How to make books the star of Christmas

Published on: 24 November 2015 Author: Kate Hancock

It's never too early to start some festive story traditions, says mum and children's publisher, Kate Hancock.

Dark evenings, fatty food, excited children and constant reminders about the number of shopping days left. It can only mean one thing - Christmas is coming!

However you plan on spending the big day and build-up (I'm a fan of the Christmas jumper), books can be a great part of the celebrations.

Sitting down and enjoying stories together is a lovely way to take a break from the Christmas craziness.

Traditions to try

Here are just a few simple ways to make books part of your festive routine:

  • Advent countdown: Choose books together and read one (or part of one) each day at the same time as opening your advent calendar.
  • TV and films: Many Christmas films and programmes are adaptations of some wonderful books. Why not enjoy them, too? I'm very much looking forward to the animation of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler's brilliant (and festive) Stickman.
  • Pantomimes: If you're going to a pantomime, find a version of the story in your local library or bookshop. Read it together before or after the performance.
  • Choose a story for Santa: If the children in your life are excited about a visit from Father Christmas, why not find a book for him to enjoy while he eats his mince pie?

Books to pick

There are lots of books with festive and wintery themes - and everyone has their favourites.

But here are a few I'll be reading and sharing this year:

Picture books

The Christmas Book

Author: Dick Bruna

From the creator of Miffy, comes a beautiful edition of Dick Bruna's charming Christmas Book complete with a press-out crib scene. In this delightful title he retells the birth of Jesus using simple text and charming illustrations

Read more about The Christmas Book

The Night Before Christmas

Author: Clement C Moore Illustrator: Christian Birmingham

There have been countless editions of Clement's poem but none has transcended this one illustrated by talented artist Christian Birmingham.

Read more about The Night Before Christmas

The Christmas Bear

Author: Ian Whybrow Illustrator: Axel Scheffler

When Father Christmas sets off to deliver the presents, poor Bear is left behind in the workshop! How will he make it to Tom's house in time for Christmas morning? Lift the flaps to find out, as he chases Santa's sleigh through icy seas and snowy forests, all the way from the North Pole to Tom's cosy bedroom.

Read more about The Christmas Bear

Father Christmas Needs A Wee

Author: Nicholas Allan

At each different house that he visits Father Christmas drinks and eats all the goodies left out for him. Before long he really, really, really needs a wee. So much so that he even forgets to leave the presents behind. But he dashes back, delivers all the pressies and flies home at high speed to avoid an embarassing accident . . . there's just one tiny probl…

Read more about Father Christmas Needs A Wee



Author: Frank Cottrell Boyce

One night, a bag containing £229,370 falls from the sky and flattens the hermitage. Damian is convinced it is a gift from God.

Read more about Millions

A Boy Called Christmas

Author: Matt Haig Illustrator: Chris Mould

A Boy Called Christmas is a tale of adventure, snow, kidnapping, elves, more snow, and a boy called Nikolas, who isn't afraid to believe in magic.

Read more about A Boy Called Christmas

The Box of Delights

Author: John Masefield Illustrator: Quentin Blake

A magical old man has asked Kay to protect the Box of Delights, a Box with which he can travel through time. But Kay is in danger: Abner Brown will stop at nothing to get his hands on it. The police don't believe Kay, so when his family and the Bishop are scrobbled up just before Christmas, he knows he must act alone...

Read more about The Box of Delights

So whatever your plans and traditions, there are many great books to enjoy at this time of year – no matter your age!

Have a very happy Christmas.


Christmas books to share


Get into the festive spirit by sharing these children's books over the festive season.



Find your Child's next great read.