Twelve Favorite Christmas Books for Older Readers

Today, I’m sharing 12 Christmas-themed books for kids who are ready for longer Christmas stories. Many of these would also work for younger kids as read-alouds, and some of them include projects that would work for a wide range of ages.

The Kingfisher Book of Classic Christmas StoriesThis one is out-of-print but available used (and at our library at least). It has several familiar tales — like the scene from the Cratchit’s Christmas dinner — but also some tales that will be new.

The Nutcracker by E.T.A. Hoffman, illustrated by Maurice Sendak — This is a great book to hand off to an older Nutcracker fan, or to read aloud over a period of several days.

Norman Rockwell’s Christmas Book — I’m excited to see that they have reissued this collection because I spent hours pouring over my (older) copy as a child. It is full of illustrations by Rockwell, as well as unique Christmas stories, songs, poems, and even some recipes (we’ve never tried them, but they are fun to look at!).

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Christmas Around the World — We used this book as the basis for a month-long Christmas study one year. It discusses holiday traditions from twelve different countries. Very interesting!

Celebrate Christmas Around the World — We used this book alongside the above book. Not only does it include traditions and customs from countries around the world, it also has activity suggestions, recipes, and craft projects. Fun!

A Pioneer Christmas by Barbara Greenwood— Out-of-print, but worth checking your library for. This book lets your family follow along with a pioneer family as they prepare for Christmas. Along the way, there are crafts, activities, and recipes to try. There’s a Thanksgiving version, too!

Santa Comes to Little House by Laura Ingalls Wilder— I waffled on whether to include this one in my picture book list. But my kids did better with this story starting around age five and up, so I put it here. It’s a longer read (a whole chapter unabridged from the Little House series). I adore this story and was so excited to find it in this format. The illustrations are simply gorgeous.

Twenty-four Days Before Christmas by Madeleine L’Engle — Another book to check your library for (it’s sadly out-of-print). If you like Christmas stories with a gentle, old-fashioned feel, this one’s for you. The Austin family has lots of exciting things planned for Christmas —including the possibility of a new sibling. In the meantime, they focus on doing one special Christmas activity together each day. A good reminder to us all to take the season slow and simple.

A Boy Called Christmas by Matt Haig— This is a new title to us this year, straight from the December Family Reading Crate! I haven’t had a chance to read it myself, but my ten year-old daughter adored it!

The Toymaker’s Apprentice by Sherri Smith — Another book from our Family Reading Crate. We haven’t gotten to this one yet, but it looks awesome —it’s a retelling of the Nutcracker! I think we’ll enjoy it.

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever — Of course, I must mention the Christmas book that was my all-time favorite as a child. In our family, this book worked best for ages 7 and up. It’s a fun one with a great message, but the kids in it are not the nicest, at least to begin with, so I think it “plays” better with kids old enough to “get” that aspect of it.

Do you have any longer Christmas books your family loves? I’d love to hear!

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