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5 Fantastic Christmas Read Alouds

Every year since 2012, I’ve done a Christmas picture book list.

Then, this year, several people started asking if I would do a list of longer Christmas chapter books to read-aloud with their kids during December.

Such a thought had never actually crossed my mind (because I am totally brilliant, obviously), but immediately I was all about this really good idea.

Here are five Christmas read alouds that would be great choices.

As soon as we finish Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, we’ll be diving into one of these Christmas read alouds.

Christmas read alouds

5 wonderful Christmas read alouds

A Return to Christmas by Chris Heimerdinger
This is the Christmas read aloud I remember best from my childhood. It’s out of print now, I think,  but you can get a second-hand copy for less than a dollar. This story follows two eleven-year-old boys, one of whom hates Christmas, thanks to a tragedy that occurred when he was very young, and the other who lives by his wits as a con artist. We met the author the year we were reading it and told him we were reading a chapter a day (the book has 25 chapters), and he told us, “You’ll never be able to hold out.” And he was RIGHT. It was one of those books we couldn’t put down. I think my mom bought a copy for everyone in our extended family the next year.

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson
I mean, what would a Christmas chapter book list be without this book? I cannot WAIT to read this one with my girls – I know they’ll get a huge kick out of the Herdman siblings, dubbed “the worst kids in the history of the world” who show up at church because of the free snacks and somehow take over the whole Christmas pageant. This one is a nice short read, so if you’re looking for something that you can get through in a couple of days or a week, this is a good pick.

Nancy & Plum by Betty MacDonald
I know Betty MacDonald because I’m a massive fan of Mrs. Piggle Wiggle, and when I saw this Christmas novel with illustrations done by Mary GrandPré (who did the illustrations for the original Harry Potter books), I was completely in. Also, two orphan sisters in a terrible orphanage? Count me in. It’s been republished from the 1950s and at 240 pages, it’s a good choice for the whole month (this is my pick for next year for our family).

The Family Under the Bridge by Natalie Savage Carlson
This is a classic set in Paris (and I’m never going to say no to Paris), following Armand, an old man who lives on the streets and loves his solitary life. Until he meets a poor mother and her three children and feels drawn to helping them, including sharing his home under the bridge with them. Also, the illustrations are by Garth Williams, who did the illustrations for Charlotte’s Web and Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House series, so you know it’s going to have the coziest, most classic feel.

Kringle by Tony Abbott
I always am in for a good backstory, and this one, about an orphan who grows up to become Santa, is a total showstopper, with him coming-of-age in 500 A.D. If you want goblins, elves, reindeer, and all your good fantasy elements, this story is for you. In this tale, goblins kidnap human children and use them as slaves in underground mines. And Kris Kringle takes on as his personal mission to slave his fellow child slaves from the evil goblins, continuing on today as each Christmas Eve, he works to keep down the goblin uprisings.


And if you want a couple of other suggestions, my mom shared five Christmas read-alouds over on her book blog this week – only one of the five is the same as mine!


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  • Reply Kelsey November 30, 2017 at 6:43 pm

    I’ve been meaning to ask you how it’s been reading Harry Potter aloud with your children. Mine are (dumb and) uninterested, but the one time I tried to force it on them, I was painfully aware of the lacking in my reading skills. I just kept comparing myself to Jim Dale and thinking how much better he does! It was hard for me to not be sharing those voices that I just don’t have. Has that bothered you at all? When I’m reading them to myself it doesn’t bother me because I can imagine the voices, but that doesn’t work so well out loud!

  • Reply Kristin November 30, 2017 at 8:12 pm

    One of my favorite Christmas chapter books is The House Without a Christmas Tree. Your adorable girls are too young for it now but check it out for the future.

  • Reply Jamie December 1, 2017 at 4:13 am

    This was my favorite Christmas book when I was a grade schooler. It’s still as sweet and tender as ever.

    The Silent Bells by William MacKellar
    A young Swiss girl dreams of the day the cathedral bells, which no one has ever heard, will break their long silence when a special gift is presented at the cráeche on Christmas Eve.

  • Reply Kimberly December 1, 2017 at 7:49 am

    Christmas books are some of the books I remember most fondly from my childhood. How Little Porcupine Played Christmas (Joseph Slate) and The Doggonest Christmas (Richard L. Stack) were two of my favorites.

  • Reply Mother of 3 December 2, 2017 at 12:39 pm

    OH this is just the book list I have been looking for! My boys and I always read a huge stack of Christmas picture books each December but I was informed this year that my oldest boys are too old for picture books (I have no idea what they are talking about as I still love them!) but I wanted to honor their request and keep reading chapter books aloud but I really wanted something Christmasy… seems like most I found were geared towards older kids and let slip that whole Santa secret (which my boys are still firm believers in). We are reading A Boy Called Christmas and enjoying it tremendously and my boys really got a kick out of The Naughty list that we read together last year. It was a very funny Christmas story with ninja snowmen and a lazy Santa clause.

  • Reply Lindsey December 3, 2017 at 10:50 pm

    I can’t wait to read The Best Christmas Pagaent Ever with my kids! Especially since I played Gladys Herdman in a production growing up. I think Charlie will get a big kick out of picturing his mom saying “Shazam!”

  • Reply Halima December 4, 2017 at 9:48 am

    I loved “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever”. We will have to check out some of these other ones! Thanks!

  • Reply grace December 6, 2017 at 11:36 am

    I just finished “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” and LOVED it. The audio version narrated by Elaine Stritch is AWESOME. Thanks for the great recommendation!

  • Reply KM December 20, 2017 at 4:43 pm

    I also love Betty MacDonald thanks to Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, but I didn’t know about Nancy and Plum – I’ll check it out. Have you read her memoirs? I came across them recently and they are wonderful – especially “The Plague and I” which was both fascinating and hilarious!

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