Last year, I borrowed an idea from another home school family. 

It’s an idea that has allowed us to slow down and enjoy the Christmas season.

December can be a frantic month. There are Christmas plays to watch, lights to see, perfect gifts to find and so on. These activities can distract us from the purpose of Christmas. 

On Christmas we remember the birth of Jesus Christ our Savior – the greatest gift ever given. One way we can enjoy this free gift is to sit and read life giving books with our kids. Reading aloud is the best thing we can do for our children. It improves their vocabulary, opens their minds to new ideas and ultimately strengthens our relationships.

Today, I want to share a simple way to make Christmas reading magical.

The idea is to wrap Christmas books and put them under the Christmas tree. These books can be new, old or borrowed from the library. No children’s books or Christmas? No problem. Just wrap up the Bible, because to be honest, THIS is the book we should all be reading anyway. Unwrapping the books before you read aloud adds an element of magic for the kids. 

Our favorite Christmas books

I’ve included Amazon links if you want to add a book to your home library. I’ve also included YouTube read aloud links for your convenience. 

Song of the Stars by Sally Lloyd-Jones

This book describes what was happening at the birth of Christ. What the living and non-living creatures were doing as our lives were about to be transformed forever. I am reminded of how incredible God is. That if we don’t shout for Him, then creation will sing for Him. Song of the Stars makes me tear up. Sally also wrote the Jesus Storybook Bible which has been life changing for me and my children.

Youtube read aloud by the author

Luke 19: 37-40: “37 As he was drawing near—already on the way down the Mount of Olives—the whole multitude of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen, 38 saying, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” 39 And some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” 40 He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.”

The Three Wise Kings by Tomie dePaola 

This historical book retells the story of magi who went to pay homage to the baby Jesus. I learned that the three kings had independently set out to follow the star and met on the way. I always thought they traveled together. My daughter (then almost 5) was concerned why Herod wanted to kill the baby Jesus, so be prepared to answer some tough questions.

Since reading this book in December 2022, we’ve fallen in love with Tomie dePaola. We’ve since read as many of his books as we can. As a Christian family, we love the wholesomeness of his books. This year we are reading Strega Nona’s Gift, Merry Christmas Strega Nona and Country Angel Christmas.

Youtube Read Aloud.

Matthew 2:1-12

Grandma’s Gift by Eric Velasquez 

My kids loved Looking for Bongo so when we saw Grandma’s Gift at the library,  we had to pick it up. We learned about the Puerto Rican Christmas tradition of making pasteles and the Christmas carol Aguinaldo Puertoquerrino. Later we met a Puerto Rican gentleman and we told him we had read this book and learned about pasteles. We asked him what Puertoquerriño meant and he said “it’s the equivalent of the adjectives American or Kenyan”, so Puerto Rican. He was so pleased by our little knowledge of his culture.

Youtube read aloud

The Best Gift Ever Given by Ronnie Martin

This book features brief daily lessons for 25 days leading up to Christmas. Every day we are reminded of God’s great gifts from Creation all the way to the Greatest Gift of all – the birth of Jesus Christ. My son loves that he shares a name with the author.

Youtube read aloud – I included Day 1 but check out the channel for the rest of the days.

On Christmas Eve by Margaret Wise Brown

The illustrations in this book are magical. I especially  love the oldest sister’s nightgown. But, what I love more is the children’s wonder-struck eyes at the magic of Christmas Eve. This is a great read from the author of Goodnight Moon. Fun fact: the children discover tangerines sticking out of their Christmas stockings. Oranges were a rarity in places with harsh winters. They are originally from China and would have been expensive to transport all the way to Europe and America. So it was quite a treat to get an orange on Christmas day.

Youtube read aloud

The Bible

Open to Luke 2:1-21 or Matthew 1:18-2:23 and read the stories of Jesus’ birth. I found it interesting that in the Luke 2 story,  the King James Version (KJV) says that Joseph went to Bethlehem to be taxed.  The New International Version (NIV) speaks of the people going there for a census. Was it all the same thing? Was the goal of the census to know how much tax to expect? I will be reading both stories myself to see any differences and similarities in the retelling of the story. 

Other titles we’ve loved

  1. The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey – there is a movie version on Prime Video so you can read the book and then watch the movie.
  2. Twas the night before Christmas- this was a poem originally written by Clement Moore so you can read it with the children and have them memorize a stanza or two.
  3. The Story of Christmas – a  sweet board book for babies and toddlers
  4. Merry Christmas Strega Nona – we just bought this book and can’t wait to read it this Christmas season. We’ve loved other Strega Nona books and we have no doubt we’ll love this adventure too.
  • A Kenya Christmas I have not read this book yet but I saw it recommended in a list of how people around the world celebrate Christmas. This was the pick for Kenya. As someone who grew up in Kenya, I do not like how Kenya is depicted. This Youtube read aloud even describes it as “a Christmas in the bush”. Why is the rich aunt Aida wearing a blanket and walking with her pet leopards? I ran my concerns with some non-Kenyan friends just to make sure I am not crazy for having reservations. There is definitely a need for more Kenyans to write stories that depict our true lived experiences. Maybe  I’ll write a Kenyan Christmas book. Also saw this book, A Kenyan Christmas which I can’t wait to check out.

Merry Christmas and happy reading.

Disclosure of Material Connection: This page includes “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.