Nothing ramps up the Christmas excitement like a good story. Whether you like to get into the festive spirit early by counting down the days until 25 December with a Christmassy book each night at bedtime or prefer to save an extra-special Christmas tale for the night before the big day, there are some fantastic titles ( new and old) to choose from.
Books offer a moment of calm during the often-hectic run-up to Christmas. They are the perfect way for your children to lose themselves in the magic of the season, without sitting in front of a screen – or without you having to spend a fortune on festive activities.
Festive books make a great addition to a Christmas Eve box or, if you fancy going all out, you can create your own family book advent calendar with a different story for each day of December. It’s something you can bring out each year to add to the fun of the countdown.
When choosing a Christmas book, you need to think about the age and reading level of your child. Babies and toddlers will love board books with clear images – anything that plays music or makes sounds is a guaranteed hit. For pre-schoolers and young children, picture books you can read to them at bedtime are a great choice, but for older, independent readers, an engaging chapter book gives them something to really get stuck into.
The best Christmas books provide that warm and fuzzy feeling through heart-warming tales, beautiful illustrations and unforgettable characters. The ones that made our list are the books our little testers reached for again and again – and the ones we were more than happy to read for the 12th time that week.
How we tested
Our Christmas-mad (and book-mad) three- and six-year-old testers listened, read and turned pages of countless books to pull together our list of the best. At bedtime and at quiet time during the day, we looked for books that showed originality, beautiful illustrations, stories that captured their imaginations and books that really sparked genuine excitement for Christmas. The ones that received the most enthusiastic thumbs up are featured here.
The best Christmas books for kids for 2022 are:
- Best overalls – Kid Christmas: of the Claus Brothers Toy Shop by David Litchfield, published by Frances Lincoln: £10.99, Waterstones.com
- Best Christmas chapter book – The Grumpus and his Dastardly, Dreadful Christmas plan by Alex T Smith, published by Macmillan: £11.13, Amazon.co.uk
- Best charity book – Gaspard’s Christmas by Zeb Soanes and James Mayhew (illustrator), published by Graffeg: £14.24, Bookshop.org
- Best heart-warming tale – Where Björn Belongs by Samuel Langley-Swain and Mirna Imamovic (illustrator), published by Owlet Press: £6.99, Blackwells.co.uk
- Best lift-the-flap book – Cat Family Christmas by Lucy Brownridge and Eunyoung Seo (illustrator), published by Frances Lincoln: £11.30, Amazon.co.uk
- Best real animal story – The Owl Who Came for Christmas by John Hay and Garry Parsons (illustrator), published by Macmillan: £6.99, Foyles.co.uk
- Best personalized story – The Christmas Snowflake by Julia Gray and Diana Renjina (illustrator), published by Wonderbly: £22.99, Wonderbly.com
- Best musical book – Listen to the Christmas Songs by Marion Billet, published by Nosy Crow: £8.99, Jojomamanbebe.co.uk
- Best for older children – Jim’s Spectacular Christmas by Emma Thompson and Axel Scheffler (illustrator), published by Puffin and the V&A: £14.99, Vam.ac.uk
- Best for illustrations – The Tale of the Toys by Father Christmas and Claire Fletcher (illustrator), published by Tiddlywinks the Elf at Polar Post: £10.99, Polaspost.co.uk
- Best Christmas audiobook – The Snowman/The Snowman and the Snowdog read by Matthew Macfadyen and Benedict Cumberbatch, for Tonies: £14.99, Tonies.com