10 Best Christmas Stories for Free
These Christmas stories are great for sharing with your family around the holidays, and will appeal to a wide range of ages– but there are plenty of other options, too. As we head towards the end of the year, we’ve picked our favourite festive stories. Whether you’re counting down with an advent calendar or putting up decorations – here are some fantastic books to get you in the Christmas mood! There are several delightful Christmas stories to choose from this holiday season, ranging from touching classics like The Polar Express to enchanting modern tales such as Peppa Pig: Peppa’s Christmas Wish.
Here are the best 10 Christmas stories for free for the season that will make your heart grow three sizes today. Our definitive list of the best Christmas Stories features picks both old and new, classic and modern — and they’re sure to put you in the holiday spirit.
1. The Little Matchgirl – Hans Christian Andersen
The Little Match Girl is a short story by Danish poet and author Hans Christian Andersen. The story, about a dying child’s dreams and hope, was first published in 1845. It has been adapted to various media, including an animated short film, a television musical, and an animated virtual reality story called “Allumette”.
Andersen’s tale about a little girl who’s afraid to go home because she hasn’t sold enough matches is a classic. The little girl, bareheaded and barefoot, curls up in a corner, lighting match after match to warm herself.
In the flames she sees visions; in the final one, her grandmother appears and lifts the little girl into heaven. With muted blues, greys and browns, Isadora captures the mood of a snowy Victorian winter reminiscent of Dickens’s A Christmas Carol.
2. A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens is a novella that was first published in 1843. It is a book that you can read in under two hours, which is unlike many books written by Charles Dickens.
A Christmas Carol tells the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, a tightfisted, mean-spirited, man. He is the kind of person who rains on your parade with his sour disposition, always complaining and finding fault with everyone. The story starts on Christmas Eve, and we learn from the narrator that Scrooge’s partner, Jacob Marley, is dead as a doornail – he died seven years ago.
A heartfelt holiday story – a great gift for festive fans everywhere!
3. Little Piccola by Nora A. Smith
Piccola’s family is so poor that her parents cannot afford a single Christmas gift for her. But Piccola has absolute faith that St. Nicholas will bring her a gift. She leaves out her tiny shoe to receive the gift and then goes happily to bed on Christmas Eve, and she does receive a present she loves.
4. A Letter From Santa Claus – Mark Twain
The story has been widely shared since in anthologies as a cute reminder of the spirit of Christmas and the love of parents for their children, who year after year don bright red suits and leave out milk and cookies to keep the magic alive.
Twain is noted for his novels Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, which has been called “the Great American Novel”, and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. His elder daughter, Suzy Clemens, was born in Elmira, New York, and lived a short life, dying at the age of 23 from meningitis. In childhood, Suzy often had poor health, similar to her mother. At 13, she wrote a biography of her father, which was included as par of Twain’s Chapters From My Autobiography. Mark Twain wrote a letter to his daughter, which he sent from Santa Claus, during one of her childhood illnesses.
5. The Three Kings – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Best known for “Paul Revere’s Ride,” Longfellow also wrote another poem charting a different momentous voyage. As a retelling of the story of the magi, it certainly beats the dull lyrics of “We Three Kings” — which, as we know, can only be made better with a camel tow.
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6. Other Wise Men – Henry Van Dyke
Did you know there was a fourth Wise Man? Well, according to Henry van Dyke, at least — but he stopped to help a dying man and missed Jesus’ birth altogether. Nevertheless, this other wise man still believes it’s his destiny to meet the Son of God and spends the next 30 years searching for Jesus, performing acts of kindness along the way. That is until he finally realizes it’s not who you’ve met, but who you are that really counts.
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7. Little Gretchen and the Wooden Shoe – Elizabeth Harrison
A beautiful classic Christmas story about a poor little German girl named Gretchen, who gets a wonderful gift for Christmas.
For a heart filled with love, there is nothing lovelier than Christmas. Here’s a story that will fill your kids’ heart with joy and at the same time teach them to share. It is the story of a litter girl who believes in the angels and spirit of Christmas and finds happiness in everything. Now, isn’t what Christmas is all about!
8. The Gift of the Magi – O. Henry
If you are looking for a Christmas story that doesn’t feature either a nativity or Santa, The Gift of the Magi is a story that reinforces the value of selfless giving. This classic story by O. Henry (William Sydney Porter) shares the story of Jim and Della as they seek to show their love for each other in a special Christmas gift despite their poverty.
The language of this story is formal, but the message is one that can be understood by children as well as adults. The illustrations in this edition are beautifully suited to the story, capturing the feeling of the relationship between Della and Jim in this classic story first published over 100 years ago.
9. The Legend of the Christmas Tree – Rick Osborne
Like many American customs, the Christmas tree tradition travelled from across the ocean to our shores. Author Rick Osborne set out to discover the origin of the Christmas tree and its connection to the essential Christmas story. The result is his most recent book, The Legend of the Christmas Tree.
It’s a story Osborne hopes will help families understand how their Christmas tree brings true meaning to the celebration of the season.
10. The Velveteen Rabbit – Margery Williams
The Velveteen Rabbit is a classic children’s book. The story is about a toy rabbit, who wants to become “Real.” This is not a children’s picture book. Your young child or children may not be interested in this story or understand its themes at all.
The Velveteen Rabbit is given to a boy as a Christmas gift. The other toys in the boy’s nursery pretended to be “Real,” so the Velveteen Rabbit became curious about what that was. This story is beyond the depth of understanding and knowledge for small children. Adults or older children would be able to recognize the Christian undertones of this book. The Velveteen Rabbit is, basically, a children’s book for adults. College students, majoring in literature, English, religion, philosophy, education, early childhood education, psychology, sociology, anthropology, ancient and medieval Western history should consider writing a term paper about the religious themes communicated in this secular book, mature themes within children’s literature, or whether classic children’s literature is culturally-relevant today.