Light up the holiday spirit by reading a new or classic Christmas story with the kids

by Kate Evans

There are so many enchanting new and treasured classic children’s Christmas stories to enjoy reading to your kids, grandchildren or students over the holiday season. Pick a few as holiday gifts, bedtime stories or classroom activities.

Area children’s librarian Genevieve Miller shared some of her favorite Christmas book recommendations for children of different ages:

The Little Red Sleigh

by Erin Guendelsberger Ages two-seven

The Little Red Sleigh has one big dream―to one day become Santa’s big red sleigh! But all her life, she’s been told she’s too small, she’s too young, she can’t fly, and she certainly can’t meet Santa. This Christmas, with the help of some friends, she’s determined to do the impossible. Full of winter joy

and holiday magic, Little Red Sleigh is a heartwarming children’s Christmas book that will remind readers of all ages that no dream is out of reach if you believe.

The Night Before Christmas

by Jan Brett Ages two and up

Jan Brett’s interpretation of the Christmas classic The Night Before Christmas has been a holiday classic since it was published and is a visual masterpiece. Not only will readers delight in watching St. Nick delivering his presents to the family, but they will love the addition of two elf stowaways from the North Pole, creating mischief and mayhem under a midnight sky.

There was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bell

by Lucille Colandro Ages two-eight

This new version of the “There Was an Old Lady” song is a great read-aloud.

The hungry old lady swallows a bell, bows, gifts, a sack, a sleigh and some reindeer. She’s about to swallow a candy cane for dessert when she hears a jolly “Ho! Ho! Ho!” from Santa Claus, who is waiting for a ride. With rhyming text and funny illustrations, this version of a classic song will appeal to young readers.

The Christmas Owl

by Gideon Sterer Ages three-eight

The Christmas Owl is based on a true story of a little owl named Rockefeller.

The story about a little owl that was found in the world’s most famous Christmas tree captivated the country.

When Little Owl’s home is cut down by people saying it will make a beautiful Christmas tree, she’s not sure she wants to have anything to do with Christmas. Then she is saved by a woman named Ellen, whose house is merrily decorated for the holiday, and filled with birds who need someone to care for them. Surrounded by kindness and new friends, Little Owl begins to wonder if Christmas might not be such a bad thing after all.

The Best Worst Christmas Pageant Ever

by Barbara Robinson Ages seven-11

This year’s Christmas pageant is definitely like no other, but maybe that’s what makes it so special.

Laughter abounds in this bestselling Christmas classic by Barbara Robinson. The Best Worst Christmas Pageant Ever follows the outrageous shenanigans of the Herdman siblings or the “worst kids in the history of the world.”

Other story suggestions

Another children’s librarian Janice Ross suggested the following children’s Christmas books as an enjoyable read: The Little Red Sleigh, Elf the original Night Before Christmas by Clement Moore, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and other classics.

Ross said that she just read Snowmen at Christmas to her storytime group on Friday and made snowmen ornaments with the kids. She often shows a movie of the book after they read it, if there is one. Christmas books with movie too that Ross enjoys with kids include “Polar Express,” “Elf” and “Prancer” by Stephen Cosgrove.

More reading choices

Other endearing children’s Christmas books to consider include:

Miracle on 34th Street by Valentine Davies Estate (author), Susanna Leonard Hill (author) and James Newman Gray (illustrator)

Valentine Davies’ 70-year-old magical Christmas tale is now in picture book format. It tells the story of a young girl who doesn’t believe in Santa Claus, magic or miracles at all. But when she meets Kris Kringle and tells him what she most wants for Christmas, she hopes that maybe he’s the real thing. Based on the original “Miracle on 34th Street,” the book is timeless and full of Christmas spirit.

Polar Express: 30th Anniversary Edition by Chris Von Allsburg. Polar Express is a wonderful tale of a young boy on Christmas Eve who takes a magical train ride to the North Pole to make his Christmas wish. On his adventure, he learns about friendship, bravery and the spirit of Christmas.

The story has become a treasured Christmas classic and holiday movie. The 30th anniversary edition of Polar Express comes with a keepsake ornament.

A Charlie Brown Christmas by Tina Gallo, (adaptor) Charles Schultz (author) and Scott Jeralds (illustrator). Enjoy Christmas with Charlie Brown and the rest of the Peanuts gang in this book version of the beloved Charlie Brown Christmas television special.

Christmas is almost here and everyone is enjoying the holiday celebrations except Charlie Brown. Can the Peanuts crew help Charlie Brown discover the true meaning of Christmas?

Bear Stays Up for Christmas (The Bear Books) by Karma Wilson (author) and Jane Chapman (illustrator). Bear’s friends are determined to keep Bear awake for Christmas. They wake Bear up and have him help them find a Christmas tree, bake cakes, hang up stockings, and sing Christmas songs. Bear discovers that giving is one of the best Christmas presents of all.