When I was little, one of my favourite parts of Christmas Eve was having my mom read short stories to us. Now that I’m older, I can’t wait to have little ones of my own to pass this tradition down to.
The following 8 stories were some of my favourite Christmas classics growing up. I hope you enjoy them just as much with your family this Christmas Eve!
1. Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer
“Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
had a very shiny nose
and if you ever saw him
you would even say it glows.
All of the other reindeer
used to laugh and call him names.
They never let poor Rudolph
join in any reindeer games.” -Johnny Marks, songwriter
Robert L. May wrote Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer at the request of the department store company Montgomery Ward. The story was given out for free to over 2 million children who visited the stores during Christmas time of 1939. Robert’s brother-in-law, Johnny Marks, saw the popularity of the story and wrote the song we all know and love. From there, the story took off and now we can’t imagine Christmas without our best bud, Rudolph.
2. How the Grinch Stole Christmas
The Grinch is isolated, grumpy, and cruel, but he finds redemption and joy by embracing the spirit of Christmas. A holiday staple since publication in 1957, this book has become a modern classic.
3. The Twelve Days of Christmas
Fresh, whimsical artwork breathes new life into the popular Christmas song. Sing about the 12 days of Christmas with the bright colours and cheerful characters that grace the pages of this delightful picture book.
4. The Fir Tree
“‘Rejoice in thy youth,’ said the sunbeam; ‘rejoice in thy fresh growth and in the young life that is in thee.’” -Hans Christian Andersen
The Fir Tree is a fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen. It tells the story of a young tree that wants nothing more than to grow up. In focusing so much on the future, the tree forgets to truly appreciate the present. This a great reminder for children and adults alike.
5. Polar Express
“Seeing is believing, but sometimes the most real things in the world are the things we can’t see.” -Chris Van Allsburg
In the middle of the night, a young boy wakes to the sound of a train pulling up outside his house. The train is full of children and it takes them to the North Pole where he gets to meet Santa Claus. This book was turned into a fantastic film that we also recommend checking out.
6. Christmas Carols
Vintage illustrations accompany the sheet music and lyrics of favourite Christmas carols in this Little Golden Book. Originally published in 1946, this collection of yuletide music features popular songs like “Joy to the World” and ”Deck the Halls.”
7. The Elves and the Shoemaker
“As soon as it was midnight, there came in two little naked dwarfs; and they sat themselves upon the shoemaker’s bench, took up all the work that was cut out, and began to ply with their little fingers, stitching and rapping and tapping away at such a rate, that the shoemaker was all wonder, and could not take his eyes off them. And on they went, till the job was quite done, and the shoes stood ready for use upon the table.”
The Elves and the Shoemaker is a classic fairy tale by the Grimm brothers. One morning, a shoemaker comes into his shop to find a beautiful pair of shoes has been made for him to sell. Astonished, he determines to find out who he should thank for the service.
8. Baby’s Christmas
Another Little Golden Book classic, Baby’s Christmas is the timeless work of sister author-illustrator team Esther and Eloise Wilkin — which is especially fitting, as the rosy-cheeked baby of this story is introduced to his first Christmas by his loving older sister.
9. The Christmas Puppy
Originally published in 1953, The Christmas Puppy finds Santa fresh out of the toy pups every child wants for Christmas. To make it up to Polly, he gifts her a real puppy. (If only we could all be so lucky!)
10. The Legend of the Poinsettia
Do you know why we use poinsettias at Christmastime? Popular children’s author Tomie dePaola tells the Mexican legend of a young girl and her heartfelt gift for the Christ child in this cherished Christmas classic.