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Christmas Read Alouds and Activities for the Classroom

Blog Posts, Holidays, Literacy, Read Alouds, Seasonal

Written by: Mary Kate Bolinder

Our festive list of Christmas read-alouds is perfect for promoting peace, joy, and love in the classroom throughout the holiday season and beyond. Enjoy these books on their own, or combine them with our Christmas activity ideas for even more holly-jolly fun!

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A World of Cookies for Santa

By M.E. Furman, illustrated by Susan Gal

Class Activity: Pick a cookie recipe from the book and bake together as a class! Explore more holidays around the world with our Holidays Around the World Lapbook.

students learn about how other countries celebrate winter holidays with a christmas around the world event

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Holidays Around the World Lapbook

Christmas Cookies

By Amy Krouse Rosenthal, illustrated by Jane Dyer

Anticipation, tradition, joy – just some of the few words students will learn about in Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s Christmas Cookies.

Class Activity: Pick a word from the story, and have students write and draw their own definition of what the word means. Or, make a batch of gingerbread scented play-doh and make your phonics lesson multisensory – students will have fun stamping their own “Christmas Cookies” with dough!

Nutcracker in Harlem

By T.E. McMorrow, illustrated by James Ransome

A beautiful retelling of the classic Christmas tale, set during the Harlem Renaissance.

Class Activity: Watch Misty Copeland perform the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy here, and try your own dance moves as a class. Listen to Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker while doing December Math Puzzles.

december themed math puzzles to go with the list of christmas read alouds

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December Math Puzzles

Santa in the City

By Tiffany D. Jackson, illustrated by Reggie Brown

A little girl frets that Santa won’t be able to visit her home in the city. This story about imagination, community, and love is sure to spread holiday cheer.

Class Activity: Complete a Winter Color by Number scene. Check out our whole collection of Winter Color by Number activities!

snowman in a snow globe winter color by number sheet

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Winter Color By Number Sheets - Basic Addition & Subtraction

Winter Color By Number Sheets -  2-Digit Addition & Subtraction

Pick a Pine Tree

By Patricia Toht, illustrated by Jarvis

This rhyming story follows a family on their quest to find the perfect pine tree for Christmas.

Class Activity: Pick the proper tree with our Even & Odd Christmas Trees Math Center.

december themed even and odd christmas trees math center for 1st and 2nd grade

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1st Grade December Math Centers

2nd Grade December Math Centers

The Sweet Smell of Christmas

By Patricia M. Scarry, illustrated by J.P. Miller

This scratch-and-sniff story is a holiday favorite.

Classroom Activity: Do a sensory experience! Put items like chocolate, peppermint, orange, gingerbread, and buttered popcorn in covered cup with holes punched in the top. Students will take turns smelling the cup and identifying the scent. How many could you identify? Make a chart listing the students’ favorite scents. Or, “spice” up your phonics instruction for the week by doing cinnamon stick spelling with a sensory tray.

use a cinnamon stick to spell words in sand for a multisensory spelling activity

I Got the Christmas Spirit

By Connie Schofield-Morrison, illustrated by Frank Morrison

This delightful story filled with rhythm and rhyme spreads lots of cheer at Christmas time!

Class Activity: Practice a favorite holiday tune, and give a performance to another class.

Fletcher and the Snowflake Christmas

By Julia Rawlinson, illustrated by Tiphanie Beeke

Fletcher Fox is worried that Santa will not be able to find the homes of his animal friends as they settle down to hibernate. Together with his forest friends, they come up with clever ways to solve this problem.

Class Activity: Play Snowflake Spin from our Reading Centers Bundle. Students can use Fletcher and the Snowflake Christmas as the text for this activity, or use it with any fiction text found in your classroom. Students will gather information from illustrations to complete this activity.

snowflake spin christmas activity to go with fletcher and the snowflake christmas read aloud

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2nd Grade Reading Centers

The Wish Tree

By Kyo Maclear, illustrated by Chris Turnham

Does a Wish Tree really exist? Join Charles on an adventure through the woods as he searches for a tree to make all his dreams come true.

Class Activity: Do you still have your classroom Thankful tree up from Thanksgiving? No need to take it down! Have students write their wishes for the new year on a decoration to add to the tree.

The Gingerbread Man – Loose at Christmas

By Laura Murray, illustrated by Mike Lowery

Join the Gingerbread Man as he spreads Christmas cheer (and a little mayhem!) around town. A fun retelling of the classic story.

Class Activity: Spread some cheer around your school! Draw a picture from our directed drawing prompts and deliver them to school helpers like the nurse, cafeteria workers, office staff, and custodian.

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Holidays & Seasons Pack

Directed Drawings Bundle

Christmas Farm

by Mary Lyn Ray, illustrated by Barry Root

What can come from one little seed? A farm filled with Christmas trees! This story follows a farmer and a young boy through the years as their farm grows and changes.

Class Activity: Plant a pine tree seed and watch it grow throughout the year. Or, make a holiday birdseed ornament to hang outside. Find the recipe for holiday birdseed ornaments here.

How to Catch an Elf

By Adam Wallace and Andy Elkerton

A wily child is out to catch an elf for Christmas. Will the Elf escape and make it back to Santa’s sleigh?

Class Activity: Have students work together to design an elf trap. Use recycled materials in this STEM challenge. For a holiday twist, add some festive items to the challenge like candy canes, tinsel, or plastic Christmas balls.

Always Together at Christmas

By Sara Sargeant, illustrated by Mark Chambers

Written in 2020, this story reminds us that no matter how or where we celebrate, there are so many ways to come together at Christmas.

Class Activity: Students will write a friendly holiday letter to someone they love. Check out our blog post for more tips on How To Write a Friendly Letter.

Amazing Peace

By Maya Angelou, illustrated by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher

This beautiful poem by Maya Angelou welcomes the spirit of peace into the holiday season.

Class Activity: Choose a country and explore how winter holidays are celebrated there. Find the perfect resources to start your search with our Christmas Around the World blog post.

Little Red Sleigh

By Erin Guendelsberger, illustrated by Elizaveta Tretyakova

The Little Red Sleigh has big dreams. One day, she wants to be the sleigh that helps deliver Santa’s gifts. Little ones will love to read along with Little Red as she works towards her big dream.

Class Activity: Design a sleigh STEM challenge. Students will work together to design a sleigh that can carry Santa’s gift. To prepare, wrap a heavy object (5lb weight) inside a box. Students will take turns designing a sleigh that can hold the weight. Race your sleighs outside!

Snowmen at Christmas

By Caralyn Buehner, illustrated by Mark Buehner

The companion book to the popular Snowmen At Night. Follow along with a group of snowfriends as they prepare for Christmas night!

Class Activity: Make hot chocolate together as a class. Sit and sip while you read and play along with our amazing December Math Centers.


For more holiday classroom activities, check out these links:

christmas read alouds and activities for the classroom

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Welcome, I’m Angie!

Hello there! I’m Angie Olson- a teacher, curriculum developer, educational blogger and owner of Lucky Little Learners.

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