Monday, 28 November 2016

Christmas Story Advent: 25 books to read with your child this Christmas

One of the traditions my children really look forward each year is the Christmas Story Advent. Every evening in the days leading up to the 25th, they take it in turns to choose and open (each one is wrapped so they don't know what the story will be) one of the books. This is a tradition we started about 3 years ago so I've actually got more like 35 Christmas themed books, but for this blog  I've chosen our top 25. 

So, in no particular order, here are 25 stories I'd recommend reading with your children this Christmas - 

One Snowy Night - M Christiana Butler

The winter winds blew hard. So hard that the leaf-house Little Hedgehog had built blew away. Just as the cold started cutting through him, Father Christmas delivered his present: A warm, woolly hat. But it didn't work for Little Hedgehog, who shared this generous gift with Rabbit, and it passed through several friends, each trying to help another. Who would ultimately keep the hat? This seasonal book offers a year-round lesson on caring and sharing.
 The Very Snowy Christmas - Diana Hendry

In search of the perfect holly with shiny berries to decorate his Christmas tree, Little Mouse begins to make his way home. Suddenly soft white flakes begin falling all around him. "The sky is coming undone!" fears Little Mouse. As he hurries home to tell Big Mouse his imagination overwhelms him. First, he sees a "strange creature" waving its arms at him as he passes the water. Then when he turns around he sees that an invisible monster is leaving footprints right behind him! Finally, after running circles Little Mouse arrives home only to find a giant "white monster" in front of the door. When Big Mouse finds Little Mouse outside he reassures him that the sky is not coming undone, but that it is snowing; after explaining away liIttle Mouse's fears, he shows Little Mouse that snow makes for a magical Christmas indeed. 

Stories for Christmas Series - Written and Illustrated by John Patience.

Each book in this series is beautifully illustrated with a sweet message about caring for others and being kind. From 'A Present for Santa' which tells of a girl who decides she wants to make sure Santa has a gift at Christmas, to 'Mr Bumbles Snowman', an endearing story about a snowman that comes to life and helps his creator get out of a sticky situation when he crashes his car. 

 The Runaway Santa - Fireman Sam - Egmont Books

One of Chick 5's favourites, this is a lovely short story with an educational twist. It's Christmas in Pontypandy, Norman and Dylis want to make their decorations the best in town - but will this come at a price? Find out in this fun and festive story (helpful for teaching fire safety awareness)
Dear Santa - Rod Campbell 

If you enjoy the classic book 'Dear Zoo', you'll love this one too! This is a Christmas themed flap book which is suitable for the younger readers. My littlest (2 years) loves this one. With bright. bold artwork and a touch and feel surprise this book will be a great addition to the collection.
That's Not My Reindeer - Fiona Watt

This book is a new festive addition to the best-selling and award-winning touchy-feely series. The enduring appeal of Rachel Wells' illustrations and the opportunity to touch a variety of textures make these books baby and pre-school classics. Very young children will enjoy the bright and colourful illustrations while the different texture patches help develop sensory awareness.

The First Christmas - Luis Rock   

Enjoy reading about the original Christmas story with this enchantingly illustrated story. The story is written in a simple, yet engaging way. The last couple of years we have read this story on Christmas Eve to remind us of the true meaning of the season. 

 The First Christmas 

Another telling of the nativity story, again with lovely illustrations and a simple and easy to follow script. 
 Jesus' Christmas Party - Nicholas Alan

The bestselling Christmas story told from the point of view of the grumpy innkeeper. When a night of angels, shepherds and bright stars keeps him from his sleep, is there anything that will cheer him up?

Usborne - Nativity Jigsaw Book

Lovely book telling the story of the Nativity in simple terms that young children can understand. Beautifully illustrated, lovely colours with the added bonus of a jigsaw to make up on every left hand page, with a central jigsaw piece that is relevant to each page i.e. baby, angel, star etc.
 Little Fir-Tree - Margaret Wise Brown

Once there was a tree that stood in a field away from the other trees. It longed to be part of the forest or part of anything at all. After many lonely years, its dream came true. And the little fir tree's life changed forever! They put golden tinsel on his branches And golden bells And green icicles And silver stars. And soon a shining wonder the little fir tree was a Christmas tree. Celebrate the true spirit of Christmas with heartwarming story.
A Letter to Santa - Parragon Books

A beautiful way to involve your little ones truly into the Christmas Spirit with this wonderful book showing the perfect way to write your own special letter to Santa.
With a beautiful story written inside,  read through the pages until you then find, a world full of thought and you'll know what to write,to Santa to ask him what to leave on Christmas Night. 
On Christmas Eve, when the snow was all white, 
I sat at my desk with a letter to write.
Before i began, i thought what to say
I'd like Santa to leave me on Christmas Day.  

The Nativity: The Story of Baby Jesus - May Eliot. 

Another beautifully illustrated and re-telling of the birth of Jesus. 
Father Christmas Needs a Wee - Nicholas Allan

This is fast becoming one of my children's favourites out of the Christmas books. On Christmas Eve every child leaves out a drink and a snack for Father Christmas. Before long he really, really needs a wee, but what can he do about it? There's a long time to wait before he can get home and when he finally does he's lost his house key.
This is a super teaching resource too as it includes opportunities for counting and number recognition.
Mog's Christmas - Judith Kerr. 

Strange things are happening in Mog's house, and Mog isn't happy. So she escapes on to the roof and stays there... until she comes back down with a bump.

We love the Mog series, and this is a lovely way to help children discuss the changes going on and how it might effect pets in the home. 
 Father Christmas - Raymond Briggs

Father Christmas awoke from his dream of summer in the sun, and there it was on the calendar, December 24th, Christmas Eve - the start of his longest night's work of the year! This book was awarded The Library Association's Kate Greenaway Medal.

This book is illustrated only, and is a great way to get children interpreting and telling the story themselves. This is a story I remember loving as a child myself

Angelina's Christmas - Katherine Holabird

When Angelina Ballerina sees old Mr. Bell all alone at Christmastime, she decides to bring him some holiday cheer. Cousin Henry doesn't want to help—until he finds that there's a real Santa Claus living in their town! With festive sparkly foil on the jacket and a heartwarming story, this book is perfect for remembering the importance of giving.

Russell's Christmas Magic - Rob Scotton

An amusing and imaginative tale, share this best-selling picture book character, Russell the Sheep!

When Santa and his broken sleigh are stranded in Firefly Wood, Santa is sure that Christmas will have to be cancelled. That is, until Russell the Sheep comes to the rescue! With a clatter and a bang, Russell shows that hard work and a little imagination can make a magic that is all his own. 

The Christmas Bear: A Christmas Pop up Book - Ian Whybrow

When Santa sets off to deliver the presents poor Bear is left behind. How will he make it to Tom's house in time for Christmas morning? Follow Bear on his adventures as he travels far and wide.
This pop-up paperback book features a laugh-out-loud text by Ian Whybrow that is full of witty rhymes and silly scenarios, and illustrations by Axel Scheffler, illustrator of The Gruffalo. Bursting with funny details, The Christmas Bear is a Christmas book with a difference. Best of all, children can join in the fun with flaps to lift, wheels to turn, tabs to pull and pop-up surprises on every page!

Alfie's Christmas - Shirley Hughes 

Join every ones favourite little character Alfie and Annie Rose for Christmas! Alfie opens his advent calendar and makes cards and presents. He sings carols and decorates the tree. And he writes a special letter to Father Christmas... But what will Father Christmas bring on Christmas Day? With her wonderful illustrations and charming story telling, this is a classic that every child should read at Christmas.

Mr Men Christmas Stories - Roger Hardgreaves

While I must admit, I'm not a huge fan of the Mr Men tales, my children really enjoy these stories. There are many more Mr Men Christmas tales, but these are the ones we have collected over the last few years.

 The Night Before Christmas - Clement C Moore

"'Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse."

This classic Christmas verse is well known to every parent and child preparing for Christmas and this beautifully illustrated edition is a must-have addition to the Christmas story collection. 

This is the book I tend to read for the children on Christmas eve before setting out a plate of cookies and glass of milk. 

So there you have it... our Christmas story recommendations. I hope this is useful to anyone looking to add to their collection. I'd also love to know what you read at Christmas...are there any stories I've not included that you think are a great addition to the collection?

Happy reading!!


  1. Love this idea..
    Did you buy 25 at once for the first year?
    I wonder if there is a child appropriate "Christmas Carol"

    1. I went to a charity shop and bought about half of them. Then there were a few I ordered online like the Alfie, mog and Father Christmas ones that I wanted from childhood memories. I'm sure there probably is one. I'll need to look into it!!