The best Christmas scenes in children’s literature


Written by Anne Bogel of Modern Mrs. Darcy.

For your holiday enjoyment, I present to you the best Christmas scenes in children’s literature. (I shared the best Christmas scenes in English literature last week.)

It was painful to choose just a snippet to share because the extended scenes—and the books from which they were drawn—are all so good!

Narnia christmas

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

(Find the movie version here.)

“It was a sledge, and it was reindeer with bells on their harness. And on the sledge sat a person whom everyone knew the moment they set eyes on him. He was a huge man in a bright red robe (bright as hollyberries) with a hood that had fur inside it and a great white beard that fell like a foamy waterfall over his chest. Some of the pictures of Father Christmas in our world make him look only funny and jolly. But now that the children actually stood looking at him they didn’t find him quite like that. He was so big, and so glad, and so real, that they all became quite still. They felt very glad, but also solemn.

“I’ve come at last,” said he. “She has kept me out for a long time, but I have got in at last. Aslan is on the move. The Witch’s magic is weakening.”

Betsy and Tacy christmas

Betsy and Tacy Go Downtown by Maud Hart Lovelace

“They gave themselves then with abandon to the sweet delight of choosing. It was almost pain to choose. Each fragile bauble was gayer, more enchanting than the last. What each one chose she would take home; she would see it on the Christmas tree; she would see it year after year; if she were lucky and it did not break.

They walked around and around the table, touching softly with mittened hands. Betsy at last chose a large red ball. Tacy chose an angel. Tib chose a rosy Santa Claus. Winona chose a silver trumpet.

…They walked to Ray’s Shoe Store, smiling, holding Christmas in their hands.”

Little Women Christmas

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

(Find the movie version here.)

“Merry Christmas, Marmee! 

Merry Christmas, little daughters! I want to say one word before we sit down. Not far away from here lies a poor woman with a little newborn baby. Six children are huddled into one bed to keep from freezing, for they have no fire. There is nothing to eat over there, and the oldest boy came to tell me they were suffering hunger and cold. My girls, will you give them your breakfasts as a Christmas present?

They were all unusually hungry, having waited nearly an hour, and for a minute no one spoke, only a minute, for Jo exclaimed impetuously, I’m so glad you came before we began!”

Anne of Green Gables Christmas

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

(Find the movie version here.)

“Matthew had sheepishly unfolded the dress from its paper swathings and held it out with a deprecatory glance at Marilla, who feigned to be contemptuously filling the teapot, but nevertheless watched the scene out of the corner of her eye with a rather interested air.

Anne took the dress and looked at it in reverent silence. Oh, how pretty it was—a lovely soft brown gloria with all the gloss of silk; a skirt with dainty frills and shirrings; a waist elaborately pintucked in the most fashionable way, with a little ruffle of filmy lace at the neck. But the sleeves—they were the crowning glory! 

“That’s a Christmas present for you, Anne,” said Matthew shyly. “Why—why—Anne, don’t you like it? Well now—well now.”

For Anne’s eyes had suddenly filled with tears.”

Little House Christmas

Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder

(Find the movie version here.)

“Laura and Mary never would have looked in their stockings again. The cups and the cakes and the candy were almost too much. They were too happy to speak. But Ma asked if they were sure their stockings were empty. 

Then they put their hands down inside them, to make sure. 

And in the very toe of each stocking was a shining, bright new penny!

They had never even thought of such a thing as a penny. Think of having a whole penny for your very own. Think of having a cup and a cake and a stick of candy and a penny. 

There had never been such a Christmas.” 

Merry Christmas! What scenes would you add to this list?

Originally posted on December 23, 2014.

About Anne Bogel

Anne is a certified bookworm and homeschooling mom to 4 crazy kids. She loves Jane Austen, strong coffee, the social graces and social media. You can find her blogging at Modern Mrs Darcy.


  1. Oh…Anne of Green Gables. So wonderful. I haven’t thought of her in a while. Now I desperately want to go watch the movies.
    Emily’s latest post: How to Enjoy an Early, Joyful, and Productive Morning

  2. Imogene Herdman weeping over the story of Christmas at the end of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever!

  3. Yes. Yes. Yes. Great books. Fantastic movies. Sigh… how long until naptime when I can sit and watch one of these?

  4. These are great and I also love the story where Mr. Edwards tells Mary and Laura about how Santa gave him their presents to bring. I think he tells them Santa rides a mule. And Mr. Edwards brought Ma some sweet potatoes too.
    Tiffany’s latest post: 3 Things that Work in the Kitchen this Week and Merry Christmas!

  5. In Little House on the Prairie, where she gets a tin cup so they don’t have to share – that makes my mama heart swell!! It also makes me want to take away all my kids’ toys and only give them one each and one cup to share.
    Jessie Weaver’s latest post: Saturday Linky Love

  6. Thank you for this post! Each reference brought a heart-swelling memory of the magic and pleasure I felt at reading these books for the first time. First I was smiling, then sniffling, and before long I had full-blown tears and a desire to scrap the to-do list (which is at least a mile long), ransack the library for each of these titles and sit reading and cozily cuddling with my kids in front of a roaring fire. Hopefully I’ll end up somewhere inbetween. They won’t stay little–14, 10, and 6–forever!

  7. What wonderful choices. I watch or read Little Women each and every Christmas.

  8. This is a great list, but I’d have to add a beautiful paragraph from The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson:

    “But as far as I’m concerned, Mary is always going to look a lot like Imogene Herdman-sort of nervous and bewildered, but ready to clobber anyone who laid a hand on her baby. And the Wise Men are always going to be Leroy and his brothers, bearing ham.”

    Sarah M
    Sarah M’s latest post: DPP 2014 // Day 21

  9. Merry Christmas to you! And I love this post. What a nice list of lovely. The only one I wasn’t familiar with was the Betsy Tacy book. (Would you be interested in writing a post about what you thought of Little Women?)
    Anne’s latest post: An Advent Countdown with Books: 2014 Edition

  10. These are definitely picked well. I don’t think I have a bigger favorite than from The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. Puffed sleeves probably comes close, though.
    Kira’s latest post: Little Gifts || Willow

  11. Monica Kennedy-Kounter says:

    Thank you for including a Betsy-Tacy book! Maud Hart Lovelace was my great aunt. I so love her books. I always check in libraries and book stores to see if they have them. It is so sad that so few girls today are familiar with them. I have some first edition signed books. I also have original photos of the girls and other memorabilia. I even have “Betsy’s” engagement ring that “Joe” gave her! I always check in libraries and book stores to see if they have the series. It is so sad that so few girls today are familiar with them. Thank you for this Christmas gift you gave me!

    • Wow, Monica, how special! My family actually stopped by the Betsy-Tacy houses in Minnesota when we were driving through last summer!

      • Monica Kennedy-Kounter says:

        I haven’t had the opportunity to go yet. Her daughter, my aunt Merian (Bettina), gave me all her B-T things when she passed. I have actually done presentations at local libraries with all of the memorabilia. It is on my bucket list to go there. I couldn’t wait to have a daughter with whom I could share the books. God had other plans and my only child is a son with special needs. I have tried reading them a few times, but so far he isn’t interested. I will keep trying though!!!! Do you belong to the Betsy-Tacy Society? They send out a newsletter.

  12. This made me smile in a big way! Love them all, especially Anne with an e. Thanks for sharing this gem! Merry Christmas!
    Caitie’s latest post: DIY: Indoor Hopscotch

  13. The Five Little Peppers and How They Grew has the sweetest Christmas scene. The two oldest children (Ben and Polly) “get a Christmas” for their younger siblings, but others from outside the family provide Christmas for them all. Heartwarming, to say the least!
    Amy Bloyer’s latest post: In Which I Do Not Buy Anything

  14. I’d add to this list the Christmas scene from the Wind in the Willows where the mole finds his hole back… loved it as a kid, love it today.

  15. Lindsay Marie says:

    I love the Christmas Chapter in The Four-Story Mistake by Elizabeth Enright!

  16. Love it! My favorite scene in a larger children’s book is the Christmas chapter in The Sword and the Stone, by T. H. White — and the following chapter about Boxing Day, in which they all go boar hunting with “Robin Wood!”
    Sarah’s latest post: Museums and Farms and Learning by Living

  17. I love this list! In fact, I happened to post a very similar one a couple of weeks ago. .. With few extras and minus Betsy, Tacy and Tib.

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