The holiday season is a great time to read books that teach kids about Christmas or help them get into the holiday spirit. In my experience, students love when I read aloud chapter books with highly relatable plot lines that allow us to discuss the story and work on comprehension skills. And there are so many Christmas-themed books that it can be hard to pick just a few.
I’ve rounded up several of my favorite Christmas read alouds and holiday classics that you can read to your kids. And remember that read alouds provide the perfect opportunity to develop fluency and comprehension so this time is not wasted (just in case you needed to hear that).
Christmas Read Alouds for Early Elementary
Below is a list of Christmas read louds that are perfect for early elementary. I tried to find a few multicultural books for better representation and found quite a few good options.
I want to note that some of these do discuss religion or religious symbols, so if that is something you want to stay away from be sure to research the book before buying it.
Is It Christmas Yet?
All children can relate to the excitement and difficulty with waiting for Christmas morning, especially younger children who will enjoy this cute story.
This is a good one for the younger kids and goes with the rhythm of “The Night Before Christmas”. A Latino family prepares for Noche Buena, or Christmas Eve. They decorate the house, sing, and have a feast at midnight.
Bear Stays Up for Christmas
Bear’s friends try to keep him awake all night by having him do all sorts of things. Bear stays up and realizes giving is the best Christmas present.
Memoirs of an Elf
Spark Elf’s job is to keep Santa on schedule so he can travel the world in 24 hours to deliver the presents. But Santa falls behind and ends up brining a dog back to the North Pole.
The Gingerbread Girl
A lonely old couple bakes a gingerbread girl who escapes when they open the oven. This is a good pick for younger kids.
Snowmen at Christmas
This book answers the question: “What do snowmen do for Christmas?” An entertaining read for younger kids.
Carla and the Christmas Cornbread
Carla loves Christmas and goes to her grandparent’s to spend time with her family. But Carla accidentally takes a bite out of Santa’s cookie and worries that she’s ruined Christmas.
The 12 Sleighs of Christmas
Santa’s elves discover his sleigh is falling apart so they all design new sleighs using their wild imaginations. With fun pictures, rhymes, and a new take on the 12 days of Christmas, younger readers will enjoy this.
Christmas in Lagos
This story takes place in Lagos, a modern West African city. A young Nigerian girl writes in her Christmas journal describing the sights and sounds of Lagos at Christmas.
It’s Christmas, David!
A great laugh-aloud book for younger kids where David struggles with his excitement for Christmas.
A World of Cookies for Santa: Follow Santa’s Tasty Trip Around the World
Learn about the different treats that await Santa across the globe in this multicultural book for children.
An Otis Christmas
Younger readers will love this story about Otis and his farm friends during Christmas. Everything is going well but in the middle of the night the horse neighs in pain and they need to call a doctor. Otis worries because there is so much snow so he hatches a plan to help save the horse.
The 12 Days of Christmas
This is a funny take on the popular Christmas song that your students will love.
A charming and funny story about a wombat competing against deer to win some carrots.
The Polar Express
What Christmas book roundup would be complete without this book? This classic story about a boy who visits the North Pole never gets old.
The Legend of the Poinsettia
With how popular poinsettia plants are during the holiday season, this is a great book that teaches where this flower came from and it’s meaning.
Welcome Comfort is a foster child who is always moving homes and gets picked on at school. Even Christmas is not a good day for him, but the school custodian changes that and Welcome goes on an adventure.
The Legend of Old Befana: An Italian Christmas Story
In this Italian Christmas folk tale, Old Befana is known as the cranky old lady who always sweeps. But one night Befana encounters the processions of the three kings on their way to Bethlehem, and this changes her world.
A Very Mercy Christmas
Mercy Watson is back in this funny Christmas story about how she and her friends help Stella when she wants to go caroling.
How Winston Delivered Christmas
A mouse named Winston finds a lost letter addressed to Santa and goes on a journey to personally deliver the letter to Santa. This is an advent story with 24 and a half chapters.
Only YOU Can Save Christmas!
Santa’s head elf needs the reader’s help in this funny and interactive Christmas book. Your students will laugh and enjoy this one.
Tomten Saves Christmas: A Swedish Christmas Tale
This is a beautifully illustrated book of a traditional Nordic tale. A grumpy Tomte who watches over the farm animals is invited to visit his cousin, Santa, who is running out of time to wrap all the presents. It’s a charming story all about the magic of Christmas.
Christmas Read Alouds for Upper Elementary & Older Kids
Below is a list of middle grade Christmas books for upper elementary and older kids. I couldn’t find multicultural books like in the section above so if you know of any good books I should add here, let me know in the comments.
The Christmas Pig
Jack loses his favorite childhood toy, Dur Pig. His new toy, Christmas Pig, comes up with a plan and together they go on a magical journey to find his lost friend.
A Boy Called Christmas
A newer classic, this is the story of the boy before Santa Clause. Nikolas travels to the North Pole to find his father and befriends a reindeer, meets a troll, and finds the enchanted village of Elfhelm. Christmas spirit and goodwill are low, but can Nikolas and the elves fix it?
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever
The Herdmans are known as the worst kids in the world and this family takes over the annual Christmas pageant. They’ve never heard of the story of Christmas so their version is not sitting well with the audience. But it’s making this year’s pageant unusual, and maybe even, the best ever.
This would not be my top pick for the classroom, just because it mentions smoking, bullying, cussing, poor people, religion, and a few other things that might upset parents or admin, but it’s good to read at home if you’re ok with those topics.
The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street
In the first book of the popular series, the Vanderbeeker kids try to convince their landlord to renew their lease. With Christmas coming, they are on a tight deadline.
Bettina is left alone to care for the house, farm, and Baby Pia. She forgets to set out the rice pudding for the nisse, and because she didn’t even believe the nisse were real, thought no harm could be done. But baby Pia disappears and Bettina has to fix it.
The Last Holiday Concert
Hart Evans is the most popular kid in sixth grade. Everyone likes him, except for the chorus director Mr. Meinert. After accidently hitting Mr. Meinert with a rubber band during practice, the chorus director tells the kids to put on their own holiday concert. Guess who the kids elect to run the show? Mr. Hart Evans.
When Santa Fell To Earth
Santa and his sleigh crash land in a friendly neighborhood. But he’s not exactly safe. The town leader Goblynch is determined to end the holiday season in favor of something that makes him money. Santa faces Goblynch and his Nutcracker goons, and along with two friendly kids tries to save Christmas.
The Girl Who Saved Christmas
A magical story about the first child to ever be gifted a Christmas present. Amelia is sent to a workhouse after her mother falls ill and she starts to lose hope. Magic levels dip in the North Pole but Santa, his reindeer, cat, and Charles Dickens have a plan that involves Amelia.
The Christmas Genie
On the last day before Christmas break, a meteorite crashes through the window of a 5th grade classroom. A genie pops out and tells the class he can grant one wish for the class to share, but if they can’t agree on anything with an hour, they get nothing. A hilarious and thoughtful debate ensues as the children grapple with the situation.
A young orphan becomes the legendary Kris Kringle in this fantasy epic. This tale has goblins, elves, flying reindeer and weaves in many Northern European myths, religions, and history.
Let me know if you have a favorite Christmas read that I can add to this list.