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5 Holiday Books for Kids to Inspire Family Creativity

by Anna Harpe
November 25, 2020

Anna of KidLitCrafts shares her favorite holiday books for kids and arts & crafts project ideas to go with them.

It’s no secret that I love finding ways to bring more beautiful picture books and fun creativity into our family life. 

Last month on The Artful Parent, I shared some steps to help you get started building your own seasonal library at home

Now we’re officially in the “Holiday Season,” and that means we have a whole new group of books on our shelves, old favorites that make me feel nostalgic for every past snowfall and chaotic Christmas morning.  

holiday books pin

This month, I’d like to share with you 5 of our favorite holiday books for kids and some ways you can use them to connect creatively with your family.   

My Favorite Holiday Picture Books for Kids

The Shortest Day book with chalk drawings

1. The Shortest Day by Susan Cooper, Illustrations by Carson Ellis

Based on Susan Cooper’s poem of the same name, this beautiful story will take you from ancient traditions to modern celebrations in the course of just a few pages.  It’s a wonderful alternative to traditional holiday books while still feeling celebratory and special.  

scratch art and lantern collage

Since this book is an exploration of darkness and light, I love to pair it  with any project that plays on that theme. My children enjoyed experimenting with black construction paper and chalk to create their own whimsical suns.

Here are some other wonderful ideas I found from The Artful Parent archives:

The Snowy Day book with stamp prints

2. The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats

This winter story remains a classic for a reason: the simple text and stunning illustrations make it a perfect read-aloud for the season! (And have you seen the Amazon Prime movie adaptation?  So sweet! )

Snowman craft collage

Inspired by the gorgeous end pages of the book, we made some sweet snowflake stamps by carving into foam sheets. You can try making your own stamps too, or choose one of these fun snowy activities to share:

Holiday books for kids–Tea Party in the Woods book with ornaments

3. The Tea Party in the Woods by Akiko Miyakoshi

This quiet picture book is one of my all-time favorite winter reads.  With pristine white woods, talking animals, and the most delicious looking pies, what’s not to love??  

Snow and ice activities collage

Inspired by the snowy woods, we brought the outside in by filling clear plastic ornaments with pine trimmings and other beautiful odds and ends. But what about some outdoor creative fun as well? Bundle up and try one of these chilly activities:

Pick a Pine Tree book with cookie cutter prints – holiday books for kids.

4. Pick a Pine Tree by Patricia Toht, illustrations by Jarvis

This joyful and vibrant book perfectly captures the magic of the Christmas tree tradition.  

Christmas tree craft collage

Of course, it might just inspire you to craft up your own tiny forest. We stamped some homemade wrapping paper with cut sponges and cookie cutters. Here are some more fun Christmas tree ideas that pair perfectly with this sweet story:

Or how about some homemade ornaments to help decorate or give as gifts?

12 Days of Christmas book with paper chain

5. The Twelve Days of Christmas, illustrations by Britta Teckentrup

I love this illustrated version of the classic Christmas carol.  Britta Teckentrup’s playful illustrations and the peek-through cutouts are so fun for little ones!

  • After reading this book together, try crafting up your own holiday countdown.  I love this Christmas Tree Advent Calendar that Jean and her daughter created a few years ago as it’s full of fun activities to do together.
Holiday Books for Kids & Ornament Making Party

I know that the holidays aren’t all sugarplums and spice.  For some of us, high expectations and stress can easily take over.  So please remember: family creativity looks different for everyone!  

Maybe you set out some books that the kids barely glance at.  Maybe you snuggle together for 30 seconds before someone throws a pillow.  Or maybe you start making ornaments and end with a sculpture of a robot:  that’s okay! 

The holidays are really about spending time together, and I hope that The Artful Parent gives you a little inspiration to do just that–whether you end up with a tree full of homemade ornaments or just a weird robot.   

Family reading from seasonal home library

More Reading Ideas for Kids

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