Last Updated: November 9, 2021
Tis the seasons for holiday books! This Christmas we’re trying out a Christmas Book Advent Calendar for our preschooler. In past years, we’ve found our favorite winter books – with all the typical elements – snow, arctic animals, sleds! So these sweet Christmas books are nice for preschoolers – and of course toddlers and babies, as well. So here are the Christmas books we love and jump to the end of this post for Christmas Book Advent calendar ideas!
Our Favorite Christmas Books for Toddlers & Preschoolers:
Here are some of our favorites, older classics, and a few new Christmas finds, thrown in.
1. Pick a Pine Tree by Patricia Toht, Illustrated by Jarvis
Oh how our two year old loved this book! The story follows getting a tree and all the fun tasks that follow. After cutting our own Christmas tree in the woods last year, this book was an especially great read. I’m loving the memory association and traditions aspect of this book. The illustrations are gorgeous!
2. Little Red Sleigh by Erin Guendelsberger, Illustrated by Elizaveta Tretyakova
The Little Red Sleigh is one of the sweetest books and beautifully illustrated. It’s the story of a little red sled that has big dreams of working with Santa and meets all kinds of friends along the way. This book is great for little ones who are feeling like they’re too little and too small to do big things. What a sweet message for toddlers.
3. The Jolly Christmas Postman by Allan Ahlberg, Illustrated by Janet Ahlberg
The Jolly Christmas Postman is a Christmas classic. You may remember it from growing up. And it felt like one of the first Christmas books with interactive features like the little envelopes with real letters to pull out and read. This one is geared more for older preschoolers, as younger kids might not get the story as much, but kids of all ages enjoy the envelope part! What a fun book.
4. The Crayons’ Christmas by Drew Daywalt, Illustrated by Oliver Jeffers
For Oliver Jeffers fans, The Christmas Crayon picks up on The Day the Crayons Quit story. These books are great for preschoolers and even older kids, who will pick up on the next level of humor! This one reminds me of the Jolly Christmas Postman, with the envelopes to open and letters to read. And ultimately showing us that the “best gifts are the ones you give”.
5. Harold at the North Pole by Crockett Johnson
Harold at the North Pole follows a familiar storyline of the children’s classic – Harold and the Purple Crayon. It’s simple and sweet and was our toddlers favorite Christmas book for about two weeks straight. Quickly replaced by Construction Site on Christmas Night.
6. Construction Site on Christmas Night – by Sherri Duskey Rinker, Illustrated by AG Ford
You know the drill – construction trucks. Transportation-obsessed toddlers and preschoolers love these books. Tired parents (ahem, raises hand) sometimes just can’t handle how long these books are. Ha! But this one is extra special with a surprise appearance by a fire truck crew. And working as team is such a great message for littles to hear, even if it feels like you’ve read this one 500 times already. There’s also another Christmas Construction board book called Construction Site Merry and Bright which is a lift the flap board book and much shorter!
7. Santa and the Goodnight Train by June Sobel, Illustrated by Laura Huliska-Beith
This Christmas sequel to the Good Night Train book is great for babies, toddlers and young preschoolers. It follows the trains adventure through a wintery wonderland of holiday magic with a fun rhyming storyline.
8. Little Blue Trucks Christmas – by Alice Schertle, Illustrated by Jill McElmurry
For little ones that love Little Blue Truck. This book also has a surprise at the end because it lights up. We checked this book out at the library and it was really fun for the Christmas season. Especially great for kiddos on the younger side, who love all things Little Blue Truck!
9. The Christmas Farm by Mary Lyn Ray, Illustrated by Barry Root
The story of Wilma and how her Christmas Farm came to be. And follows the years of hard work. This book might feel a little long for younger kiddos, but it’s such a unique story of friendship and perseverance!
10. Bear Stays up for Christmas by Karma Wilson, Illustrated by Jane Chapman
Fans of the Bear book series, will love this take on a Christmas story. With the help of all the familiar animal friends, they try to keep Bear awake for Christmas. No hibernating for this Bear, as they go through all the Christmas activities. A cute and fun picture book!
11. The Smallest Gift of Christmas by Peter H. Reynolds
A tiny book teaching some big lessons about gifts, giving and thankfulness. I think we could all use the message of this book sometimes!
12. Dasher by Matt Tavares
An origin story for Dasher the reindeer, this book follows a little reindeer who escapes from a traveling circus and meets Santa. And the rest is history. This book is a little long, and some of the themes around animals and circuses (translation: animal cruelty) might be a bit mature for some preschoolers. But as with many books, check it out for yourself first, and feel free to ad-lib sections that don’t suit your family!
How to Do a Christmas Book Advent Calendar
Every December, we do a family activities advent calendar. And it’s been on our list to try a holiday books advent calendar. At age four, our kiddo finally seems old enough to both understand and enjoy doing a nightly story or book about Christmas or winter. We’ll definitely be going broad and using winter themed books too. And using the library to keep things on a budget! You could do any theme, including Hanukkah!
1. Decide on 12 or 25 books
Just because a typical advent calendar has 24 or 25 days, doesn’t mean you need to do the same. Especially for younger kids, they’ll enjoy 12 days just as much! So just like with my DIY Duplo Advent calendar, decide if you want to do a 25 day advent calendar or a 12 days of Christmas advent calendar and start Dec 1 or Dec 13, accordingly. We’re doing a 12 day calendar, since we do our activities family advent calendar too. Plus, I kind of like easing into December. So a December 1 start can sometimes feel intense!
2. Look through all your books for Christmas & Winter themes
First, look through your own collection of children’s books to see what books might fall under the category of Christmas, winter, or anything else holiday, giving, etc. related. In our house, we only own about three legit Christmas books. The Pick a Pine Tree, Construction Trucks on Christmas night, and then a reindeer board book. So now we need 9 more.
Many Christmas books overlap with winter in general, check out our Winter favorites here. Including: The Red Sled, The Snowy Day, and The Wish Tree.
3. Use the library and friends
There are a few favorites we have checked out previous years at the library. And I know if I put holds on them now, some of them should be available by mid-December. Plus, I’ll be asking a few friends for any book donations or lending. Tip: think about your friends with older kids! They might have some holiday books to lend you that their kiddos aren’t into anymore, but that they don’t want to part with yet permanently.
4. Buy any new Christmas books
If you have the budget for it, the last step could be buying a few new books. Don’t forget about used books. One of our favorites is getting used books from Powells. For example, they currently have Pick a Pine Tree used hardcover for $6.95.
5. Decide on presentation
There are a lot of different ways to do a book advent calendar. Some people wrap up all the books, and number them. This can look really beautiful as part of your Christmas decorations! As for me and my house, we’re going a simpler route this year. We’ll display all the books in a basket. I also like that we can have all the books out, so they can be read whenever. Especially with a four year old who wants to do all the things!
Happy Holiday and I hope you enjoy these Christmas books for preschoolers and the book advent calendar idea! And check out more toddler advent calendar ideas here.