Its time to start a new family tradition. With the best Christmas books for kids. One that doesn’t involve unwrapping candy or chocolate first thing in the morning for nearly the entire month of December. We have started doing a Christmas Book Advent Calendar!
Leading up to Chrissy we unwrap one of the books from this ‘best Christmas books’ list, every night and read it before bed.
Being an “Aussie”, we have a bunch of Australian Christmas books too. Some are hilarious. Even if you aren’t Australian, they’re definitely worth a read and children can learn from the cultural differences. I will share our Best Aussie Christmas books after the universal ones.
The best Christmas books for a Book Advent Calendar
(& Bonus List of the Best Australian Themed Christmas Books)
Its fun rediscovering our best Christmas books each year. It helps build the children’s anticipation, without the sugar intake. I first seen this idea here by the Lovely Kate of Living Loving Laughing Together. And I still love it.
Related: Scented Sensory Christmas Slime.
Each Christmas I buy Dimples and Miss T a new Christmas book for under the tree. This is then used to update some of the younger babyish books from the following Christmas Advent. This also caters to their reading level as they grow.
Here is our list of the best Christmas books for a Candy free Advent Calendar. Its a good mix of classics, traditions, humorous, modern and some twists on classics.
1. Drummer Boy – By Loren Long
Drummer Boy By Loren Long is a touching a sweet Christmas story with beautiful illustrations. The story of an unforgettable little drummer boy bought to vivid life with his timeless and magical art.
2. The Polar Express – By Chris Van Allsburg.
I personally love this story, and the movie. It is about a young boy laying awake on Christmas eve, then he gets welcomed onto a magically train. In this 30th anniversary edition, the inimitable artistry of Chris Van Allsburg is revealed in a never-before-seen fashion, with a new jacket design and expanded interior layout. Includes author’s note, downloadable audio read by Liam Neeson, and golden “All Aboard” ornament.
3. Wombat Divine – By Mem Fox.
Wombat loves the Nativity Play so much that he tries out for every part. This is a humorous story that kids just love. It is also an Australian themed book, by the Australian animals. But the story itself isn’t aimed at just Aussies.
4. Dinosaurs night before Christmas – By Anne Meucke.
I love a classic with a funny modern twist. Children love this fun book. The dinosaur fossils in the museum come to life (and dance and eat gingerbread) in this clever twist on the classic “Twas the Night Before Christmas!”. The pictures are bright and vibrant and its just such a fun book to read.
5. Silent Night – By Joseph Mohr.
A graceful and warm book with soft illustrations. This is a must have classic that has universal appeal. “Silent Night,” written on Christmas Eve in a small town in Austria nearly two centuries ago, is one of the world’s most beloved Christmas carols.
6. The Wonder of the Greatest Gift : An Interactive Family Celebration of Advent.
This isn’t one we already have but I have been admiring this book. You can create precious holiday memories with The Wonder of the Greatest Gift pop-up book and recapture the sacredness of the Advent season as you celebrate the epic pageantry of the coming of the Messiah. This edition has a 3D pop-up tree, booklet with 25 family devotions,24 ornaments with hangers so you can hang them as an advent calendar, and a Star-shaped tree-topper.
7. Stick man – By Julia Donaldson
Stick Man lives in the family tree. With his Stick Lady Love and their stick children three. Things go from bad to worse as Stick Man gets lost. He wants nothing more than to be home with his family for Christmas. And when he helps Santa Claus out of a bind, he finds the perfect ticket home!
8. How the Grinch Stole Christmas! Deluxe Edition – By Dr. Seuss.
Grow your heart three sizes with this deluxe edition of the original “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”. The Dr. Seuss Christmas classic that no holiday season is complete without! This special slip case edition is one that will last.
9. Father Christmas Needs a Wee – By Nicholas Allen.
Dimples giggles at this. He thinks it is hilarious. On Christmas Eve every child leaves out a drink and a snack for Father Christmas. Before long he really, really needs a wee!
10. Elf on the shelf Book and a Magical Elf.
The Elf on the shelf tradition is just something fun. Delivered directly from the North Pole. Your scout Elf reports to Santa Claus each night to let him know who has been naughty or nice. One of the best parts of getting an elf is waking up each morning and trying to spy where they’re hanging out for the day. Maybe they’re sitting on the fridge or hanging from the light. Maybe they got into some mischief during the night!
Plus, every night this Scout Elf will return to the North Pole to say whether your family has been naughty or nice. Santa takes that information every night and decides if you’re getting presents or coal this year.
When Dimples was younger I was an Elf on the shelf fan. You can read about it here.
11. Bear Stays Up: For Christmas – By karma Wilson.
Its all about having people who love you around. A tale of friendship. 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.
12. Twelve days of Christmas – By Alison Jay.
You cant have the best Christmas books without this one. This visual feast from acclaimed illustrator Alison Jay is the perfect festive gift. On Christmas Eve, a man buys presents for the woman he loves, beginning with a partridge in a pear tree.
13. Room for a Little One : A Christmas Tale – By Martin Waddell.
That cold winter’s night,
beneath the star’s light… a Little One came for the world. Such a sweet book for little ones.
14. Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer – By Robert May
Another one you cant go past. The original story of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, written in verse with charming new illustrations!
15. Tizzy, The Christmas Shelf Elf – By Dorothea Jenson.
This is one I want to get. just to extend on our readings of the elf on the shelf. It tells what happens when two naughty boys find Tizzy, one of Santa’s elves, stranded in their living room. Tizzy tells them that Santa’s sleigh is powered by the imaginations of children, and pleads with them to use the power of their own imaginations to send him home. But how? ..”. a clever holiday read-aloud story featuring two excited siblings who sneak down early Christmas morning and discover a very special surprise.
16. Father Christmas Goes on Holiday – By Raymond Briggs
Love this. Its so clever and full of fun! No-one needs a holiday more than Father Christmas, but where can such a well-known and easily recognized person go? Father Christmas sets off in search of his ideal holiday spot! France, Scotland and Las Vegas are his chosen destinations, but as Father Christmas discovers – there’s nowhere like home.
17. Santa Claus – By Rod Green.
How Santa gets all the way around the world in one night? And how does Santa’s suit work in boiling hot climates? Santa Claus beautifully captures the enchanting world of Santa.
18. Santa’s Reindeer – By Rod Green
Another magical book by Rod Green. An essential part of the magic of Christmas, Santa would be lost without his trusty reindeers – Donner, Dancer, Prancer, Blitzen, Cupid, Dasher, Vixen, Comet and Rudolph. Carefully selected by Santa and his Sleigh Master from herds living in the frozen North, the chosen few are invited to the North Pole to undergo rigorous training.
19. There was an old lady who swallowed a star – By P. Crumble.
There was an old lady who swallowed a star. I don’t know why she swallowed that star… Now that’s bizarre! It is time for Christmas and the old lady’s festive appetite is enormous! Hold onto your chimneys as even Santa isn’t safe from the old lady’s chompers this year! Surely shell POP! Follow the old lady’s Christmas rampage.
20. The nightmare before Christmas – By Tim Burton.
You have heard of it, seen the film or read it haven’t you? Tim Burton’s twisted Christmas tale is a must have. In this beloved picture book that could only come from the visionary mind of author and illustrator TIM BURTON, we meet Jack Skellington– a well-intentioned inhabitant of Halloweenland. Jack is bored of “the scaring, the terror, the fright….tired of being something that goes bump in the night.” And so, in an effort to bring to joy to his town, Jack kidnaps Santa and takes his place as the jolly old elf.
21. A Guinea Pig Christmas Carol – By Dickens, Newall & Goodwin.
This is cute. The ultimate and timeless Christmas story, with cuddly guinea pigs in the starring roles! Miserable to the core, the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge says “bah, Humbug!” to the festive season. But one night he is visited by three Christmas Spirits who take him on a journey through time.
This is Charles Dickens’s joyful Christmas tale, retold in an entirely new way.
22. The Christmas Story
This is one of our lovely traditional favourites. First published in 1952, this classic Little Golden Book retelling of the Christmas story was illustrated by beloved artist Eloise Wilkin. Its simple but poetic text gently invites children to hear the story of Jesus’ birth in a stable in Bethlehem.
23. The Story Orchestra: The Nutcracker.
This is a new edition with modern illustrations and you can press a button to hear Tchaikovsky’s Music. Follow Clara on a magical Christmas adventure in this retelling of the classic ballet story. Watch the Nutcracker battle the Mouse King, meet the Sugar Plum Fairy and journey to the Land of Sweets, where wonder and excitement await…
Including music from: ‘The Dance of the Reed Flutes’, ‘The Waltz of Flowers’ and ‘The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy’.
24. Twas the night before Christmas By Clement Moore.
Edited by Santa Claus for the Benefit of Children of the 21st Century…
This is the edition that is credited with having Santa stop smoking after 189 years and for taking a small bite out of history. The public health sector, parents, educators and grandparents have applauded and welcomed the addition of this child friendly edition.
Bonus List : The Best Australian Christmas Books.
Extending on from the best Christmas books, are some of our favourite Australian themed Christmas books.
1. John Williamson’s Christmas in Australia.
It’s Christmas in Australia and Dad wants that perfect Christmas family photo, but someone is always missing!
2. Santa’s Secret.
What does Santa get up to after all the presents have been delivered? An adorable Christmas picture book with a cheeky Australian twist. The Christmas presents have all been delivered, but Santa is back on his sleigh. What is he up to? Where is he going? Quick …hop on board. Let’s find out.
3. Twelve Days of Aussie Christmas + CD
On the first day of Christmas, my best mate gave to me… A platypus up a gum tree. Join an hilarious cast of Aussies as they count down to Christmas! Sing along to the bonus CD while you search for surfing Santas, jolly jumbucks and lots more.
4. Aussie Night before Christmas.
‘Twas the night before Christmas; there wasn’t a sound. Not a possum was stirring; no-one was around. We’d left on the table some tucker and beer, Hoping that Santa Claus soon would be here. Christmas in the middle of an Australian summer means Santa has to find new ways to deliver his presents…
5. Aussie Jingle Bells & CD.
This is one of our fav’s. Its so funny to sing, instead of read. Dashing through the bush, in a rusty Holden ute, Kicking up the dust, esky in the boot. Kelpie by my side, singing Christmas songs, It’s summertime and I am in my singlet, shorts and thongs. One of the world’s best-loved Christmas carols is given a hilarious Aussie twist. This version, of an Aussie classic, has become a staple at end-of-year school concerts.
6. Santa’s Aussie Holiday 10th Anniversary Edition
Each year Santa likes to have some fun, a chance to get some rest and sun. He needs to find somewhere to go. He spins his globe. Ho, ho, ho! A big smile spreads across his face… Australia is the perfect place! Join Santa and his new Aussie mates as they travel around Australia, from the Great Barrier Reef to Rottnest Island.
7. We Wish You a Ripper Christmas
‘We wish you a ripper Christmas, A full-bore ripper Christmas, A deadset ripper Christmas, And a snappy new year!.’ Another one that we sing along to and hear at the end of year school Xmas concert.
8. Christmas Wombat
“Slept. Scratched. Slept.” Indeed, it seems like Christmas will be just another day for the wombat . . . until she smells carrots! In this charming picture book, the star of Diary of a Wombat goes head to head with Santa’s reindeer in competition for carrots.
I hope you join in on this Christmas tradition and make a charming advent calendar with some of these great books to unwrap. Thank you for browsing through our list of the best Christmas books for kids.
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