Winter months can always be hard on families. Cold and snow limit our activities, and cabin fever can set in quickly.
This year, it will be even harder due to COVID-19. With the closure of indoor businesses for safety, the fun outlets that families normally have are not available. The safest place to be is home, with your own household family members.
You may be wondering how you will keep your family entertained as the days grow shorter and the weather limits outdoor play. We’ve rounded up some great stories for kids that you can read together.
You’ll find that many of these books are more than just holiday tales. They have great messages for everyone. So snuggle up, grab some hot cocoa and a warm blanket, and enjoy.
1. The Crayons’ Christmas
By Drew Daywalt
A festive addition to the Crayons books, The Crayons’ Christmas features letters, games, ornaments, a poster, and a pop-up Christmas Tree. You’ll have fun reading about the adventures and misadventures of the Crayons during the holidays.
If you have not read the original book, The Day the Crayons Quit, and the sequel, The Day the Crayons Came Home, I highly recommend those as well.
2. The Lump of Coal
By Lemony Snicket
If you are looking for funny stories for kids to read, this book hits that mark. This is a charming story about a lump of coal that can think, talk, and move around – all while wearing a tuxedo. The “something is better than nothing” despondent attitude of the lump of coal eventually meets up with some holiday cheer.
Lemony Snicket is also known for his Series of Unfortunate Events books. The thirteen chapter books in the series combine incredibly dry wit as they follow three orphans around while trying to escape a maniacal uncle.
3. A Poem for Peter: The Story of Ezra Jack Keats and the Creation of The Snowy Day
By Andrea Davis Pinkney
You may be familiar with the classic winter book A Snowy Day. This book is a tribute to A Snowy Day’s author, Ezra Jack Keats.
Keats’s father worries about his son’s dream of becoming an artist, fearing that it is an unrealistic one. But Keats is determined and continues to pursue art throughout school and into adulthood. Finally, A Snowy Day was published.
Today, A Snowy Day has sold more than two million copies and been translated into ten languages. A Poem For Peter is lyrical and beautifully illustrated as it tells the tale of a boy who followed his dream.
4. Bah, Humbug?
By Lorna Balian
Is your child a skeptic about Santa? This is a fun tale about a young boy who thinks Santa is a humbug and is determined to catch him through a series of traps.
The book is laugh-out-loud funny. Beautiful illustrations by the author’s daughter, Lecia Balian, enrich the story. .
5. The Best Christmas Pageant Ever
By Barbara Robinson
If you are looking for some long stories for kids to read over the holidays, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever is a chapter book. It tells the story of the Herdmanns, or “the worst kids in the history of the world,” as they take over the church Christmas pageant.
This book is perfect for independent reading or reading out loud. The shenanigans of the Herdmanns are sure to have everyone rolling with laughter. Even for all of the humor, the book’s overall message really captures the true spirit of Christmas.
6. The Legend of the Poinsettia
By Tomie de Paola
Tomie de Paola offers unique illustrations in this book that talks about the legend of the poinsettia. The brilliant pictures capture the vividness of Mexico as the story follows a little girl’s unselfish gift at Christmas.
De Paola has many other holiday books your family might enjoy, including The Friendly Beasts: An Old English Christmas Carol and The Legend of Old Bafana: An Italian Christmas Story.
7. The Bird in Santa’s Beard
By Jeffery L. Schatzer
This is a sweet book that tells the story of a freezing and hungry bird that makes a nest in Santa’s beard. The friendship that forms between the bird and Santa is very touching.
The book talks about one of the greatest mysteries of Christmas: why children see Santa in so many places every year! It is a tale of kindness, cooperation, and compassion.
8. When Santa Turned Green
By Victoria Perla
The North Pole is melting because of something called global warming! Santa becomes determined to turn things around – for the sake of Christmas and the planet. The book helps even the youngest children understand what it means to solve climate crisis.
For families that want to focus on actionable items, this book also offers tips on things you can do at home to protect the planet. Your family can gather together to make a list of things that you can do that will have an impact, even while home for the holidays.
9. Santa’s Christmas With a Mask: A Fun Christmas Book for Children
By Divya Mohan
When in 2020, Santa wears a mask! The lockdown at the North Pole is making Santa nervous.
Like everyone, Santa has to figure out how to do things a bit differently because of a pandemic. This book will give your kids hope that Christmas will still come.
10. The Atlas of Christmas: The Merriest, Tastiest, Quirkiest Holiday Traditions from Around the World
By Alex Palmer
Explore the world without leaving your home. Learn about how Christmas is celebrated in other countries, from Guatemala to Sweden to Japan. Many global traditions are featured in this delightful book.
Your family can turn this into a fun project by looking up images online or finding countries on a map together.
Reading Together This Holiday Season
I know that you may be anxious about the upcoming holidays. Being away from loved ones is hard, and juggling kids at home is stressful.
On days that seem especially long, take a deep breath and read some of these great holiday stories with your family.