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25 FAVORITE Christmas Picture Books to Read Aloud

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25 Christmas picture books to countdown Christmas with the little ones in your life. These meaningful living books are sure to delight!

Christmas is quickly drawing near! My boys love to do little things to celebrate the season and count down the days, so this is the perfect fit for them. I take our 25 FAVORITE Christmas picture books, wrap them individually, and set them aside a few days before December gets here. Each day 1 book gets opened, and we read it together! It is such a fun way to count down the days until Christmas…… each day the stack gets a little smaller. Of course, we do some fun little activities here and there throughout the month, but this is something that I can actually keep up with everyday. And they look forward to opening and reading a new book each day. (And so do I!) It is such a meaningful and joyful way to count down the days and celebrate the Christmas season together. And I hope they have fond memories of this when they are grown. If you think this is something that would bless your family, I hope you will keep reading to find out what our favorite Christmas picture books are!

25 Christmas Picture Books:

NOTE: These books are not listed in any particular order. I will be ending with Cynthia Rylant’s Nativity before we open gifts on Christmas morning. We always read the Christmas story from Luke each year and this is straight Scripture with illustrations – I was delighted to find this since I had been looking for a book like this for years.

Christmas Picture Books 1 Christna's Carol

1: Christina's Carol

Compiled and illustrated by Tomie dePaola. This is an absolutely lovely book that is based on Christina Rosetti’s poem: In the Bleak Midwinter. The wonderful illustrations bring this wonderful poem to life! A truly touching book.

Christmas Picture Books 2 The Story of Holly and Ivy

2: The Story of Holly and Ivy

Written by Rumer Godden and illustrated by Barbara Cooney. A sweet story about Christmas wishes. Ivy, an orphan, who wishes for a real home for Christmas. Holly, a doll, wishes for a child. Mr. and Mrs. Jones wish for a child. This book will touch your heart strings in a special way. Filled with delightful, old-fashioned illustrations.

Christmas Picture Books 3 The Gift of the Magi

3: The Gift of the Magi

Written by O. Henry and illustrated by P.J. Lynch. A newlywed couple doesn’t have enough money to purchase each other a Christmas gift. So each one sells something of value to themselves, in order to have money for a gift. A lovely story of selflessness in love and marriage. This is the most beautifully illustrated version I have ever come across.

Christmas Picture Books 4 Christmas Day in the Morning

4: Christmas Day in the Morning

Written by Pearl S. Buck and Illustrated by Mark Buehner. This story is about how a boy gives his father a selfless Christmas gift: he rises extra early to do the milking, so his father doesn’t have to that day. Wonderful scenes of days gone past, and a lovely sentiment that may bring some tears to your eyes.

Christmas Picture Books 5 Silver Packages

5: Silver Packages

Written by Cynthia Rylant and illustrated by Chris K. Soentpient. A poor young boy from Applacahia knows exactly what he wants for Christmas…. and what he wants to be when he grows up. He never gets his dream Christmas gift, but he does follow his dreams! This story will certainly pull at your heartstrings!

Christmas Picture Books 6 The Secret Staircase

6: The Secret Staircase

Written and illustrated by Jill Barklem. The adorable Christmas story of the Brambley Hedge mice and their Christmas celebration. Follow along as they prepare and partake in festivities…… and enjoy a little mystery too! The details in these illustrations are wonderful.

Christmas Picture Books 7 The Birds of Bethlehem

7: The Birds of Bethlehem

Written and illustrated by Tomie dePaola. This unique re-telling of the Christmas Story is from the bird’s point of view. It is interesting, because they did not know what they were witnessing and sharing. A thought-provoking story with wonderful, colorful illustrations on every page. 

Christmas Picture Books 8 The Twelve Days of Christmas

8: The Twelve Days of Christmas

Traditional English Carol illustrated by Jan Brett. An adorable illustrated edition of the famous Christmas song. You will probably be tempted to sing, rather than read this fun book! Children will have a blast finding all the gifts with every page turn. (Want to learn more about Epiphany and how this song ties into it? Take a peek at this wonderful book too!!)

Christmas Picture Books 9 The Little Fir Tree

9: The Little Fir Tree

Written by Margaret Wise Brown and illustrated by Jim LaMarche. This is a sweet re-telling of the Hans Christian Anderson story by this well known children’s author. A lonely fir tree finally has its dream come true! This story comes to life through the beautiful illustrations.

Christmas Picture Books 10 Red and Lulu

10: Red and Lulu

Written and illustrated by Matt Tavares. A pair of cardinals are separated from their home and each other. Red is determined to find his love and home again in this heartwarming and adventurous tale. Enjoy lovely scenes from NY, including New York City!

Christmas Picture Books 11 Mortimer's Christmas Manger

11: Mortimer's Christmas Manger

Written by Karma Wilson and illustrated by Jane Chapman. This cute and fun story is about a little mouse who finds the perfect sized little house for himself; which happens to be the family’s nativity scene. Mortimer doesn’t realize the significance of this little scene until he hears the family reading of the Christmas Story.

Christmas Picture Books 12 Christmas Farm

12: Christmas Farm

Written by Mary Lyn Ray and illustrated by Barry Root. Wilma decides that her garden needs a new start, so she gathers some supplies and 62 dozen balsam seedlings and gets to work. Follow along as these trees are nurtured for years and finally become full grown Christmas trees. Detailed illustrations bring this story of care and concern for others and the environment to life.

Christmas Picture Books 13 Mouse's Christmas Gift

13: Mouse's Christmas Gift

Written by Mindy Baker and illustrated by Dow Phumiruk. This adorable story will warm your heart. Follow Mouse as he begins a spark to continue on the town’s traditional Christmas Eve service after it is canceled. See how one small act of kindness can encourage another! Adorable illustrations on every page.

Christmas Picture Books 14 Mr. WIllowby's Christmas Tree

14: Mr. Willoby's Christmas Tree

Written and illustrated by Robert Barry. Mr. Willowby’s Christmas tree is much too big – so he decides to share pieces of it with others. A fun book that shows how the spirit of giving can bless many hearts. Colorful and fun cartoonish illustrations throughout.

Christmas Picture Books 15 Night Tree

15: Night Tree

Written by Eve Bunting and illustrated by Ted Rand. A kind family continues their Christmas Eve tradition of decorating a forest tree with edible goodies for the animals. A wonderful nature book and reminder to think of our animal friends during the hard winter months. Beautiful night scenes fill this book’s pages.

Christmas Picture Books 16 Christmas Tapestry

16: Christmas Tapestry

Written and illustrated by Patricia Palocco. In this story, the Weeks family moves from Tennessee to Michigan for the father to take a new pastoral position. Follow along as they restore the church building and build community in their new home. They plan for a special Christmas Eve service, but it may be ruined by a leak! A wonderful story of personal growth and love. Touching illustrations fill the pages.

Christmas Picture Books 17 The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey

17: The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomy

Written by Susan Wojciechowski and illustrated by P.J. Lynch. This emotionally moving tale follows Jonathan as he moves to a new town and struggles with moving on with his life. Slowly, a friendship grows with a young boy who doesn’t give up on him. Absolutely stunning illustrations add so much emotion to each page.

Christmas Picture Books 18 The Carpenter's Gift

18: The Carpenter's Gift

Written by David Rubeland illustrated by Jim LaMarche. An heartwarming book where Henry reminisces about the time he and his father brought Christmas trees from their farm to NYC… including the famous Rockefeller Center Tree. While waiting on his father, Henry makes a Christmas wish. Find out how good-hearted people help a poor family through a difficult time on Christmas morning. Wonderful emotion filled illustrations throughout.

Christmas Picture Books 19 An Oragne for Frankie

19: An Orange for Frankie

Written and illustrated by Patricia Palocco. A sweet story of family love at Christmastime. Follow along as Frankie eagerly awaits Christmas, makes a mistake, and finds forgiveness and acceptance from his family. Colorful, thought provoking pictures fill this book.

Christmas Picture Books 20 The Message of the Birds

20: The Message of the Birds

Written by Kate Westerlund and illustrated by Feridun Oral. Old Owl tells a story he has told many times…. Then his bird friends share it with other birds and children everywhere. Peace on Earth! Stunning illustrations of birds are sure to delight… especially bird lovers!

Christmas Picture Books 21 Lucy's Christmas

21: Lucy's Christmas

Written by Donald Hall and illustrated by Michael McCurdy. This old-fashioned Christmas story is a wonderful description of older, simpler times. Follow Lucy as she prepares for, and celebrates Christmas with her family and friends. Old souls will appreciate the scenes from by-gone days.

Christmas Picture Books 22 Apple Tree Christmas

22: Apple Tree Christmas

Written and illustrated by Trinka Hakes Noble. A sweet story about a farm family and their special apple tree. Follow along with them as they go about their days at the farm and prepare for Christmas. After a winter storm destroys their favorite apple tree, they struggle with missing it and feeling grateful. In the end they have a happy apple tree Christmas! Adorable and lovely illustrations on every page.

23: A New Coat for Anna

Christmas Picure Books 23 A New Coat for Anna

Written by Harriet Ziefert and illustrated by Anita Lobel. In this book, a mother will use her ingenuity to find a way to get a new coat for her daughter in war-torn Europe. Children will also see how the new coat is made; and just in time for Christmas! Lovely and detailed illustrations really bring this story to life.

Christmas Picture Books 24 The Legend of the Candy Cane

24: The Legend of the Candy Cane

Written by Lori Walburg and illustrated by James Bernardin. An inspiring story of the famous Christmas candy – the candy cane! Follow the story of a candy maker in a new town. He shares the significance of the candy cane to a young girl named Lucy. A wonderful story with beautiful illustrations of days gone past.

Christmas Picture Books 25 Nativity

25: Nativity

Compiled and illustrated by Cynthia Rylant. This book begins with the Christmas story straight from the book of Luke and ends with Beatitudes. The perfect book to read on Christmas Day or Eve with everyone! Simple, vibrant full page illustrations fill this book.

Would you like a FREE printable list of these books? Grab it below! 

I hope you find these Christmas picture books an encouragement and joy during the Christmas Season. What are your family’s favorite Christmas picture books?

Please share in the comments below!

Merry Christmas friends!!

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