and exciting when Christmas rolls around again. Last year, I got the idea from one of my cousins to use my leftover wrapping paper to wrap up the Christmas books before putting them away. BEST IDEA EVER. It was a great way to use up my leftover wrapping paper from 2022, and then this year I just pulled them out of the box and set them under the tree on December 1st and they were ready to go! Voila! So genius.

Don’t worry that we are past December 1st; you can start this whenever you want! The first year that I did it I only had a couple of Christmas books and I just started it like a week before Christmas. You can do it for as long or as short as you like! 

I always check thrift books first for new titles on my "want" list, and usually I have really good success getting classics and such there. Thrift Books almost always has free shipping as well, and their orders come fast! But last year, I found that for kids Christmas books specifically, most of them were the same price or even cheaper on Amazon. With prime, they came in just a day or two, and then if there was something in it that I didn’t like or want, I could easily return it right away. I still keep my eye open at thrift stores and garage sales, and I check my "want" list on thrift books first, but I will say my overall success with Christmas books specifically has been Amazon. (Note: when you use my link here for Thrift Books, make an account, and spend your first $30, we will both get a free book credit!)

If you are short on cash, or have too many books (although can anyone ever have too many books??) going to the library and getting Christmas titles there, for the month, is an awesome option as well! This is also a great way to try out new titles and decide which ones you might like to then purchase for yourself to have as some of your Christmas staples. 

Now for a few of our favorite Christmas books to start or add to your collections! These are our favorite titles that we have collected over the past few years. I would say most of these books are great for kids ages 1-10, although there are a couple longer ones that even older children will enjoy.

The Giving Manger Christmas Family Tradition Book Set

This one is a bit of an investment but has been my favorite Christmas purchase so far! I got this one just a week or two before Christmas last year and it was an absolute highlight for the boys. They were so excited to do it again this year! The book comes with a kit-a little wooden manger, a packet of straw, and a little ceramic baby Jesus. Every time your child does an act of kindness, they get to put a piece of straw in the manger. The goal is that on Christmas morning the manger is full and they get to add baby Jesus. Last year the boys were constantly coming to me and asking “what can I do for an act of kindness?” But this year they are older and figuring out things on their own and so they come up with their own ideas of what an act of kindness is. It is just the cutest. I love the symbolism and the sweetness and just every single thing about this little Christmas project! The actual book tells the story of a family who practiced this for the month of December, so there are plenty of helpful ideas there to get your kids thinking of things!

The Legend of the Christmas Candy Cane

As I was linking this one, I saw that there is also a movie made from the book! Has anyone seen it?

The Miracle of Jonathan Toomey

This one is a bit over Elliot's and Madeline's heads at this point but all three kiddos sit quietly and seem to love it! 

Mortimer's Christmas Manger

Our kids have this one basically memorized. =)

Humphrey's First Christmas

This is a funny one. =)

Construction Site on Christmas Night

Another favorite with the boys especially. 

The Puppy Who Wanted A Boy

An adorable old classic.

Room For A Little One 

Sweet artwork and storyline.

Brambly Hedge Winter Story

Brambly Hedge stories are so cute and this one is no exception!

Tractor Mac Saves Christmas

Tractor Mac is always a favorite for anything. 

The Crippled Lamb

I grew up with this one and it is such a sweet little story.

The Tale of Three Trees

Old folktale.

Little Blue Truck's Christmas

Typically Little Blue Truck fashion-rhyming and fun!

The Christmas Story

This book is literally the original Christmas story with scriptures taken straight from the Bible! The accompanying artwork is lovely and my children LOVE it! it serves as dual purpose-we are not only reading Christmas stories together but they are also memorizing God's word when we read this book.  I had wanted something like this for a long time and was thrilled when my friends of mine released this book last year. It also comes with a corresponding coloring book. This book is coffee-table quality and literally a work of art. I highly highly recommend!! 

A Snowy Surprise

This is a really fun but simple little story about baking and Christmastime! 

The Last Straw

A bit ridiculous....but the kids love Hashmakaka (the main character camel) and it is a good story overall.

Katy and the Big Snow

I think anything by Virginia Lee Burton is good. This one is no exception! 

The Mitten

Sweet little story of a boy and his grandmother and a whole lot of animals. Oh, and a mitten. =)

Tonight You Are My Baby

This is a new one I just got this year. It feels extra sentimental to me because I very much feel like I can relate to the "tonight you are my baby but tomorrow you are all grown up" feeling. The kiddos are growing so fast and I'm just treasuring each day I get with them being little! 

Lastly...this isn't a book, but I wanted to share about it because it has sure been SO FUN for the kids this Christmas season! I got the kids their own nativity set for their room and wow, do they love it. I knew it would be a hit but it is THE hit of the season so far for them! They set it up in their room and bring it off the shelf to play with it every day. So cute. It is called the Fisher-Price Little People Deluxe Christmas Story Nativity Playset and you can purchase it here

Let me know in the comments below what books I missed that you would add to my list! 

 I am always on the lookout for new titles! 

Happy Wednesday!


(Note: All of the items linked in this post, unless otherwise noted, are items that I own and love. Amazon links are affiliate links. Please read my affiliate disclosure here)


  1. Great list! So many of our favorites are on your list. We also love:
    The Candymaker's Gift
    Lassie: A Christmas Story
    Christmas at Rumpole Mansion
    Annika's Secret Wish
    An Orange For Frankie
    A Churchmouse Christmas
    The Legend of the Christmas Stocking
    The Gift of the Christmas Cookie

  2. I want to comment on the children's nativity set. Yes, that is a great idea. I bought one for each family, my grand children. It is so fun for them to have something they can play with at the midst of all the "no, you can't touch that"

  3. Love this post! We also have special books for Christmas that we store in the attic throughout the year, but I hadn't thought to wrap them up prior to storing them. Such a fun idea! Thanks for all the good book suggestions! We love the Brambley Hedge series too ☺️ My son loves the "Little Golden Books" Christmas books, like The Animals' Merry Christmas and Christmas in the Country. He also likes Ezra Jack Keats's The Little Drummer Boy. Hope you all have a very Merry Christmas!

  4. We loved many of the books you list! Here are a few others (some are out of print but perhaps at library?). The Madeleine L’Engle book is not a picture book, but I read it aloud to my kids from the earliest age … they loved it, and it’s especially great for anyone expecting at Christmas time!

    - Mr. Willoughby’s Christmas Tree by R. Barry
    - Owl Moon by J. Yolen
    - Snow by P.D. Eastman
    - The 24 Days Before Christmas by M. L’Engle
    - Toot & Puddle Let It Snow by H. Hobbie
    - Who Is Coming to Our House? by J. Slate
    - The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree by G. Houston

  5. Some sweet Christmas stories I grew up with are:
    Zeek the Christmas Mouse, by Richard Schneider
    Merry Christmas with Love, by Sandi Patty
    King of the Stable, by Melody Carlson
    Hope y'all find one you like! 😊

  6. What a great tradition. I am for anything that puts books in children's hands. I hope you and your family have a wonderful and blessed Christmas.

  7. My kids loved The Christmas Tree that Grew. It's a Little Golden Book. Max's Christmas by Rosemary Wells. They roared with laughter whenever I read Mr. Gonopolis And His 12 Holsteins – A Christmas Story. (Santa falls ill and Ole Gonopolis has to hitch up his dairy cows and finish delivering the toys. Except he doesn't have any of the toys.) And of course How the Grinch Stole Christmas. I always looked for books that stressed the spirit of giving, rather than ones that were all about the getting. Not Christmasy, but about winter--The Snowy Day bu Ezra Jack Keats.


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