Settling down with a book at Christmas is a special treat, so we’re taking a look at ten classic Christmas books that bring seasonal cheer. Could one of these books be in your Christmas stocking this year?

1. Jan Pieńkowski’s The First Christmas

Nowhere is the original Christmas story more beautifully expressed than in British-Polish artist Jan Pieńkowski’s The First Christmas. The story of the Nativity (taken from the Gospels of Luke and Matthew in the King James Version of the Bible) is illustrated with Pieńkowski’s beautiful black silhouettes and decorative silver ink against brilliant jewel-like colours to create a beautiful work of art.

2. The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg

This Christmas tale of a little boy who travels to the North Pole on a magical steam train has become a Christmas classic since it was first published in 1985. Made into a blockbuster animated movie in 2004, starring Tom Hanks, The Polar Express is a magical Christmas tale.

3. The Snowman by Raymond Briggs

This beautiful picture book was first published in 1978. When it was made into a 26-minute short animated film for a UK television special in 1982, the book became a Christmas classic and practically created a new Christmas tradition in the UK. One to read while listening to the evocative music from the film.

4. The Christmasaurus by Tom Fletcher

Another one to read while listening to the accompanying CD, The Christmasaurus manages to combine dinosaurs, elves, Father Christmas and a little boy called William Trundle in a magical Christmas adventure. Whilst only published in 2016, it is already a Christmas classic.

5. How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Zeuss

How the Grinch Stole Christmas has been delighting children at Christmastime since it was first published in 1957. The wit and delicious rhymes of Dr. Zeuss get right to the heart of the spirit of Christmas as his iconic character finds his heart growing three sizes when he learns the true meaning of Christmas.

6. Baboushka by Kate Robbins

A Caldecott-Medal-winning retelling of the traditional story of Baboushka, an old woman who chose not to travel with the three Wise Men to find the Christ child and who is now on an endless search for Him each Christmas.

7. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

When the hard-hearted Ebenezer Scrooge is visited by three spirits on Christmas Eve , the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Christmas Present and Christmas Yet To Come expose the lost opportunities of his past, the cold loneliness of his present, and the terrible future that awaits him to give him one last opportunity to change in the true spirit of Christmas in this evocative Victorian tale.

8. ‘Twas the Night before Christmas by Clement Clarke Moore

Another classic Christmas rhyme; this one written by Clement Clarke Moore (1779–1863), a professor of literature and theology. Originally titled “A Visit from St. Nicholas”, the poem is now more often referred to as “Twas the Night Before Christmas” and tells of a father’s glimpse of Santa Claus squeezing down the chimney on Christmas Eve.

9. The Fir Tree by Hans Christian Anderson

This much-loved tale strikes a different note to the other Christmas books on this list. Like so many of Andersen’s tales, the Fir Tree offers a note of pessimism to readers, despite the Christmassy setting.

10. The Nutcracker by Alexandre Dumas

Alexandre Dumas’ The story of a Nutcracker is the basis of the famous Russian ballet, The Nutcracker and its beautiful score by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. Dumas adapted it from the work of German author E. T. A. Hoffmann, specifically his story of “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King”. This magical Christmas tale of Clara, the Nutcracker, the Mouse King, the Sugar Plum Fairy and the magical world of sweets, is another Christmas tale beautifully illustrated by Jan Pieńkowski.

How does our pick of Christmas stories compare against your favourite Christmas books? Would you love to find any of these in your Christmas stocking come Christmas morning?