Long before I had children, I started collecting books for them. And Christmas books are my favorite. But not just any books—the best Christmas picture books. They need to teach something, and I prefer to read Christmas books that show my children the importance of giving.
Granted, we have some silly, fun, whatever Christmas books. And my boys love them as well. But the best and most well-read favorites are the ones that share a deeper meaning. Here are my top 8 that are absolute keepers.
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The Best Christmas Picture Books about the Depression
Asleep on the Hay: A Dust Bowl Christmas, by Ben Sowards. Times are tough and young Paul and his family have already sacrificed much. But now he’s asked to share what little he has, a beloved calf, to help strangers. Will he do it? Your kids will want to know.
Silent Night, Holy Night, as narrated by Walter Cronkite, former anchorman for CBS Evening News. This beautifully-illustrated book includes a CD narration of Mr. Cronkite, as he recounts the remarkable story of WWI soldiers, stationed at Flanders Field silenced their weapons for two days in a “Christmas Truce.” This historical miracle is one I especially love to share every year.
Christmas for a Dollar, by Gale Sears. It’s the Depression, and the Kamp family is struggling, especially since Mrs. Kamp’s sudden passing. What will this family do to find peace and comfort this particular Christmas? Based on a true story, you’ll love reading how each family member comes up with thoughtful gifts for one another–each for just a dollar.
The Christmas Train, by Thomas S. Monson. Based on another true story during the Depression, young Tommy Monson is fortunate to receive a deluxe electronic train set for his Christmas gift. His mother buys a second, less-expensive set for a neighbor boy. Tommy begs to keep one of the cars. The other boy doesn’t know a piece of his set is missing. What does Tommy do? There’s actually a little twist to this story. You’ll want to share it with your children.
The Best Christmas Picture Books about Loneliness and Hope
Penny’s Christmas Jar Miracle might just inspire you to start your own jar of change to give to someone in need this Christmas.[/caption]
God Bless Your Way, by Emily Freeman. Fictional character Micah, poorest of the poor and old, follows Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem on their weary journey. Upon arriving, they go their separate ways. Micah wanders the streets, seeking a place to spend the night, but no one has room for him. Ultimately, Mary and Joseph make room for him, and he humbly shares the only things he has.
Winter’s Gift, by Jane Monroe Donovan. The old man and his wife used to have the best, simple Christmases together. But this Christmas Eve day, he’s alone and missing his deceased wife terribly. As night draws near, he hears a soft whinny and helps a lost, stranded mare into his warm barn. Next morning, there’s a surprise in the barn. It’s a special gift, a reminder of hope.
Christmas Day in the Morning, by Pearl S. Buck. Young Rob wants to buy his father something very special for Christmas. But he doesn’t have much money to spend. Eventually he finds the perfect gift—and it doesn’t cost any money. Instead, he plans a fun and much-needed surprise.
Many of us want to teaching our children that Christmas is all about giving, not just receiving. Each of these charming children’s books shares the message beautifully. They have our stamp of approval as the Best Christmas Picture Books ever! May they warm your holiday season as much as they have ours—and for years to come.