The best Christmas books for kids awaken imagination and evoke the spirit of Christmas

7. November 2020 - Alexander Schmidt

Best Christmas Books for Kids - Literary Gateways to the World of Christmas


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Children perceive Christmas as a celebration of intense moods and filled with the magic of customs and stories. These 10 best Christmas books for kids awaken the imagination and carry the spirit of Christmas in a variety of ways.

The smell of pine needles, the taste of gingerbread and the soft glow of candlelight…. Mum and dad, grandma and grandpa and all the brothers and sisters sit together in the living room and look at the decorated Christmas tree. Silence reigns for a while, a magical moment. Then the grandfather begins to recite the Christmas story from the Bible from memory. The children are spellbound and in their imagination they can see everything: the manger with the baby Jesus, Mary and Joseph, the ox and donkey, the shepherds, the stable and of course the angels who have come down from heaven.

Children perceive everything very intensively and stories trigger a flood of images and moods in their imagination. Christmas books can be all the more meaningful and impressive for children. They often have a decisive influence on what children associate with Christmas and what the festival means to them.

We take the approaching Christmas as an opportunity to take a look at our 10 best Christmas books for ckids: from classics to the present, from picture books for preschoolers to exciting novels for young people.

6 Best Christmas Books for Kids – From Picture Books to Christmas Thrillers

Whether read aloud by parents or browsed alone, these Christmas books for kids for different ages make ideal Christmas gifts for the younger generation.

1. Nutcracker and Mouse King (E.T.A. Hoffmann)

We start with a children’s classic: this tale by E.T.A. Hoffmann is world famous, not least because of Tchaikovsky’s ballet based on it, and has been made into a film several times.

On Christmas Eve, little Marie finds a nutcracker in the shape of a wooden doll on her gift table. However, her brother Fritz cracks such hard nuts with it that this nutcracker loses all its teeth. Marie then takes the damaged wooden soldier into her care. Later that night, she takes another look at the presents and Marie can hardly believe her eyes when the hussars suddenly start marching under the command of the nutcracker and go into battle against the seven-headed Mouse King and his Lord of the Mice. A fantastic Christmas adventure begins for them…

We recommend this slightly modernised hardback edition, lovingly illustrated by Robert Ingpen:

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Recommended age: 8+, also suitable for adult readers.

2. Tomte Tummetot (Astrid Lindgren)

Astrid Lindgren’s children’s books are timeless and continue to inspire new generations of young readers over 50 years after their publication.

Her Tomte Tummetot is an already ancient Christmas elf who lives on a remote farm in Sweden. Wearing a red pointed hat and a white razzle-dazzle beard, he watches over animals and people alike at night and speaks to them of courage, especially in the dark, cold wintertime.

In this edition, Harald Wiberg’s full-page illustrations bring to life the mythical world conjured up by Lindgren and conjure up a dreamlike atmosphere.

Age recommendation: Best suited as a picture book to read aloud to 2- to 4-year-olds.

3. The Best Christmas Pageant Ever (Barbara Robinson)

From the point of view of the inhabitants of the small town they live in, the Herdmann children are the worst children ever: they lie, steal, smoke, make dirty jokes and set fire to this and that, sometimes even whole buildings…
Somehow they still managed to get all the main roles in their school’s Christmas nativity play. That can only go wrong! But then it turns out quite unexpectedly that the boys, who are considered hopelessly “antisocial” and degenerate, understand more about the Christmas message than they were given credit for.

This book is a personal favourite that I read almost every Christmas as a child. The book is extremely funny and entertaining, and Christmasy too!

For reasons of nostalgia, it has to be the version with the original illustrations:

Hilfe, die Herdmanns kommen 1
Hilfe, die Herdmanns kommen 1
Robinson, Barbara (Author)
4,48 EUR

Age recommendation: Ideal for 8-10 year olds.

4. A Christmas Carol (Charles Dickens)

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens is one of those best Christmas books for children that has passed into the collective memory through numerous film adaptations, allusions and parodies.

On Christmas Eve, the incorrigible miser Ebenezer Scrooge is haunted first by the ghost of his deceased business partner and then by 3 other ghosts who show him Christmas in his past, present and future, which ultimately completely transforms the curmudgeonly misanthrope.

There are countless editions, we really like the one illustrated by Volker Kriegel.

Recommended age: From about 10 years, but also a nice Christmas read for adults!

6. One Christmas Wish (M. Christina Butler)

Actually, the little hedgehog is hibernating. But a freezing storm wakes him up from it. The poor hedgehog is so cold that he can’t even think of going back to sleep. Suddenly a gift packet falls at his feet: “For the little hedgehog” is written on it. When he opens it, he is amazed: a wonderfully cuddly red bobble hat!

A beautiful picture book about the meaning of giving presents!

Recommended age: From 4 years.

We wish you contemplative hours with these best Christmas books for kids!

Already getting into the (pre-)Christmas spirit? Check out our Christmas craft tips, e.g. for DIY cork Christmas decoration or for a kitchen roll Advent calendar!

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*Transparency note: This article contains so-called affiliate links. This means that if you buy a product via such a link, we may receive a small commission. However, this will not increase the price of the product by one cent!


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