Books are amazing. A good book can ignite a child’s imagination, open the door to a rich world of fantasy and discovery, and turn a child into a lifelong reader. A book can be incredibly meaningful, too—a gift that sticks with us long after we’ve outgrown those “must-have” toys.
This holiday season, we’re remembering our favorite books written about this meaningful and magical time of year. Some of these books are special because they were given to us by a special person. Some made us believe in magic, inspiring our childhood dreams and fantasies. Some just entertained us and made the holidays feel special!
Enjoy perusing our favorite holiday books, and we hope our list inspires you to spend some time reading aloud with your kids. We also encourage you to consider slipping a book or two under the tree, alongside the toys and video games. Who knows, that book could become a special, lifelong memory!
Learning Liftoff’s Favorite Holiday Books
“The Velveteen Rabbit is my favorite holiday book. I confess, I imagined my beloved stuffed animals were real and had adventurous lives when I was at school or asleep. I made sure Santa brought it for my daughter for her first Christmas.”- Deanna Glick
“I can’t even remember exactly what the book is about, but my Grandpa gave me a book called The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey when I was little. He always carved things for me like dogs, trucks, and even a chess set. When he gave me this book, he also gave me my first carving knife, and I always thought the cover of the book was me and my grandpa.” – Peter Spain
“A Christmas Story has become a popular and beloved Christmas movie. But many people don’t know the movie was based on hilarious short stories by the humorist Jean Shepherd. This volume includes the five stories that became the basis of the movie. This is for middle school and up readers who, even if they’ve never seen the movie, will laugh out loud at the off-beat, nutty escapades of Ralphie Parker and his crazy family, neighbors, and friends.” – Michael Solow
“While not a book, my favorite ‘story’ when I was a kid was A Visit from St. Nicholas, aka ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas’. My parents had a book that was a collection of short holiday/Christmas stories, and it was well illustrated. I loved all of the stories in the book, but ‘St. Nicholas’ was easy to remember and recite because it rhymes!” – Scott Holm
“This may be cliche, but I was absolutely in love with Rudolph. I had (and still have!) the ‘vintage’ 1980s book where it’s a cut out of Rudolph’s head, and I read it over and over. Every Christmas Eve I looked up at the sky looking for his nose. This book just made me feel the magic of the holidays.” – Lauren Martin
“Admittedly, many of my classic book memories are blended with film and television adaptations, and my favorite holiday book from childhood is no exception. I remember having a copy of Dickens’ classic A Christmas Carol and reading excerpts from it. The supernatural and moralistic tale was encased in a red velvet cover, adding to the mysterious and magical Christmas feeling it imparted. But my memories of the story also include a variety of television programs, including a BBC production, several animated versions, and even one featuring, yes, Mr. Magoo!” – Elizabeth Street
“The Nightmare Before Christmas has always been a holiday tradition for me and my brother to watch. As soon as the Halloween season started, up until Christmas had passed, we would watch it over and over again until we were able to quote the entire thing. In 2013, Tim Burton wrote and illustrated The Nightmare Before Christmas: 20th Anniversary Edition, in honor of the cult classic film’s milestone celebration. Any fan of the film will love the beautiful illustrations and story, as they read about Jack learning the true meaning of Christmas.” –Paul Merced
“The Snowman is my favorite for sure. A children’s book with no words, but it really didn’t need any. It was also adapted into a 26-minute short film and was nominated for an Academy Award. It was a movie without dialogue, but the music and visuals were more than enough to carry the story.” – Jacob Drumheller
“Can I be cliche and say Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas? I’ve always been a Dr. Seuss fan and feel as though this book is such a holiday tradition for so many families. When the book came to life via the big screen, it allowed all of my childhood imaginings to come to life. Christmas has always been one of my favorite childhood memories, and to see how it can affect even the grumpiest of grumps is very powerful.” – Brittany Marklin
“On Christmas Eve, my sisters and I pile into my parents’ room and listen intently as my dad reads The Night Before Christmas. There was one year I wasn’t able to come home for Christmas so I Skyped my family from my computer so that I could still participate in our tradition.” – Sarah Mills
“There are so many wonderful Christmas stories that I’ve loved over the years, including several of those already shared by my colleagues. But I’d have to say the most memorable is a relatively little-known book called Red Ranger Came Calling. With beautifully quirky and colorful illustrations, and a story that is both funny and genuinely moving, this book has remained a family favorite for years. In fact, my dad still reads it aloud almost every year around Christmastime, just like he did when we were little.” – Ashley MacQuarrie
We’d love to hear about your favorite holiday books! Leave us a comment and tell us about a special book from your childhood, or a story you love to read to your own kids.
This post originally appeared on the ThinkTank12 blog.