The Best Christmas Stories for Middle and High School

Below you’ll find a selection of 26 Christmas stories for middle and high school students. They are divided into four sections: Classic Christmas Stories, Modern Christmas Stories, Christmas Ghost Stories, and Christmas Stories for Kids.

Each story has a link (READ IT) that will take you to a free copy of the story.

Because many free stories online are poorly formatted, we have created our own reader-friendly PDF with our selection of the Best Christmas Stories for Middle and High School. You can preview and download this PDF for free below.

In addition to the free PDF, we have also created lesson plans to accompany our selection of the best Christmas stories. You can learn more about those lesson plans here.

If you’re looking for more short stories, check out our Best Short Stories for Middle School and Best Short Stories for High School.

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Best Christmas Stories for Middle & High School: Free PDF

Below you can download our own reader-friendly compilation of the Best Christmas Stories for Middle and High School. We selected 6 stories that are perfect for the classroom, including classics, modern stories, a ghost story and tales for kids that are still fun to read at the middle and high school level.

Click the download button below for the free PDF. To see a preview first, click the thumbnail below.

We created lesson plans for each story in the PDF. The lesson plans come separately and can be found on Teachers Pay Teachers. To learn precisely what is included with our lesson plans, click Get Lesson Plans below.

Click to download our Free PDF.

Best Christmas Stories for Middle and High School

Classic Christmas Stories
for Middle & High School

The Victorian Era was particularly productive in creating Christmas stories, mostly due to the influence of Charles Dickens, who single-handedly revived the season (and established many of its traditions) with his magical novel A Christmas Carol.

Dickens wrote numerous Christmas stories, and their success created a thriving market for holiday tales which continued into the early 20th Century.

The Gift of the Magi

By O. Henry
The classic tale of a man and wife who sacrifice their greatest treasures for each other on Christmas Eve.

Christmas Eve

By Washington Irving
A remembrance of Christmas Eve by the author of The Headless Horseman of Sleepy Hollow.

The Christmas Banquet

By Nathaniel Hawthorne
An intriguing tale about the ten most miserable people in town who are invited to a fabulous Christmas feast every year.

At Christmas Time

By Anton Chekhov
An estranged daughter has been writing letters to her parents but they’re never mailed by her husband. One day her illiterate mother pays a man to write a letter to her daughter.

The Cricket on the Hearth

By Charles Dickens
The story of a poor toymaker and a cricket (named Crockett) who arrives to restore peace and happiness to a broken family.

A Christmas Dream

By Louisa May Alcott
A retelling of sorts of Charles Dickens’s most famous Christmas tale: A Christmas Carol.

The Nutcracker & the Mouse King

By ETA Hoffman
A dark and fantastic tale about a magical nutcracker that comes to life on Christmas Eve to wage war against the evil Mouse King.

Christmas at Thompson Hall

By Anthony Trollope
A couple intends to travel from Paris to their family residence at Thompson Hall for Christmas. But first Mrs. Brown must aid her ailing husband.

A Letter From Santa Claus

By Mark Twain
A letter written by Twain in the guise of Santa Claus to his daughter Susy, who was then two years old.

A Klondike Christmas

By Jack London
A lighthearted Christmas story about a pair of brothers attempting to make a Christmas meal in the Klondike.

Modern Christmas Stories
for Middle & High School

Though the Christmas story fell out of popularity in the 20th Century, there are still a good number of classic holiday stories from the era. Most notable is Truman Capote’s moving A Christmas Memory, which tells of a young boy’s Christmas adventures with an elderly friend.

Many writers took up Christmas with less lightheartedness than in the Victorian Era, focusing on darker themes, but there is still plenty of amusement and cheer in the tales from Baum and Fitzgerald and Van Doren Stern.

A Christmas Memory

By Truman Capote
The classic short story recounting Capote’s childhood memories of him and his best friend as they try to gather money to purchase what they need to bake fruitcakes for Christmas.

A Proper Santa Claus

By Anne McCaffrey
A story about a highly imaginative boy with a unique gift for bringing his artwork to life, but only if the artwork is done “proper”.

A Kidnapped Santa Claus

By L Frank Baum
An entertaining tale about Santa and his enemies who plot to kidnap and do away with St. Nick from the author of The Wizard of Oz.

The Greatest Gift

By Phil Van Doren Stern
The story of a man contemplating suicide who gets a second chance at life. The story is the basis of the film It’s a Wonderful Life.

Home for Christmas

By Carson McCullers
A recounting of the Christmas traditions of her youth in the South by a great Southern writer.

God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen

By Ernest Hemingway
A tale of a teenage boy who finds his own sexuality so disturbing he ventures to a hospital to ask for a surgical operation on Christmas Eve.

A Luckless Santa Claus

By F Scott Fitzgerald
At the urging of his lover, a man attempts to give away all the money in his pockets. Such generosity should be easy enough, but of course it isn’t so simple.

Christmas Ghost Stories
for Middle & High School

The Victorian Era not only embraced Christmas stories, but it also invigorated a tradition now lost to us: the telling of ghost stories at Christmas time. Just as many of the most talented writers of the day turned out Christmas tales every December, they also penned numerous haunted happenings for the holidays.

Dickens himself was a master of the form, producing a range of ghosts in A Christmas Carol and adding more frightful hauntings with tales like The Signal Man. Perhaps unacknowledged until more recently though is the fact that many of the most talented writers of ghost stories were women: Mary Elizabeth Braddon, Charlotte Riddell, Edith Wharton and Rhoda Broughton (to name just a few).

The Signal Man

By Charles Dickens
A haunting tale about a spectral signalman who brings death and tragedy every time his signal is seen.

The Truth, the Whole Truth, and Nothing but the Truth

By Rhoda Broughton
A disturbing tale of a haunted house told in the form of letters between two society women.

The Cold Embrace

By Mary Elizabeth Braddon
A dark story about two lovers. The young man promises to love her even from beyond the grave, which she says can only be accomplished through suicide.

The Lady Maid’s Bell

By Edith Wharton
A woman recovering from typhoid fever seeks a job as a maid with an old acquaintance. But all is not well in the lady’s country manor.

The Kit-Bag

By Algernon Blackwood
A young man defends a prominent lawyer accused of murder. After the trial, he intends to go on a nice Christmas holiday, but instead he finds only horror.

An Account of Some Strange
Disturbances in Aungier Street

By Sheridan Le Fanu
A medical student takes up residence with his cousin in an old house haunted by the ghost of a notorious hanging judge.

The Open Door

By Charlotte Riddell
The story of a haouse with a strange door that simply will not stay shut, even when boltted. A young man offers to stay in the house to discover its ghostly secrets.

Christmas Stories for Kids

No list of Christmas tales is complete without acknowledging two of the most engaging and entertaining Christmas stories ever written: How the Grinch Stole Christmas and The Polar Express.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas

By Dr. Seuss
The classic tale of the ultimate Scrooge: the Grinch!

The Polar Express

By Chris Van Allsburg
A moving story about the magic of Christmas and the power of belief.

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