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!).


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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