Favorite Christmas Books to Read Out Loud

Christmas Books Your Students Will Love!

Looking for some new books to read out loud to your students (or perhaps your own children)? You’ve come to the right corner of the blog-o-sphere. These books were all suggested by teachers from my Facebook page. Click on the title or the image to for more information on Amazon. 

5 holiday read alouds materials (1)

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Night Tree by Eve Bunting

“A family goes out to the woods for what the readers believe will be to find their Christmas tree, but instead they decorate a tree in the woods with yummy goodies for the forest animals to enjoy for Christmas. The room is always silent when I read this one!”
-Lori Lagro Butler 

The Trees of the Dancing Goats by Patricia Polacco 

“It’s about how one family that celebrates Hanukkah helps a family get ready for Christmas because they are all sick, so everyone can have a happy holiday season. Takes place about 50 years ago and focuses on putting aside differences and accepting others. Great writing!”

-Kathy Roehrig Caraynoff

The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore

“This Christmas classic is just what your students will love! The vivid pictures throughout the read aloud help the students visualize Santa coming to everyone’s house on Christmas Eve.
-Ashley Vara

An Orange for Frankie by Patricia Polacco

“Tear jerker…hate to ruin the ending or I would say more.”

-Stephanie Helgerson Corley 

The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg
“I always read The Polar Express and then have another teacher ‘hide’ a silver bell in their desk while we are out at recess or lunch; somewhere when I am with the kids, so they don’t know I planted them…..LOL.”
-Rebecca Parker

The Polar Express….hard to beat and great acting it out whilst reading with the kids. :)”

-Ciara O Driscoll

Who Stole Santa’s List

This Readers Theater will leave your students begging for more! In order for them to solve the mystery of who stole Santa’s list, they will have to look carefully to identify the motive, means, and opportunity of each character in the story. Your students will be having so much fun with acting out their part in the play that they won’t even realize they are analyzing characters, making predictions, inferring, and drawing conclusions.

The Soldiers’ Night before Christmas by Christine Ford

“I love reading this book after reading the original (‘Twas the Night before Christmas) because we have so many military families, and the kids can really relate to the story, especially those with a parent that has been deployed.”

-Lorraine Palmer Vasquez

The House without a Christmas Tree by Gail Rock“I am reading The House without a Christmas Tree by Gail Rock to my students. This is a book for grades 3-6. I love it because it is a good book to discuss character traits, like perseverance and generosity, and what really is the meaning of the holiday. It’s an oldie, but the DVD is also still available.”

-Robin Klein

How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss
I love the approach he takes with what it means to be giving and that when someone believes in you, anything is possible!”
-Nadine Cruz-Saubert

How the Grinch Stole Christmas. We talk about forgiveness and how important it is to our happiness. And of course we love to listen to and sing the song!”
-Candance Brannen Plymel

How the Grinch Stole Christmas – my son wanted this book to be read all year long! It teaches all of us a great lesson; having a big heart, and surrounding ourselves with loved ones, are the most important parts of the season.”

-Gina Moretto Wright

A Wish to Be a Christmas Tree by Colleen Monroe
“I LOVE the story A Wish to Be a Christmas Tree. It’s about a Christmas tree that is too old to be picked/cut down, and he just wishes he was someone’s special tree for Christmas. The animals that live in his tree hear this and decide to decorate him and show him that he IS special to them.”
-Christina Collinsworth

The Christmas Magic by Lauren Thompson
“To me it is so poetic and simply profound. I have yet to use it with students, though. I have read it to my daughter (now 4 3/4) the last two Christmas Eves, and I get choked up each time.”
-Sandra Leiser

“I love to read The Christmas Magic. I love the story, and the illustrations are amazing.”
-Tonya Ballew Dye

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson
“It’s a story about an ‘unruly’ family, the Herdmans, that collide with the yearly pageant head on. It’s funny and touching. I just learned there is a picture book version, as well. My other VERY favorite is The Polar Express.”
-Nancy Loberg Reinhiller 

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson because it gets to the real meaning of Christmas. The Herdman children learn what Christmas is really all about. I read this out loud to my 3rd and 4th graders, and we discuss the vocabulary and the story with comprehension questions.”

-Leah Anne Neidert Fisher

There is also a picture book version of this wonderful classic.

Merry Christmas, Little Critter by Mercer Mayer “This is one of my favorites since I was a child because I always thought Little Critter was so cute! In this story he tries and tries to make it a great Christmas for his parents, and he keeps making mistakes, getting tangled up in the Christmas lights, etc. The message is that no matter what, the people you love will appreciate what you try to do for them on Christmas! :)”-Love to Teach Third Grade Silver Packages by Cynthia Rylant“It is about the Christmas train that runs through the Appalachian Mountains. The main character hopes for a special gift each year but always receives what he needs instead. It focuses on hope, perseverance, giving, and receiving.”

-Deborah Hughes Freeman

Red Ranger Came Calling by Berkeley Breathed
“Awesome to make those believe to believe even more and those non-believers cross back to the believers’ side. So awesome! I usually ask for a secret poll on a card of who believes before I read and then again after I read. I always get about 50-50 to start and way more believers after.”

-Marla Rosenthal

Prancer by Stephen Cosgrove Taylor

“I love all of the above but also use Prancer. The kids predict if it is really Santa’s reindeer or not, vocabulary, persuasive writing – she writes a letter to Santa that is published in the newspaper that helps get the whole town believing – and, of course, we compare and contrast the movie to the book. I like it because most of the kids have never heard of it, unlike Polar Express or The Grinch.”
-Robin Runnels Muse

Mooseltoe by Margie Palatini

“I love the book Mooseltoe by Margie Palatini – I teach it with problem/solution or story elements since the moose has to ALWAYS solve a problem in all her books. :)”


Note: This looks like a great book but seems to be out of print. Copies on Amazon are expensive, but you could try your local library.

Little Match Girl by Hans Christian Anderson“The ending really shocks the kids, makes them think, and makes them FEEL. There is also a good animated video on YouTube that looks like it takes place in Eastern Europe (Russia maybe?) but uses no words, only music. I showed it first and had students write their own stories/commentaries about what was happening. Then, I read the book to see how close they were. It worked much better than I anticipated!”
-Laurie GriffinAuntie Claus by Elise PrimaveraAuntie Claus and The Key to Christmas are two of my favorites. Picture books for older children for the holidays and still keeps them wondering.”

-Tricia Jacobson Gout

Stranger in the Woods by Carl R. Sams II and Jean Stoick
“It’s not necessarily a Christmas book, but the LD teacher and I (an SLP) gave taken on Stranger in the Woods. I have created almost three weeks’ worth of activities to do with the book. We will use it with 4th grade this year, and they will research information about one of the animals from the story and write about it. We work on pre- and post-test vocabulary. I will probably also make up a word search and crossword puzzle. I think it’s hard to keep the kids engaged during this time before break! You have to make the work fun!”
-Shelly Gehring Gervase 

Snowmen at Night by Carolyn Buehner

Snowmen at Night for visualization (I don’t show the pics and have my students close their eyes as I read… Then, they get to draw a picture on dark blue or black paper using white chalk and crayons).”

-Lisa Travis

You can also get Snowmen at Christmas by Carolyn Buehner.

Llama Llama Holiday Drama by Anna Dewdney
“So cute and so true! Too much before the holidays causes lots of drama!”
-Maria Reierstad

Olive the Other Reindeer by J. Otto Seibold and Vivian Walsh

This delightful read aloud is about a dog who accidentally becomes one of Santa’s reindeer! This read aloud is perfect for when you’re teaching your students about cause and effect. You can have students turn and talk at different parts in the story to discuss these cause-and-effect relationships or have them fill in a cause-and-effect graphic organizer.

-Minds in Bloom team

The Chanukkah Guest  by Eric A. Kimmel

In the spirit of the holiday season, this beloved book will keep your students engaged while learning about Hanukkah. The main character, Bubba Brayna, is making latkes for the town. Old Bear wakes up from his winter’s nap and follows the delicious smell of latkes to Bubba Brayna’s house. She thinks Old Bear is the Rabbi and welcomes him in for a snack. The bear leaves with a belly full of latkes before Bubba Brayna realizes he is not the Rabbi. The Rabbi and townspeople then help Bubba Brayna make more latkes to save the day!

-Minds in Bloom team

Other suggestions include:

Welcome Comfort by Patricia Palacco

The Christmas Menorahs: How a Town Fought Hate by Janice Cohn

The Story of Holly and Ivy by Rumer Godden

The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey by Susan Wojciechowski

A Wish for Wings That Work: An Opus Christmas Story by Berkeley Breathed

And finally, I was surprised that no one mentioned The Snowman by Raymond Briggs, though that is possibly because the movie version is even better.

Is your favorite missing from this list? Please tell us what it is with a comment.

Make these beautiful 3-D Christmas Star Ornaments.

Editor’s Note:  This post was originally published in December 2012 and has been recently updated and revamped.

* Minds in Bloom, Inc. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon properties including, but not limited to, amazon.com, endless.com, myhabit.com, smallparts.com, or amazonwireless.com.

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