Tis the season for... poetry? Give your holiday celebrations that extra special something by including Christmas poems for kids in your family traditions. Sharing fun and meaningful Christmas poetry fosters the bond between children, parents, grandparents and other extended family members.
How to Start a Holiday Poetry Tradition
Incorporating Christmas poems into your holiday traditions is easy! Read through the ideas below and choose the one that you know will suit your family the best.
One idea is to set up a poetry advent calendar using our free printable. Kids will open and read a poem every day. Our poetry printable includes 23 short and clever poems plus one surprise poem for Christmas Eve.
Gather a Collection of Christmas Poems
Speed on over to the library and stock up on some Christmas poetry books for kids. Below you will find a list of my favorite titles of Christmas poem anthologies, as well as a few poetry picture books.
Alternatively, you can get the free printable of Christmas poems kids will enjoy. (Find it at the end of this post.)
Read a Christmas poetry to your children when you would normally carve out time for picture book read alouds. For example:
- Read a poem before your regular bedtime reading. It's a tradition your kids will remember forever.
- Read a Christmas poem to your kids before or during mealtimes. It's totally okay to read aloud at mealtime!
- Make hot chocolate or put out a plate of
nutritious snackscookies and read a few poems from the collection.
Make It a Family and Friends Affair
Having a holiday gathering? Ask everyone to bring a favorite poem. You can specify a theme or not. At the party, everyone reads their poem. Or, make it a game. Put all the poems in a basket. Everyone draws a poem, reads it and then guesses who brought that poem!
Give the Gift of a Poetry Recital
A poetry recital is a wonderful gift that your children can give to parents, grandparents or other special adults. Help your child memorize a poem and recite it. For distant relatives, make a video recording and send it electronically. It is a beautiful and unique gift for your children to give!
Christmas Poems and Poetry Books
Here is a list of my favorite Christmas poetry books for children. Make sure to have them out on the coffee table for the entire holiday season so your family can share poems whenever the festive mood strikes! (Note: this list contains affiliate links that may earn commissions.)
edited by Lee Bennett Hopkins
I love the premise of this poetry collection! It's midnight on Christmas Eve and all the animals are gifted the power of speech for one hour. The poems, narrated by the individual animals, give a variety of perspectives on the experience of being present at the very first Christmas.
Let's Celebrate Christmas
by J. Patrick Lewis
This is a fun collection of Christmas themed poems for your youngest listeners and beginning poetry enthusiasts. The book includes eight short poems about familiar festive experiences like eating gingerbread and building snowman. Following the poems are quick facts about Christmas celebrations around the world, short sound bites about the history of Christmas and a glossary. Best for ages 6 and under.
by Maya Angelou
Angelou first read this poem at a White House tree-lighting ceremony in 2005. That year was filled with natural disasters and that background informs the beginning of the poem, but Angelou brilliantly goes on to inspire hope and peace with the gathering of people of all faiths and walks of life. Johnson and Fancher's illustrations are marvelous. The picture book includes a CD so you can listen to Angelou read her own work!
Santa Clauses: Short Poems from the North Pole
by Bob Raczka
I just love this whimsical collection of holiday haiku. Santa Claus has written 25 poems, one for each day of the December countdown to Christmas. Together the poems tell the story of his preparations for, and thoughts about, the big day. If you can resist the temptation to read them all in one go, start or end each day with one haiku, like your own poetry advent calendar!
The Night Before Christmas
by Clement Clarke Moore
Most likely you are already familiar with this famous Christmas poem! There are numerous illustrated versions to suit everyone's taste. I particularly like this one by Holly Hobbie, the creator of the Toot and Puddle books.
Christmas Poems to Print
I put together a printable pdf of public domain Christmas poems for you to print out and have on hand when you need them. I selected a mix of secular and religious-themed poems.
The printable includes the following poems:
- [little tree] by e.e. cummings
- In the Bleak Midwinter by Christina Rossetti
- The Savior must have been a docile Gentleman by Emily Dickenson
- Holidays by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
- Christmas Greetings by Lewis Carroll
- There was an Old Lady whose Folly... by Edward Lear
- To Mrs K____, On Her Sending Me an English Christmas Plum-Cake at Paris by Helen Maria Williams
Enter your email in the box below to receive the printable pdf file.
I know your Christmas celebrations will be forever changed for the better with the addition of some well-loved poetry reading. Enjoy!
P.S. These winter poems will also be wonderful choices for your holiday celebrations.