Remember what it felt like as a child, sitting in a loved one’s lap, listening to a favorite story, and talking about the pictures? I don’t know about you, but I’m still a sucker for picture books, especially when they have engaging stories and beautiful artwork. With the holiday season in full force, I thought I’d take a look around and see if I could find some with a Christmas theme–because what better holiday tradition than reading Christmas picture books with your child?
Here are ten gorgeous books with a Christmas theme for you and your little one to love.
Bear Stays Up for Christmas by Karma Wilson
Bear wants to stay up and celebrate Christmas with his friends, but as you know, bears hibernate in winter. All his friends show up to keep him awake by baking cookies, wrapping presents, and engaging in all sorts of Christmas preparations. Charmingly illustrated by Jane Chapman, this book tells a beautiful story of friendship and giving.
Carl’s Christmas by Alexandra Day
This heartwarming story of a Rottweiler charged with caring for his family’s baby on Christmas Eve should delight all ages. While there is some (minimal) text, the tale is primarily told through Day’s gorgeous illustrations. Perfect for dog lovers.
Home for Christmas by Jan Brett
A little troll, Rollo, runs away from home because he doesn’t want to do his chores. After trying out life with a variety of animal families, Rollo realizes there really is no place like home and that, in a family, everyone has to do his or her part. These delightful illustrations show why Jan Brett is one of the most beloved children’s illustrators of our time.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss
No list could be complete without the story of the Grinch, who lives in a cave on the mountain above Whoville. The Whos love Christmas as much as the Grinch hates it. This timeless tale proves that even a curmudgeon with a heart that’s two sizes too small can discover the magic of Christmas.
I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas by John Rox
A little girl tries to convince her family that she needs a hippopotamus for Christmas. , John Rox’s text (originally a song written in the 1950s) is filled with humor, while Bruce Whatley’s delightful illustrations show both the child’s love and care for her ideal pet and the unfeasibility of keeping a hippo as a house pet.
Room for a Little One: A Christmas Tale by Martin Waddell
On a cold winter night, a kind-hearted ox invites a dog, a cat, and a mouse with no place to stay into his warm stable. Then a donkey comes in bearing a woman, Mary, who is about to deliver a baby. Joseph is at their side. Because there’s no room at the inn, the ox welcomes them as well, and Mary has her baby, Jesus, in this cozy shelter surrounded by the animals. Beautifully illustrated by Jason Cockcroft, this is a lovely retelling of the story of the first Christmas.
Santa’s Underwear by Marty Rhodes Figley
Illustrated by Marty Kelley, this lesser known, lighter book is a fun departure from the usual holiday fare. Santa can’t find his Christmas underwear, the old, worn, comfy pair he always wears when delivering presents. How the elves and reindeer help Santa solve his problem will keep the little ones giggling.
The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey by Susan Wojciechowski
Beautifully illustrated by P.J. Lynch, this is the story of a talented woodcarver who shuts himself off from others after a terrible tragedy. When a widow, new to the town, asks him to carve a nativity scene for her and her son, he finds the healing magic of friendship and the Christmas season.
The Night Before Christmas illustrated by Charles Santore
This lushly drawn rendition of an old favorite is well worth a look. The classic poem never grows stale and lends itself to a variety of artistic interpretations.
The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree: An Appalachian Story by Gloria Houston
This story takes place in Appalachia during World War I. Ruth’s father has promised that their family will provide the Christmas tree for their church. He and Ruth go up into the mountains and mark the tree, but then he’s called up and has to go to war. Christmas is approaching, but when the train bringing back the soldiers from their region comes, he’s not on it. This powerful little book, sensitively illustrated by Barbara Cooney, is a story of family, hope, faith, love, and the importance of keeping promises.
Do you have a favorite Christmas picture book? Please post it in the comments and tell us why you love it