One of our family’s favorite holiday traditions is a Christmas book advent calendar for kids! We love reading with the kids every night so instead of the average advent calendar with candy or chocolate, the kids get to open a new book every night.
During the last week of November I will get twenty-four Christmas books together. I wrap every one separately then stack them under the Christmas tree.
However, you do have to keep a close eye on them. The first year we did the Christmas book advent calendar with Oliver he was almost two.
I remember being in the kitchen doing dishes and all of a sudden he was next to me trying to get me to read the unwrapped book we were supposed to do that night.
We don’t put out any Christmas presents until after the kids go to bed Christmas Eve. So naturally when they see them under the tree they think “must open now.”
Needless to say, we’ve had to teach the kids from a young age not to touch anything under the tree without asking.The only thing is it would get really expensive to buy twenty-four new books every year.
So what I usually do is buy a few new ones every year, borrow some from the library, and reuse the Christmas books we had from the year before.
The kids don’t really notice because they haven’t read the books in a whole year.
So this is a list of our favorite books to use for our Christmas book advent calendar for kids.
We don’t celebrate Santa in our house so we try to stay away from those kinds of books. There are a few exceptions though, mostly the ones that were my favorite books when I was a kid.
“This beautiful holiday picture book shows Excavator, Bulldozer, Crane, Dump Truck and Cement Mixer building a new home for fire engines. As they finish their big, important job, they get their own Christmas surprises. Your kids will have fun discovering the special surprise awaiting each vehicle as much as they will love rhyming along with the story.”
Christmas in the Manger by Nola Buck
“Pat the donkey’s soft gray fur, touch the ram’s wooly coat, and peek at the wise men’s sparkly jewels as the story of the first Christmas unfolds from the point of view of each participant. Felicia Bond’s joyous illustrations and Nola Buck’s sweet, gentle poem convey the magic of the Christmas story in an irresistible format that will delight the youngest child.”
Merry Christmas Mom and Dad by Mercer Mayer
“Mercer Mayer’s Little Critter is getting ready for Christmas in this classic, funny, and heartwarming book. Whether he’s making wreaths, eating gingerbread cookies, or putting the star on the top of the tree, both parents and children alike will relate to this beloved story. A perfect way to celebrate the holiday season!”
The Biggest Christmas Tree Ever by Steven Kroll
“It’s the day after Thanksgiving, and Clayton and Desmond feel the chill in the air. The cool weather makes them think of Christmas . . . and Christmas makes them think of Christmas trees! Who’ll find the biggest one?”
The Jolly Christmas Postman by Allen Ahlberg
“This gorgeously illustrated, full-color classic celebrates a time before email with an interactive picture book full of real letters to read aloud. The Jolly Postman brings a batch of wonderful letters for Christmas, including notes from the Big Bad Wolf and all the King’s men. Open this book, take out the letters, and discover what favorite characters would write to each other–and reimagine best-loved tales together.”
A Very Merry Christmas Prayer by Bonnie Rickner Jensen
“These little woodland animals are full of joy over so many blessings, from twinkling lights and sparkling snowflakes to family fun and the gift of God’s love. Join the celebration with gratitude and make this your own very merry Christmas prayer!”
The Mitten by Jan Brett
“When Nicki drops his white mitten in the snow, he goes on without realizing that it is missing. One by one, woodland animals find it and crawl in; first, a curious mole, then a rabbit, a badger and others, each one larger than the last. Finally, a big brown bear is followed in by a tiny brown mouse and what happens next makes for a wonderfully funny climax. As the story of the animals in the mitten unfolds, the reader can see Nicki in the borders of each page, walking through the woods unaware of what is going on.”
God Gave Us Christmas by Lisa Tawn Bergren
“As Little Cub and her family prepare to celebrate the most special day of the year, the curious young polar bear begins to wonder… Who invented Christmas? Mama’s answer only leads to more questions like Is God more important than Santa? So she and Little Cub head off on a polar expedition to find God and to see how he gave them Christmas. Along the way, they find signs that God is at work all around them. Through Mama’s gentle guidance, Little Cub learns about the very first Christmas and discovers that Jesus is the best present of all.”
The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg
“A young boy, lying awake one Christmas Eve, is welcomed aboard a magical trip to the North Pole . . . Through dark forests, over tall mountains, and across a desert of ice, the Polar Express makes its way to the city atop the world, where the boy will make his Christmas wish.”
Really Woolly Christmas Blessings by Bonnie Rickner Jensen
“Enjoy the blessings of Christmas! Christmastime is full of blessings, and the Really Woolly characters celebrate every part of the season—from time with family and friends, to sledding and decorating, to the joy of giving to others.”
Room for a Little One: A Christmas Tale by Martin Waddell
“That cold winter’s night, beneath the star’s light… a Little One came for the world.”
Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree by Robert Barry
“Christmas is here and Mr. Willowby’s tree has arrived. There’s just one big problem: The tree is too tall for his parlor. He cuts off the top so it will fit, and soon the top of that tree is passed along again and again to bring holiday cheer to all the animals in the forest.”
Bear Stays Up for Christmas by Karma Wilson
“Celebrate the holidays with Bear and his friends in this sweet picture book from bestselling author Karma Wilson! Bear’s friends are determined to keep Bear awake for Christmas! So they wake Bear up and have him help them find a Christmas tree, bake cakes, hang up stockings, and sing Christmas songs. Bear stays up—by discovering that giving is one of the best Christmas presents of all!”
Who is Coming to Our House? by Joseph Slate
“A modern Christmas classic about how the animals prepare a cozy welcome for the baby Jesus. ‘Who is coming to our house? Someone, someone,’ says Mouse. As Pig makes room, Lamb cleans up, Goose stacks the hay, and Duck lines the crib with eiderdown, Mary and Joseph are on their way by donkey. All the animals are eager to welcome the baby Jesus to their home.”
One Christmas Bear by Anne Vittur Kennedy
“Follow the merry adventures of a polar bear and the artic animals as they enjoy winter fun! From crunchy candy canes and frosty snowballs to friends to play with and a family to love, your little one will enjoy counting God’s wonderful gifts.”
Little Blue Truck’s Christmas by Alice Schertle
“It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Little Blue Truck is spreading cheer by delivering Christmas trees to his animal friends. Can you help count each green tree from one to five and back again? Don’t forget to save one for Blue! Beep! Beep!”
The Littlest Christmas Tree by R.A. Herman
“There are only five days until Christmas, and the Littlest Christmas Tree is still waiting for a home. All it wants is for a family to take it home, decorate it, and sing its favorite song, ‘Oh Christmas tree, Oh Christmas tree, how lovely are thy branches…’ But as Christmas nears, and one by one the other trees find homes, the Littlest Christmas Tree begins to think that no one will ever take it home. And then, on Christmas Eve, its wish comes true when the man who runs the Christmas tree stand takes it home to his family.”
The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey by Susan Wojciechowski
“Jonathan Toomey is the best woodcarver in the valley, but he is always alone and never smiles. No one knows about the mementos of his lost wife and child that he keeps in an unopened drawer. But one early winter’s day, a widow and her young son approach him with a gentle request that leads to a joyful miracle. The moving, lyrical tale, gloriously illustrated by P.J. Lynch, has been widely hailed as a true Christmas classic.”
The Berenstain Bears and the Joy of Giving by Jan & Mike Berenstain
“In The Berenstain Bears and The Joy of Giving Brother and Sister Bear can’t wait for Christmas and all the presents they’ll open. But during the Christmas Eve pageant, something special happens! The Bear cubs learn a very valuable lesson about the joy of giving to others.”
Merry Christmas, Mouse! by Laura Numeroff
“Join Mouse from If You Give a Mouse a Cookie as he decorates his Christmas tree in a holiday counting adventure.”
How Do Dinosaurs Say Merry Christmas? by Jane Yolen
“From decorating the tree to wrapping presents, little dinosaurs love to celebrate Christmas-and everything about it. With ornaments on the branches and carolers singing at the door, the spirit of Christmas is finally here and filling the hearts of families everywhere. But when the stockings are hung on the chimney, and the cookies are left out for Santa, how can little dinosaurs go to sleep? It’s so exciting! How can they possibly calm down and behave?”
Llama Llama Jingle Bells by Anna Dewdney
“In Llama Llama Jingle Bells, little llama and his friends give gifts, sing songs, and decorate cookies. It’s a very merry holiday indeed!”
Mouse’s Christmas Gift by Mindy Baker
“In Mouse’s Christmas Gift, written by Mindy Baker and illustrated by Dow Phumiruk, one tiny church mouse must find a way to bring Christmas spirit to his little town when Parson gets sick and the usual Christmas Eve service is cancelled. Mouse never gives up hope as he prepares the nativity set and lights a small candle in the window to signal the villagers. Mouse’s small act of faith sparks a chain reaction of hope and love, demonstrating that even the smallest creature can make a big difference.”
The Spirit of Christmas by Nancy Tillman
“Bells jingle, sleds dash through the snow, trees are topped with sparkling stars, and children everywhere dream of candy canes and presents. But the best gift of all-the most magical gift of the season-is when we spend Christmas with those we love.”