The year seems to have flown by us and Christmas is right around the corner – again!
We don’t know about you, but books are among our very favourite gifts, and are truly the gift that keeps on giving. Any kind of book makes a fantastic gift, but we thought we’d pull together our ‘top 10 picks’ list of Christmas themed stories that your children will love and treasure.
Books like these are often kept as mementos, passed on to siblings, and even kept for your children’s children, to be passed down through generations.
While some are aimed at older children, don’t be put off buying them as ‘bedtime story’ books that you can read to your child to bring the magic of Christmas alive in the festive season. As these stories become an integral part of their own Christmas ritual, they will be keen to read them for themselves as their literacy confidence grows.
So here’s our top 10 in no particular order…
- The Night Before Christmas by Clement Moore
This poem was first published anonymously in 1823, enchanting children with the story of St. Nicholas climbing down the chimney and filling the childrens’ stockings with gifts. It was, in fact written by Clement Moore for his family, and he never intended for it to be published. A family friend quietly submitted his poem to the editor of the New York Troy Sentinel newspaper, which was subsequently re-printed and published all over the world. One hundred and eighty years later, The Night Before Christmas is the most-published, most-read, and most-collected book in all of Christmas literature. This glorious book presents the poem, faithfully reproduced, alongside a series of beautiful, nostalgic illustrations by renowned American illustrator, Charles Santore. This edition is truly one to be preserved and cherished. Booktopia list the age group for this book as 0 – 99 years, which tells you something about its well-loved, widespread appeal. Perfect for reading to younger children, who will love to read it for themselves as they grow, and will likely be read by every adult as well – every Christmas.
Around $30 from all good book stores.
- A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
Another classic we simply couldn’t overlook in this list. Again, perfect for reading to younger children and excellent for discussing the moral themes within the story. One of the most captivating Christmas stories ever written, this book is surely another keeper. The hard cover editions from either Penguin or Wordsworth Collector’s Edition both make lovely gifts for safekeeping. Another option is a luxury edition, illustrated by Quentin Blake, who also writes a forward for the book.
All three are priced under $25 from all good book stores.
- Enid Blyton’s Christmas Stories
Enid Blyton is always a favourite, and her stories continue to delight children to this day. This paperback, containing 25 short Christmas stories makes a terrific stocking filler, full of the mystery, magic and mischief that is the trademark of Enid Blyton’s inimitable style. While this is a light, and inexpensive book, it is also likely to be another favourite that your children will want to keep for their future families and enjoy for many Christmases to come.
Around $18 from all good book stores.
- An Aussie Christmas Gum Treeby Jackie Hosking
A beautiful hardcover book for the younger ones, aged 3-6 years by Australian author, Jackie Hosking, and lovingly illustrated by Sydney-based Nathaniel Eckstrom. Possom and his bush friends will delight young children in this rhyming read-aloud story as they pursue their quest to decorate their own Aussie Christmas gum tree. Eckstrom’s bright and appealing illustrations complement the prose of Hosking in the celebration of Australian flora and fauna. Its light-hearted, rhyming text, is great fun, and also good for developing language skills.
Around $18 from all good book stores.
- Christmas Always Comes by Jackie French and Bruce Whatley
A new story, collaboratively published in October of this year from two of Australia’s best-loved picture book creators, Christmas Always Comes, is the heart-warming story about a country family living through the drought in 1932. Based on their dusty farm, Joey and Ellie wonder how Santa will find them and what Christmas day will bring. An inspiring and uplifting Australian Christmas story, of love, joy and miracles, this wholesome tale is sure to become a family favourite. A wonderful book for children aged 3+.
Around $20-25 from all good book stores.
- Little Bilby’s Aussie Bush Christmas by Yvonne Mes
Another new book, and another Aussie story – this time for the littlies, aged 1 – 4 years from Children’s author, Yvonne Mes, and Illustrated by artist, Jody Pratt. A Joyful rhyming picture book that includes a bonus puzzle page and Christmas craft activity. Your little ones will love this magical adventure as they join a group of little bilbies, hunting for decorations to transform their bushland home into a Christmas wonderland.
Around $18 from all good book stores.
- Christmas in Australiaby John Williamson
Continuing the Australian Christmas theme, iconic singer-songwriter, John Williamson brings us this entertaining family Christmas yarn based on one of his songs, “Christmas Photo”, expertly brought to life by illustrator, Mitch Vane.
Williamson’s anthems have captured the spirit of the nation for more than 40 years, and this Christmas story is no exception.
Created for children aged 3 – 5 years, and a perfect Aussie stocking filler.
Available from many bookstores, but if purchased from the John Williamson website, you’ll receive a personally signed copy by John, along with a download for the song on which the book is based.
$15 from https://johnwilliamson.com.au/store/john-williamsons-christmas-in-australia/
- The Christmas Pigby J.K. Rowling
An enchanting, page-turning adventure about one child’s love for his most treasured possession, this story won JK Rowling her 16th literary No’1.
Described as a tale for the whole family to fall in love with, from one of the world’s greatest storytellers, taking the reader on a magical journey with protagonists, Jack and the Christmas Pig with all the exuberance of the reader’s own imagination.
A beautiful story of love and friendship, of loss, and of miracles.
Available in stunning hardback featuring decorative gold foil artwork, with rich cover and internal illustrations by renowned artist, Jim Field makes this a perfect gift for children aged 8 – 12 years.
Around $30 from all good bookstores.
- The Christmas Unicornby Anna Currey
Millie’s magical encounter with a unicorn, on a snowy night just days before Christmas is the spellbinding theme for this heart-warming story.
Away from her friends, and without her Father, Millie is destined to spend Christmas alone with her Mother and Grandpa, until her mystical new friend, Florian, the unicorn. Florian transforms Millie’s Christmas, filling it with dazzling surprises and new-found friendship to make her Christmas dreams come true. Anna Curry brings us this beautifully crafted and illustrated picture book that will delight the whole family.
For ages 6+ years.
Paperback around $14 from all good bookstores.
- Emily Dickinson, Poetry for Young People – edited by Frances Schoonmaker Bolin and illustrated by Chi Chung
OK, we cheated a little with this one – this last literary marvel is not a Christmas book, but in our opinion, a perfect Christmas gift.
This collection is an ideal way to introduce young readers to poetry, which offers definitions and commentary, accompanied by beautiful illustrations.
Allow your children to see the beauty and magic of the everyday world through the eyes of Emily Dickinson, one of America’s best-loved and most renowned poets with this curation of over 35 poems, described by Parents Magazine as “nothing short of breathtaking”.
Though Dickinson sadly died without fame, having had only a few poems published in her lifetime, her legacy was later rescued from her desk. She had produced an astonishing body of work, much of which has since been altered by editors and publishers over the years.
While Poetry for Young People is perfect for your younger children, for those of you with older children, or even for yourself, The Poems of Emily Dickinson, edited by R.W Franklin, promises to be the closest thing to “the real Dickinson” that anyone will ever get, remarked as “unmolested by well-meaning editors and thoughtless publishers.”
Paperback “Poetry for Young People” is around $14.00.
Paperback “The Poems of Emily Dickinson” is around $40 – $50 from all good bookstores.
All prices are based on the average we have found. You can, of course, purchase e-book versions cheaper in most cases, but they are pretty tricky to wrap!