Christmas is a time for traditions, with the same food, films, music, and memories brought out year after year. Yet it’s always great to add a little something new to the mix as well. Here are some of my favorite Christmas-themed picture books that I hope you might enjoy adding to your own library.
Pull-Out Pals: Santa’s Sleigh
This little board book packs a lot of humor into its sparse 10 pages. The book makes a number of silly suggestions about how Santa could deliver your presents, from hot air balloon to a cannon, before settling on the answer we all know. However, as the title suggests, there is one final twist when the last page pulls out to reveal an enormous sleigh and reindeer measuring over two feet long! It never fails to thrill my six-year-old, even though he knows it’s coming.
Judith Kerr’s Mog stories have been a staple of my family’s reading for decades, and Mog’s Christmas has been trotted out every year since its release in 1976. In the story, Mog is baffled by the sudden arrival of Christmas–a tree that can walk, white things falling from the air, and numerous rarely-seen relatives taking over the house–and she takes to the roof in protest only to make a dramatic reappearance! If you love Mog (and who doesn’t?), then UK supermarket Sainsbury’s made her the star of their 2015 Christmas commercial with a new book and stuffed toy to go with it. If you could get hold of them, of course; the toys sold out within hours!
Aliens Love Panta Claus
In my experience, there’s nothing kids love better than potty humor–which probably explains the success of the Aliens Love Underpants series. In this Christmas tale from the series, instead of stealing our underpants, the aliens are helping Santa deliver new pairs to everyone–not to mention causing their usual brand of mischief by decorating people’s trees and more with boxers, bloomers, and more! My son thought it hilarious when he discovered new pants in his stocking last year and I gleefully announced that the aliens must have visited us too.
If you’re looking for a book with little writing, Ann Schweninger’s Christmas Secrets is a sweet story that follows a family of bunnies as they prepare for the big day. Together they make a snowman, write their letters to Santa, and bake cookies to decorate their tree. Most pages feature only a sentence or less of writing in the form of speech bubbles (some pages have no writing at all) and the book encourages parents and children to talk about the events that are occurring instead.
Goes on Holiday
From Raymond Briggs, the author of The Snowman, this very British Christmas story shows Santa as a fairly ordinary fellow who likes nothing more than having a good-natured moan about his difficult job. Cookers, caravans, and cats all conspire to make his yearly journey awkward and he cannot wait to get home and relax. There’s also a delightful follow-up, Father Christmas Goes on Holiday, which sees him convert his sleigh into a motorhome and take a flying vacation to France, Scotland, and Las Vegas!
The Jolly Christmas Postman
The poor old Jolly Postman never seems to catch a break, if he’s not being shrunk, or having giant baby toys dropped on his head, he’s delivering all the gifts in fairytale land by himself–on a bike! Just like the other books in the series by Janet & Allan Ahlberg, The Jolly Christmas Postman is full of envelopes to open and surprises to find, and as such is best appreciated by older kids who won’t tear it to shreds on the first read.
One for the smallest of your brood, Dear Santa by Rod Campbell (author of Dear Zoo) is a simple lift-the-flap book in which Santa sends a number of presents that aren’t quite right until he finally sends the perfect gift. A great introduction to Christmas reading.