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.
Download Holidays Around the World Lapbook HERE
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. Classical music has been proven to help concentration! Give this Winter Math Center Addition and Subtraction Freebie a try!
Download December Math Puzzles HERE
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!
Download Winter Color by Number Worksheet HERE
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.
Download Odd & Even Center HERE
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.
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.
Download Your Literacy Center HERE
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.
Download Directed Drawings HERE
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.
Download Your Friendly Letter Template HERE
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. Or check out this December Math Place Value Freebie – Build a snowman as you practice your place value skills!
Teachers, we have all you need to celebrate the holidays while still learning! Download all the holiday-themed math and ELA worksheets on All Access. We hope these resources save you a little bit of time in your classroom planning, so you can focus on the joy of the season.
Download Christmas Activities HERE
For more holiday classroom activities, check out these links:
These are absolutely incredible, how have I never seen anything like this and why on earth did I not think to do it myself!! Kicking myself right now.