'The Best Christmas Pageant Ever'
We can't think of a single kid who didn't want to be one of the rotten Herdmans -- six kids who did whatever they wanted and showed up at church only because they heard there would be snacks.
When the Herdman kids get involved in the church's annual pageant, all kinds of craziness breaks loose, but somehow the message of Jesus' birth gets communicated.
Barbara Robinson's 1971 story has been adapted into plays and movies. Perfect for older readers, the house will echo with fits of giggles triggered by the Herdmans' antics.
'Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Cabin Fever'
Jeff Kinney's combination of diary writing, hilarious cartoons and middle-school life have made the "Wimpy Kid" series popular -- especially with boys, a group that's always tough to get reading regularly.
"Cabin Fever" features a Christmas disaster: As Greg struggles with Santa's surveillance system, his mother introduces a doll similar to the Elf on the Shelf -- only to have it corrupted by his older brother's paranoia-inducing placements.
The action accelerates from there, until everything comes to a screeching halt when a blizzard knocks out power, leading the family to get hungry and bored.
'Angel Pig and the Hidden Christmas'
A common Christmas stressor is brilliantly addressed in Jan Waldron's tale of a helpful pig. When some little piggies get sad about how they can't afford a trip to market for Christmas gifts, a heavenly ham arrives and shows the kids how to make gifts for everyone.
Beautifully illustrated by David McPhail, "Angel Pig" can motivate kids of all ages to think of inexpensive yet thoughtful gifts that will be cherished even more than the stories listed here.
'Olive, the Other Reindeer'
A relatively new holiday hero, Olive is a Jack Russell terrier who mishears a key lyric in "Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer." When the song gets to "All of the other reindeer," Olive hears her name instead and answers Santa's call for help.
Whimsical illustrations by J. Otto Seibold make this story perfect for sharing.