father reading a children's book to a little boy, both are wearing festive holiday pajamas and sitting in front of a Christmas tree; how to write holiday-themed children's books

The holiday season is a magical time of year that brings families together and fills the air with joy and wonder. Many authors choose to create holiday-themed children’s books that capture the spirit of the season and delight young readers. If you are an aspiring author looking to write your own holiday children’s book, here are some helpful tips to get you started.

Understand the Four Types of Children’s Books

Before you begin writing, it’s essential to understand the types of children’s books and which one your story will fall into. Here are the four main types of children’s books:

Picture Books

These are books with a strong emphasis on illustrations and are typically aimed at the youngest readers. Picture books often have very few words and rely heavily on illustrations to tell a story. They are perfect for parents to read to infants and toddlers, as well as for young children who are just starting to read, as the pictures help to engage them and keep their attention.

Early Reading Books

These books are designed for children who are just beginning to read on their own. They tend to have more text than picture books but still heavily rely on illustrations. Early reading books are perfect for children who are just starting to read and are looking for more of a challenge than picture books.

Chapter Books

These books are aimed at older children and have longer chapters with fewer illustrations. Chapter books are perfect for children who are looking for a more complex story. They often have more intricate plots and themes than picture books or early reading books.

Middle-Grade Books

These books are longer, with more complex plots and themes. Middle-grade books are perfect for children who have started to read longer books and want more of a challenge than chapter books. They often deal with more complex themes and ideas than other children’s books.

Read Popular Books in Your Genre

It’s always helpful to read other holiday-themed children’s books in your genre to get a sense of what works and what doesn’t. This can help you avoid common mistakes and ensure that your story stands out from the rest. It can also help you get a sense of what themes and ideas are popular with readers and what types of characters resonate with younger readers.

Understand What Kids Are Into

To create a compelling story, it’s essential to understand what kids are into these days. Do some research and find out what books, toys, and shows are popular with your target age group. This can help you create holiday-themed children’s books that will resonate with young readers and capture their imagination. It’s important to remember that children’s tastes and interests quickly change, so it’s essential to stay up-to-date on what’s popular and trending.

Know Your Readers (and the Age Group)

When writing holiday-themed children’s books, you’ll have to understand your readers and their age group. This involves knowing the developmental stage and interests of your audience. For instance, a story aimed at preschoolers will differ from one aimed at middle schoolers. A preschooler’s attention span is shorter, and they might not be able to read yet, so a picture book with simple text and vivid illustrations would be appropriate. In contrast, middle schoolers are more advanced in their reading and comprehension skills, and they might enjoy stories with more complex characters and themes.

Use Your Imagination

Think beyond the typical themes of Santa Claus or presents, and dive into rich traditions and values that make this time of year so special. The key to a great holiday story is to let your imagination run free. Don’t be afraid to take risks, try new things, and explore different themes and ideas. With a little creativity and a lot of heart, you can create a story that will become a cherished part of the holiday season for years to come. Whatever your approach, make sure your story captures the essence of the season.

Take a Creative, New Approach to a Holiday Story

There are many classic holiday stories out there, and it can be tempting to retell them in your own way. It’s important, however, to take a new approach to your holiday story. Consider exploring refreshed perspectives on holiday traditions, or introducing different characters and plotlines that capture the magic of the season. This can help your book stand out from the rest and give young readers a fresh and exciting perspective on the holiday season.

Create Memorable Characters for Your Holiday-Themed Children’s Books

Memorable characters are the heart of any good story, and this is especially true for children’s books. Create characters that young readers will love and remember long after they finish your book. Give them unique personalities, quirks, and flaws that make them relatable and engaging.

And remember, for children’s books characters don’t always have to be human. Get creative with animals and toys, too.

Avoid Talking Down to Kids

Children are smart, and they can sense when they are being talked down to. Avoid using overly simple language or talking down to your readers. Instead, use age-appropriate language and trust that your readers will understand and appreciate your story.

Jump Right in and Don’t Use Backstory

When writing a children’s book, it’s important to jump right into the story. Young readers want to be pulled into the action right away, so it’s best to get to the heart of your story as quickly as possible and avoid using too much backstory.

Read Your Story Aloud

Reading your story aloud is a useful practice that can offer you several benefits. By listening to your words, you can quickly notice any grammatical errors or typos that you may have missed while silently proofreading. Additionally, reading your story aloud can help you ensure that the story flows well, making it easier for young readers to follow along. This technique can also help you get a sense of how the story will sound when read to young readers, which helps you make necessary adjustments to enhance the overall listening experience.

Time How Long it Takes to Read

Keep in mind the attention span of young readers when writing a children’s book. Time how long it takes to read your story and make sure it’s not too long or too short for your target age group.

Test Read Your Story to a Group of Kids

Before publishing your book, we recommend that you test your holiday-themed children’s book with a group of children in your target age group to gauge their level of interest and obtain valuable feedback. You’ll be able to observe their reactions and determine if the plot, characters, and overall story resonates with them. Children are honest and straightforward in their feedback, and their reactions can help you identify any potential weaknesses in your story.

Editing is Just as Important with Holiday-Themed Children’s Books

Finally, editing shouldn’t be looked over when it comes to children’s books. It’s just as important of a step for children’s books as it is for other genres. A thorough editing process helps you determine if your story flows well, if the language is age-appropriate, and if the illustrations complement the text.


Writing a holiday-themed children’s book can be a fun and rewarding experience for authors who want to capture the magic of the season and delight young readers. By understanding the different types of children’s books, reading popular books in your genre, and knowing your readers, you can create an engaging story that resonates with your target audience. Remember to use your imagination, take a creative approach, and develop memorable characters that young readers will love. With these tips in mind, you can create a holiday children’s book that becomes a cherished part of families’ holiday seasons for years to come.