You’ve been asking for one, and this year, we made it for you: a booklist of Christmas novels to read aloud.

If you’re looking for stories that will shape and form your Advent and Christmas season, you’re in exactly the right place.

On this brand new podcast episode, I’m sharing my favorite Christmas novels (and short stories, too) to read with your kids.

In this episode, you’ll hear

  • which books to read with your kids all through December
  • books that will appeal to the youngest kids and the “biggest kids” (you? Grandpa?) ;)
  • one absolute favorite series that you should just grab right this minute

Listener Guide

Use the time stamps below to skip to any part of the podcast:

  • 2:00 December picture books
  • 3:53 Meaningful reading
  • 5:33 Christmas audio
  • 6:38 3 Qualities for Christmas novels
  • 8:20 Classic collections
  • 9:50 More recent favorites
  • 11:38 A favorite series
  • 15:44 Short story collections
  • 19:55 A couple more classics
  • 23:08 Santa’s childhood
  • 25:52 Let the Kids Speak

Click here for the transcript. 

Books from this episode:

Get the printable booklist

CHRISTMAS NOVELS and SHORT STORIES

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(All links are Amazon affiliate links.)

The Family Under the Bridge

The Family Under the Bridge

Armand likes his life as a Hobo living under the bridges of Paris, and the last thing he needs is anything remotely connected to responsibility. So when a family moves under the bridge with him and threatens to steal his heart, how will Armand handle it? Excellent for all ages.

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The Story of Holly and Ivy

The Story of Holly and Ivy

Best for all ages. A classic! One to buy for your own shelves.

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Jotham’s Journey: A Storybook for Advent

Jotham’s Journey: A Storybook for Advent

Best for ages 7+, and highly recommended. The 1st book in Arnold Ytreeide's fantastic Advent series. This is one of Sarah's favorites. Preview for sensitive readers, as these stories get quite intense. They are also rich and beautiful and unforgettable.

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Bartholomew’s Passage: A Family Story for Advent

Bartholomew’s Passage: A Family Story for Advent

Best for ages 7+, and highly recommended. The 2nd book in Arnold Ytreeide's fantastic Advent series. This is one of Sarah's favorites. Preview for sensitive readers, as these stories get quite intense. They are also rich and beautiful and unforgettable.

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Tabitha’s Travels: A Family Story for Advent

Tabitha’s Travels: A Family Story for Advent

Best for ages 7+, and highly recommended. The 3rd book in Arnold Ytreeide's fantastic Advent series. This is one of Sarah's favorites. Preview for sensitive readers, as these stories get quite intense. They are also rich and beautiful and unforgettable.

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The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street

The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street

When their landlord decides he's not going to renew the Vanderbeekers' lease, the five Vanderbeeker kids launch a full-blown mission to change his mind. Highly recommended for kids of all ages (I read it to all six of my kids, from preschool through teen). A practically perfect family story that's first in a wonderful series. Meet the author, Karina Yan Glaser, in her Author Access replay in RAR Premium.

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A Little House Christmas Treasury: Festive Holiday Stories

A Little House Christmas Treasury: Festive Holiday Stories

$14.99

Best for all ages. The Christmas scenes from the various books in the Little House on the Prairie series, all in once place, and illustrated by Garth Williams.

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I Saw Three Ships by Elizabeth Goudge (1990-10-01)

I Saw Three Ships by Elizabeth Goudge (1990-10-01)

Series: Episodes, 117
Tag: Episode 117

Best for ages 7+ if your kids are into classics. This one is a bit more "classic" in style (spare, beautiful language and a slower-paced, but rich, story), this is Elizabeth Goudge's imagining of the Christmas carol, I Saw Three Ships.

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Tumtum & Nutmeg’s Christmas Adventure

Tumtum & Nutmeg’s Christmas Adventure

Author:
Series: Episodes, 117
Tag: Episode 117

Best for ages 5+. Your kids don't need to be familiar with the other Tumtum and Nutmeg stories to enjoy this one. But they may fall in love with Rose Cottage after this one!

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Christmas with Anne (L.M. Montgomery Books)

Christmas with Anne (L.M. Montgomery Books)

Best for all ages. If you love Anne of Green Gables and Lucy Maud Montgomery, this one is not to miss. A collection of stories from LM Montgomery's books.

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The True Gift

The True Gift

Best for ages 7-12. From the author of Sarah, Plain and Tall. All year long Lily and Liam look forward to the holidays at their grandparents’ farm. It’s always the perfect trip, but this year it's different than any other...

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Ishtar’s Odyssey: A Family Story for Advent (Storybooks for Advent)

Ishtar’s Odyssey: A Family Story for Advent (Storybooks for Advent)

Author:
Series: Episodes, 117, Book 4
Tags: Episode 117, Episode 123

Best for ages 7+, and highly recommended. The 4th book in Arnold Ytreeide's fantastic Advent series. This is one of Sarah's favorites. Preview for sensitive readers, as these stories get quite intense. They are also rich and beautiful and unforgettable.

More info →
Buy from Amazon
Nutcracker

Nutcracker

Best for ages 4+, including your teens! This is a long one, so read it like it's a chapter book. Maurice Sendak's illustrations are just marvelous!

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The Nutcracker

The Nutcracker

Best for the whole family, Jim Weiss joins the London Philharmonic for this glorious retelling of The Nutcracker.

**Highly recommended**

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The Bells of Christmas

The Bells of Christmas

Author:
Series: Episodes, 117
Tag: Episode 117

Best for ages 7+. A bit slower-paced, so this one is best for your patient listeners. Twelve-year-old Jason Bell and his family anticipate Christmas in Ohio, 1890.

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Nancy and Plum

Nancy and Plum

Author:
Series: Episodes, 117
Tag: Episode 117

Best for 6+, but everyone could listen in. A classic Christmas tale by the author of the Mrs. Piggle Wiggle books. Orphan sisters, the horrid Mrs. Monday, and Christmas shenanigans. There's a lot to love about this one.

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A Boy Called Christmas

A Boy Called Christmas

Author:
Series: Episodes, 117
Tag: Episode 117

Best for 9-14, for fans of Roald Dahl. I thought this book was laugh-out-loud funny. This one is a Christmas fantasy (secular) that is whimsical and optimistic. If you are looking for something reverent or historically accurate, skip this one. (But your reluctant readers will probably eat this one up!)

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The Last Holiday Concert

The Last Holiday Concert

Author:
Series: Episodes, 117
Tag: Episode 117

Best for 8-12 as a read-alone. Andrew Clements delights kids once again with this school story. In this one, the most popular kid in sixth grade discovers what it means to be a leader.

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Felicity’s Surprise

Felicity’s Surprise

Author:
Series: Episodes, 117
Tag: Episode 117

Best for ages 5+. I was surprised at how much all of my kids enjoyed this when we read it a few years ago! The American Girl "Surprise" books that celebrate Christmas are really quite delightful.

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Addy’s Surprise: A Christmas Story (The American Girl Collection)

Addy’s Surprise: A Christmas Story (The American Girl Collection)

Author:
Series: Episodes, 117
Tag: Episode 117

Best for ages 5+. I was surprised at how much all of my kids enjoyed this when we read it a few years ago! The American Girl "Surprise" books that celebrate Christmas are really quite delightful.

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The Gift of the Magi (Aladdin Picture Books)

The Gift of the Magi (Aladdin Picture Books)

Author:
Series: Episodes, 117
Tag: Episode 117

Best for ages 6+. Older kids and teens will enjoy this one a lot-- so will you, mama. It's the classic tale from O. Henry, and I like this edition as well as the one illustrated by P.J. Lynch.

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The Gift of the Magi

The Gift of the Magi

Authors: ,
Series: Episodes, 117
Tag: Episode 117

Best for ages 6+. Older kids and teens will enjoy this one a lot-- so will you, mama. It's the classic tale from O. Henry, and I like this edition as well as the one illustrated by Lisbeth Zwerger.

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The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

Author:
Series: Episodes, 117
Tag: Episode 117

Best for ages 8+. Hilarious and moving, this one is a Christmas classic!

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Christmas Remembered

Christmas Remembered

Best for ages 8-12. Tomie dePaola is always a RAR favorite! In this collection, he recalls memories from his own Christmases.

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Unwrapping the Greatest Gift: A Family Celebration of Christmas

Unwrapping the Greatest Gift: A Family Celebration of Christmas

Author:
Series: Episodes, 117
Tags: Episode 117, Episode 36

Best for all ages. This is an Advent celebration of the Jesse Tree. Read a little bit aloud each day, if you can.

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The Twenty-four Days Before Christmas: An Austin Family Story (Austin Family Series Book 3)

The Twenty-four Days Before Christmas: An Austin Family Story (Austin Family Series Book 3)

Author:
Series: Episodes, 117
Tag: Episode 117

Best for ages 8-14, though all ages could listen in. The Austin family does one special thing each day of December to prepare for Christmas. This year, they're also preparing for the birth of a new brother or sister!

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More FREE Christmas resources from RAR: