Skip to main content

Christmas Carols, Illustrated

December 1, 2017

Now that it's officially December, we can bring out the Christmas music! These beautifully illustrated versions of Christmas songs and carols bring traditional music to life in a whole new way.

While some people claim that November is an appropriate time to start playing Christmas music, I vehemently disagree.

Wait until December. Please.

And then only Chrismas carols need apply. Yes, I do tend to be somewhat of a traditionalist; I will make an allowance for All I Want for Christmas is You, however.

But there is something to be said for songs and carols that have been passed down for hundreds of years, in hundreds of languages, all over the world. Songs and carols also more adequately convey the expectant nature of the season. In addtion to singing them together, we can also share Christmas songs in picture book form. Read below to find beautifully illustrated versions of beloved Christmas songs and carols.

We Three Kings is one of my favorite Christmas hymns. Written in 1857, this haunting carol celebrates the Three Wise Men of the biblical narrative. Sumptiously illustrated by Russian born artist Gennady Spirin, this illustrated version devotes two full color pages to each verse, and the same image to the refrain:

O star of wonder, star of light

Star with royal beauty bright,

Westward leading, still proceeding,

Guide us to thy earthly light.

A carol with such strange and marvelous imagery like The Twelve Days of Christmas deserves similarly evocative illustrations. This version of the traditional English carol certainly delivers, with richly detailed images reminscent of Renaissance paintings. Fitting the cumulative structure of the song, each illustration contains elements of previous illustrations. Look closely; what can you find?
The story of the Nativity as told in the classic German Christmas carol Silent Night is lovingly illustrated in this picture book. Tones of blue are a recurring motif in the full color, two page illustrations. Angels, sheperds, and all sorts of animals (including a sleepy cat!) all make an appearance. As in the books above, the text contains the musical notes and lyrics to the hymn. For a beautiful, song-filled Christmas, don't miss these books!
Klem-Mari Cajigas


In a former life, Klem-Marí was a Religious Studies scholar. She much prefers being the Family Literacy Coordinator for Bringing Books to Life! She wants you to read and share books with the children in your life, and for those children to see you to read as well. Originally from Puerto Rico, Klem-Marí also enjoys her cat, baking, yoga, and the works of Octavia Butler.