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Bedtime Stories for the Holiday Season

9 children's books that are must-reads during the holidays.
bedtime stories for the holidays

One of our favorite holiday traditions is our holiday book basket, which serves as an advent calendar of sorts. Every night, starting on December 1, my daughters sift through a big basket of wrapped books with glittery numbers on them. They find the number that corresponds with the date and we cuddle up on the couch and read.

Since we're not a religious family, our books run the gamut. There are some books about Christmas. There are some about winter. There's even one about Chanukah. But all of them have managed to become sprinkled with a little bit of holiday magic that makes my girls' giddy with excitement as soon as they catch site of the cover.

We have a bunch of the classics that most families know and love like Twas the Night Before Christmas, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and The Polar Express. But most people have heard of those. Here's a look at some lesser-known stories that are on our list of favorites...

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The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats is about a little boy's wonder as he goes on different adventures around his city on one very snowy day.

Snow by Uri Shulevitz is about the magic that happens when a city is transformed by snow.

When Santa Lost His Ho! Ho! Ho! by Laura Rader is the silly story of how the whole world tries to help Santa get his laugh back.

One Snowy Night by Nick Butterworth is about a helpful park keeper who lets a bunch of furry friends warm up inside his tiny hut.

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The Elves and the Shoemaker is the classic tale of two sweet elves who help a poor shoemaker and his wife.

Our absolute favorite version of The Nutcracker is by Susan Jeffers.

The Missing Mitten Mystery by Steven Kellogg follows Annie and her dog on one fun and snowy day as they retrace their steps to find her lost mitten.

Mooseltoe by Margie Palatini is about a super prepared moose who forgot one important Christmas detail—the tree!

Santa's Stuck by Rhonda Gowler Greene is a very silly story about exactly what it sounds like: what happens when Santa eats one too many cookies and gets stuck in a chimney.

Did I miss your family's favorite holiday children's book? Let us know in the comments!

is a writer and the mom of two girls who talk as much and laugh as loud as she does (just ask her husband). She writes about motherhood with humor and brutal honesty on her personal blog, Cuddles and Chaos. Read all of Jennifer's posts.