Reading these books with your child will get both of you to get into the holiday spirit. Whether you want to relive a holiday classic (like The Polar Express, The Night Before Christmas or How the Grinch Stole Christmas) or find a new festive read, you’ll find lots of great options in our favorite Hanukkah and Christmas books for babies and toddlers.
The Sweet Smell of Christmas by Patricia M. Scarry
Join Little Bear in smelling the wonderful smells associated with Christmas in this sweet, scented storybook. As you scratch and sniff apple pie, Christmas trees, hot chocolate and more, you and your child will share the Bear family's excitement about the upcoming holiday.
Available at amazon.com, $8.89.
Baby's First Hanukkah by DK Children
Show a child the magic of Hanukkah traditions and festivities with this sturdy board book designed with rounded corners and a padded cover for safety. Using real-life photos and simple language, this book shares the miracle of the oil, the lighting of menorah candles, the dreidel game, and the yummy treats of the holiday, from chocolate coins to latkes.
Available at dk.com, $5.99.
Bear Stays Up for Christmas by Karma Wilson & Jane Chapman
Bear’s friends are determined to keep him from hibernating through the Christmas festivities this year. Mouse, Raven, Badger and more favorite characters from this book series take Bear to find a Christmas tree, help him decorate for the holidays, and enjoy spending time together. There’s even a visit from a certain special guest in a red suit.
Available at amazon.com, $7.44.
The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg
Is there anything more exciting for a child than being welcomed aboard a train heading to the North Pole? We love this classic story that takes you on a mysterious and magical trip to the north. It’s a beautiful book for the holidays and sure to be a favorite among everyone in your home.
The 30th anniversary edition is available on amazon.com, $7.89.
Jonny Lambert's Ten Little Reindeer
Renowned artist Jonny Lambert lends his engaging style to this holiday-themed counting book. Count from ten reindeer down to one and then back to ten again by lifting the flaps to see the reindeer checking gifts, powering Santa's sleigh and having lots of fun along the way. The flaps and pages are sturdy for small hands and help kids develop fine motor skills, while the counting rhyme helps with number skills and language acquisition.
Available at dk.com, $12.99.
Pete the Cat's 12 Groovy Days of Christmas by Kimberly & James Dean
Pete the Cat is a very groovy guy who goes on lots of adventures, making friends and learning new things along the way. And he’s at it again in this holiday story, rockin’ around while he counts down the days until Christmas. Kids will love the fun rhyming and silly twist on the classic Christmas carol—and you’ll love their giggles.
Available at amazon.com, $5.84.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss
It just doesn’t feel like the holidays without the Grinch! This Christmas classic is fun and heartwarming in pure Dr. Seuss style for you and your little Whos. It’s as much a part of the season as candy canes and mistletoe and brings with it a heartwarming message about the Christmas spirit.
Available at amazon.com, $7.64.
D Is for Dreidel by Greg Paprocki
With a retro-cool illustration for each letter of the alphabet and Hanukkah-themed items such as latkes, the menorah, and dreidels, this book is a fantastic and fun way to introduce your little ones to Hanukkah and the Festival of Lights.
Available at babylit.com, $9.99.
Dream Snow by Eric Carle
Eric Carle's unique style in books—like The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Brown Bear Brown Bear, What Do You See?—is well known and well loved by little ones. Dream Snow has the same gorgeous illustrations and beautiful language, but with a holiday twist. In this story, an old farmer settles down for a nap on December 24th and dreams about a snowstorm. It’s available in board book format with lift-the-flap reveals or in hardcover with glossy flaps and music at the end.
Available at amazon.com, $15.69.
The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore
Reading this whimsical holiday poem by Clement Clarke Moore is a time-honored tradition in many families. It's widely available and has been since it was first published in 1823! This oversized heirloom edition features a four-page gatefold and beautiful illustrations.
Available at amazon.com, $12.23.
Olivia Helps with Christmas by Ian Falconer
Olivia is one adorable little piglet who is pretty excited for Christmas. In this story, Olivia is busy with all things holiday—helping set up the tree, hanging stockings and watching her mom make dinner. The cute story and beautiful illustrations make this board book a great holiday tale for little ones.
Available at amazon.com, $7.74.
Elmo's Little Dreidel by Naomi Kleinberg
Okay, this is cute. Elmo wants to know what a dreidel is, so he finds out by celebrating the first night of Hanukkah with friends. From learning Hanukkah songs to lighting the menorah, this book uses a classic and well-loved character to introduce toddlers to the traditions of the Jewish Festival of Lights.
Available at amazon.com, $5.99.
Llama Llama Holiday Drama by Anna Dewdney
The Llama Llama series of books is well-loved for good reason. The rhyming language and the super-cute story with an even cuter main character make all the Llama Llama stories both fun to read and listen to. In this Christmas tale, Llama Llama learns a heartwarming lesson just in time for the holidays.
Available at amazon.com, $7.67.
Construction Site on Christmas Night by Sherri Duskey Rinker and AG Ford
If you have little ones who love Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site and Mighty, Mighty, Construction Site, this holiday book will bring them just as much construction joy! Characters like Excavator, Bulldozer, Crane, Dump Truck and Cement Mixer are sweet, and the illustrations are vibrant. Definitely a fun read for you and your child.
Available at amazon.com, $8.49.
—Heather Dixon & Eva Ingvarson Cerise
featured image: iStock