It’s just not Christmas without Scrooge, the Grinch or the Snowman. If none of these characters are on TV this December or if you fancy a more traditional family Christmas, snuggle up with the children and read the books to them. You could buy any of these online in time for Christmas or in your local bookshop, and simply slip one into their bright red stocking. We hope you enjoy our selection of classic Christmas stories for kids – please do feel free to add your own recommendations below too!
Best places to buy children’s books for Christmas
We wholeheartedly recommend the Oxfam Second-hand Bookstore. They have a great selection of second-hand books, including some gorgeous children’s classics. The money you spend in their online second-hand book store will go towards Oxfam’s campaigns to fight poverty around the world, and to help other families.
If you are looking for new releases or the best deals online, The Book People website has some deals which are simply too good to be true, with whole collections of top selling children’s books for a fiver at times.
Esther’s favourite classic Christmas stories for kids
Children’s Christmas books inspire meaning within their audience. Books such as The Polar Express insinuate Christmas is for children or those who believe in it because only they can hear the boy’s bell. This book is a classic because it demonstrates perseverance on the part of the boy, believing in Christmas when everyone around him does not and his strong faith keeps the Christmas spirit alive. It gives a strong message to children to keep believing in Christmas when they’re grown up.
The infamous Scrooge of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is not so different from How The Grinch Stole Christmas! by Dr Seuss. Neither one will take part in the festivities, nor will they embrace the Christmas spirit of good will. While the Grinch is more of a children’s book character than Scrooge, children may notice from both of these books that it is older people – or beasts – who hold a grudge against Christmas.
Scrooge is selfish, greedy and uncaring towards others and it takes not one, but three ghosts to show him that his behaviour could lead to a sad demise so he sees the error of his ways and makes sure those around him have a good Christmas. This story has been adapted in many formats and styles, such as The Muppets’ Christmas Carol to make it more fun for kids.
The Grinch on the other hand, wants to destroy the Christmas spirit by stealing the presents and decorations but the townspeople of Whoville continue to carry the spirit. Eventually, their solid faith provokes a miraculous change in the Grinch, who sees the light and celebrates Christmas with the Whos. This is a funny story the whole family will enjoy reading.
O. Henry’s The Gift of the Magi (a short story you can read to your children) follows a young couple in love who are poor but desperate to buy each other a Christmas present.
They both give up their greatest treasures – Della’s beautiful hair and Jim’s pocket watch – to buy something for the other and although the gifts were useless in the end, they still have their love for each other. This story caters to the idea that Christmas is about being with loved ones, whether they are friends or family and children will understand this whilst you parents should see the romantic side of Christmas.
Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women isn’t exactly a Christmas novel, although you could still give it as a gift to older children aged 8 and above. The March girls’ first Christmas without their father is heart warming: they give up their dinner for a poor German family and Beth makes a Christmas wish for the war to end so their father can come home. Just like Jim and Della, the March girls show kindness and compassion towards others at Christmas, ensuring that those they love are cared for on the biggest holiday of the year.
Raymond Briggs’ The Snowman, a highly illustrated book, captures the boy’s excitement of Christmas and his magical flight with the Snowman he brings to life. While listening to the audio story, the pictures tell a beautiful Christmas story, awakening the imagination of both young and old people. I always associate the book with the song Walking In The Air but children are likely to connect the story to anything Christmassy, such as snow and presents.
These classic characters are Christmas icons for a reason: they are timeless and their story of how they embraced Christmas is one that will be told for years to come. So ignore the carol singers, instead, snuggle into bed with your kids to read them a Christmas story. You can’t get more cosy and Christmassy than that.
Recommendations by Esther L.