These are the best of the best Christmas Picture Books! With beautiful illustrations and timeless stories, these are the books we use to spread holiday cheer at our house.
I know it’s not even Thanksgiving yet, but it’s time to talk about Christmas Picture Books.
If you want any from the library, go put your Christmas titles on hold right now! After Thanksgiving, you’ll have a hard time finding any Christmas picture books on the library shelves. (And if you want a handy library/bookstore printable with this list of our Favorite Christmas Picture Books, just scroll to the bottom of the post).
Also, if you want to do a 12 Days of Christmas with picture books for your family, or even wrap 25 books to put under the tree (you can wrap up library books too!) and have a fun book surprise everyday in December, then now is the time to get started.
At our house, we have book baskets for every holiday and season of the year. But our Christmas book basket is by far the biggest. In fact, it’s really three baskets because we have so many Christmas books.
However, I narrowed this list down to our top 25 Most Favorite Christmas Picture Books. These are the ones we really love!
The books on this list are specific to Christmas, not just general winter books (those are a separate book basket at our house). Some are religious, some are not. Some are new, some are old. All of them are full of holiday joy, the spirit of giving, and the magic of the season.
Reading Christmas books all month long is what makes the holiday really feel special at our house. And then, as soon as Christmas ends, we pack up all the books and put them away so they’re magical all over again next year.
Happy Holiday Reading!
25 Favorite Christmas Picture Books
I adore this book. It’s set during World War I and it captures the true simplicity and serenity of the Christmas season. Ruthie and her father pick out the perfect Christmas tree for the town, but by the time December rolls around, he’s left for the war. Ruthie and her mother have to figure out how to get the town Christmas tree on their own. It’s the most beautiful story.
This is my absolute favorite of the Christmas picture books. I think I tear up almost every time I read it. In few words, this gorgeous book, this book tells the story of the night that Christ was born. The miracle echoes to the ends of the earth. It’s poetic and powerful. And Alison Jay’s illustrations are always my favorite.
This one really captures the true spirit of gift giving. Rob wants to get his father something special, but he doesn’t have much money to spend. However, sometimes the very best gifts don’t cost anything at all.
This is a must read Christmas Classic. It was originally published in 1963, but it’s never gone out of style. It starts with a great big Christmas tree that doesn’t quite fit in Mr. Willowby’s house. So, he chops off the top, which ends up on a festive adventure of its own.
I love the medieval setting of this book and the perfect illustrations. It tells the tale of Good King Wenceslas and the origin of St. Stephens Day. Another great book that emphasizes the holiday spirit of generosity and kindness.
This was a new addition to our book basket last year and I think we read it a hundred times! Red and Lulu, male and female Cardinals, live happily together in a great big pine tree. One morning, Red flies off to look for breakfast, but when he returns he sees the tree (with Lulu in it!) has been cut down and is being taken away. Don’t worry, it has a very happy ending. And the illustrations in this one are worth a million dollars.
If I see Marla Frazee’s name on a book, I will buy it. If you’ve ever wondered how Santa finds the perfect toy for every kid, this book has all the answers. It’s so cute!
If I see Julia Donaldson’s name on a book, I will buy it too. This book is so funny and so cute. Stick Man lives in the family tree / With his Stick Lady Love and their stick children three. Definitely read this one.
The Mellops, the most adorable family of pigs, have been around since the 1950’s. But this one is my favorite in the series. Everyone in the Mellops family has an idea to surprise everyone with a Christmas tree. This ends up being a lot of Christmas trees.
I’m a huge Rumer Godden fan and if you pair her beautiful writing with Barbara Cooney’s illustrations, I’m going to absolutely fall in love forever. In this perfect book, Holly is a doll that wishes she could come to life. Ivy is an orphan who wishes she had a home. And because it’s Christmas, you can assume their wishes will come true in the happiest way.
Olive is a dog, but while listening to Christmas music on the radio she thinks she hears “olive the other reindeer, used to laugh and call him names.” Well, if she’s a reindeer, she better head to the North Pole to help Santa out. It’s so cute and so funny.
This one gives me all the Christmas feels. A homeless boy finds a Christmas tree to decorate and it brings all the Christmas magic to a cold and lonely night. This is a really special book!
All of the magic and tradition and rituals surrounding the Christmas tree are captured so well in this beautiful book.
All of the animals in the stable are getting ready for a guest, but who? We have this one in board book form and it’s been a favorite for all of my littles.
Because Christmas ninjas are irresistible.
This book is newer (2015) but it’s got that old fashioned nostalgic charm that I adore. And my kids just love thinking about Santa being a baby and growing up.
Ooooh. The pictures in this one are incredible. It’s a wordless book about the Nutcracker ballet and it’s so gorgeous. We go to the ballet every year, so this one is extra special.
This is a book about Christ’s life and it’s meaning. Three trees grow up in the forest with big dreams, but things don’t go as they imagined. One becomes a manger. One becomes a fishing boat. And one becomes the cross on which Christ is crucified. A beautiful message in this one.
Jonathan Toomey is the best woodcarver in the valley, but since the death of his wife and child, he’s also the loneliest. But a special Christmas request from a widow and her son turn everything around. This one is so sweet.
You have to a version of this one in your Christmas arsenal. We have 5! But I’m partial to this Jan Brett version – I love all the intricate details in her illustrations.
There was no snow on Christmas Eve because the real Christmas miracle happened in the desert in the spring. This is the Christmas story of Christ’s birth, beautifully told by Pam Munoz Ryan, who we love at our house.
If you want all the old fashioned, nostalgic, family tradition Christmas feels, this is THE BOOK. It’s so charming!
This is a picture book version of the chapter in Little House in the Big Woods about the Ingalls’ Christmas. I’ve always loved the simplicity of their pioneer Christmas and it’s fun to revisit it every year in picture book form. I mean, the kids get so excited over an orange in their stocking!! It really is a great reminder that Christmas isn’t about acquiring more stuff – it’s just a feeling.
If that precious cover art hasn’t already sold you: this is an adorable story about what happens when a little girl finds a lost reindeer in the forest. It’s a sweet Christmas adventure.
Snow, cocoa, homemade Christmas ornaments. You know. Christmas in the country. It’s a perfect book.
Printable Christmas Picture Book List