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Holiday Children's Books Paired with Family Craft Projects--Memories & Kodak moments built in!

Updated on December 10, 2013

One of our family's treasured Christmas traditions is counting down to Christmas by reading a children's book each night beginning on December 1st and continuing until December 24th. On Christmas Eve we end the tradition with the reading of The Night Before Christmas children's book in our special cozy Christmas pajamas!

Starting your own Countdown to Christmas with Children's Books family tradition is easy, here's how:

  • Buy 24 different holiday childrens books for kids. We've started you off by listing below some of our favorite timeless and traditional holiday stories, most of these children's books have been a part of our holiday collection for over 25 years!
  • Place a small sticker in the upper right hand corner of each book. With a Sharpie marker write a number on each book, starting with number 1 and ending with number 24. Be sure to mark your copy of "The Night Before Christmas" children's book with the number 24, it's the last one you'll read on Christmas Eve.
  • Place all the holiday children's books in a large wicker basket or bin near the tree in number order from 1 to 24.
  • Beginning December 1st read one book together each night. You could take turns and switch readers each night or you could read aloud to your children every night. December 1st read the book marked number 1 and continue each night unti you get to 24, The Night Before Christmas book!

Reading these holiday children's books together is a great family tradition that it's never too late to begin. Some of these stories are holiday stories that kids only get to know because of the movie or TV show; reading the children's book version is a great way to spend family time each night as you countdown to Christmas.

Create even more special memories with our activity, craft and baking suggestions paired with these special holiday children's books.

Below are some of our favorite children's books you can click to buy at special sale prices. We've also included a brief summary of the books and a craft activity to do together on the night you read each of the books. You and your children are sure to enjoy these fun Christmas craft projects that have been selected especially to go along with each story.

You may already own some of these classic holiday books; consider buying additional titles to add to your collection or to give as a gift. A Countdown to Christmas children's book collection is something you'll enjoy with your family for years to come!

This holiday story features everyone's favorite snowman with a magic hat, a button nose, and eyes made out of coal who comes to life on Christmas every year in this children's book. Frosty is based on the beloved 1969 television special. This Little Golden Children's Book retells the whole magical story of Frosty the Snowman.

Frosty the Snowman Children's Book Craft Activity: Marshmallow Snowmen! These adorable treats are so easy to make! Simply buy a bag of large marshmallows at the grocery store, a bag of Rolos, mini chocolate chips, wooden skewers, shoelace licorice, decorating candy and frosting to decorating your marshmallow snowmen. So cute, and a lot less work than gingerbread houses!

This beloved children's book stars Rudolph, a young reindeer with a nose that glows. When the other young reindeer make fun of him Rudolph runs away. With the help of a misfit elf named Herbie and a prospector named Yukon Cornelius, Rudolph learns that you shouldn't run away from your problems. Everyone is thrilled when Rudolph returns to the North Pole, especially Santa, who desperately needs his help to deliver the presents on Christmas Eve!

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Children's Book Craft Activity: Trace your child's hands and foot on brown construction paper. Help them cut out the hands and feet. Glue the pieces to a blue sheet of construction paper. Add your own eyes and nose with paper or use plastic eyes and a red pom pom. There you have it, you're very own Rudolph keepsake of your child's hands and foot print!

This Dr. Seuss children's book features the Grinch, Max, Cindy-Lou, and all the residents of Who-ville, in this heartwarming children's story about the effects of the Christmas spirit on even the smallest and coldest of hearts. Like mistletoe, candy canes, and caroling, the Grinch is a mainstay of the holidays, and his story is the perfect gift for young and old.

Dr Seuss How the Grinch Stole Christmas

How the Grinch Stole Christmas Children's Book Activity: Make healthy Grinch snacks using kiwis, strawberries and marshmallows! Fun to make and good for you too!

A Place to Store your Children's Books

A large basket is a great keeper for your Countdown to Christmas children's books. Place a decorative basket filled with the books near your Christmas tree for easy reading each night.

Another great children's book keeper is a wooden bin like the one shown here - you can store the books in the bin when you pack away your Christmas decorations. You can also display the story books at Christmas time near your tree in the wooden bin. For added family fun paint and decorate your wooden book bin together.

In 1986 The Polar Express children's book was awarded the prestigious Caldecott Medal. Since that time, more than six and a half million copies have been sold, and every December it faithfully reappears on national bestseller lists. In 2004, The Polar Express became a blockbuster holiday movie starring Tom Hanks. In this children's story a doubting young boy takes an extraordinary train ride to the North Pole. He embarks on a journey of self-discovery that shows him that the wonder of life never fades for those who believe.

Polar Express Children's Book Activity: It's fun to read the book version and watch the movie or tv show the same night, for example read the Polar Express book and then watch the movie - talk about the differences between the book and the movie with your children, their favorite parts, and their least favorite parts.

Reading Aloud to Children

Reading aloud to a child is truly an expression of love. When you read to your children you are giving and sharing your time, uninterrupted. This special time with you helps them feel special and loved! You are also providing them with other benefits when you read aloud to your children, two of the most important being helping them with language development and fostering a love of reading which will serve them well in life and learning. The children's books we've included in this article are stories you'll read together again and again every Christmas.

In The Berenstain Bears and The Joy of Giving children's book Brother and Sister Bear can't wait for Christmas and all the presents they'll open. But during the Christmas Eve pageant, something special happens! The Bear cubs learn a very valuable lesson about the joy of giving to others.

The Berenstain Bears and the Joy of Giving

Berenstain Bears Joy of Giving Book Activity: Spend time writing and talking with your children. Mom or Dad: Glue a sheet of loose leaf paper with lines onto a piece of red or green construction paper. At the top of the page print the following: "If you could give a special gift to someone who would you give it to? What would you give them? Why do they deserve a special gift?"

Let your children write their answers and then talk about what they wrote.

Take the activity one step further and take a trip to your local Walgreens or CVS and buy a small gift for someone special in their life...let them pick the gift!

A young boy is forced to sell his beloved donkey Small One who is now old and weak. He finds the perfect buyer in a man who is seeking a donkey to carry his wife, Mary, to Bethlehem, in a heartwarming story based on a Disney animated short.

The Small One

Santa Mouse is Santa's little helper but how did it all come about? Find out in this charming story about a tiny mouse with no name who lived a very lonely life in a very big house. He loved Christmas dearly and had a special present for Santa, but how could he possibly give it to him? After all, he's only a mouse. And how did a little ordinary mouse become Santa Mouse, the helper Santa could never do without?

Santa Mouse

This classic Little Golden Children's Book was first published in 1952 and was illustrated by beloved artist Eloise Wilkin. Its simple but poetic text gently invites children to hear the story of Jesus' birth in a stable in Bethlehem.

The Christmas Story Children's Book Activity:

Set up your Nativity Set. After reading tonight's Countdown to Christmas children's book spend time as a family setting up your Nativity Set in a prominent place in your home. Take time to talk about each of the items in the Nativity scene and the part they play in the story. Say a prayer out loud together in front of the Nativity.

Nativity sets include the Stable, Mary, Joseph, the baby Jesus, Angels, shepherds, sheep, a donkey, an ox, a camel, and the three Wise Men.

It's December 24th, and the old farmer settles down for a winter's nap, wondering how Christmas can come when there is no snow! It is in his dream that he imagines a snowstorm coming and covering him and his animals—named One, Two, Three, Four and Five—in a snowy blanket. As cute as Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Dream Snow has similar ingredients: a simple story, lively collage-like illustrations and a fun gimmick for little hands.

Dream Snow Children's Book

Dream Snow Children's Book Craft Activity: Make Paper Snowflakes! These timeless treasures are fun for the whole family to make. Use white printer paper or coffee filters or cupcake liners to make your paper snowflakes!

In this beloved tale, the Gingerbread Man escapes from the oven and has to outrun all the creatures that try to catch him! Children will eagerly continue reading to see if he is able to avoid the clever fox or if he will end up as an afternoon snack. Magic, imagination, and inspiration that will delight children again and again!

The Gingerbread Man Children's Book Craft Activity:

Cinnamon Gingerbread Man Ornaments. These gingerbread men smell delicious! This adorable and easy kids craft activity makes a great decoration for your tree or an air freshener for your room! You'll need 3/4 cup of applesauce and 1 small 4oz bottle of cinnamon. Mix the applesauce and cinnamon together in a bowl to form a dough. Roll the dough between two sheets of parchment or plastic wrap. Cut out the dough with gingerbread men cookie cutters. Punch a hole in the top of the gingerbread man with a straw so you'll be able to hang the ornament. Bake at 200 degrees F for 21/2 hours. Tie a red or white ribbon through the hole for hanging your gingerbread ornament. You can also decorate the cinnamon ornaments with craft paint, use white craft paint for a face, arms and legs.

A procession travels to Bethlehem, bringing gifts for the newborn baby Jesus. The little drummer boy comes along, although he is too poor to bring a present fit for a king. Instead, he plays a song on his drum for the Christ Child. Within the little drummer boy's seemingly simple gift lies the true spirit of Christmas. Music for the song appears at the back of this children's book.

The Little Drummer Boy Children's Book

The Little Drummer Boy Children's Book Craft Activity: Make your own drum! All you need is an old coffee can, a large balloon with the top cut off, and construction paper or paint. Use pencils for your drumsticks!

No book has captured the magic and sense of possibility of the first snowfall better than The Snowy Day. This children's story has become a favorite of millions, as it reveals a child's wonder at a new world, and the hope of capturing and keeping that wonder forever.

The Snowy Day Children's Book

The Snowy Day Children's Book Craft Activity: This fun family craft activity couldn't be easier and pairs well the the children's book The Snowy Day: Cotton Ball Snowmen. Make these cute snowman to hang on your Christmas tree! The supplies you'll need are: paper plates, cotton balls, construction paper and glue.

On Christmas Eve the Sesame Street friends exchange gifts, go skating, worry about Santa, and write their wish list.

Christmas Eve On Sesame Street Vintage Children's Book

Arthur decides to make Mother and Father special Christmas cookies as a present in this holiday story. But when the cookies are finally finished, they are hard as rocks! Can Arthur think of a way to turn this disaster into the best Christmas present ever?

Arthur's Christmas Cookies Children's Book

Recipe for Sugar Cookie Cutouts

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In one bowl mix flour, baking powder and salt and set aside. In a separate bowl cream the butter and sugar until fluffy then beat in egg and vanilla. Gradually add flour mixture a little at a time until well combined.

Divide dough in half. Use half of the dough at a time. Roll one dough half on a floured surface to about 1/4 inch thick. Dip cookie cutters in flour and cut out cookie shapes. Place on ungreased cookie sheet for baking - for easy handling and cleanup it's great if you can line your baking sheets with parchment paper!

Bake cookies for 6 to 8 minutes or until lightly browned.

Let cookies cool and decorate with your favorite frosting.

Arthur's Christmas Cookies Book Activity

Partner this holiday book with baking fun! Make sugar cutout Christmas cookies. Plan ahead and read this Christmas story on a day or night when you have time to bake cookies! Here's an easy sugar cookie cutouts recipe that doesn't require chilling. Just mix, bake and decorate for a night of holiday family fun!

In this picture book adaptation of Charles Dickens' immortal classic, the story of Ebenezer Scrooge leaps off the page to warm the soul of one and all. Be swept away in an unforgettable Christmas Eve, from Scrooge's first "Bah, humbug!" to the arrival of the Ghost of Christmas Past; from the courage of Tiny Tim to the glory of Christmas morning. This children's book is filled with spirit and humor. Here is a treasure for the whole family to share, year after year.

A Christmas Carol Children's Picture Book

Everyone’s favorite Christmas poem, Clement Clarke Moore’s ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas is filled to the brim with holiday cheer, from dancing sugarplums to flying reindeer. This is a classic must have book for Christmas Eve and for your children's book collection!

The Night Before Christmas Children's Book Anniversary Edition

Merry Christmas to you and your Loved Ones! Children's Christmas Books Countdown To Christmas Comments

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      Tim 3 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      What a fun read. This is a great idea!