Are you looking for old-fashioned Christmas books for kids to give as gifts this holiday season? Or maybe you're looking to add a few stories of olden-days holidays to your own family library. All of our family members love to read, so there's always at least one book for each of us under the tree.
Our family lives off the grid in Canada's Northwest Territories where we homestead and homeschool. So books also serve as an educational tool. Winter days here are long and dark, and a perfect time for baking, homeschooling indoors and digging into a good book.
One of our favorite seasonal activities is curling up by our wood stove for a read-aloud. So we have quite a collection of old-fashioned Christmas books for kids.
10 Old-Fashioned Christmas Books for Kids
If you're looking for suggestions, here are a few of our family favorite old-fashioned Christmas books for kids to help you get started. And I've added a couple we're planning to add to our collection. Take note - many of these tales of Christmas in the olden days make great additions to homeschool pioneer unit studies.
#1. A Pioneer Christmas by Barbara Greenwood
First published back in 2003, this beautifully illustrated picture book describes one family's Christmas in the backwoods of Canada in 1841. It's part of a series by Barbara Greenwood, with other titles including A Pioneer Sampler and A Pioneer Thanksgiving. A Pioneer Christmas is full of stories, crafts, and interesting facts about pioneer Christmas celebrations. We read it "for fun" but it's also a good choice for homeschooling families working on Christmas units.
#2. Apple Tree Christmas by Trinka Hakes Noble
My adult sons loved this book when they were little. Set in 1881, it tells the tale of the Ansterberg family, facing an unexpected challenge at Christmas. Younger children love the pretty pictures. And the message of family, faith, and the Christmas spirit appeal to older ones. The recommended ages are 4 - 8, but it's a good choice for all ages.
#3. Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey by Susan Wojciechowski
Another of the beautifully illustrated pioneer Christmas books for children, the story of widower and woodcarver Jonathan Toomey has a more serious tone than some of the other seasonal children's books we've enjoyed.
Yet it's beautifully written, and a reminder of the joy that can follow sorrow. And take note - this book has a lot of text on each page, so your older kids (aged 7+) may like it more than your preschoolers and kindergarten gang.
#4. An Old Salem Christmas, by Karen Cecil Smith
In 1840 Salem, North Carolina, the Moravian community is enjoying their own special Christmas customs, including the Christmas Lovefeast Celebrations. The Moravians were a small German Protestant sect who emigrated to the United States in the mid-1800s. This award-winning picture book aimed at children in the 4 to 8 range, could easily be used as part of a homeschool unit on Christian Christmas celebrations.
#5. Lucy's Christmas by Donald Hall
Cozy homes warmed by wood stoves, handmade Christmas gifts, and a special pageant -- this delightful children's holiday book is a warm, cozy read for a cold winter night. Set in the late 1800s' New England, it gives readers a glimpse of what Christmas was like for a little girl in simpler times.
#6. Christmas in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Introduce your littlest ones to what may be the most well-loved pioneer Christmas books for kids around with the Little House Picture Book Series. Read them aloud to your preschoolers or have your new readers try them on their own. This book shares the story of Laura Ingalls' family Christmas in Wisconsin, with her mother Caroline's extended family, and has been one of our family favorites for over 20 years.
#7. A Little House Christmas Treasury: Festive Holiday Stories by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Another Christmas book for children by Laura Ingalls Wilder that every family should enjoy! This treasury includes five stories of the Ingalls' family Christmas' on the American frontier. It's illustrated by Garth Williams, who also illustrated the original Little House on the Prairie books.
#8.' Twas the Day Before Christmas by Brenda Seabrooke
Who hasn't heard the beloved holiday story rhyme of The Night Before Christmas? Learn the story of how Clement Clark Moore created the tale for his children back in 1882. And then share the original poem as well - it's part of the book too.
#9. Apples and Angel Ladders by Irene Morck
Many of North America's pioneers were immigrants who struggled to adapt to live in a new country while cherishing traditions and values from their home country. Irene Morck's collection of Christmas stories are based on her Danish father's childhood on an American prairie homestead in the late 1800s and can be enjoyed by the whole family.
#10. The Christmas Angel by Mary Jean Kelso
Young Melissa is told she can bring one favorite item along when her family travels the Oregon Trail to move out west. She chooses a beautiful, but extremely delicate, porcelain angel to adorn the family Christmas tree. This picture book also includes a map, a typical supply list, a list of links to Oregon Trail websites plus five free printables for your homeschool.
Consider adding one or more of these books to your family holiday book collection annually, and introduce a family holiday read-aloud tradition today.
Do you love learning about pioneer times as much as we do? If so, visit you will love my post on Pioneer Christmas Crafts For Kids .