Christmas Books – Traditions and Recommendations

Kate Frost

Christmas and books go hand in hand. There’s nothing better than opening a present on Christmas Day with a new book in it, and there’s something special about a loved one choosing a book for you. It’s a thoughtful and personal gift.

Christmas Book Traditions

Books are also a perfect way to get in the festive spirit on the lead up to the big day. Since having my son we’ve either bought or been given a book in December and it’s a lovely idea, sharing a new book together at Christmas. One of our favourites is The Christmas Bear by Ian Whybrow and illustrated by Axel Scheffler. It’s one of those books that we’ve read together so many times my son knew the words well before he learnt to read.

In Iceland, they have a tradition known as Jolabokaflod, where everyone gives a book as a present on Christmas Eve and the rest of the evening is spent curled up together reading in front of the fire with a mug of hot chocolate. How blissful is that?  

Books for all Ages

Sammy Claws the Christmas Cat by Lucy Rowland and illustrated beautifully by Storytale’s own Paula Bowles, is a fabulously fun and festive book to read with your little ones. Another good book with all the festive-feels is the wonderfully interactive The Jolly Christmas Postman by Janet and Allan Ahlberg, recommended by Storytale founder Ellie Freeman because ‘it explores the secret life of nursery rhyme and fairy story characters.’

I have my eye on Bristol author Katharine Orton’s stunning debut, Nevertell; although not technically a ‘Christmas book’, the beautiful cover combined with the promise of a snowy adventure, set in the wilds of Siberia, full of magic and wonder, makes it the perfect book for older children (and adults!) to read at this time of year.

A Bookshop Recommends

Yet with so many books out there, how do you choose a perfect new Christmas story? By asking the experts of course! Emily and Dan at Storysmith love recommending books to their customers, so I asked them what Christmas books they’d put on their Christmas list this year. If you’ve not yet finished your Christmas shopping or fancy starting the tradition of giving a book to your loved ones on Christmas Eve, then you can’t go wrong with one of these.

The Tree That’s Meant to Be by Yuval Zommer
The sweet story of a little wonky fir tree who is sad not to be picked at Christmas, until it realises the magical rewards of being left in the forest. Gorgeous illustrations and a positive, heart-warming message. 

How Winston Delivered Christmas by Alex T Smith
A beautifully illustrated story about a brave little mouse who has a Very Important Mission on Christmas Eve. With festive activities to make and do throughout, this is the perfect book for families to share.

Christmas Comes to Moominvalley, adapted from the Tove Jansson books
Beautifully written in the style of Tove Jansson’s iconic and beloved Moomin books, this is the perfect snuggle-by-the-fire Christmas read to take kids and grown-ups right back to Moominvalley and the story of a very special fir tree.

What will you be reading this Christmas?

If you’d like to order a book for a Christmas present, Storysmith will be accepting orders until Friday 20th December. Books ordered on the 20th will be delivered to the shop on the 23rd or 24th.

Anything ordered on the 23rd should arrive on the 24th (subject to availability), but they can’t offer a guarantee for that.

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