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Snuggling up with a hot of cocoa and your beloved childhood holiday picture book…a little snow, a crackling fire…it’s enough to give you ALL the warm fuzzies, isn’t it? When I was a kid, our family ended Christmas Eve with the reading of a new holiday picture book or story (or two…or three…). They are such a meaningful Christmas tradition for me, that they’re one of the few collections I’ve held on to. As a family of nature fans, many of them also starred another of our seasonal favorites – Christmas Trees!
Last week as we were putting together our small world Pine Tree Farm Christmas Countdown, the nostalgia hit HARD! So we made a list, bundled up for a trip to the library, came back to unpack the old box of Christmas books, and gathered up the biggest pile of Christmas Tree picture books you ever did see. Each one was so wonderfully warm, I thought I’d share a few of our favorites – old and new – with you.
Looking for a fun and easy Christmas tree art project to pair with your picture books? Try making our merry & bright scrap paper and cardboard Christmas tree!
Want to quickly peruse our favorite picks to shop or save the full list for later? I try to shop locally and buy from independent booksellers or use the library whenever I can, but sometimes I need a specific title I’m unable to find locally. I put together the full clickable collection of Christmas Tree picture books here on a shopping list page over on Amazon. You can use it to shop or just as a quick reference (if you do make a purchase through Amazon, we get a small affiliate commission that helps us re-stock supplies from time to time).
Pick a Pine Tree by Patricia Toht – A festive read-aloud brimming with all the joy and excitement of Christmastime — beginning, of course, with picking out a tree! A rhyming story for younger kids with whimsical, colorful illustrations!
The Tree That’s Meant to Be by Yuval Zommer – A charming book about a small fir, left in the forest over Christmas. A celebration of love and kindness, this book explores the true meaning of Christmas – and the joy of being different.
The Great Spruce by John Duvall – The story of a young boy’s beloved spruce tree, and their unusual journey together. If you’ve ever had a favorite tree of your own, this nostalgic read will tug at your heartstrings (and make you want to plant one or two more)!
Red and Lulu by Matt Tavares – A pair of cardinals live happily in a big, beautiful evergreen until one day, when their tree is chopped down and taken away! This GORGEOUSLY illustrated book has so many good lessons and a happy ending that will warm your heart.
Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree by Gloria Houston – One of my childhood favorites, it tells the heartwarming story of a mother and daughter living in the Appalachian mountains, working together to fulfill their family’s Christmas duty. I love the themes of courage and family, but for me, Barbara Cooney’s rich illustrations steal the show, as every page GLOWS with the spirit of Christmas.
The Last Christmas Tree by Stephen Krensky – Among the grand balsam firs and pines at the Christmas tree lot is a scrawny little tree that is missing several branches. This charming little read has an ending that completely captures the magic of Christmas Eve.
Tree of Cranes by Allen Say – This autobiographical book from uber-talented storyteller and illustrator Allen Say tells the story of a young Japanese boy’s very first Christmas. It serves as a wonderful reminder that traditions and cultures can be combined to create new, unique traditions and ways of celebrating. And the gentle watercolor artwork…(sigh)! Absolutely stunning.
The Wish Tree by Kyo Maclear – A sweet story about a young boy’s search for a “wish” tree, with a subtle moral about perseverance and kindness. Wintry colors and fun illustrations will ensure this one’s a hit with younger kiddos and those just beginning to read on their own.
A Little Christmas Tree by Anthony Merrill – The charming story of a small scotch pine who hopes to bring the true meaning of Christmas to a family. But when one of his major branches is broken, his hopes might be broken too. Surprise ending in store folks!!
Little Christmas Tree by Jessica Courtney-Tickle – This lift-the-flap rhyming picture book has the most beautiful illustrations! Take a journey through a snowy forest, discovering small surprises hidden under the flaps – it’s like an advent calendar in picture book form!
Maple and Willow’s Christmas Tree by Lori Nichols – If you’re planning on trying out an “alternative” Christmas tree this year (possibly to the chagrin of your littles) this sweet story is for you! I love the problem-solving and acceptance of new traditions this book suggests, and it’s a perfect choice for younger kiddos or little ones who may be feeling disappointed they don’t have the “traditional” tree.
Christmas Farm by Mary Lyn Ray – One of my favorite annual holiday outings is visiting the Christmas tree farm (I don’t even need to buy a tree) so this book was an instant new favorite. Giving us a glimpse of life on the farm and the process of growing Christmas trees, it served as a great reminder of the work (and time!) that goes into upholding our traditions.
Jackie’s Gift by Sharon Robinson – Written by the daughter of baseball legend Jackie Robinson and illustrated by a Caldecott Honor winner, Jackie’s Gift is a holiday tale based on a true story about friendship and breaking barriers.
A Pinata in a Pine Tree by Pat Mora – A beautiful Latin 12 days of Christmas – featuring a fun, expressive pine tree you’ll be able to find on each page! The colors and illustrations in this book are divine, and it’s written in both Spanish and English.
The Night Tree by Eve Bunting – Working on making your Christmas traditions a little more sustainable and earth-friendly? You’ll adore this story and the way the family celebrates with their own unique kind of Christmas tree.
Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree by Robert Barry – One of my very first Christmas program-starring roles was playing the mouse from this tall tale about an EXTRA tall tree. It’s an absolute classic, and I have always loved the idea that one tree could provide joy for so many.
Whether you’re shopping for holiday presents, putting together a list for the library, or just looking for something new to read, hop over to our collection of art-themed picture books, favorite cookbooks for kids, and best modern picture books for more top picks!
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