One of the best parts of Christmas is reading and re-reading the wonderful classic Christmas stories. Holiday movies are okay, but nothing compares with snuggling under a blanket, watching the Christmas tree lights twinkle, smelling the fresh pine and reading a beloved holiday story aloud. It’s especially nice to have a child or six cuddled in your lap. Here’s a list of 25 Christmas countdown books, children’s literature classics and holidays stories, one for each day of Advent. There are Christmas picture books, chapter books and some dug out of a Christmas treasury or collection. Some Christmas stories are poignant, other children’s literature selections are haunting; some are whimsical, but each speaks to the magic of Christmas love. Hit the library, check out these Christmas stories and make some memories!
The Miraculous Staircase (Arthur Gordon) The little church of St. Loretto in Sante Fe built a new choir loft but no way to get up to it. Who is the poor carpenter who comes from nowhere, builds an impossible staircase and leaves without pay?
“Jingle, A Christmas Clown” (Tomie Depaola) Another endearing little miracle story.
“The Legend of the Poinsettia” (Retold and illustrated by Tomie DePaola) Lucia has no gift to lay at the manger of the infant Jesus; will He still welcome her?
“Babouska and the Three Kings” (Ruth Robbins, Caldecott winner Nicolas Sidjakov) Busy Babouska was too preoccupied when three wise strangers asked her to help them find a baby king.
“The Story of Holly and Ivy (Rumer Godden/Barbara Clooney) a tear-jerker about orphaned animals and kids.
“The Tailor of Glouchester” (Beatrix Potter) How will the poor, ill, exhausted tailor finish the mayor’s frock coat in time for Christmas morning?
“Maigret’s Christmas” (Georges Simenon) The childless inspector and his wife unravel a mystery and find a Christmas miracle of their own.
“The Christmas Miracle of Jonathon Toomie” (Susan Wojciehowski) Why is the talented woodcarver Mr. Toomie so bitter and sad? Will he carve Thoma’s new nativity figures in time for Christmas?
“Nine Days Until Christmas” (Marie Hall Ets) Little Cece will have her first posada in nine days. How can she possibly wait so long? And which lovely pinata will she choose? This gentle details Mexico’s beautiful posada tradition.
“Strega Nona’s Christmas” (Tomie DePaola) Strega Nona’s pasta pot is put away during Advent. Will Big Anthony fail on the Natalia preparations since Strega Nona will allow no magic at Christmas?
“The Clown of God” (translated from the French and illustrated by Tomie DePaola) Probably the most touching holiday story ever told. Get the tissues ready. This story has my 3-year-old bawling! If you read just one of these Christmas books, make it this one.
“Seven Stories of Christmas Love” (Leo Buscaglia) Hard to pick a favorite from this beloved author, but if pressed it would the Christmas in Bali.
“Hercule Poirot’s Christmas Pudding” (Agatha Christie) This time the crime is committed against our favorite Belgian sleuth in merry old England upon Christmas day.
“The Fourth Wiseman” (Henry VanDyke) You’ve heard of the three magi? Well there would have been four, but one wiseman gave away the gifts with which he was to present the Christ Child.
“J.T.” (Jane Wagner) An inner city boy rescues and is rescued by an injured alley cat. You must read this.
“The Selfish Giant” (Oscar Wilde) A gloriously moving tale by, ironically, by Britain’s leading cynic. It reads like a child’s passion play.
“The Lady of Guadalupe” (retold and illustrated by Tomie DePaola) A mysterious, lady clothed in the sun gives Juan Diego a blessing, a mission and a miracle.
“The Friendly Beasts” (Old English carol, illustrated by Tomie DePaola) You could teach children to sing this children’s literature classic, dress up in costumes and act it out as a play.
“Sherlock Holmes and the Blue Carbuncle” (A.C. Doyle, in collected works) Poor Holmes and Watson, their Christmas goose has something unexpected stuck in his craw. Not exactly children’s literature, but safe to read to kids.
“Mousekin’s Christmas” (Edna Miller) Always searching for a cozy nest, Mousekin finds the best home of all. Check out all the children’s literature books featuring Mousekin.
“The Doll of Lilac Valley” (Cora Cheney) When a little girl’s foster parents give her a doll, it’s not what she expected. But they all learn together that good things come in family-shaped packages.
“Nellie’s Wish” (Uncle Arthur’s Bedtime Stories) Your author reserves the right to cry every time she reads this story–about 1,500 times, so far.
“Christmas Tapestry” (Patricia Polloco) Trust Miz P to give us another charming holiday tale.
These are just a few of the many charming Christmas books and holiday stories to read each year.