Our Favorite Christmas Picture Books | from Blue Bells and Cockle ShellsHave you been reading Christmas books with your kids yet? Sola started asking me to read our Christmas books before Thanksgiving was even over! We have a few new additions to our list of favorite books, hopefully you can find one you haven’t read before to enjoy this year.

Apple Tree Christmas – Originally published over twenty years ago, and out of print since 1998, Sleeping Bear Press is proud to bring this beloved Christmas tale to a whole new audience. Moving and nostalgic, and brought to life by glowing watercolor paintings, it reveals the joy of a very special present and the love that a father and daughter share.

Babushka: A Christmas Tale – On the eve of the very first Christmas, an old grandmother is busy tidying her home when a bright star illuminates the sky. Soon three wise men arrive and invite Babushka to join them in their travels—following the star in search of a newborn babe, the Prince of Peace. But there are dishes to be washed, and floors to be swept, and Babushka is too absorbed in her work to leave her home with presents for the baby Jesus. The next day, when Babushka tries to follow the men, she cannot find their tracks. Instead, she finds a little girl shivering in the cold, and a little boy, his tummy rumbling with hunger. Babushka walks and walks, and everywhere she goes she finds children in need of toys to play with or a shawl to keep them warm. And to each one, she offers a gift from her basket and a smile of light and love.

Bear Stays Up for Christmas

“The day before Christmas,
snuggled on his floor,
Bear sleeps soundly
with a great big snore….”
Bear’s friends are determined to keep Bear awake for Christmas! So they wake Bear up and have him help them find a Christmas tree, bake cakes, hang up stockings, and sing Christmas songs. Bear stays up — by discovering that giving is one of the best Christmas presents!

The Biggest Smallest Christmas Present – Clementine is a teeny-tiny girl who lives with her average-sized family. It’s mostly fun being the smallest, but Christmas can be tricky. Santa brings beautiful toys, but they are too big for this little girl. Every year, Clementine tries to tell Santa she’s small. But the cookies she ices with a message to Santa are eaten, and the words she stamps out on the roof are covered by fresh snow. It’ll take a whole lot of Christmas spirit for Clementine to find the right way to reach Santa—and when she does, she just might get the toy of her dreams!

Christmas at the Top of the World – Little Reindeer has heard of an amazing place where the stars are close enough to touch. Now Papa is going there on a journey, and he won’t be back until Christmas Day. It’s hard for Little Reindeer to wait.

The Christmas Cookie Sprinkle Snitcher
In a snow covered village, while children all sleep,
the Christmas Cookie Sprinkle Snitcher, lands with a leap!
All the sprinkles he snitches, it’s his Christmas fun,
but without sprinkles the baking cannot be done!
The villagers panic, but says Little Nat,
“I’ll track down the Snitcher wherever he’s at!”

Will Nat find the Snitcher? Will the Snitcher relent?
Will the cookies be baked? Will the Snitcher repent?
Will Nat lose the trail? Will he fall through the ice?
If Nat finds the Snitcher, will the Snitcher be nice?
These questions are answered for all to enjoy!

Christmas Farm – When Wilma decides her garden needs a new beginning, she gathers string, scissors, shovels, sixty-two dozen balsam seedlings, and Parker, her five-year-old neighbor. Year after year, Wilma and Parker nurture their trees, keeping careful count of how many they plant, how many perish, and how many grow to become fine, full Christmas trees. A cozy, holiday read-aloud and a lyrical way to usher in the month of December.

The Christmas Wish – Long ago, a brave little girl named Anja wanted to be one of Santa’s elves. So she leaves a note for her family and helps her elderly neighbor prepare for the holiday, then she straps on her skis, and heads out into the snowy landscape. From a red bird to a polar bear to a reindeer, a menagerie of winter animals help Anja make her way to Santa. A generous trim-size, matte cover, extraordinary photographs, and foiled title make this a special book for the holiday season.

Cobweb Christmas: The Tradition of Tinsel – Everybody loves Christmas at Tante’s. The old lady decorates a wonderful tree and makes certain to have something for all who come to visit, be it the nearby village children or the shy animals of the pine forest. The only creatures Tante overlooks are the spiders she has swept out of her cottage while cleaning. But the curious spiders want to come inside and see Tante’s tree, too. When a midnight visitor lets them into the old lady’s home, they unknowingly spin Tante the very gift she has longed for–a gift that has inspired the draping of tinsel on Christmas trees ever since.

The Day Santa Stopped Believing in Harold – Santa has a problem. This kid? Harold? Santa doesn’t think he’s real. He WANTS to believe in Harold–after all, Harold is one of the most magical parts of Christmas. Getting Harold’s letters, eating the cookies he leaves out, feeding his carrots to the reindeer… what would Christmas be without that? But Santa’s just not sure. Some of his friends are telling him they think Harold’s not real. And the Harold that sat on his knee last Christmas looked AWFULLY different. Santa comes up with a plan to find out once and for all if Harold really exists… with hilarious consequences.

Gingerbread Baby – Remember how the Gingerbread Boy is eaten by the fox? Well, not this Gingerbread Baby in a delicious twist to a favorite old tale. It all begins when Matti opens the oven too soon and out jumps a cheeky little Gingerbread Bay. He leads Matti’s mother and father, the dog and the cat. And a whole colorful cast of characters on a rollicking chase through the village and into the forest, staying just out of reach, daring them to catch him along the way. But Matti’s not with them. He’s at home in the borders making what turns out to be a gingerbread house into which the Gingerbread Baby runs. Only Matti knows he is safely inside. And readers will too when they look under the lift-the-flap gingerbread house at the end of the story, and there he is!

How the Grinch Stole Christmas! – “Every Who down in Who-ville liked Christmas a lot . . . but the Grinch, who lived just north of Who-ville, did NOT!” Not since “’Twas the night before Christmas” has the beginning of a Christmas tale been so instantly recognizable. This heartwarming story about the effects of the Christmas spirit will grow even the coldest and smallest of hearts. Like mistletoe, candy canes, and caroling, the Grinch is a mainstay of the holidays, and his story is the perfect gift for young and old.

How Santa Got His Job – Have you ever wondered what Santa did before he was Santa? When Santa was young and needed a job, no one was looking for a man in a red suit to deliver gifts on Christmas. So Santa tried just about everything — from a chimney sweep to a postman to a circus performer. But none of these worked out. It wasn’t until he met a group of elves who helped him use all his special talents, that Santa was able to find his dream job.

Presents Through the Window: A Taro Gomi Christmas Book – Pink suit. Moustache. Helicopter. This may not be your ordinary Santa, but it’s still a daunting Christmas Eve challenge! There are so many presents to deliver, and so little time. It’s a good thing Santa has a plan. He’ll just peek into every window and toss in a gift. Done! The trouble is, Santa is moving much too quickly to see who really lives in each house. With interactive cut-outs throughout, readers will delight in following Santa’s lightning-speed Christmas antics as they discover the true (and hilarious) identities of the gifts’ recipients! From the beloved and bestselling Taro Gomi, here is Christmas cheer for all!

Findus at Christmas – It is the day before Christmas Eve and there is lots to do, but disaster strikes when Pettson sprains his ankle. How can they celebrate Christmas now, with no tree, ham, meatballs or gingerbread? For all their resourcefulness, Findus and Pettson are close to giving up, when suddenly there is a knock on the door…

Gingerbread Baby – Remember how the Gingerbread Boy is eaten by the fox? Well, not this Gingerbread Baby in a delicious twist to a favorite old tale. It all begins when Matti opens the oven too soon and out jumps a cheeky little Gingerbread Bay. He leads Matti’s mother and father, the dog and the cat. And a whole colorful cast of characters on a rollicking chase through the village and into the forest, staying just out of reach, daring them to catch him along the way.

Jingle Bells – Christmas time, a happy time – or so it should be. But for two small mice, Lottie and Jack, Christmas Eve is overshadowed by one big problem… That Cat. How can they stop him from spoiling everything? Their friend, the wise rat, Ton Chee, has an idea involving a little golden bell … but will it work?

Little Fairy’s Christmas – A little fairy gets lost in a snowstorm and is blown far away from home. Her poor, thin wings are freezing! As she looks for shelter, she meets a friendly robin and owl who give her food and clothes, and in turn she looks after a little elf boy. It’s Christmas Eve and Father Christmas is out delivering his presents. Along his way he finds the lost, shivering children, and takes them home, as well as giving them gifts. Together the children have a wonderful Christmas — and finally get warm. Beautiful, delicate illustrations make this book one to treasure.

Little Tomte’s Christmas Wish – Little Tomte lives happily in his cosy house beside a beautiful tree. When winter arrives, he’s worried that Christmas won’t come — until he makes a special Christmas wish. He embarks on a candle-making plan which will help make his wish come true. A heartwarming festive tale drawn with gentle humour by acclaimed Finnish illustrator Hannu Taina.

Lyle at Christmas – Christmas is an especially festive time for everyone’s favorite crocodile, Lyle. Lyle loves Bird and Loretta the cat, who live with Mr. Grumps. He loves East 88the Street and the house he shares with the Primms, and his mother. Lyle’s only problem is that he can’t decide what he wants for Christmas. However not everyone is filled with holiday cheer. Mr. Grumps has the holiday blues–so much so that even his adored cat, Loretta, has had it with miserable Mr. Grumps. And then, just a few days before Christmas Loretta disappears and the entire neighborhood joins Mr. Grumps in the hunt for the lost cat. Now Lyle knows exactly what he wants for Christmas–the safe return of his good friend. Will he be able to find Loretta before Christmas and restore the holiday cheer to East 88th Street?

Mousekin’s Frosty Friend – In the middle of winter, it isn’t easy for a white-footed mouse to find food, especially while trying to dodge predators who are just as hungry. Mousekin is being very careful, when he comes across a creature he’s never seen before–and who proves quite helpful in helping the little mouse avoid danger.

On Christmas Eve – Father Christmas is starting his rounds on Christmas Eve, but his little helper has forgotten to bring the gifts and sweets! Can she collect them all in time? Or will some children have no presents this year? This traditional story gives children a glimpse into the busy lives of Father Christmas and his helpers on Christmas Eve, showing the work of the angels up in the heavens and how all the creatures on Earth come to share in the joy of Christmas. Else Wenz-Vietor brings the magic of Christmas alive once more with her beautiful illustrations.

One Snowy Night – Jewel-like colors, animals with unmistakable character, and a flocked woolly hat on every page enhance this tender story about a little hedgehog who is caught unprepared by a chilly winter wind.

Polar Express – A young boy, lying awake one Christmas Eve, is welcomed aboard a magical trip to the North Pole . . . Through dark forests, over tall mountains, and across a desert of ice, the Polar Express makes its way to the city atop the world, where the boy will make his Christmas wish. For millions of readers worldwide, this mysterious journey to the North Pole has become a beloved classic.

The Snow Tree – Nature lovers of all ages will delight in this ornate Christmas picture book that celebrates the splendor of the natural world Lavish embossing on every page gently illuminates snow-covered hills and trees, bringing to life the frozen beauty of the woodland setting. A little black bear wakes up to find a wintry world of white all around him. He wonders where all the colors have gone, and steps out into the softly drifted snow to look for them. The cub is soon helped in his search by a whole host of animals, including a raccoon, a blue jay, a lynx, and an arctic fox who bring the brilliant colors of the forest to him, one by one. What the animals finally create together with their treasures is a magical symbol of the Christmas season and a timeless testimonial to the joy of friendship and sharing. Readers will be enchanted by the lovingly rendered woodland animal and forest scenes, as well as the poetic text printed in elegant calligraphy.

Tom’s Christmas Fish – The traditional Christmas meal in Prague isn’t turkey or ham, but a special kind of Christmas fish. On Christmas Eve, Tom chooses his live fish at the market, and calls it Peppo. He carefully carries it home, through the streets of Prague’s old town, in a big bag of water. Tom loves his new pet, but what fate awaits Peppo as the Christmas meal draws near? This charming, child-friendly story presents one culture’s Christmas traditions in fascinating detail. At its core is a heartwarming tale of a boy and his grandpa, as they both learn about doing the right thing. Marit Tornqvist’s accomplished artwork vividly brings Tom and Peppo’s story, and the beautiful city of Prague, to life.

The Tomtes’ Christmas Porridge – Every Christmas Eve, the Master puts out rice pudding for the tomtes to say thank you for their help around the house throughout the year. But recently the Master has forgotten, and Mama tomte knows he’ll forget again this year. The elves hatch a plot to steal a bowl of Christmas pudding, without being seen, so that Papa tomte doesn’t get upset. This charming story is based on an old Swedish Christmas tradition. It is illustrated with great humour and is full of delightful detail, as the tomte family scurry around their Master’s house one busy Christmas Eve.

The Twelve Days of Christmas – The astounding talent of Laurel Long brings this beloved song to life with breathtaking style. Set against a lush countryside, each day brings a new gift elegantly rendered. And like in the verses of the song, the previous gifts are repeated in every illustration, giving this striking artwork a hidden aspect, culminating in a staggering spread featuring them all. Readers will pore over every page, searching for golden rings, turtledoves, and all the rest, secretly tucked into each stunning painting.

Walking in a Winter Wonderland – Sleigh bells ring, are you listening . . . Tim Hopgood’s joyful and colorful illustrations show all the wonders of winter―snowmen and sleigh rides, sweaters and smiles. Follow a family on their walk through snowy scenes. A beautiful and festive celebration of the season―perfect for sharing!

The Wild Christmas Reindeer – Little Teeka thought she had to be firm with the reindeer to get them ready for Santa’s important flight, but when her bossy yelling only got their antlers tangled up, she knew she had to try something different.

Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree
Mr. Willowby’s Christmas tree
Came by special delivery.
Full and fresh and glistening green–
The biggest tree he’d ever seen.

That was the trouble. The tree was so tall, it couldn’t stand up straight in his parlor. Mr. Willowby asked his butler to chop off the top of the tree. What happens to the treetop? Where will it be for Christmas? Snuggle up with this story and follow along through a forest full of friendly creatures who get to share in a bit of Christmas joy.

The Yule Tomte and the Little Rabbits: A Christmas Story for Advent – Grump the Yule Tomte lives all alone, which is exactly how he likes it! He’s waiting for Christmas to arrive when all of a sudden a gust of wind steals his mittens from the washing line and his hat from his head. That’s the last straw — he won’t be the Yule Tomte any more! Binny and Barty, the rabbit children, live with their family in the forest. They’ve never heard of Christmas, or the Yule Tomte, until the wind brings them some strange gifts…All the animals in the forest prepare for the arrival of Christmas. They make presents, bake sweet treats and even write a song. But will the Yule Tomte ever bring Christmas to the big forest? This charming and funny Christmas story of a grumpy tomte and the hopeful little rabbits is told over twenty-five chapters — one for each day of Advent — with delightful festive illustrations. Perfect for families to share together.

What are your favorite Christmas picture books?

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Disclosure: Maureen Sklaroff is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. This post may contain Amazon or other affiliate links. All opinions expressed, however, are 100% my own. To read my full disclosure policy, click here.
Maureen
Why not receive Blue Bells and Cockle Shells in your inbox so that you don’t miss a single post!