Home for the Holidays: What’s your favorite holiday read-aloud?

To add some fun to our Home for the Holidays week, we thought we’d give YOU the chance to add your two cents to the mix! On each site, we’ve got a question we’d like you to answer. Share your thoughts below in the comments, and then hop over to visit the other sites!

The day after Thanksgiving our family cut down our Christmas tree from a nearby farm, and retrieved the box of holiday decorations from the basement. In our home, this also means bringing up our library of holiday books we’ve accumulated over the years.

I spread them out on our living room rug while the kids played outside, and had the fun of watching as they “discovered” the books after coming in:

I’m not sure I can pick just one favorite, but here are a few of our top choices: The Nativity, Apple Tree Christmas, The Little Drummer Boy, and A Little House Christmas Treasury.

So that’s our question today: What’s your favorite holiday read-aloud?

Looking forward to reading your responses, and discovering some new titles!

After you share your favorite, head to the other sites to answer their questions:

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About Jamie Martin

Jamie is a mama to three cute kids born on three different continents. She is the co-founder and editor of Simple Homeschool, where she writes about mindful parenting, intentional education, and the joy found in a pile of books. Jamie is also the author of a handful of titles, including her newest release, Give Your Child the World.


  1. My daughter loves Moritmer’s Christmas Manger.
    Jenny’s latest post: Wordless Wednesday: Christmas Cards

  2. Tiffany C. says:

    the Night Before Christmas, and the The First Nativity, with scriptures and photos of Christ’s birth.

  3. Right now we are reading “Treasures of the Snow” by Patricia St. John and I am loving it. Some other favorites though I have are “Under this Roof” by Borghild Dahl and “Snow Treasure” by Marie McSwigan….they are not typical holiday reads, but that was when I read them first and love to read them at that time again.
    Martha Artyomenko’s latest post: Light under the House by Aaron L. &Donna Dawson

  4. The Crippled Lamb makes me cry every single year!

  5. The Night Before Christmas and Polar Express were my favorites growing up. We don’t have children yet but I can’t wait to incorporate Christmas books into our own family tradition once we do!
    Brittnie (A Joy Renewed)’s latest post: 16 week pregnancy update … Avocado baby

  6. The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey is one of our favorites. I read it over and over again. When my 9yo was younger, he would listen to the CD and follow along in the book while I was busy with something else. You can only read a book aloud so many times in a day!
    Southern Gal’s latest post: Tuesdays Unwrapped

  7. Room For A Little One
    The Most Precious Gift
    Holly Claus

  8. We like Twas the Night before Christmas but our favorite is Moosletoe.

  9. annabelle says:

    The Crippled Lamb, Bear Stays Up for Christmas, The Big Hungry Bears Christmas, The Bear’s Christmas, The Christmas Story…..I can never pick just one 😉 thanks.

  10. My 3 year old is loving “The Puppy Who Wanted a Boy”.

  11. “Jacob’s Gift” is a fictional story about an apprentice carpenter boy who built the manger. And we also like the famous Dr. Seuss “Grinch” story.

  12. Our favorite is the nativity story. My in-laws bought a beautiful copy and recorded themselves reading it to our kids. It’s a wonderful time when we get out that special book and listen to Grandma and Papa reading to us 🙂
    Tricia Ballad’s latest post: Give Your Family the World

  13. A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens
    We read this starting on Thanksgiving evening. Started reading it the year before the Disney version recently came out. Dickens has always been a favorite since learning his birthday is the same as my daughter’s. And we were so excited to see it show up on Scrooge’s gravestone. If you haven’t read it, you’ll be amazed at the new movies’ accuracy.

  14. Our current favorite is the Tale of Three Trees.
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  15. The Polar Express!

  16. Tiffany H. says:

    I am a children’s librarian with a passion for holiday books, so I have TONS of favorites. Song of the Stars and a picture book version of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever are two new releases I love. I also love Christmas Cobwebs, Bear Noel, and Dream Snow. Wonderful stuff. Great topic. I enjoy seeing everyone’s favorites!

  17. I do the same as you, Jamie, and keep our holiday books away until December and then the kids have a whole new selection of books to read. Some of our favorites (I have younger kids) are from Jan Brett: Gingerbread Friends, Who’s That Knocking on Christmas Eve?, The Wild Christmas Reindeer, and Christmas Trolls. We also have one called A Pirate’s Night Before Christmas that my kids love every year.

  18. The Pine Tree Parable makes me cry every year too. Here is a list of our favorites plus a list of some that we still want to read http://www.homeschool-how-to.com/favorite-christmas-books.html
    Heidi’s latest post: What Prayer Can Do

  19. Last night I put all our Christmas books out on the dining table as our first symbol of “it’s Christmas time” and was pleasantly surprised by my kids’ excitement to find books they already own. My favorite story is “A Certain Small Shepherd” by Rebecca Caudal. I don’t know what happened to the copy I had as a kid, but I was able to find an old edition on Amazon. But for my kids right now I think we enjoy “Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree”.
    Melissa L.’s latest post: What is kid-friendly?

  20. We have a handful of Christmas books, but I think my favorite is the old, weathered Night Before Christmas that was mine when I was a little girl. It’s one of those big books with old-looking illustrations and the binding is falling apart.
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  21. My kids have always loved The Mitten.

  22. Amber Walters says:

    Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree is my children’s favorite still.

  23. The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey…we read it every year and it makes me cry every time.

  24. thecoolmom says:

    We love our Advent books (Jotham’s Journey, Bartholomew’s Passage, and Tabitha’s Travels) and Christmas Stories from the Heart. Of our Christmas read-alouds our favorites are Emma’s Christmas Wish, the Austin family books by Madeline L’Engle, the Glorious Impossible, and the Gingham Dog and the Calico Cat. By myself, I read Skipping Christmas, Sugar Cookie Murders, and Too Much Holly, Not Enough Holy.

  25. My kids’ favorite is the Polar Express. I need to get more nativity-type books for sure!

  26. The Christmas narrative from Scripture – especially on Christmas Eve with the extended family!

  27. Julie Capp says:

    ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas is read at our house every Christmas Eve, and, we read read a little board book called The Story of Christmas as we sit by the Little People Nativity set every Christmas morning before we open our gifts. I think these two things are my favorite holiday traditions. We also have a big book of Christmas stories from around the world that we read throughout the season.

  28. Tracy Emery says:

    Twas The Night Before Christmas – Clement C. Moore
    The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey – Susan Wojciechowski
    Jotham’s Journey: A Storybook for Advent – Arnold Ytreeide

  29. It’s not a picture book but I love reading “The Best Christmas Pageant” a little bit each night. Such a classic!

  30. We do the same!! Every year we purchase one new book to add to our collection (unwrapped Christmas morning) and then pack up the books once Christmas is over. The kids are so thrilled to see them again every December.
    Their favorites–The Legend of the Candy Cane, ‘Twas the Night (the Nativity Story), The Sweetest Story Ever Told and A Glorious Angel Show. This year’s book will be Song of the Stars, and I think it is going to be my favorite! We also have enjoyed The Crippled Lamb and The Christmas Miracle of Johnathan Toomey.
    Janna’s latest post: The Winner Is . . .

  31. when our chidren were at home every Christmas eve we would read the chapter from the wind in the willows where ratty and mole are out on Chritmas Eve in a snow storm going home and mole smells his old home and they end up going there to spend the night. our two knew the book well, but really the chapter itself can stand alone and is so sweet. Christmas morning always started out with the reading of the Christmas story from Luke before anyone took one peek at presents.

  32. I like to read “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” in the car on the way to the in-laws house.

  33. We love “The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey” and “Who’s that knocking on Christmas Eve” by jan brett!

  34. Lauren Nicole says:

    We just bought a copy of A Charlie Brown Christmas and our 3-year-old couldn’t wait to dive right in!

  35. The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey (Susan Wojciechowski/P.J. Lynch) has been our family favorite for several years running! Incredible story and even more amazing illustrations!

  36. Jabez Dawes by Ogden Nash. Tradition every year and every year we laugh harder and recite all the lines together!

  37. I’ll have to check out some of these books. Our (my) favorite is Astrid Lindgren’s Runaway Sleigh Ride.

  38. I have a whole list of them here! http://startwellhomeschool.blogspot.com/2009/12/my-favorite-christmas-books.html

    Not on this list yet are the two I just bought at a used bookstore: The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey, and Santa Mouse. The latter was a childhood favorite that I had misplaced many years ago, so I was delighted to find a replacement copy.

  39. My favorite is Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Match Girl illustrated by Rachel Isadora. . . Though it is hard to get through without using that choked-up voice and then breaking down for a moment while your kids stare at you wondering if they should cry, too or give you a hug. . . 🙂
    erika’s latest post: Advent ~ Celebrating St. Nicholas

  40. twas the night before Christmas

  41. Anika’s Secret Wish is a very nice Christmas read for the children. Plus, Homeschool Share has a lapbook to go along with it! Fun!

  42. Jaclyn Ley says:

    I’ve always liked the Night Before Christmas!

  43. We like to read the nativity story from the Bible to focus on the true meaning of Christmas. One of the for fun books we enjoy is “The Night Before, The Night Before Christmas” by Richard Scary
    Suanna’s latest post: A Day for Thanksgiving

  44. I love The Tale of the Three Trees and also one about a little Swedish girl called, Annika’s Secret Wish.
    Krissa’s latest post: Countdown to Christmas

  45. Ooh the polar express is magical, in pjs with hot chocolate!!!

  46. My kids love Richard Scarry’s The Night Before the Night Before Christmas. It’s zany and highly implausible, and I think there’s a pickle car involved, but everyone loves it. It’s a family tradition all season long, but especially on December 23!
    Anne @ Modern Mrs Darcy’s latest post: A New Advent Tradition That Might Actually Work For Our Family

  47. Without a doubt, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson. The story always reminds me what’s important about the season.
    Erin’s latest post: What Advent Means to Me This Year

  48. My kids love The Christmas Crocodile book. They laugh everytime they hear it.

  49. Polar Express
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  50. We’re doing a new tradition this year. I bought 24 Christmas picture books and wrapped them all and put them under the tree. In Advent Calendar style our girls take turns unwrapping one every night for our bed time story. I plan on wrapping them in discount Christmas paper right after Christmas and putting them away for next year. Here’s what we got:

    The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg
    The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey by Susan Wojciechowski
    Letters From Father Christmas by J.R.R. Tolkien
    Mickey’s Christmas Carol by Disney
    40 Years of Peanut’s Christmas by Charles Shultz
    The Dinosaur’s Night Before Christmas by Anne Muecke
    The Gift Of The Magi by O. Henry
    The Lump of Coal by Lemony Snicket
    Becky’s Christmas by Tasha Tudo
    The Legend of the Poinsettia by Tomie dePaola
    The Best Christmas Pageant Ever (picture book edition) by Barbara Robinson
    The Carpenter’s Gift: A Christmas Tale about the Rockefeller Center Tree by
    David Rubel
    Penny’s Christmas Jar Miracle by Jason F. Wright
    Legend of the Christmas Stocking by Rick Osborne
    The Crippled Lamb by Max Lucado
    How the Grinch Stole Christmas! by Dr. Seuss
    The Story of Holly and Ivy by Rumer Godden
    An Orange for Frankie by Patricia Polacco
    The Nutcracker by Susan Jeffers
    The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore
    The Perfect Christmas Gift (Gigi, God’s Little Princess) by Thomas Nelson
    Brown Paper Teddy Bear by Piers Harper
    The Twelve Days of Christmas : A Pop-Up Celebration by Robert Sabuda
    Song of the Stars: A Christmas Story by Sally Lloyd-Jones

    It’s an eclectic collection: funny, serious, Santa Claus, spiritual, historical, and fictional…

  51. My children love The Polar Express, and they love it year round! And we always have to have at least one reading of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.

  52. the story of the birth of Jesus in the Bible, followed by the night before Christmas. 🙂

  53. We love the rhythm of the words in A Child’s Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas. It is prose but his words are mesmerizing.
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  54. Danielle K says:

    My absolute favorite is The Advent Book by Jack and Kathy Stockman. The book tells the story of Jesus’ birth and his death on the cross (the reason for him coming!) through 25 doors. Each night you start back at Day 1, read through, and open a new door. Last year was our third year going through the book and, at 3.5, our daughter could recite the Christmas story. I also love This is the Stable by Cynthia Cotten. Its beautiful verses are written in the style of This is the House that Jack Built. The illustrations are gorgeous, too. I could go on and on – I have an addiction! This year we add The Night Tree by Eve Bunting and Christmas in the Big Woods!

  55. We love all of Jan Brett’s winter books, especially the Wild Christmas Reindeer.
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  56. the book of Luke

  57. We never really had read-alouds in my family. The pastor would always read about the birth of Jesus for the Christmas service. However, we do watch “It’s a Wonderful Life” every year 🙂

  58. The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey by Susan Wojciechowski

    This one makes me cry nearly every time I read it. It is the story of a man’s healing from extreme grief.
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  59. The Steadfast Tin Soldier!
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  60. Melissa R says:

    Night Before Christmas. My mom collects copies. She has at least 80. All unique.

  61. I know this isn’t a “kids” book, but I just love A Child’s Christmas in Whale by Dylan Thomas. Every year at our holiday party my mother’s friend would read it to all of us as the kids curled up on the floor and the grown-ups spread around the kitchen. It’s a really beautifully written story and Dylan Thomas has such a poetic way of telling it!

  62. I have so many! Here are my favorites in a post from a couple of years ago:
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  63. Heather Young says:

    “The Fourth King” by Ted Siegel. Picked it up quite randomly at the library about 3 or 4 years ago and fell in love with it. I Never ever tire of reading it.

  64. “The Best Christmas Pagent Ever” and “One Wintry Night” are two of my favorites 🙂

  65. We love Jan Brett books at this time of year, The Hat, The Mitten, Three Snow Bears…her illustrations are just beautiful and the stories are great fun!
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  66. My family loves Llama Llama Holiday Drama as well as the rest of the series by Anna Dewdney. Also, The Jan Brett Christmas Treasury.

  67. Darlene Richardson says:

    We always read Luke 2 from the Bible before retiring for the night on Christmas Eve.

  68. One Wintry Night, The Grinch who stole Christmas, The Gingerbread Baby by Jan Brett, Charlie Brown’s Christmas, The Christmas Carol. I could go on and on. We have a basket with about 25 books in it. You might say we like Christmas book a little – and when they are only a quarter at the library used book sale they are hard to resist!
    Stephanie’s Mommy Brain’s latest post: The Best Gingerbread Man Children’s Book

  69. Kristina Best says:

    I am horrible. We don’t have any Christmas books to do a read aloud.

  70. my kids love the night before christmas!

  71. We like “Room for a Little One”
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  72. It doesn’t matter what book is read at our house, our 2 children love to listen to stories read to them by their Nana! But we do like to read about the birth of Christ.

  73. Not too long ago, we got a new kids bible. It is called the Jesus Storybook Bible and we love the Christmas story in it.

  74. We read Luke 2 on Christmas Eve always! Other favorites include the Night Before Christmas, How God Decorates the Heavens for Christmas, the Jesus Storybook Bible, and selections from the USBorne Christmas Treasury. But this post has encouraged me to find new ones and fill a basket with Christmas reads for every night of this month — thanks for the suggestions, ladies!
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  75. We have two books that are special read-alouds: The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree by Gloria Houston and Room for a Little One by Martin Waddell. It’s great to read all of these book ideas!
    Our Learning’s latest post: Advent Book Countdown

  76. I love reading Christmas books. I was just pulling my stash out for the kids this morning. Here are my favorites: for the littlest I love “WHo is Coming to Our House” by Joseph Slate and “The First Night” by B.G. Hennessy. For a little older we love “Mortimer’s Christmas Manger” by Karma Wilson, “Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree” by Robert E. Barry and “Wombat Divine” by Mem Fox. Another favorite is “Santa’s Favorite Story” which has Santa telling the story of the first Christmas.

  77. Besides the birth story, of course, we’re exploring LOTS of new children’s books this year! Two good ones we’ve read already are “Great Joy” by Kate DiCamillo and “Room for a Little One” by Martin Waddell.
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  78. Ditto to Jan Brett’s books (she also has a wonderful website that includes coloring pages and tons of info.) We also really like A Pussycat’s Christmas by Margaret Wise Brown, beautifully illustrated by Anne Mortimer.

  79. We love to read Twas the Night before Christmas, the Christmas I Spy book, and What Star is This? (By Joseph Slate).

    What Star Is This? is my favorite. It’s about a comet that streaks through the sky, noticed by the Magi and the shepherds, and then points them to the true star of Christmas – Jesus. It’s not exactly theologically correct, but I love how it points the reader to baby Jesus.
    Rachel’s latest post: A memory of love.

  80. I wrote about some of my favorites for toddlers last year (here: http://inthepurplehouse.blogspot.com/2010/12/great-christmas-books-for-toddlers_13.html), and hope to add a new list this year; I have so many I love!
    Lise’s latest post: 3rd activity of Advent: books in Boston

  81. The author of the Jesus Story-Book Bible, Sally Loyd-Jones, came out with a new book this year called “Song of the Stars, A Christmas Story”. This is our new favorite Christmas read-aloud. Great story and great illustrations.

  82. They Followed a Bright Star is wonderful.

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