It’s time to decide what Christmas books to read this holiday season!
The holiday season is upon us once again. I like to theme my reading, so every year I pick a Christmas book to read for the month of December. This year, as I was contemplating which Christmas book to read for 2023, I decided to create a list of possibilities and to share the list with my readers, Here, then, is a list of 14 Christmas books to choose from for this holiday season.
1. “A Boy Called Christmas” (2016) by Matt Haig
“A Boy Called Christmas” is the first book in a three-part series by the same name. Although it’s a children’s book, it can also be enjoyed by adults. It’s the origin story of Santa Claus. Nikolas, an eleven-year-old boy nicknamed Christmas, journeys to the North Pole in search of his father. On the way he befriends a surly reindeer, bests a troublesome troll, and discovers a village filled with elves.
The book was turned into a movie, available on Netflix, starring Kristen Wiig, Maggie Smith and Henry Lawfull.
2. “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King” (1816) by E.T.A. Hoffmann
Most of you are probably familiar with “The Nutcracker” ballet which was set to music by Tchaikovsky and originally choreographed by Marius Petipa. The ballet is based on Alexandre Dumas’ adptation of “The Nutcracker and The Mouse King” by the German Romantic author E.T.A. Hoffmann.
Hoffmann’s story begins in the Stahlbaum’s home on Christmas Eve, It tells the story of Marie and the Nutcracker she and her brother receive for Christmas from their mysterious Uncle Drosselmeyer. Marie and the Nutcracker battle the Mouse King and his army of mice and travel to a land inhabited by dolls and candy. This is one of my favorite Christmas books.
3. “The Enchanted Sonata” (2018) by Heather Dixon Wallwork
I love retellings of old favorites, and there are many retellings of “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King” to choose from. One of the best is “The Enchanted Sonata” by Heather Dixon Wallwork. It’s a mixture of two fairy tales: The Nutcracker and the Pied Piper.
4. “The Father Christmas Letters” (1976) by J.R.R. Tolkien
I’m a huge fan of J.R.R. Tolkien and his epic, “The Lord of the Rings”. I recently discovered that this author has a Christmas book. Between 1920 and 1943, Tolkien wrote and illustrated letters for his chidlren written as if they were from Father Christmas. These letters were collected and released after Tokien’s death as “Letters From Father Christmas” (also known as “The Father Christmas Letters”).
The letters are written from the viewpoint of Father Christmas or his elf secretary. They tell of the adventures and misadventures of Father Christmas and his helpers, including battles with the goblins who live in caves beneath the house.
5. “Hercule Poirot’s Christmas” (1938) by Agatha Christie
For those of you who enjoy reading mysteries during this time of year, I’ve got you covered. “Hercule Poirot’s Christmas” is one of Agathat Christie’s best detective novels. The book features Belgian detective Hercule Poirot and is a locked room mystery.
The basic premise is a family Christmas reunion marred by murder. Simeon Lee summons his entire estranged family to his estate for Christmas. However, not long after Christmas Eve dinner, Lee is found murdered.
6. “A Christmas Carol” (1843) by Charles Dickens
“A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens is a holiday staple. It tells the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, an elderly miser who is visited one Christmas Eve by the ghost of his former business partner Jacob Marley and by the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come, giving him the chance to redeem himself.
I love this book and I read it every December. If you want to read Dickens but don’t know where to start, I recommend you start with “A Christmas Carol”.
7. “A Classic Christmas: A Collection of Timeless Stories and Poems”
The next book on this list of 14 Christmas books to read this holiday season is a collection of stories and poems by famous writers. It’s “A Classic Christmas; A Collecton of Timeless Stories and Poems”, and it includes works by authors such as Louisa May Alcott, O. Henri, and Hans Christian Andersen.
In addition, if you enjoy this collection there’s two more you can get: “A Vintage Christmas: A Collecton of Classic Stories and Poems” and “A Timeless Christmas: A Collection of Classic Stories and Poems”. In addition, these books are beautiful and you can use them as Christmas decor.
8. “A Christmas Memory” (1956) by Truman Capote
A Christmas Memory is a largely autobiographical short story by Truman Capote which has become a Christmas classic. It’s been broadcast, recorded, filmed, and staged multiple times. It’s about a Christmas ritual that a young Capote shared with an elderly cousin in rural Alabama. Each year, in November, the cousin would announce, “Oh my, it’s fruitcake weather!”, and the ritual would begin.
9. “The Greatest Gift” (1943) by
I’m sure you’ve watched the holiday classic, “It’s A Wonderful Life”. It’s about George Bailey, played by Jimmy Stewart, who is about to end it all on Christmas Eve. He wishes he had never been born. However, he’s saved by his guardian angel who shows him what his town would look like if it weren’t for all the good deeds Bailey has done over the years. George realizes that his life is important to the people he cares for and that it’s a wonderful life.
The movie was inspired by “The Greatest Gift”, a short story by Philip Van Doren which was self-published as a booklet in 1943.
10. “Amazing Peace: A Christmas Poem” (2005) by Maya Angelou
“Amazing Peace A Christmas Poem” is a beautifully illustrated poem written by Maya Angelou. It was read by the poet at the lighting of the National Christmas Tree at the White House on December 1, 2005. In it, Angelou celebrates Christmas as the “Glad Season” and inspires us to embrace peace and hope during the holidays. Here’s a stanza from the poem:
“Into this climate of fear and apprehension, Christmas enters,
Streaming lights of joy, ringing bells of hope
And singing carols of forgiveness high up in the bright air.
The world is encouraged to come away from rancor,
Come the way of friendship.”
11. “The Christmas Poems” (2022) by Carol Ann Duffy
Carol Ann Duffy was Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom from 2009 to 2019. Every year of the decade during which she held this position, she wrote a Chrismas poem. These poems transport her readers to a 17th century festival on the frozen Thames, to the famous 1914 truce during World War I, and more. The ten poems are collected and beautifully illustrated in the book, “The Christmas Poems”.
12. “A Very Russian Christmas: The Greatest Russian Holiday Stories of All Time”
Russian literature is filled with masterpieces. Although authors such as Leo Tolstoy and Fyodor Dostoevsky are best known for their magnificent novels, they also wrote Christmas stories. You’ll find their Christmas stories, along with holiday stories by other renown Russian writers, in “A Very Russian Christmas: The Greatest Russian Holiday Stories of All Time”.
13. “The Christmas Pig” by J.K. Rowling
J.K. Rowling, author of the famous Harry Potter series, wrote a children’s Christmas story that can also be enjoyed by adults. It’s “The Christmas Pig”, and it tells the story of Jack and everything he’s willing to go through to recover his favorite toy, a pig named DP, after Jack’s sister throws the toy pig out a car window during a fight.
14. “The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle” by Arthur Conan Doyle
I decided to do a search to see if Arthur Conan Doyle had set any of his Sherlock Holmes stories during the Christmas season. It turns out that he did. “The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle” is one of the 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories written by Doyle.
The story is about a precious stone, the Blue Carbuncle, which was stolen from its owner, the Countess of Morcar. To Holmes’s surprise, he finds the stone inside a Christmas goose. He must then uncover the mystery of how the stone got there and who stole it.
There’s nothing better than sitting in a comfortable chair during the Christmas season with a warm beverage and a big pile of Christmas books. Live your best life this holiday season by choosing a book from the 14 Christmas books I shared with you in this post.