What My Kids Are Reading: What’s in Our Christmas Basket!


In honor of the start of December (And the official start of the Christmas season-our elf arrives today), I thought I would show you all some of the books in our overflowing Christmas book basket! This isn’t even half the books, and I won’t list them all because, well, it would take too long to read! I’m going to list a few of our favorites, and try to highlight a few more throughout this month.

Tell me what Christmas or holiday books you read with your kids!

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever
I mentioned this book on Instagram, and I was so happy to see that a lot of you also read this as a kid! I loved this book growing up (and I got to be in the play version and loved every minute of it) and my kids are loving it as well. It’s a short book, and is great for reading out loud together (6 and up) or for an older kid to read on their own (8ish and up). The Best Christmas Pageant Ever is about how a family of 6 ill-mannered kids, the Herdmans, end up attending Sunday school at a very traditional church. They go for the snacks, and end up staying and volunteering to be in the Christmas pageant. No one argues with them, because if you argue with a Herdman you might end up with a black eye. The Herdmans have no idea what the Christmas story is, and as they learn throughout the book, the kids and parents who thought they already knew everything end up learning a few things themselves. This is a great book that really highlights the importance of understanding and tolerance, even for the “worst” kids. And I have to say, the Herdman kids ask some interesting questions about the history of the Christmas story that started some great discussions between my own kids!

The Night Before Christmas
This is the classic Christmas book, and I’m sure everyone has a copy of it. We have the Mary Engelbreit illustrated version of it, and I just love it. The pictures are beautiful and keep a somewhat outdated story interesting for my kids. We read this every Christmas Eve right before bed!

Llama Llama Holiday Drama
We love the Llama Llama book series, and I was heartbroken when Anna Dewdney passed away in 2016. Even though this is a board book and probably too young for my kids, we still read it! (I think there’s something about Christmas books-no matter how old kids get, they’re never too old for favorite books.) It’s all about how tiring the holidays can be, and how hard it is to wait until Christmas. Llama Llama throws a tantrum, of course, and his mama explains that while holidays and gifts are fun, the real gift we have is each other. I think that’s a great message, delivered in a simple format, that’s wonderful for any age.

The Spirit of Christmas
The illustrations in this book are absolutely gorgeous, and the story is very sweet. (If you’re like me, you’ll tear up at the end.) It is told in rhyme, similar to The Night Before Christmas, and tells the story of the spirit of Christmas entering a family’s home and decorating it every which way to get ready for the holiday. But the narrator keeps thinking something is missing-ornaments, bells, cookies. At the end, the narrator realizes that Christmas isn’t Christmas without love and children, and I’m already tearing up just thinking about reading this to my kids again this year! It’s truly a wonderful book.

Little Critter: Merry Christmas Mom and Dad
I loved Little Critter as a kid, and I still love him! This is two books in one: Merry Christmas, Mom and Dad and Just for You. In Merry Christmas, Mom and Dad, Little Critter tries to make cookies, decorate the tree, and wrap presents in his own, messy way. In the classic Mercer Mayer style, Little Critter doesn’t always pay close attention to what he’s doing, but his heart is in the right place, and he just wants to please his parents. Just for You isn’t a Christmas story, but it is a sweet story of Little Critter trying to help his mom any way he can. (Even if that means it makes more work for his mom in the end!)

Little Blue Truck’s Christmas
Do your kids read the Little Blue Truck books? Mine loved these so much that I had them memorized for a good couple of years. In this cute Christmas story, Little Blue Truck is delivering Christmas trees to all of his friends. The illustrations are super cute, as usual, and there is a light-up element at the end of the book that any kid will love.


Elf Alternative–North Pole Ninjas: MISSION: Christmas!

Do you have an Elf on the Shelf? We do, and it’s fun, but last year I wanted something a little different. (In addition to the elf, because my kids definitely did not forget about Elfie coming.) We tried the North Pole Ninjas, and it’s awesome! The set comes with a book, a stuffed elf ninja/sensei, and a bunch of good deed cards. This is sort of like the Elf on the Shelf in that you can move the ninja around every day, but instead of focusing on behavior, this is meant to focus on doing good deeds throughout the month of December. The book tells how there are special ninja elves at the north pole who perform top secret missions, and now that you have the sensei, you can also be a secret ninja and help them perform all their good deeds. There are 50 cards with suggestions on them, but you can always make up your own as well. The goal is to pick a card or two a day and carry out secret missions (good deeds) throughout the month, with the sensei guiding you. My kids love ninjas, and they really do like doing nice things for other people. We all need a little encouragement in this area sometimes, and this is a fun way to encourage it in kids.

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