One way of counting down to Christmas and explore the story together is to read a new Christmas book each day.
All you need to do is collect* and wrap up 24 Christmas books and number them 1 – 24. Open one a day and share it together!
Alternatively, you could get a book and read a chapter each day. This year, we’re going to read The Christmas Mystery by Jostein Gaarder (author of Sophie’s World). I read it each year, as it has 24 chapters, each building on the last, revealing a beautiful story of discovering the Christmas story.
*Collect, i.e. you don’t have to buy 24 new books! Use ones you’ve already got, look in charity shops and ask families with children a bit older than yours if they have any they’d like to pass down. I’d recommend buying at least a few new ones, partly because there’s so many luscious Christmas books about. In my list below, I’ve focused on ones which have the Christmas story in, but you could include winter books and non-nativity based Christmas books too. I’ve also included some children’s Bibles which you could wrap up and bookmark the Christmas story in them. This is a great way to show that the Christmas story is in the Bible and is part of God’s big story.
Here’s my 24 (current) favourite Christmas books, updated for 2017:
1 The Story of Christmas story book set is a big book design with 25 mini books inside it, one for each day of Advent. It’s a great investment, and our girls are looking forward to using it for the third time this year. Each mini book tells the next part of the Christmas story and has a loop for hanging them on your tree or elsewhere, if, like us, you don’t get your tree up until later in the month.
For very young children:
2 The Christmas Bible Storybook is a much loved board book, featuring the delightful Bible friends ‘puppets’. When my children were under 5, this one stayed out all year as they loved it. And it links in with the Big Bible Storybook which leads to more Bible story sharing.
3 The Christmas Star by Sam Childs is a board book with lovely silver and gold emobssing on each page.
4 Touchy-feely Nativity is an Usbourne board book with lots of things to touch and feel – perfect for tiny children.
For young children
5- 12 This lovely set of 8 Bauble Books tell the story from the perspective of 8 different characters and can be hung on the tree or on a line of pegs after reading. For only £7.50, this is a good deal!
11 The Christmas Promise has stunning illustrations and focuses on the meaning and purpose of Jesus’ coming
12 & 13 Jesus is born and Happy Christmas are small enough to pop in your pocket and read when you’re out, or to take with you if, like us, you’re away for part of Advent.
14 The night Jesus was born is a hard back book with a press-out tree ornament linked with each page of the story.
For older children
15 A Christmas Journey by Susie Poole includes the story of the garden of Eden and birth of John the Baptist as a way of highlighting the purpose of Jesus’ birth with stunningly beautiful illustrations. A fave.
16 Christmas Bible comic and 17 Guardians of Ancora Christmas Bible Comic are, well, comics with the Christmas Bible story! The Guardians one links in with the brilliant Guardians game.
18 On Angel Wings is a retelling of the story from an old shepherd who was a boy when the angels visited them. It has fabulous pictures by Quentin Blake and was made into a short film.
19 The Best Christmas Present in the World doesn’t feature the nativity story, but is the moving story on soldiers playing football in no man’s land on Christmas day told by Michael Morpurgo.
20 The Big Bible Storybook has 11 pages devoted to the Christmas story, and will help young children know the story is from the Bible and that there’s more to the story! Also available as an unabridged audio version.
21 Children of God Storybook Bible featured 6 pages of the Christmas story retold by Desmond Tutu and has a wonderful range of dramatic artwork.
22 Treasures of the Snow by Patricia St John is a fabulous book, which includes the story of Christmas as experienced by two children who live in the Alps, as well as a dramatic and moving story of discovering God’s life-changing forgiveness.
23 I’ve already mentioned it, but it’s worth another quick mention: The Christmas Mystery by Jostein Gaarder is a delight-filled book, a mystery with short chapters for bedtime and great cliff hangers. In it, we move through geography and through time to eventually arrive at the birth place of Jesus at the time He is born. It’s really quite magical.
And for adults
24 The fabulous Oriel’s Diary, is the story of Jesus’ life through the eyes of an archangel, which gives an inspiring and original perspective on the Christmas story. Also available on Kindle. I read this each year, as it really brings the story to life in a brilliant and inspiring way.