The Best Holiday Bedtime Books

‘Tis the season to sit back, relax and enjoy a good holiday book with baby. After all, baby’s got enough holiday spirit to fill the North Pole – their bookshelf’s gotta represent.

So we rounded up some seasonal reads that would be perfect for a cozy winter’s night. Here are eight of our favorites – from the very sweet to the very oddball – that’ll leave both baby and you dreaming of sugar plums…

  1. The Little Gift of Nothing

This board book about nothing by Patrick McDonnell is everrrrything this holiday season. It tells the story of a cat on the search for the perfect gift for his dog BFF. It’s a small book that packs a pretty big message. Warning: The last part is so touching you might have to practice your “I’m not crying, I’ve just got allergies!” speech before reading it to baby.

  1. Samurai Santa: A Very Ninja Christmas

Hands down, our favorite holiday read to hit bookshelves in recent years. It’s about a little ninja named Yukio who plots to kick Santa out of Ninja Village so he can orchestrate a truly EPIC snowball fight. We won’t ruin the end for you, but let’s just say that Yukio gets everything he hoped for and much, much more. The Japanese-inspired art and hilarious plot from Rubin Pingk are sure to capture the whole family’s imagination.

  1. I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Dreidel

The premise of this Chanukah tale by Caryn Yacowitz about an old lady who swallowed a dreidel (that she thought was a bagel, of course) is original enough. But the witty illustrations that reference famous works of art – by Rembrandt, Andy Warhol, Edward Hopper and more – make this book just the thing to read before dreamtime.

  1. Baby Reindeer: Finger Puppet Book

Taiwanese illustrator Yu-hsuan Huang’s miniature finger-puppet board book is impossible not to adore, no matter your age. It follows Baby Reindeer on a typical day, as he explores the snowy tundra and icy river. It’s so gentle and calming that we’re kinda thinking of reading it to help ourselves fall asleep too!

  1. Snowmen at Christmas

How do snowmen celebrate the night before Christmas? This charming, completely enchanting read by Caralyn Buehner uncovers the truth (hint: it involves snow cones and freeze tag!). Aside from the oh-what-fun storyline, you’ll love picking out all the details in the illustrations with your little one.

  1. Penguin Problems

We’re sorta obsessed with this book by Jory John about a very pessimistic – and yet totally adorable – penguin who literally can’t even deal with his life. The snow, his cold beak, the salty ocean, oh the horror! Underneath all the complaining, though, is a sweet message that’s perfect for the holiday season.

  1. Gracie’s Night: A Hanukkah Story

Lynn Taylor Gordon’s story of a girl named Gracie, who gets a job at Macy’s to buy her papa a Hanukkah gift, will tug at your heartstrings (get that allergy speech ready again!). And the soothing rhymes and magical illustrations of New York City make it particularly perfect for bedtime. It’s no wonder it’s a Mom’s Choice Gold Medal winner.  

  1. The Night Before Christmas: A Bedtime Shadow Book

The classic by Clement Clarke Moore gets a 21st century update thanks to an innovative shadow-book format. Shine a flashlight on the cut-out illustrations to bring the story of St. Nick and his eight tiny reindeer to life on baby’s very own nursery walls.

Got a bedtime book to add to our list? Share your favorite holiday reads with us on Facebook or Twitter!

Diana A.

Diana A.

Diana is an editor and writer based in New York City, and she frequently writes about health, parenting and everything babies. She’s been a fan of sleep since the early 1980s.