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Our favourite Christmas books

We keep our Christmas books tucked away on the bookshelf behind our sofa all year long until the start of December when we dust them off and stack them up on our coffee table. I think the fact that they’re hidden away for 11 months of the year makes it that much more special when we finally bring them back out at Christmas time. The kids pounce on them like they’re a long-lost treasure, each one finding their favourite book in the stack.

Don’t you just love this time of year with all the traditions — the favourite books and Christmas songs, the family recipes passed down from generations, the special ornaments carefully unwrapped and hung on the tree, everything drumming up feelings of nostalgia and anticipation and… magic!

I asked each of the kids to choose their favourite Christmas books, and apart from a small argument between Easton and Quin over a shared favourite, they each happily narrowed it down to one. I quickly snapped some photos on my phone, and here they are:

Dear Santa
Marlow loves the Dear Santa book with its lift-the-flap features.

Ivy's favourite christmas book
Ivy chose Olivia Helps with Christmas , which has been her favourite for the past couple years. We always laugh because Olivia tries to help, but isn’t very helpful. Classic Olivia!

quin's favourite christmas book

Quin chose The Night Before Christmas because I think he’s on a mission to memorise the whole story before Christmas! (I normally don’t read this one to them until Christmas eve, but we’ve broken the rules this year for Quin.)

Easton's favourite christmas book

Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree is the book the boys argued over because it’s really both of their favourite, but Easton won in the end and got to take a photo with the book. : ) This really is such a cute rhyming book and a very sweet story too.

Some other favourites in our family are:

1. Christmas in Exeter Street , about a house that gets filled to the brim with visitors on Christmas eve. There are so many people in the house – even a baby sleeping in the kitchen sink!
2. The Polar Express , a classic!
3. The Twelve Days of Christmas , a beautifully illustrated book based on the song — we can’t help but sing when reading!
4. My Wonderful Christmas Tree , another beautifully illustrated counting book.
5. Christmas in Noisy Village , an Astrid Lindgren book that perfectly captures all the sweet activities leading up to Christmas. The illustrations are so good!
6. The Christmas Wish , a new-to-us book this season which the kids really love (especially Ivy), featuring photographs of a little girl on a snowy adventure to find Santa.
7. The Snowman , which isn’t technically a Christmas book, but still captures the magic of this time of year.

Please share your favourites below!

Courtney x


Comments (25)

December 15, 2014

I actually made a pinterest board with some of ours since we’ve started doing a “story book” advent calendar where we wrap up 24 of our winter, solstice, and christmas themed books and open one each day: http://www.pinterest.com/allisongryski/advent-story-books/

Courtney in London
December 15, 2014

Oh I love this! Thank you so much for sharing. xx

December 15, 2014

We blogged our favorite books last week… we call Christmas at Noisy Village, Christmas at Bullerby – our favorite, favorite!!! And I think your children might enjoy the chapter book: The best Christmas Pageant ever by Barbara Robinson. Anyway, here is our list: http://www.se7en.org.za/2014/12/02/se7ens-natural-treasures-advent-calendar-activities-and-books

December 15, 2014

It too has been a tradition in our family to read ‘The Night Before Christmas’ on Christmas Eve and l could not help but laugh when you said you broke the rule and read it before that time, my son begged me last week to read it and l also broke the rule!!
He loves two stories that thrill me when he wants to read them as l loved them as a child, one is ‘Winter Story’ from ‘Bramble Hedge’ and ‘The Secret Staircase’ also from ‘Bramble Hedge’ written by Jill Barklem.
Also the fallowing are firm favourites at this time of year ‘A Bird In Winter’ by Helene Kerillis and ‘Owl Moon’ by Jane Yolen which l have to say is an amazing book, it bring the excitement and magic of childhood alive.
Happy reading!

Courtney in London
December 15, 2014

I may have just placed an Amazon order based on your recommendations! Thank you so much. (Maybe I’ll save them until Christmas eve to make up for having read The Night Before Christmas already!) 🙂 x

Paula H
December 15, 2014

The favorite book of my children is a book that I also liked very much as a child and that has been republished recently – “The Christmas Rose”, originally appeared in German but is also available in English. It is meant to be read as an advent story with a new page for each day until Christmas. The story is about Fritz and Gretl, two siblings that depart on a long journey into the wintery north. Their father is very ill and can only be cured by a magical Christmas rose from the Winter King. With the help of some forest animals and a snow giant, Fritz and Getl bravely make the difficult journey to the Winter King’s fortress. But will they get the blessing of the Christmas Child to have the Christmas flower bloom? A beautiful story with the original illustrations from the 1920s.

Courtney in London
December 15, 2014

The Christmas Rose sounds like a beautiful book. I just tried to find it on Amazon, but didn’t have any luck. I’ll have to dig deeper! Thank you for the recommendation. x

Paula H
December 16, 2014

Dear Courtney ,
for some reason the English version is available through the German Amazon homepage:
It is the same edition though with the cute original illustrations. Maybe your kids like it too.
Happy holidays to you and your family! And thank you for all your contributions this year (blog articles, your beautiful photos and inspiring thoughts and ideas). You truly enriched my year! Danke 🙂

December 15, 2014

We have a big basket with Christmas books and pull them out early December with all of our decorations. The best! My favorite as a child was “The Snowy Day” by Ezra Jack Keats. My girls LOVE “The Night Before Christmas” and “The Sweet Smell of Christmas” by Patricia Scarry — a scratch and sniff with the nostalgic scents of Christmas (apple pie, pine, peppermint, gingerbread, hot cocoa, and orange)

December 15, 2014

Oh! Courtney, I must tell you about a book we bought that I think your children will love. It’s called “And Then…” by M.H. Clark. It’s a series of 20 imaginative book beginnings. You read the card to kick off the story and then it stops to allow you and/or your children to make up the rest. So fun and the book is beautiful. xx

Courtney in London
December 15, 2014

Oh it sounds like such a cute book! I’ll look for it now. Thank you! x

December 15, 2014

Bit off topic but could you tell me where Marlow’s cute dress is from please?! x

Courtney in London
December 15, 2014

It’s by Miller, from Elias & Grace: http://www.eliasandgrace.com xx

December 15, 2014

Thanks for sharing! We also save Christmas books for the holiday season only. Nothing beats cuddling up and reading a special book by the light of the Christmas tree with my little ones! A favourite in our house is “Ten On The Sled” – it’s full of fun rhymes and I like that the animals are all from Canada (where we live).

Esther in Amsterdam
December 15, 2014

We keep the Christmas (and St. Nicolas) books stacked away until December. It feels wrong to read them any other time of year! I love those photos of your sweet kids! x

Esther in Amsterdam
December 15, 2014

PS you know Richard Scary’s ‘The Animals’ Merry Christmas’, right? We love that book! x

December 15, 2014

We are book freakers, and cannot resist Christmas’ books either. Our very favorite would be “Le Sapin” by Delphine Chedru – all her books are beautiful. This one, with no words, is a story about the silence and mysteries of Christmas’ night.

December 16, 2014

I love reading at Christmas. Growing up my favourite story was the The Fir Tree by Hans Christian Anderson and reading up on old Christmas traditions in Germany and Hungary. Now in Australia I just cannot enjoy those stories, I get too homesick. They are put away for Christmas time at home when it is cold and cosy outside (looking forward to next year 🙂 ).
A book that I can look at all year round is Findus at Christmas from the Peterson and Findus range by Sven Nordquist. The story is just beautiful and so imaginative in my opinion (just like all Peterson and Findus stories). And I adore the pictures. We spend hours with my three year old looking at the drawings finding new and new details every time. I cannot recommend it enough.

Vanessa Berberian
December 16, 2014

Do you have Holly & Ivy by Rumer Godden? Such a sweet and beautiful story, one of Magali’s favorites, Ivy would love it!


Teresa Hilliard
December 16, 2014

The Polar Express is one of our favorites. We also liked Closing the Book on Santa Claus by Ron Chandler. The title story is about a father who tries to save his daughter’s holiday celebration after it is cancelled at the local school. He organizes a rally at city hall, but unexpected calamity prevails. It also has four other stories that include travelling through a winter blizzard, a lady dealing with crazy people at a party, immigrants coping with the holiday season, and a stolen Christmas tree. It was a fun read.

Emma Pinchin
December 16, 2014

My Desert Island book is also one that I re-read every year at Christmas, The Children of Green Knowe, by Lucy Boston. It is the most magical story and is such a part of Christmas for me. My Great Aunt introduced my mum to it as a child and she in turn passed it on to me. For our first married Christmas my husband narrated it on to CD for me. I can’t wait to share it with our children, but at 4 and 17 months they are still just a bit too young. It is the story of Tolly, a 7 year old boy, who goes to stay with his Great-Grandmother for the Christmas holidays and finds her house in the Fens a place of magic and mystery. It is the book I buy for Christenings and special birthdays. It is just wonderful and I can’t recommend it highly enough.
Next year I want to do a book Advent calendar for the children so have been picking up a few new texts to add in. The new edition of Snow by Walter de la Mare, illustrated by Carolina Rabei is just beautiful. My 17 month old daughter got Dear Santa for Sinterklaas and loves it. And my son was given The Polar Express and Snowmen at Night at the weekend from some friends visiting from Texas, so we are currently enjoying these.

December 17, 2014

Mr. Willoughby’s Christmas Tree is our favorite too! So sweet & simple!

December 19, 2014

What a great list we love Lotta’s Christmas Surprise by Astrid Lindgren. It’s out of print, but it’s a great spin off of Christmas in Noisy Village.

January 2, 2015

My 3 and 4 year old girls got Mr Willoughby’s tree from the first (of 13!) Icelandic santas this year.. (bit different than the beachy Australian christmas they are used to) and LOVED it..I must have read it about 50 times so far and still like it!

October 19, 2016

my favourite Christmas book is Angel Bright, ‘Its Christmas Eve and one little angel is lost and far from home.’ (you will need a box of tissues ) see teaser https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hh8cHq_M04Y

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