Christmas is a magical time of year for both kids and adults alike. The kids are out of school, the holiday cheer keeps everyone in high spirits, and spending time together as a family is at the top of everyone’s priority list. One hallmark of the Christmas season is the wide variety of Christmas stories, both new and old, that you can tell your child. One way to really get into the Christmas spirit is to curl up by the fire with your kids, hot cocoa in hand, and read them one of these 10 popular Christmas stories:

1. Twas the Night Before Christmas

This story is actually a poem that was written in 1823 by Clement Clarke Moore. The poem was the first of its kind to describe Santa and his sleigh, and contributed largely to how people picture Santa today. Moore wrote this poem for his children, but it was later published in the newspaper and was so popular that it was reprinted year after year.

2. The Grinch Who Stole Christmas

Dr. Seuss is at it again, this time with a rather surly furry green character who hates Christmas. The Grinch is sick of everyone being so cheerful at Christmastime that he decides he’s going to steal Christmas. However, the kindness shown to him by one little girl melts his heart, and he ends up giving everything back while learning the true meaning of Christmas.

3. A Christmas Carol

A classic story written by Charles Dickens, this Christmas tale talks about a crabby old man named Scrooge who is a penny-pinching, miserable man. He is estranged from his own family and treats his workers terribly. Scrooge is visited by three ghosts one night who show him what Christmas really means. The story ends when he wakes up on Christmas morning, just in time to make amends.

4. The Polar Express

Chris Van Allsburg writes a story about a boy who isn’t quite sure if Santa is real or not. He boards a train that appears in his backyard one night and is swept away on the adventure of a lifetime to the North Pole. While there, he meets elves and ghosts who convince him that Santa really does exist, and when ends up back at home it’s with a firm belief in Santa again.

5. Christmas in the Big Woods

One of many Laura Ingalls Wilder books, this one tells the story of Laura’s life during Christmas in their home in the big woods of Wisconsin. This book is an excellent choice for very young children.

6. The Gift of the Magi

This story is about a couple who has very little money, but still want to give each other a Christmas gift. The woman has long beautiful hair, and it’s the thing she is most proud of. Her husband has a pocket watch that belonged to his grandfather, and he loves this family heirloom. The wife decides to sell her hair to buy her husband a chain for his pocket watch and the husband sells his pocket watch to buy combs for his wife’s beautiful hair. The story is compared to the magi that brought gifts to the newborn king.

7. Meet Santa Bear

As in most books by Stan and Jan Berenstain, there is a lesson to be learned in this book. Although, in this book, the lesson is really more about getting answers to difficult questions, like “how does Santa get down a skinny chimney?” or “how does the sleigh land without snow on the ground?” These questions, and others, are answered in this Berenstain Bear book.

8. The Year Without a Santa Claus

The author, Phyllis McGinley, pens this story about the year Santa decides to take the year off because he doesn’t think anyone believes in him anymore. He leaves two elves in charge and they make a mess of things. Heat Miser and Cold Miser make their debut in this book and subsequent cartoon. Santa comes to the rescue and realizes that there are some believers left and changes his mind.

9. The Christmas Sweater

Glenn Beck writes this story, which contains some autobiographical elements. The main character is young Eddie, who wants a new bike for Christmas with all of his heart. He knows his mom can’t afford it, but he wants it anyway. Christmas day comes and he gets a sweater that his mom made herself and he is so bitter and disappointed that he throws the sweater in the corner and leaves it. He goes through a rough patch and finally gets some mentoring from a neighbor named Russell who helps him understand what a great gift the sweater really is.

10. Christmas in Camelot

A Magic Tree House book by Mary Pope Osborne. Jack and Annie travel to Camelot in the magic tree house to find a cup, a key and a compass in order to save Camelot from the evil wizard Mordred. The kids prove to the king that kids can be useful.

If you don’t have some of these books and you’d like to read them, make a trip to your local library and pick one or more of them up. These books would all make great gifts for the children in your life as well. Happy reading!