Our favourite Christmas books for children

Lucy and Tom's Christmas

Image: Shirley Hughes

If you love a book as a child then, chances are, it’ll stay with you. You might forget about it for twenty-odd years, but when you have children of your own, the memories of those favourite stories come flooding back.

My absolute favourite Christmas book is Lucy and Tom’s Christmas by Shirley Hughes. This book, first published in 1981, sums up my childhood Christmases better than any photograph. Her evocative illustrations evoke memories of my own childhood home, it could almost be our Christmas. I approve of the fact that Lucy and Tom don’t put up their Christmas tree until Christmas Eve. We don’t wait quite that long (more the end of the school term), but this ethos ties in very well with my own desire to celebrate Christmas in a traditional way.


I am so happy to tell you that this wonderful book is back in print again. It now has a slightly different title – Lucy and Tom at Christmas. Shirley Hughes has also written an Alfie book all about Christmas time. Alfie’s Christmas is very similar to Lucy and Tom’s and you may notice some similarities!

Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without a bit of Raymond Briggs would it? Obviously we love the Snowman, in all its forms, but my boys adore Briggs’ Father Christmas even more.


It’s very British, a little bit grumpy and it makes a great change from all the sugar-coated nonsense we’re force fed from at the middle of November. Give me Father Christmas in his  ordinary house over Queen Elsa any day.

For older children, the magic of The Jolly Christmas Postman by Janet and Alan Ahlberg never dims. It’s packed full of little letters to read, books within books and even a little jigsaw puzzle! One to be shared, year after year.

Jolly Christmas Postman

And we also love…


Left to right:

Room for a Little One by Martin Waddell. This is a wonderful retelling of the Christmas Story.

Richard Scarry’s Best Christmas Book EverMy boys love this one, I am learning to love it!

Mog’s Christmas by Judith Kerr. The original and best book, not the new one which goes with the Christmas advert (which is also nice, but not quite the same).

There are so many lovely Christmas books out there. What are your favourites? I’d love to discover some new classics. 






  1. Sue
    December 7, 2015 / 9:47 am

    Hi – you may know this book, but if not then I’ve a feeling you will love it. It’s called Christmas at Exeter Street by Diana Hendry. Beautifully illustrated, funny and charming. in our top 3 children’s christmas books. My five nearly six year old loves it now and loved it last year too. Best wishes, Sue Riley

    • marmaladepie
      December 7, 2015 / 6:52 pm

      Funnily enough I’ve just come across that book and would love to buy a copy! Will definitely do so now 🙂

  2. Helen
    December 7, 2015 / 1:44 pm

    I’m thinking of getting my older two ‘ a boy called christmas’ by Matt Haig – has great reviews!

    • marmaladepie
      December 7, 2015 / 6:56 pm

      Ooh, thanks Helen I’ll look that one up!

  3. December 7, 2015 / 7:16 pm

    What a coincidence, I was going to do a post about this later in the week, as I dug Lucy’s Christmas books out yesterday and she’s been delighted to find old friends from last year and before.

  4. December 9, 2015 / 10:08 am

    ‘Father Christmas Needs a Wee’ is a favourite with my boys for obvious reasons! We also like that Mog book and the Jolly Christmas Postman (my youngest is doing a Christmas play based on it this year!). And though they’re 6 and 4 now, they still like the toddler board book ‘Dear Santa’ which is a variation of the famous ‘Dear Zoo’. And Maisy’s Christmas. And Kipper’s Christmas Eve. And… well, there’s quite a list! x

    • marmaladepie
      December 17, 2015 / 8:38 pm

      That sounds like a great play! We’ve managed to avoid the FC needs a wee book so far! x

  5. December 10, 2015 / 5:08 pm

    My children are a little older so their favourites are chapter books. Tumtum and Nutmeg’s Christmas Adventure by Emily Bearn, The Snow Bear by Holly Webb, The Festival of Stones by Reg Down and Lotta’s Christmas Suprise by Astrid Lindgren are books that have been read, at this time of year, for a few years now.

    • marmaladepie
      December 17, 2015 / 8:37 pm

      We love Tumtum and Nutmeg – I must get the Christmas one, it sounds perfect! My eldest loves reading chapter books so I will check out your recommendations – thank you!

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