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12 Must-Have Christmas Picture Books - Sherry Barber

Christmas is coming! One of the more enjoyable ways to slow the season down and create many family memories is to read a special (old or new) Christmas book each day in December. An adventure is created in finding treasures that are a delight to read over and over each year. Here are twelve tried and true favorites of ours.

1. Snowmen at Christmas by Caralyn Buehner

While families are snug in their beds on Christmas Eve the neighborhood snowmen slip away to have their own celebration complete with a visit from Santa. Join their celebration as you enjoy the vivid illustrations by Mark Buehner in this delightful Christmas story.

2. The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey by Susan Wojciechowski

After a move and losing pieces of their Christmas manger scene, a widow and her son employ the local carpenter to replace the beloved figures. What ensues changes each one of them in a wonderful way. Children and adults alike will identify with this beautifully illustrated heartwarming story.

3. M is for Manger by Crystal Bowman

Celebrating Christmas and learning the alphabet is delightful fun with the beautiful watercolor illustrations in this book. The rhythmic cadence tells the story of Christmas with each letter of the alphabet. This book is sure to be a favorite with the younger ones!

4. The Biggest, Most Beautiful Christmas Tree by Amye Rosenberg

Little Nina and Nutley, siblings in the chipmunk family, are sad. Every year they celebrate Christmas but never get a visit from Santa. When Aunt Mim comes to visit she has an idea that will help Santa find their tree. All the residents of the fir tree work together to make this a Christmas full of joy, surprises and community! This wonderfully illustrated book is beloved by our family and is sure to be a Christmas favorite in your home.

5. The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg

This 1985 classic will always deserve a special place in your Christmas collection. Beautifully decorated illustrations add to the wonder of this well-told story of a boy, an adventure, and the first gift of Christmas. My children also received a special Christmas bell the first Christmas we read it. The book and the bells are still treasures!

6. Bear Stays up for Christmas by Karma Wilson

Bear is down for a long winter’s nap but his excited friends want him to join them for Christmas this year. Jane Chapman delightfully illustrates this story that your children will want to hear over and over and parents will enjoy reading. Your children will see many examples of the giving and caring spirit of Christmas.

7. Humphrey’s First Christmas written and illustrated by Carol Heyer

Join grumpy Humphrey the camel on his distant travels as he takes three wise men to see a special baby. Humphrey wants none of it and can think only of himself. Carol Heyer’s rich and whimsical illustrations add humor to the story as Humphrey is so moved by baby Jesus, he happily gives away his most prized possession.

8. The Lost Gift by Kallie George

Four animal friends gather outside on a windy Christmas Eve. As they spot Santa and his sleigh, a gift tumbles out of the sleigh unbeknownst to Santa. The animals find the gift addressed to the farmer’s baby. The animals struggle with the dilemma of what to do. Children will enjoy this colourfully illustrated story as these four friends overcome obstacles and find surprises while insuring the gift is delivered.

9. The Wild Christmas Reindeer written and illustrated by Jan Brett

Teeka is chosen this year to prepare Santa’s reindeer for Christmas Eve. Teeka runs into all kinds of problems with her new job. As the days get closer to Christmas, the reindeer are wilder than ever. Jan Brett's incredibly detailed illustrations and borders on each page tell many behind-the-scenes stories at the North Pole while Teeka discovers her strength in kindness and patience.

10. A Wish To Be A Christmas Tree by Colleen Monroe

The big tree in the woods longs to be chosen to be a Christmas tree.Year after year he is never picked and that makes him feel unimportant. The woodland animals realize their friend is not happy. They rally together to show the tree just how special he is and make his dream come true.

11. Father and Son by Geraldine McCaughrean

A beautiful retelling of the Christmas story from the point of view of Joseph. What was he feeling when Jesus was born? A lovely lyrical tone gives voice to Joseph's possible thoughts on raising the Son of God and finds the truly special gift only he can give.

12. The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore

This classic 1823 Christmas poem becomes even more beloved with bright, cheery illustrations by Mary Engelbreit. Fascinating details and rich colors fill each page and will bring delight to readers young and old. This book is sure to be a family favorite.

There you have it! Some of the very best old and new Christmas picture books. I hope these treasures find their way into your home. What are some of your very favorite Christmas picture books? I would love to hear! Until then,“Happy Christmas to all and to all a good night.” C.Moore

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