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The best classic Christmas books for children

Nicolette Loizou / 09 November 2015

Looking for a festive tale to entertain and enchant your family? Browse our collection of Christmas classics.

Grandchildren will love a festive tale this Christmas © Masson/Shutterstock
Grandchildren will love a festive tale this Christmas © Masson/Shutterstock

1. The Snowman by Raymond Briggs

On a cold snowy night a snowman magically comes to life and takes a small boy with him on a wondrous journey. There are no words in this book – just a treasure-trove of evocative pencil drawings that will give the grandchildren much pleasure and wonder during this already special time of the year. Thanks to the1982 Channel 4 adaptation The Snowman has become a bona fide Christmas institution. Raymond Briggs is also the creator of some other delightful Christmas and winter books, including Father Christmas and The Bear, and a sequel based on his characters titled The Snowman and the Snowdog is also available.

2. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

A Christmas Carol tells the story of one of the most unforgettable characters in literature, Ebenezer Scrooge, whose name became synonymous with a particularly bitter kind of character. Originally published in 1843 it remains popular today and retains much of Dickens’ empathy for those less fortunate. Bring this classic Christmas book to life for children with the beautiful cloth-bound edition illustrated by Sir Quentin Blake.

3. The Nightmare Before Christmas by Tim Burton

Tim Burton weaves a specially sinister kind of magic in this, the graphic novel of his feature film. Enter a distinctly strange world of tricks and more tricks with larger than life characters like Jack Skellington, Sally and Zero the ghost dog. Perhaps a touch too scary for very little ones – this is Tim Burton after all – but older children will appreciate the innate coolness and characterful style of Burton's distinctive drawings. 

4. How the Grinch Stole Christmas! By Dr. Seuss

The Grinch loathes Christmas. In fact, he hates it so much that he plans to steal it. Will his terrible plan work? You’ll have to read the charming text and evocative illustrations to find out. What’s for certain is that small children will enjoy the tale of this festive anti-hero.

5. The Night Before Christmas by Clement C.Moore and Eric Puybaret

First published in 1823, this poem has captivated generations of impatient children on Christmas Eve as the long wait for Christmas morning begins. As with many children’s books it has been greatly enhanced by its magical illustrations. All in all, enough to engage a small grandchild easily. 


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