Maybe it’s the abundance of twinkle lights or the magic of the first snowfall, but the holiday season always has us waxing nostalgic. Many of us have fond memories of gathering around the fireplace with our families to read a timeless Christmas story – a tradition we hope to uphold from generation to generation.
With your recommendations, we’ve created a list of some of the most beloved children’s books of the season.
The Night Before Christmas – Clement Clarke Moore
No surprise here! Also known as A Visit from Saint Nicholas, The Night Before Christmas was first published in 1823. Almost 200 years later, this Christmas classic is one of America’s most well-known poems, and helped define the story of Santa Claus that we know today. Check out an original copy from the Library of Congress.
The Polar Express – Chris Van Allsberg
In The Polar Express, a young boy takes a midnight train ride to the North Pole, reigniting his Christmas spirit – and ours. How could it not with a line like this?
“At one time, most of my friends could hear the bell, but as years passed, it fell silent for all of them. Even Sarah found one Christmas that she could no longer hear its sweet sound. Though I’ve grown old, the bell still rings for me, as it does for all who truly believe.”
How the Grinch Stole Christmas! – Dr. Seuss
“They’ll dance with jingtinglers tied onto their heels.
They’ll blow their floofloovers. They’ll bang their tartookas.
They’ll blow their whohoopers. They’ll bang their gardookas.
They’ll spin their trumtookas. They’ll slam their slooslunkas.
They’ll beat their blumbloopas. They’ll wham their whowonkas.”
As with any Dr. Seuss classic, reading How the Grinch Stole Christmas! aloud is guaranteed to elicit a heap of giggles. And once the story is finished, make sure to have a camera and plenty of hairspray available for an inevitable attempt at Cindy Lou Who’s iconic hairstyle.
Emmet Otter’s Jug Band Christmas – Russell and Lillian Hoban
Emmet and Ma Otter are a little down on their luck in this Christmas story, but a talent show with a $50 prize boosts their spirits. See the characters come alive and break into song in Jim Henson’s 1977 Muppet special.
Are You Grumpy, Santa? – Gregg & Evan Spiridellis
What happens when the jolliest person of the season has a bad day? Santa feels what it’s like to be on the naughty list this season, but is soon reminded about what matters most.
Eloise at Christmastime – Kay Thompson
From searching for presents to disrupting a wedding, Eloise’s Plaza Hotel antics continue in Eloise at Christmastime. Just be careful, this story might inspire any amateur sleuths in your family.
Star Mother’s Youngest Child – Louise Moeri
Lest we ever forget that the holidays are a time for sharing, Star Mother’s Youngest Child is a satisfying read for both parents and children. In this story, an extra dose of compassion helps two unlikely friends fulfill their Christmas wishes.
A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
Originally published in 1843, A Christmas Carol has never gone out of print, and for good reason. Dickens’s classic has been adapted from ballet to Broadway, enchanting audiences with the warming of Ebenezer Scrooge’s cold-pinched heart. See an original version online at the Library of Congress.
Do you have other favorite stories you like to share with your family? Add to our list in the comments below.