One of the simplest and most fun Christmas traditions we began a few years ago was a picture book countdown. This tradition serves three purposes in our family:
- It is super fun to open a present every day. Even though most of the books are repeats from last year, they are special because we only bring them out at Christmas time!
- It helps to keep our hearts focused on the reason we are celebrating. The books we have selected are all focused on the birth of Christ.
- It builds the anticipation for Christmas day! Who doesn’t love a countdown?
Before December begins I wrap our collection of Christmas books and number them–beginning with the total number of books we have–in descending order all the way down to 1. We are still working our way up to the full 25, but have built our collection surprisingly quickly! (I also try to make use of our local library’s books to fill in the days I don’t have books for.)
Of course, one of the most difficult aspects of this fun tradition is building a library of books that focus on Christ’s incarnation rather than the typical snow/Santa Claus/reindeer/elves topics. However, there are many, many, many books that focus not only on the nativity, but on other facets of the Christian celebration of Christmas. I thought I would share a good sized list here of books we have as well as books that have been recommended by others–all focusing on Christ* and celebrating in a way that honors him. I hope you find it helpful in building your own Christmas book library! If you have a favorite that isn’t on the list, please feel free to share in the comments! To find out more about how to have a Christmas Picture Book Countdown, visit my guest post at RedeemedReader.com.
- Christmas Night Fair and Bright by Julie Steigemeyer
- The Very First Christmas by Paul L. Maier
- The Lightlings by R.C. Sproul
- Song of the Stars by Sally Lloyd-Jones
- Little One, We Knew You’d Come by Sally Lloyd-Jones
- The Tale of Three Trees by Angela Elwell Hunt
- This is No Fairy Tale by Dale Tolmasoff
- Christmas in the Manger by Nola Buck
- Room for a Little One by Martin Waddell
- The Little Drummer Boy by Ezra Jack Keats
- The Christmas Story by Jane Werner Watson
- A Star for Jesus by Crystal Bowman
- The Crippled Lamb by Max Lucado
- Jacob’s Gift by Max Lucado
- The Little Shepherd’s Christmas by Carol Heyer
- The First Christmas by Carol Heyer
- Itsy Bitsy Christmas by Max Lucado
- J is for Jesus by Crystal Bowman
- Jesus, Me, and My Christmas Tree by Crystal Bowman
- The Legend of the Candy Cane by Pat Matuszak
- The Legend of the Christmas Tree by Pat Matuszak
- Legend of the Christmas Stocking by Rick Osborne
- The Gift of the Christmas Cookie by Dandi Daley Mackall
- We Believe in Christmas by Karen Kingsbury
- Josie’s Gift by Kathleen Bostrom
- The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry
- Christmas Oranges by Linda Bethers
- The Secret of St. Nicholas by Ellen Nibali
- Punchinello and the Most Marvelous Gift by Max Lucado
*Note: None of these books (through their text or illustrations) will perfectly portray the actual account of Christ’s incarnation. Only the Bible can do that. It is important that we teach our children to know truth and be able to spot errors. Therefore, instilling the biblical account within the hearts of our children is of the utmost importance so that they can know fictional additions or errors when they hear/see them. Also, I have included books in this list that look at the nativity scene through the viewpoint of fictional character’s (both animals and people). My husband and I don’t have any problem with this form of story telling, though we do like to point out what is truth and what is fiction as we read.