The best bedtime stories for kids on Christmas Eve

12 Days of Christmas competition

To celebrate the countdown to Christmas we have launched a special festive competition to help you have a happy New Year.

Five winners of our 12 Days of Christmas winter word search will receive an engraved, hand-crafted Bailey bracelet worth £230 and a Cockburn’s Port ‘big night in’ hamper.

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All you have to do is find the letter included in the special 12 Days of Christmas content running each day in the Christmas sections of our top JPIMedia websites from December 13-24 and put them together to find a suitable word for this special time of year.

Although we know the 12 Days don’t begin until December 25 we were so excited that we thought we would start the celebrations early.

Whatever Santa Claus brings, a Christmas Eve bedtime story read by a loved one will give your child a memory that long outlasts even the most exciting present they open the next day.

The festive period is full of routines and traditions, even in a year like this one, when so much will be different.

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For many families, once the treats are left out for Santa, all that’s left to do is head upstairs for a bedtime story. Here are some of the best.

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

A classic tale of redemption that hits on the true meaning of Christmas - generosity and kindness. This Dickens classic is a must-read over the festive season.

For those young ones more interested in pictures than words, famed children’s illustrator Quentin Blake’s Christmas Carol might be better suited than the wordy original.

Another alternative take on this timeless Christmas classic is Bah Humbug! by Michael Rosen, which brings the story into the modern day while retaining all of Dickens’ charm and the key message of the original.

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The Night Before Christmas by Clement Clarke Moore

When it comes to bedtime reading on Christmas Eve, what could possible be more fitting than Clement Clarke Moore’s well-loved poem?

Originally titled A Visit from St Nicholas, though better known in modern times as The Night Before Christmas, Moore’s 19th century poem is sure to get even the most adamantly awake kids ready to settle down for the night.

Slightly modernised versions are available as well as the original classic, all with wonderfully festive illustrations of “stockings hung by the chimney with care,” and St Nicholas himself with “his cheeks like roses, his nose like a cherry.”

How the Grinch stole Christmas by Dr Seuss

A mischievous and fun-filled Christmas adventure by one of the masters of children’s literature, Dr Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas is the perfect Christmas Eve read for kids with a keen sense of humour.

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Perhaps best suited to slightly older children, Dr Seuss’ modern classic is chock full of clever rhymes and memorable characters, sure to coax almost as many laughs from the adult reading aloud as the listening audience.

Familiar to most kids and adults alike, thanks to the popular movie starring Jim Carrey and a young Tyler Momson, How the Grinch Stole Christmas combines festive hijinx with a warming eventual message of togetherness.

The Snowman by Raymond Briggs

A somewhat more reflective Christmas tale than some of the others on this list, with less of a focus on the big-day itself, Raymond Briggs’ The Snowman is nonetheless a great choice for Christmas Eve storytime.

Following the adventures of a snowman who, through the magic of the Christmas season, comes to life and befriends the boy who built him, The Snowman is a heartwarming tale of unlikely friendship.

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Briggs’ tale is an ideal Christmas Eve choice for parents who would rather not fixate on the presents. Plus, the animated film of the story is often shown on TV on Christmas Day, making for a perfect follow up.

The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg

The most modern Christmas tale on the list, The Polar Express might only have been written in 1985, but its beautifully detailed illustrations and magical storyline give it a classic, timeless feel, without the dated language that is present in some Christmas classics.

The story is set on Christmas Eve, when a young boy awakens to find a huge train (the titular Polar Express) waiting outside his house, ready to take him to the North Pole to meet Santa Claus himself.

To say it follows a fairly epic adventure, Van Allsburg’s writing makes the tale a calm and relaxing read - the perfect antidote to that hard to shake Christmas Eve excitement.

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