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12 Days of Christmas Picture Books

Want to indulge in the holiday spirit with some fun picture books with your kids? Check out this list of 12 great Christmas picture books perfect for the holidays.

Want to indulge in the holiday spirit with a fun picture book with your kids? Check out this list of 12 great Christmas picture books perfect for the holidays.

I’m not typically a big holiday person. I don’t go crazy with decorations or plan a big festive celebration. This year, we upgraded our Christmas decor to a small three and a set of icicle lights (so we’re not setting the bar very high over here).

Last year, however, I decided to buy a few holiday books to add to the boys’ bookshelf during the season. I added a few more this year, and we’ve started to garner a small list of our favorites. I’m a couple days late, but there’s still time to celebrate (almost) 12 days of Christmas with a fun holiday book each day.

I’m also a big fan of picture books as gifts for kids because they have a long life span and don’t take up a bunch of space. Clutter drives me crazy. If you buy them from a local bookstore, they’re also zero waste gift ideas (or close, if the book comes with a sticker on it). Either way, better is better.

If you’re looking for a few good books for the next couple of weeks as we approach Christmas or want to give a festive children’s book as a gift, check out these 12 which are some of our favorites.

And if you’re interested in some simple yet sustainable wrapping options, I’ve got a whole post about early next week, so be sure to stop back and check it out!

12 Days of Christmas Picture Books


I know these are long-standing favorites of many, but the list felt incomplete without these.

How The Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss ~ I’m not really a fan of Dr. Seuss. I think many of the books are too long, don’t make a lot of sense, and I hate all the made up words that my boys constantly ask me to define. I do, however, love this book (and Oh The Places You’ll Go).

The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams ~ This book holds a special place in my heart because my aunt read an excerpt from it at our wedding. If you know the book well, she read the part that describes what it feels like to be “real”; that feeling real isn’t being new and beautiful but it’s evident after being loved so deeply for so long that you become tattered and torn.

Merry Christmas, Big Hungry Bear by Don and Audrey Wood ~ Maybe not a “classic” classic as much as the first two, but my sister LOVED The Big Hungry Bear version of this series as a child. The Big Hungry Bear books definitely bring back memories. And this book has such a sweet message about sharing and caring for your neighbors (even when they might appear to be grumpy and scary). My boys really like the end of this book.

Want to indulge in the holiday spirit with a fun picture book with your kids? Check out this list of 12 great Christmas picture books perfect for the holidays.

Contemporary Stories

Bear Stays Up for Christmas by Karma Wilson ~ This is a really nice story about a group of animal friends that wake their friend Bear from hibernation to celebrate Christmas with him.

The Gingerbread Pirates by Kristin Kladstrup ~ In this book, a group of gingerbread cookies decorated as pirates come to life at night and have some exciting encounters with others in the house, including Santa.

Dear Santa, Love, Rachel Rosenstein by Amanda Peet and Andrea Troyer ~ Little Rachel is Jewish and celebrates Hanukkah with her family. She is a bit jealous of all of her friends who celebrate Christmas and receive presents each year. Especially because M is half Jewish, I like reading stories that expose the boys to other religions (and Judaism in particular) in a fun way.

Cara’s Kindness by Kristi Yamaguchi ~ I’m sneaking in a book that’s not really about Christmas but definitely feels wintry and seasonal. The story follows a group of friends who pay forward acts of kindness that ultimately come full circle. Our boys really like this book a lot and ask me to read it at least once or twice a week. It’s another book with a really great message for kids that’s written in a context they can understand.

You Are My Merry by Marianne Richmond ~ I’m a sucker for books that rhyme (which this book does). It’s a quick little read, more like a long poem than a story with a beginning, middle and end, about a mother’s love for her child.

Pete the Cat Saves Christmas by Eric Litwin ~ My boys love Pete the Cat books. It’s pretty similar in style to the rest of the stories in the series. With lots of repetition, our boys like that they can start to memorize the book and feel good “reading” along with me.

Samurai Santa: A Very Ninja Christmas by Rubin Pingk ~ The little boy in the book really wants an epic snowball fight for Christmas, but his friends won’t participate, fearing it will be considered naughty and cause Santa not to come. Santa ends up bringing the little boy quite the Christmas gift. T absolutely loves this book.

Santa’s Sleigh Is On Its Way To Minnesota by Eric James ~ This is just a cute story about Santa that incorporates whatever state resonates with your heart. They have it for a lot of other states, so find your own version that makes sense for your family.

Interactive Book

Can You See What I See? Night Before Christmas ~ With a bunch of photos filled with “hidden” items, this book can take a while to get through. But my boys love interacting with the book and finding all the items on each page. They’re still a bit young for the book, so they can’t always find everything without help. This may or may not be the one book where I still skip pages sometimes because I just can’t handle waiting for them to find every item on every page.

Happy Holidays!

Did you find this helpful or want to share these ideas with others? Pin this! Thanks so much for sharing.

Want to indulge in the holiday spirit with a fun picture book with your kids? Check out this list of 12 great Christmas picture books perfect for the holidays.

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