Christmas picture books are my favorite! Every year on Christmas Eve I give my kids a new Christmas picture book. We now have a huge collection, so I thought I’d share my top ten favorites.
The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey by Susan Wojciechowski
This is the truly heartwarming story of Mr. Toomey (or Mr. Gloomy, according to the villagers), who has come to see the world as a dark and gloomy place after the loss of his wife and baby. Then a widow and her son seek out Mr. Toomey’s woodcarving skills to recreate a nativity set the widow lost in her travels. Mr. Toomey begrudgingly takes the job and allows the little boy to watch him work. Over time, the boy and his mother influence Mr. Toomey for good, as their companionship offers him the hope and joy he’d lost. A beautiful story about the real reason for the season.
Olive the Other Reindeer by Vivian Walsh and J. Otto Seibold
Olive the Other Reindeer follows Olive, a dog, who mistakes the classic lyric “All of the other reindeer” for “Olive, the other reindeer!” She decides she must actually be a reindeer and heads straight for the North Pole, just in time for Christmas Eve and Santa’s special delivery of presents. Needless to say, she and the actual reindeer have plenty of adventures as they deliver gifts around the world!
The Sweet Smell of Christmas by Patricia Scarry
Who doesn’t enjoy a book you can smell? The Sweet Smell of Christmas follows Little Bear through all the wonderful smells and traditions that mean Christmas is coming! From apple pie, to a pine tree, a candy cane, gingerbread, hot chocolate, and a Christmas orange, both Little Bear and his readers will be drooling in Christmas anticipation by the end of the book.
Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree by Robert Barry
Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree is the darling tale of a Mr. Willowby and his magnificent, specially-delivered Christmas tree. When it arrives and is placed in his parlor, Mr. Willowby quickly realizes it is much too tall! So he calls a butler to trim the top. He passes the extra piece of the tree to the maid, who finds great joy in her new tree, but finds it is too tall for her room. So she, too, cuts off the top! In this way, the tree gets passed through several people and animals. Told in rhyme with beautiful illustrations, Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree is full of the magic of Christmas and the joy of giving, a perfect story to share during the holiday season!
Bear Stays Up For Christmas by Karma Wilson
Karma Wilson is known for many of her Bear and friend stories, and for good reason! In Bear Stays Up for Christmas, Bear’s friends wake him from hibernation just in time for Christmas. His friends do all they can to keep Bear awake—they get a tree, make popcorn garlands, sing Christmas songs, and more. But can Bear make it? This is a great holiday story to share!
Santa Calls by William Joyce
Santa Calls tells of a young boy and his sister who receive a mysterious package from “S.C.” The package ultimately leads them to the North Pole to meet Santa Claus himself. The story is full of rich vocabulary, detailed illustrations, and an adventurous story that even includes a wicked snow queen! With a touching ending that includes two secret letters readers can open and read for themselves, Santa Calls is a great read for siblings who may need a reminder to show love and kindness to one another!
Mortimer’s Christmas Manger by Karma Wilson
In Mortimer’s Christmas Manger, a loveable mouse named Mortimer finds his mouse hole a little too cold and creepy, so he sets out to find a new home. He finds what he is looking for on top of a table. However, this new home is filled with tiny statues that are crowding his tiny bed of hay! It isn’t until he overhears the humans retelling the story of Jesus’s birth that he realizes what and who the statues are. A unique perspective on the Christmas story, the lovable Mortimer, coupled with beautiful illustrations, make this book a must-read this Christmas.
Room for a Little One by Martin Waddell
In this tale of Jesus’s birth, Kind Ox states, “There’s always room for a little one here.” He allows many sorts of creatures to join him in the stable, including a dog, a cat, and a mouse. Finally, a tired donkey arrives, along with Joseph and his wife Mary, who is about to give birth. Of course, Kind Ox knows there is still room for another little one. This sweet Christmas story reminds us not only of the Christmas story, but of Jesus’s teachings to love and care for others.
The Night Before Christmas, illustrated by Christian Birmingham
Birmingham’s large full-color illustrations, interspersed with small black-and-white illustrations, bring life to this classic rhyming story about the anticipation and magic of the night before Christmas. With large font and easy-to-read print, it’s great for read-alouds as well as beginner readers. Add this book to your holiday traditions!
The Twelve Days of Christmas, illustrated by Alison Jay
With the traditional song as the text, The Twelve Days of Christmas follows a happy couple on their way to a Christmas party. As they travel, they find wonderful gifts. The stunning illustrations match each of the gifts and illustrate Alison Jay’s “crackle-glaze style” artwork. Each spread includes not only a full-color illustration, but various other intricate and smaller illustrations that correspond with the lyrics. It’s a lovely holiday read for people of all ages!