30 best Christmas books for children 2023

Get ready for the festive season with our pick of the best children’s Christmas books for children of all ages.

The days are getting shorter, and advent calendars are already on sale. It’s official: the festive season is on its way! Whether you’re looking for Christmas books to read together in the run-up to the big day or festive-themed bookish gifts for the little ones in your life, take a look at our list of the best Christmas books for children of all ages. From lift-the-flap Christmas books for younger readers to beautifully illustrated classic Christmas books and interactive tales the whole family will enjoy, children will love to find these books in their stockings this December. 

Perfect to read with your little one this festive season, introduce Christmas traditions and stories with these Christmas children's books for babies and toddlers. 

Squirrel's Snowman

by Julia Donaldson

Book cover for Squirrel's Snowman

In Acorn Wood the snow is coming down, and Squirrel plans to create a snowman! Lift the flaps to find out whether she and her friends can find everything they need. Created by cherished author/illustrator duo Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, this winter tale has plenty of rhymes and lovely images to bring festive cheer to little children.

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Dear Santa

by Rod Campbell

Book cover for Dear Santa

A festive treat with bright, bold illustrations from the creator of Dear Zoo. With Dear Santa, little hands can unwrap a present on each page by lifting the flaps to discover what Santa has sent. This children’s Christmas book is a festive classic.

Can You Find Santa?

by Axel Scheffler

Book cover for Can You Find Santa?

It’s Christmas Eve and Reindeer can’t find Santa anywhere! Lift the felt flaps to help look for him. Which other festive friends will you meet along the way? With soft flaps on every spread that are easy for babies to lift and help develop their fine motor skillsthis gorgeous book by Axel Scheffler, bestselling illustrator of The Gruffalo, is the perfect gift to share with little ones.

This Little Elf

by Coral Byers

Book cover for This Little Elf

Follow ten little elves as they dress up, explore and more in this fun preschool counting book. It's Christmas time and ten excited children become Santa's cute and colourful elves and frolic together through a festive winter wonderland! With ten children to find and count as you turn the pages and a special surprise fold-out ending, this picture book is specially developed for imaginative little preschool elves everywhere.

Busy Nativity

Book cover for Busy Nativity

Join Mary and Joseph on their long journey to Bethlehem and see beautiful baby Jesus in his crib in this sturdy board book ideal for little hands. With gentle rhyming text and push, pull and slide tabs, toddlers will enjoy this story of the First Christmas.

We Wish you a Merry Christmas

by Floella Benjamin

Book cover for We Wish you a Merry Christmas

Join national treasure Baroness Floella Benjamin and illustrator Lydia Monks to learn some of our best-loved Christmas songs and hymns, including ‘Jingle Bells’ and ‘Ding Dong Merrily on High’ in this new interactive picture and songbook. As well as beautiful illustrations, the book comes with a CD with each song sung by Floella Benjamin so your little one can listen to their favourites all season long! 

From hilarious Christmas stories about angry Brussels sprouts to charming festive tales, these books will get young children in the festive spirit.

What The Ladybird Heard at Christmas

by Julia Donaldson

Book cover for What The Ladybird Heard at Christmas

A Christmas picture book you’ll read time and again, What the Ladybird Heard at Christmas is the festive story in the series by Julia Donaldson and Lydia Monks. The little ladybird is off to visit her friend the spider, but her Christmas plans go awry when she hears that Hefty Hugh and Lanky Len are set to steal children’s Christmas stockings and all of their presents! Follow the charming and festive rhyming story to find out if, and how, she can stop their dastardly plan and save Christmas for everyone. 

Winnie-the-Pooh at the Palace

by Jeanne Willis

Book cover for Winnie-the-Pooh at the Palace

On a day out to Buckingham Palace, Winnie-the-Pooh and his friends play in the snowy gardens, have a thrilling ride on a sledge, and Pooh gets stuck in a snow drift. Then, a surprising discovery leads to an invitation to have tea with the King! A brand-new Winnie-the-Pooh story, Winnie-the-Pooh at the Palace features some of the best-loved characters from the Hundred Acre Wood, including everyone's favourite bear, Winnie-the-Pooh himself. 

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There Was a Young Reindeer Who Swallowed a Present

by Diane Ewen

Book cover for There Was a Young Reindeer Who Swallowed a Present

Everyone's heard about the old lady who swallowed a fly, but now it’s time to meet a little reindeer who, on the most important night of the year (Christmas Eve!), swallows a present. A funny, cumulative rhyming story children will love, packed with elves, stockings, a very full sleigh full of gifts and, of course, Santa Claus. And one very hungry little reindeer — keep an eye on the presents under your tree!

WOW! It's Snowing

by Tim Hopgood

Book cover for WOW! It's Snowing

Join everyone's favourite little owl for a winter adventure, and explore lots of different kinds of weather, in WOW! It's Snowing. Your favourite little owl is back, and this time she’s ready to discover the wonders of winter weather, from twinkling icicles to the first snowflake of the season. Little ones will love joining in with the WOWs, as the owl's tree fills up with more and more friendly animals.

Grace and the Christmas Angel

by Lucinda Riley

Book cover for Grace and the Christmas Angel

Bestselling author Lucinda Riley and her son Harry Whittaker created this story together, and it begins on Christmas Eve, with the tree decorated, the presents wrapped and Grace waiting for her big day to begin. She is to sing in the nativity show, and her fisherman father has made a promise he will be back in time. But then a storm sweeps in, and when Grace goes on stage she cannot see her Dad in the audience. She starts to worry, but the Christmas Angel is there to help. Complete with an angel-ribbon marker, Grace and the Christmas Angel makes a special festive gift.

The Christmas Bear

by Ian Whybrow

Book cover for The Christmas Bear

When Santa sets off in his sleigh to deliver his presents, poor Bear is left behind. This charming and very funny picture book by Ian Whybrow follows Bear on his travels as he tries to get to Tom’s house in time for Christmas morning. Beautifully illustrated by Axel Scheffler,  this is a Christmas book full of fun.

Merry Christmas, Gus

by Chris Chatterton

Book cover for Merry Christmas, Gus

This hilarious Christmas book for kids stars the wonderfully grumpy Gus. Gus doesn’t like carols, or cake, or Christmas jumpers. And he certainly doesn't like mistletoe. To Gus, a tree is only good for one thing, and it's not for hanging baubles on. Will Gus ever learn to love the festive season? 

The Snail and the Whale Festive Edition

Book cover for The Snail and the Whale Festive Edition

The classic story of adventure and friendship from Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler has been brought to life on BBC One in an animation starring Sally Hawkins, Rob Brydon, Cariad Lloyd and Dame Diana Rigg. This special festive edition of The Snail and the Whale is a brilliant Christmas stocking filler for fans of the tale.

Christmas Comes to Moominvalley

by Alex Haridi

Book cover for Christmas Comes to Moominvalley

This beautiful picture book will become a Christmas classic, and is the perfect gift for Moomin fans big and small. A stunningly illustrated retelling of Tove Jansson’s The Fir Tree, the Moomins wake up from their winter sleep to find that Christmas is coming  but the Moomins have no idea who, or what, Christmas is . . .

The Return of Sproutzilla

by Tom Jamieson

Book cover for The Return of Sproutzilla

Mean, green Sproutzilla is back and he's determined to destroy Christmas. Jack and Ruby are getting ready for Christmas when suddenly, Santa's little elves arrive with terrible news – poor Santa's been kidnapped! Can Jack and Ruby rescue Santa from stinky Sproutzilla and his menacing sidekicks Broccolisaurus and Tyrannoparsnip rex, before the villainous vegetables ruin Christmas for everyone? And can Sproutzilla ever be shown the true joy of Christmas?

Meerkat Christmas

by Emily Gravett

Book cover for Meerkat Christmas

Join Sunny the Meerkat on his search for a white Christmas in this interactive and heartwarming festive story from the creator of Meerkat Mail. This tale of family and festive fun is full of Christmas cards to read as you follow Sunny’s journey from the Kalahari desert as he looks for his perfect Christmas.

The Night Before Christmas in Wonderland

by Carys Bexington

Book cover for The Night Before Christmas in Wonderland

This festive mashup of two classic children’s books begins with Santa, not Alice, falling down the rabbit hole into Wonderland. Join the Cheshire Cat, the Mad Hatter and a few of Santa's reindeer for a tea party and find out if Santa can charm the Queen of Hearts (who hates Christmas, naturally) and put the Merry back into Christmas in Wonderland. If you’re looking for a fun Christmas tale with a twist, here it is!

How Winston Delivered Christmas

by Alex T. Smith

Book cover for How Winston Delivered Christmas

Join little Winston the mouse as he embarks on his mission to deliver a last-minute letter to Santa that got lost along the way. It’s packed with colourful illustrations and a different Christmas activity idea in every chapter: we recommend reading it together on Christmas Eve while you’re getting ready for Santa to stop by.

Dear Santa Sticker Activity Book

by Rod Campbell

Book cover for Dear Santa Sticker Activity Book

An ideal stocking filler for busy little hands this Christmas, the Dear Santa Sticker Activity Book is packed with festive-themed colouring pages, puzzles, spot-the-differences and over 200 colour stickers, all designed for early years children. Perfect for Christmas car journeys to see relatives, rainy days at home or to give as a gift to the little one in your life, this Christmas book for children is a must-have this holiday season. 

The Night Before Christmas

by Clement C. Moore

Book cover for The Night Before Christmas

Introduce Clement C. Moore’s classic Christmas poem to a new generation in this beautiful picture book, illustrated by Eric Puybaret. Follow the story from the house with its stockings ‘hung by the chimney with care’, up onto the roof where Santa’s reindeer are poised to take him on the next leg of his journey delivering presents, all shown in rich, full-colour illustrations. The book is accompanied by a CD, which features three songs from the story for you to play and sing along to. 

The Owl Who Came For Christmas

by John Hay

Book cover for The Owl Who Came For Christmas

Twit Twoo! It’s Christmas time for owls too! In this charming picture book, based on an extraordinary true story, one family gets a huge surprise as they wake up one morning to find an expected visitor snuggled up in their Christmas tree! With its heartwarming story and detailed illustrations, The Owl Who Came For Christmas is a fun, festive story for the whole family to read together.

These books for children aged 5-9 are full of delightful Christmas stories to keep them entertained through Christmas and beyond.

The Nutcracker

by Alex T. Smith

Book cover for The Nutcracker

The Mouse King is up to some very sneaky shenanigans. The night before Christmas, he steals the key to the Kingdom of Sweets and sets out to cause as much festive mayhem as he can! Clara and Fritz, and their new friend the Nutcracker, are the only ones who can stop him. But when a magical curse is put on Fritz, it's a race against time to make it to find the Sugar Plum Fairy – the only one who can break the spell. With colour illustrations, a festively foiled cover and a chapter to enjoy each day in December, this gorgeous hardback is the perfect gift for any child at Christmas.

The Twelve Days of Christmas

by Alex T Smith

Book cover for The Twelve Days of Christmas

The Twelve Days of Christmas: Or Grandma is Overly Generous is a witty new take on the festive classic The Twelve Days of Christmas, accompanied by beautiful full-colour illustrations. In this gorgeous gift book Grandma's presents start off sensibly – a partridge is easy enough to take care of – but her generosity soon gets wildly out of hand . . .

Sylvanian Families: Sticker Dress-Up Christmas

by Macmillan Children's Books

Book cover for Sylvanian Families: Sticker Dress-Up Christmas

Get ready for the festive season with Sylvanian Families in this sticker dress-up book, packed with over 300 stickers and all your favourite characters. Join Freya the Chocolate Rabbit and her friends as they get ready for Christmas in Sylvanian Village. Sticker woolly hats and scarves for them to wear in the snow, decorate the Red Roof Country Home with lights and baubles, and then sticker costumes for the babies to wear in their Christmas parade in Sylvanian Land! At the back of the book, find a festive Christmas card craft to make and give to friends and family.

Santa Gets A Second Job

by Michele D'Ignazio

Book cover for Santa Gets A Second Job

This hilarious and heartwarming Christmas book for kids aged six to eight sees Santa find the perfect second job – as a bin man! Santa finds plenty of gifts hidden amongst the rubbish, and soon he’s back on his sleigh delivering recycled gifts. 

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The Real Family Christmas

by Sue Mongredien

Book cover for The Real Family Christmas

A funny festive story collection for young readers, The Real Family Christmas will get everyone in the holiday spirit. Featuring three stories about the Christmas family and their hilarious escapades, it will have independent readers laughing out loud at these fun Christmas stories.

From beautifully illustrated magical adventures to a festive collection of Christmas poems, these books for children aged 9-12 make perfect Christmas gifts.

The Ice Children

by M. G. Leonard

Book cover for The Ice Children

The Ice Children is an exciting, contemporary, magical mystery adventure. At midnight on a December dawn, five-year-old Finn Albedo is found froze in a city park atop an icy pedestal, his heart beating, yet unresponsive. His sister, Bianca, suspects a vanished, enchanting library book holds answers, bu as more children freeze, Bianca's quest for truth leads her into a perilous winter realm. Can she save Finn and the other Ice Children? Gorgeous coloured endpapers and black-and-white illustrations make this hardback a perfect gift for boys and girls aged 8-12.

A Poem for Every Winter Day

by Allie Esiri

Book cover for A Poem for Every Winter Day

This beautiful collection is full of verses that will transport you to sparkling winter scenes, with poems for Christmas, New Year's Eve and Valentine's Day. The poems are selected from Allie Esiri’s bestselling poetry anthologies A Poem for Every Day of the Year and A Poem for Every Night of the Year, including poems by  Mary Oliver, Edgar Allan Poe, Thomas Hardy, E. E. Cummings, Robert Burns, Joseph Coelho, George the Poet, Benjamin Zephaniah and Jackie Kay. 

Christmas Poems

by Gaby Morgan

Book cover for Christmas Poems

Christmas Poems is a festive collection of classic and modern poems, carols and songs that celebrates all the best things about Christmas from the Nativity to Father Christmas, including snow, angels, reindeer, Christmas trees and, of course, Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus. Collated by children's poetry expert Gaby Morgan, Christmas Poems is illustrated by Axel Scheffler, illustrator of The Gruffalo and Room on the Broom. Why not take it in turns to pick a poem to read as a poetry advent calendar of sorts in the run-up to the big day?

The Lotterys More or Less

by Emma Donoghue

Book cover for The Lotterys More or Less

The story about a thoroughly modern family from bestselling author Emma Donoghue. In The Lotterys More or Less, nine-year-old Sumac is determined to make sure all of the family’s Christmas traditions are upheld. But from uninvited guests to weird weather and mysterious power cuts, it seems like everything is against the Lotterys having a ‘normal’ family Christmas.

These books about Christmas will be treasured by children aged 12+.

The Christmas Star

by Eva Ibbotson

Book cover for The Christmas Star

A collection of three wonderfully festive stories from Eva Ibbotson, the bestselling author of Journey to the River Sea. With a beautiful cover by Joe Wilson and inside illustrations, The Christmas Star is a wonderful gift to treasure at Christmas and all year round. In Vicky and the Christmas Angel, a young Viennese girl discovers, to her horror, who really brings the children's presents at Christmas; in The Christmas Star a family encounters a fortune teller at the local Christmas market who changes their lives; and The Great Carp Ferdinand is a festive story of a hero with a difference. 

We Wish You A Merry Christmas and Other Festive Poems

by Chris Riddell

Book cover for We Wish You A Merry Christmas and Other Festive Poems

Curated by former Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell, this classic and contemporary Christmas poetry collection is the perfect addition to any young reader’s bookshelf this festive season. Alongside traditional Christmas verses are poems by contemporary writers and poets, including Neil Gaiman, Hollie McNish, Benjamin Zephaniah and Jackie Kay.