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Reading at home over Christmas

Last updated: 15 November 2023

A young girl wearing a Christmas jumper sits on a man's lap reading a pop-up book

With colder weather and some time off from school, the Christmas holidays are a perfect time to read at home. Here are some of our top tips for reading together over the festive season.

Books as presents

In Iceland there’s a tradition called Jolabokaflod (literally “Christmas book flood”) where people gift books to each other, then spend the evening reading and drinking hot chocolate. Books make great Christmas presents because it makes the book feel more special. If your children are more reluctant to read consider different formats like audiobooks, graphic novels, comics or magazines. You could also look for a book that ties into something else they love like a video game, film, TV show or sport. Another option is to give them a book token and make a trip of visiting a bookshop together and choosing what to buy. Or visit your local library together. If you pick something up to that’s a great way to role model reading!

Make reading time special

Make time for reading by turning it into a special event. Before reading, do some activities that are calmer to wind down, like crafting or colouring in. Then, think about your favourite place to read: in bed in pyjamas? On the sofa with blankets? You could make some hot drinks or snacks. Vary your reading between reading to your child and reading together but separately. It’s completely normal for children to move around when they’re reading, whether they wiggle around or read upside down: it’s still reading!


Explore telling stories together. This doesn’t have to be sitting nicely taking turns to tell a complete story from beginning to end – you could explore taking it turns to tell a story with games like “fortunately, unfortunately”. You could tell a story every time you go for a walk, using what you see around you to add to the narrative. This could add a bit of incentive to get outside when it’s chilly! Or you could act it out and make it active. It may feel silly, but talking and playing together like this is great for bonding and making memories, as well as developing communication and literacy skills.

Write letters and Christmas cards

Activities like writing a letter or card, whether it’s a letter to Santa, a thank you letter, or just writing to family or loved ones is a great way to engage with literacy skills whilst also spending some time together.

Reading resolutions

With a new year on the horizon, it’s a great time to talk about what you’d like to read in 2024. Do you want to read more? Read different genres? Or are there specific books you’re looking forward to? Sharing your own resolutions or what you’re excited for is a great way to help reading become a shared hobby.

Remember that reading is everywhere. Even in moments like reading a recipe together whilst cooking or baking or learning the lyrics to a Christmas carol. Reading together doesn’t have to be hours together with perfect focus: it can be found in small moments or everyday tasks. Whatever you read, we hope you enjoy doing it together!

For our favourite festive reads, see our book lists of Warming winter reads or Teen reads to keep you cozy this winter. Our Home Activities Hub also has activities you can do together at home, including crafts, writing inspiration and Authors Live broadcasts you can watch at home!