21 Family Books for Advent + Christmas

If those infamous red cups are any indication, Christmas is coming! But, at least in our family, it’s not coming quite as quickly as it is for the rest of America.

Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE Christmas. It’s definitely my personal favorite holiday. However, as with anything truly worth having in life, I believe Christmas is worth waiting for. And that’s why we have Advent.

The pause. The breath. The peace.

Advent is the fast that makes the feast taste better. It’s the silence that allows the laud to startle. It is the humble preparation for the holy coming of heaven.

It’s so tempting to dive head first into the future. To leap from that first sweet thrill of anticipation into the midst of all it promises.

I get it. I really get it.

But I’ve learned from stubborn, stumbling experience that anticipation really has its purpose, and the Church, in her wisdom, has given us the season of Advent to remind us, like a mother with her children, Slow down. Pause. Breathe. Wait.

In these last few days leading up to Advent, I want to share with you some of our family’s favorite traditions. One of the ones I’m asked most often about is: BOOKS!

Below I’ve listed our family’s favorite Advent and Christmas books. For most of the year, these books are kept on a high shelf, which my children are forever scheming to scale and plunder. They love these books and, I swear, would have me read one every single night of the year. But, in my opinion at least, they are something worth waiting for. Some special that we save to savor, to cherish together during this joyful, holy time.

There’s no rule that says you need to bring your Advent books out on the first Sunday of the season and save your Christmas books until Christmas Eve. That’s how our family rolls, but only you know how yours rolls best. I only hope that you will find this list a help as you plan your own holiday celebrations.

Books for Advent

The Story of Christmas by Mary Packard and Carolyn Croll
* This can double as an Advent Calendar of sorts *

The Baker’s Dozen: A Saint Nicholas Tale by Aaron Shephard and Wendy Edelson

The Miracle of St. Nicholas by Gloria Whelan and Judith Brown

Our Lady of Guadalupe by Carmen Bernier-Grand and Tonya Engel

Lucia Morning in Sweden by Ewa Rydaker and Carina Stahlberg

Lucia Saint of Light by Katherine Bolger Hyde and Daria Fisher

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, illustrated by Roberto Innocenti

Books for Christmas

This is the Stable 
by Cynthia Cotten and Delana Bettoli

Christmas Toyland 
by Lynn Hollyn and Lori Anzalone
* out of print, but absolutely worth the search if you can find a copy!*

Fletcher and the Snowflake Christmas 
by Julia Rawlinson and Tiphanie Beeke

The Donkey’s Dream 
by Barbara Helen Berger

The Legend of the Poinsettia 
by Tomie dePaola

How the Grinch Stole Christmas 
by Dr. Seuss

The Velveteen Rabbit 
by Margery Williams, illustrated by Michael Hague

Christmas Cookies: Bite-Size Holiday Lessons 
by Amy Krouse Rosenthall and Jane Dyer

The Nutcracker 
by E.T.A. Hoffman, illustrated by Maurice Sendak
* Sendak’s illustrations come to life in the Pacific Northwest Ballet version of Tchaikovsky’s ballet! *

Max’s Christmas 
by Rosemary Wells

Angelina’s Christmas 
by Katherine Holabird and Helen Craig

Angelina Ice Skates 
by Katherine Holabird and Helen Craig

Baboushka and the Three Kings 
by Ruth Robbins and Nicolas Sidjakov

We Three Kings 
illustrated by Gennady Spirin

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