These sounded quite interesting - and if you want more ideas try these longer lists.
- Young readers: Little Santa by Jon Agee, which offers a charming origin story of Santa Claus that bears no relation to the one about St. Nicholas. Who knew that Santa grew up at the North Pole with a snow-hating family desperate to move to Florida and that even as a tyke in a red onesie he had a taste for sliding down chimneys and riding flying reindeer? With deadpan humor and appealing art in a wintry pastel palette, this gentle, original story will appeal to kids and grownups alike. Perfect for read-aloud.
- Upper Elementary students: Nickel Bay Nick by Dean Pitchford is about a troubled and troublemaking tween boy who gets involved with a secret philanthropist and helps salvage Christmas for his economically depressed small town of Nickel Bay. As much a coming-of-age novel as a holiday tale, it shows a hard-luck kid transformed by doing good for others. With grit, humor, and heart, it avoids corny cliches -- quite a feat for a Christmas story!
- Older kids and strong readers: Here is a special recommendation for The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings fans: J.R.R. Tolkien's Letters from Father Christmas. Each year, from 1920 to 1943, Tolkien would write and colorfully illustrate a letter from Father Christmas for his four children. This collection of the letters makes a great holiday read-aloud for kids age 5 to 10, but teens reading on their own will find it surprisingly funny and a little weird -- in a good way. And, hey -- it has elves and goblins! (It also includes a goblin alphabet and a bit of elvish writing.) A fine choice in a month when The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug comes out in theaters.