Books for Kids about Christmas

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Holiday books for a 3-y-o - non-religious, non-consumerism

Dec 2003

Does anyone know of a book for young (two-3 years old) kids that talks about the holiday season in a general, agnostic-y, pagan-y, hope-in-the-dark-of-wintery, all-about-giving, sort of way? Okay, so we're a bit confilicted! Looking for a way to celebrate with our children that is not religious without turning to the God of Consumerism.

How about ''How the Grinch Stole Christmas'' by Dr. Seuss? I loved that book myself as a child. As you may know, the Grinch tries to spoil Christmas by stealing all the presents, but the critters (I forget what they're called) in whatever-ville have a happy Christmas anyway. Makes the point that Christmas is not about gifts, without any overt religious messages (at least that I remember -- it's been years since I read it). Adults might find it more than a little saccharine, but I think it gets across the point you're looking for. -- a Dr. Seuss fan

Try The Story of the Root-Children by Sibylle Von Olfers. Nancy

I'm not sure it is exactly what you are looking for, but my favorite christmas book (and movie too) is ''How the Grinch Stole Christmas''. Ellen

Look into Christmas Witch by Steven Kellog. Plot involves a good witch who gets two feuding factions to reconcile - - 'peace on earth, good will toward men', etc. While the story may be a little complicated for a 3-yr-old, the illustrations are great and the message endures. Lisa McL

Well, this book has a few pictures in it that focus on a star and a nativity scene, and then some of presents christmas morning, but for the most part, it's one of the nicest I've seen. My boy and I loved it last year when he was 18 mos, and again this year. It's Peter Speier's ''Christmas'', published in the 80's, and completely without words - just pages and pages of drawings, kind of a beautiful comic book style. It has so much of everything - the family time, the giving to others, the different ways of celebrating, the anticipation and preparation - and then it has a bit of religious/consumer stuff. One or two pages are devoted to the family at church and the nativity under the tree, and then a few to the family's morning excitement. I think I've gone on too long. We really really like the peacefulness of this book. -Jean

My aunt gave my daughter a wonderful holiday book called ''Night Tree'' by Eve Bunting. It's a really lovely story about a family holiday tradition. It's a non-commericial, non-religious book about decorating a Christmas tree in the woods. It's our favorite holiday book. Just makes you feel good! heidi

I hate to break the news to you, but Christmas is a religious holiday. There is no way around that one...That being said, there are plenty of religious holidays celebrated during December. Perhaps you could buy a seperate book dedicated to each holiday to show the diversity of the celebrations and the common theme of each...

My husband and I are also struggling with the whole consumerism bent. We are leaning toward celbrating a Sinter Klaas Day or some other European Santa Clause equivalent earlier in the month (Dec 6th) where kids put out there shoes to be filled with fun small gifts. That gets you out of the BIG UGLY consumer gig, but still lets your kids be somewhat normal. anon

This query prompted me to dig through my son's bookshelf to find ''While the Bear Sleeps-Winter Tales and Traditions''. While not really ''non-relgious'' it is nondenominational, with stories with winter themes from many traditions: the Arctic; Russian and other Christian traditions, stories about Hannukah, Kwanzaa, Solstice customs, New Years traditions, and others. The stories and illustrations are charming for kids and adults. The book is by Caitlin Matthews, illustrated by Judith Christine Mills, and published by Barefoot Books, Inc, New York, in 1999. They list a website,, but I haven't checked it. Thanks for reminding me to get out this book for some fireside reading this winter! anon

Polar Express

The Polar Express is a great Xmas book. I also just saw a preview in the movie theater that they have made it into a holiday movie, featuring Tom Hanks. But the book is lovely and illustrated beautifully. Melissa

I am also a pagan-y type person who celebrates the solstice more than anything else. I just got an interesting little book called ''Star Mother's Youngest Child'' by Louise Moeri. Its out of print I believe because I bought it used online. Its a funky little story about an old woman alone who really wants a Christmas and has no one, and then Star Mother's youngest kid shows up. There are several books about the winter solstice (check Amazon). Also the Tomten by Astid Lindgren. That's all I know of. Will look forward to other ideas! Hilary

One of my favourite Christmas books as a child was 'The Olden Days Coat' by Margaret Laurence a well loved Canadian author. It may be be a little too old for 2 - 3 year olds but it is a must have for when they are a little older. Even when i read the story today i get a thrill down my spine and tears in my eyes. It is the story of a young girl who 'travels' into a Christmas past...celebrating Christmas like they did in her Grandparents time. Highly recommended