The best Christmas books for toddlers and preschoolers. 52 magical Christmas books for toddlers and preschool kids aged 2 to 4.
This year, I’m planning to go big on Christmas.
I’ve already got the beginnings of my Toddler’s Christmas Eve Box and the first few Toddler Stocking stuffers. We’ve got our Christmas tree more or less toddler proofed. And I’m already searching for the best toddler advent calendar for my 2.5 year old (as well as a Santa Beard advent craft).
Next up is filling out our library of the best Christmas books for toddlers. I’m planning to make a Christmas Book Advent Calendar this year, which will use many of these books. And yes, I’m also going to do a “normal” advent calendar, because – see above – I’m going big on Christmas.
Perhaps it’s because this – our daughter’s third Christmas – is the first one for which she really knows what is happening and is already interested in the concept, if not excited by it.
Or perhaps it’s because it’s 2020, and we all need a bit of extra special in our lives.
Whatever the case, I’m already getting excited about Christmas around here.
And as I start to make my own preparations, I thought I’d share this list of the best Christmas books for toddlers – many of which I plan to include in my Christmas book advent calendar this year! If you’re shopping for a littler one, our Best Christmas Books for Babies post will be of interest!
Best Christmas Books for Toddlers and Preschoolers
First, a quick note. These kids Christmas books cover a pretty wide age range, from around 18 months and up.
If you’re looking for Christmas Books for Babies, I’m working on that too, so check back.
This Christmas books below are really best for the toddler and preschool years from around 2 years old until the last year of preschool, when they are 4.
Yes, that’s a pretty big developmental range. Whereas 2-year-olds are more likely to enjoy the rhythmic and rhyming style books and lift the flaps, older preschoolers will get right into proper “storytime” books, plot and all.
Even though I’ve focused on the toddler and preschooler years, some of the books are “older” but still nice to introduce during toddlerhood. These books are great because they’ll last well beyond preschool and through the early elementary years, many of them becoming family favorites and part of your family Christmas traditions each year!
With that caveat out of the way, here are some of our family favorites, plus some others we hope to add to our Christmas library this year or next!
Filled with line after line of clever and rhythmic rhymes, this book is a Christmas adventure about tracking down the Sprinkle Snatcher so everyone can carry on baking their Christmas Cookies. Suggested age range is early elementary, but this was a personal favorite when I was a kid, so I’d be remiss to leave it off. Plus, my toddler is a sprinkle lover and a cookie lover, so I think think it still fits in my Christmas books for toddlers list.
This is the story of a sweet bear who, much to his dismay, was left behind when Santa left to deliver toys on Christmas Eve. It’s a humor filled journey that follows bear all the way to Tom’s house. Each page is super busy with illustrations and things to look for, and while there aren’t a ton of lift-the-flaps, there are a few which adds to the fun. For younger toddlers, the illustrations provide plenty of things to point at, name, and find. I also love the alliteration and rhyming in this book, as will toddlers!
03. Snowmen at Night
Finally solving the mystery behind what your snowman does at night, this cozy and lovable story follows a group of snowmen throughout the night to reveal their shenanigans and explain why they look a bit worse for wear each morning. It’s written with a simple rhyme and rhythm that kiddos of all ages will enjoy.
A classic Little Golden Book that has stood the test of time, this sweet story follows the old familiar character of Poky the Puppy as he helps a lost friend and discovers the true meaning of Christmas. This is more of a “storytime” style book than a rhythm and rhyme kind of book, so is best for older toddlers and preschoolers, all the way up to early elementary age. Along with the Christmas Cookie Sprinkle Snatcher, this was a favorite of mine when I was a little!
This amusing and hilarious tale features a familiar character, Splat the Cat, and his Christmas wish for a big present from Santa. When his little sister throws doubt on whether or not he’s been good this year, he decides to do some last-minute good deeds in true Splat the Cat fashion. This is a storybook style Christmas book, good for older toddlers and up.
Perhaps one of the most beloved and classic Christmas stories ever, this dreamlike book follows a boy on a magical Christmas journey aboard the Polar Express, where he will eventually arrive at the North Pole to make his Christmas wish. While the Polar Express story may be a bit too complicated for your toddler, the illustrations are beautiful and the story is so sweet, I think toddlerhood is a nice time to introduce it, and you can pair the book with activities, such as making a Polar Express foil bell ornament or hot chocolate playdough.
Cool and groovy Pete is back again to put a rock-star spin on the classic “Night Before Christmas” tale. Naturally, when Santa is under the weather, he calls on Pete the Cat to save Christmas and get all of the presents delivered. Good for older toddlers, preschool and up.
09 & 10. Don’t Push the Button & Don’t Shake the Present
These two adorable books are truly interactive and will have your little one giggling at the results when they – spoiler alert – push the button and shake the present. They are a fun example of cause and effect with a Christmas theme and are bound to become instant favorites.
Every Toddler’s favorite Sesame Street character is back to help your little one count down the 25 days until Christmas with this fun and wintery book full of lift-flap surprises. Busy illustrations give toddlers plenty to look at and name as they brush up on holiday vocabulary. It even includes an advent calendar page at the back with 25 flaps to help you count down the days.
This pair of sweet books that feature lovable Llama Llama are two different Christmas tales. Llama Llama Jingle Bells is a story of Christmas merriment as Llama Llama spends the holiday with friends singing songs, giving gifts and decorating cookies. Llama Llama Holiday Drama is a tale of patience as Llama Llama eagerly awaits the arrival of Christmas day while preparing for the celebration with Mama Llama. If your little ones are Llama Llama fans (mine is!), they’re sure to love these two children’s books.
14 & 15. The Itsy Bitsy Snowman & The Itsy Bitsy Reindeer
Based on the tune to the The Itsy Bitsy Spider song, The Itsy Bitsy Snowman and the Itsy Bitsy Reindeer are both cheerful and sing-songy Christmas books. Whereas the Itsy Bitsy Snowman is focused on outdoor winter activities and having fun in the snow (i.e. great for kids of all faiths), the Itsy Bitsy Reindeer has the reindeer in Santa’s workshop, helping on. Bright, colorful illustrations, cute rhyming songs, and simple text make both of these Christmas books great for babies and toddlers alike.
Your kiddos will be drawn in with the beautiful and vivid illustrations of this book as they follow a sweet girl and her mom through various busy Christmas scenes. Eventually, they will find Santa, and the girl will be able to tell him her very unselfish wish. The story ends with a sweet message about living the Christmas Spirit throughout the year. Filled with plenty of opportunities to discuss what Christmas really means, and how your family can help others this Christmas.
Endearing and lovable Penguin will discover the joy of a giving heart this Christmas. Your little one will love the beautiful pictures and well-designed story as Penguin and friends go to visit and decorate Pinecone, who has grown from a pine cone into a beautiful tree. When disaster strikes and a blizzard blows away all the Christmas decorations, Penguin sets out to make everyone’s Christmas special. And in the end, Penguin realizes the blizzard wasn’t such a disaster after all.
Follow Mouse on a seemingly endless trail of silly if-then situations in both of these Christmas books. Merry Christmas Mouse highlights counting for beginners as Mouse puts decorations on the tree, one by one. The second is a delightful journey following Mouse to the movie theatre and beyond, all the way to his Christmas tree.
This simple and adorable book is about a silly goose who just wants to make snow angels, throw snowballs and go sledding. His friend, Duck, has to constantly remind Goose that it is not time for all of that. It is time for Christmas! We love this one because one of our many nicknames for our daughter is “Silly Goose” and this book indeed has a silly Goose. However, I think most toddlers (and parents of toddlers) will related to wanting to do something when it’s not time for it.
Little Blue Truck and its various iterations are popular in our house (it was one of our first baby books!), and Little Blue Truck Christmas is no different. In this version, Little Blue is thrilled to be hauling Christmas trees and bringing Christmas cheer to all of his friends. Unlike the original, however, this version introduces some counting. Your toddler can practice simple counting and word recognition as they follow Blue on his Christmas journey with Christmas trees.
This humorous tale features Santa and his search for the perfect animals to lead his sleigh. Things get a little goofy along the way as Santa gives everything from tigers, mice, skunks and more to lead his sleigh on Christmas Eve. Extra hilarious if you do the noises for each animal (and sometimes we ask our Hey Google or Alexa to make the noises for us). Your toddler will be enchanted by the anticipation of what’s on the next page.
26 & 27. Olivia Helps With Christmas & Olivia Claus
These two story books are perfect for any Olivia loving toddlers in your life. In Olivia Helps with Christmas, Olivia is a busy little piglet as she helps everyone in her family get ready for Christmas. Naturally, she does plenty of delegating, and she puts her helpfulness to good use when some toys start disappearing. She will quickly learn the meaning of giving and giving back. Olivia Claus, on the other hand, follows Olivia and her family as they search for treasured and everyday items they’ve lost, and Olivia imagines herself giving back lost toys to all the children of the world. Both are cute for around preschool age and up.
The silly old lady who swallowed that fly is back, and this time she’s filling up with Christmas goodies. First, she starts with a bell and eventually fits in a whole sleigh. Then she starts with the snow, and who knows what she’ll end up swallowing at the end? Your little ones will giggle the whole way through the familiar sing-songy text of these classics.
This classic poem is the basis of many family Christmas Eve traditions. Your kiddos will love to snuggle up next to the fire and hear about Santa’s big night told in brilliant, timeless prose and full of Christmas excitement and anticipation. Like Polar Express, it might be a bit too “old” for the average toddler, but is a nice Christmas Eve tradition to start at this age.
32. The Snowman
The Snowman is a true picture book with no words at all. Young and old alike will fall in love with the whimsical and beautiful wintry scenes that depict a young boy and the adventures he has with his snowman. This is a nice “discussion” book with your toddler, great for asking them open ended questions about what’s going to happen next, how the characters feel, etc.
33. I Spy Christmas
I Spy books have been beloved by kids for decades, and this one is equally appealing with its charming and cozy Christmas scenes full of Christmassy things. My toddler loves looking for hidden things in her books (we can’t read Goodnight Moon without finding the mouse on every page). Looking for Christmas treasures is a great way to get into the spirit, and a perfect quiet time book, too.
In this delightful Christmas tale, Moose is so busy cooking, decorating and wrapping presents that he forgets to put up a tree. His creative solution will make him the hero of Christmas Eve. This is a storybook and is probably a bit long for the youngest of toddlers, although they will still enjoy the illustrations as Moose gets ready for a perfect Christmas. Best suited to preschoolers and up.
The author brilliantly paints a picture of Christmas by depicting different cozy scenes like a farmhouse with a warm fireplace where stockings are hung, accompanied by sweet poems that are an ode to the Christmas colors like green, gold, white and brown. The pictures and text are great for vocabulary and for kids who like to ask, “What’s that?”
This engaging book stars Duncan and his crayons, who have a blast getting into the Christmas spirit. It comes with many interactive elements like actual letters, punch-outs and a pop-up tree. This is good for preschoolers and up, but you may want to wait to get it until your toddler is out of any “destructive” phase, as the interactive elements could quickly be lost or destroyed!
38. Red and Lulu
This is the story of two beautiful birds, Red and Lulu, who live in a beautiful tree together near New York City. They look forward to Christmas every year, but this year, they end up separated. This is a truly sweet story of Red’s journey to New York City in search of Lulu. Only a Christmas miracle will bring them back together in this heartwarming tale. In the year that is 2020, it’s also lovely to see the illustrations of New York City during a normal Christmas, filled with family togetherness and hustle and bustle.
A beautiful spin on the classic Nutcracker, this jazzy story features a sweet girl from Harlem who finds her musical voice when she encounters a magical toy. This is a good fit for older preschoolers and up, as it’s a bit too long for younger toddlers. That said, the illustrations are beautiful, which even young kids will love. Set in the 1920s, this story takes place during the Harlem Renaissance.
Every preschool and kindergarten construction fanatic will adore this story about some lovable construction equipment characters who get a Christmas surprise. My toddler is nuts for construction equipment, and I suspect she’s not the only one of her age group to love diggers, trucks, mixers, and cranes. If you have a construction loving toddler, this will be a sure hit!
42 & 43. A Bad Kitty Christmas and Bad Kitty Searching for Santa
Bad Kitty is always up to some shenanigans, and these two Christmas books are no exception. A Bad Kitty Christmas follows Kitty and the mayhem she creates all over town when she doesn’t get what she wanted for Christmas. In Bad Kitty Searching for Santa, Bad Kitty actually battles Santa. Both books are full of silliness and rhyming with a lesson learned in the end.
Standing the test of time, the Berenstain family, in true Berenstain fashion, are back to teach us all about doing what’s right. In The Joy of Giving, the real meaning of Christmas is brought to light when the kids learn how important it is to not only receive but give. The Night Before Christmas retells the classic Christmas Eve poem, Berenstain style.
I hope you liked this list of toddler Christmas books. Please share it if you did!