25 CHRISTmas Picture Books for Older Children

As I shared in my previous post, 25 CHRISTmas Books for Preschoolers, I’ve split our Christmas library into two parts to have age appropriate books for all the children in our family to (re)discover each day in December.  Choosing books for older children is a little trickier than for the little ones.  Some of my favorite stories are chapter books that are too long to read in one day, so our Advent tradition of wrapping up a book to open each day doesn’t work quite so well with those.  So here’s a list of 25 great picture books we’ll be using for our Advent gifts, not in order, but grouped by theme.  (Yes, we open the same ones each year, with usually a few new ones mixed in.)  The chapter books will have to wait until my children get a little older.

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I’ve tried to build a collection of beautiful books that will reach my children’s hearts and cause them to think more deeply about Christmas.  Not all these books are specifically about Christ or even mention him (though many do), but are more focused on things like love, self-sacrifice, and the joy of giving as we celebrate God’s gift of our Savior.

Books Set in the Time of Christ


Jacob’s Gift by Max Lucado (a young carpenter’s apprentice gives the manger he has worked on to be Christ’s first bed)


The Crippled Lamb by Max Lucado (a lamb who is sad about not being able to go out into the fields gets to be present when Christ is born)

3. Light of Christmas

The Light of Christmas by Dandi Daley Mackall (rhyming story about Jesus, the Light of the World, not just at his birth, but for all time)


Amahl and the Night Visitors by Gian Carlo Menotti (a young crippled boy meets the 3 kings on their journey and his healed after deciding to give his crutch to the baby Jesus, based on the opera by the same name)

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Mary’s Treasure Box by Carolyn Walz Kramlich (Mary shows her grandaughter Sarah the treasures from when he uncle Jesus was born.)
Mary’s First Christmas by Walter Wangerin Jr. (Mary recounts to a young Jesus her memories of his birth)

Books about Christmas Traditions

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The Legend of the Christmas Tree by Rick Osborne (teaches about the symbolism of Christmas trees)

Silent Night: The Song and Its Story by Margaret Hodges (beautiful book about when the song was written and how it spread)

The Candy Maker’s Gift: The Inspirational Legend of the Candy Cane by David and Helen Haidle (the symbolism behind the candy cane)


The 12 Days of Christmas: the story behind a favorite Christmas song by Helen Haidle (with explanations of the items in the song)


The Last Straw by Paula Palangi McDonald (a family creates a bed for Jesus as they perform kind deeds for one another)

Books about the Gift of Christ

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If He Had Not Come by Nan F. Weeks (retold by David Nicholson) (a boy dreams of a world with Christ and realizes the Jesus is the best gift ever given)

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Josie’s Gift by Kathleen Long Bostrom (the story of a girl who learns that Christmas is not about what we want, but what we have)

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Great Joy by Kate DiCamillo (a little girl shares the joy of Christ’s birth with a lonely organ-grinder)

Books about the Joy of Giving

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Christmas Oranges retold by Linda Bethers (the story of an orphan girl whose friends show her great love through their gift to her)


The Christmas Candle by Richard Paul Evans (about a man who discovers joy in giving to the poor)


The Legend of Saint Nicholas: A Story of Christmas Giving by Dandi Daley Mackall (a boy learns about the story of St. Nicholas and gains a new outlook on giving)


Penny’s Christmas Jar Miracle by Jason F. Wright (a wonderful story about love and the joy of doing something for others)


The Princess and the Kiss: Three Gifts of Christmas by Jennie Bishop (After her parents decide a princess should only receive three gifts rather than her usual bounty, she learns that true joy comes from giving.)


The Candle in the Window by Grace Johnson (the story of an unhappy cobbler who discovers joy in giving “unto the least of these”)

Other Charming Stories Our Family Has Enjoyed


The Light of Christmas by Richard Paul Evans (a boy sacrifices his own desires to help someone in need and is rewarded in the end)


The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree by Gloria Houston (the story of a family’s love and sacrifice during hard times)


The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey by Susan Wojciechowski (a story of hope about a man transformed by love)


Angela and the Baby Jesus by Frank McCourt (a little girl takes the figure of baby Jesus home from church because he seems cold)

The Lightlings by R.C. Sproul (not a “Christmas book” at first glance, but still probably my favorite book about the point of Christmas, an allegory about God sending His Son as a light to a dark, fallen world.)

(NOTE: As I’ve discovered new books, I’ve replaced some of the titles in the original post.  I’m keeping them around for when I want to wrap up books for more kids each day, but these are currently my 25 favorites for elementary-age children.)