If you enjoy Christmas as much as we do, then you’ve already started watching Christmas movies every weekend, decorated your house with sparkling fairy lights and tinsel, and baking gingerbread cookies to celebrate during this wonderful time of the year. If you’re looking for another activity to enhance this season, our list of top festive reads will be sure to get you into the Christmas spirit this December.
There’s nothing quite like curling up on the couch or relaxing outdoors in the sun reading stories about Santa, Christmas romances, and what happens at the North Pole. Give yourself a rest from the Netflix movies and pick up one of these Christmas book recommendations
1.Letters from Father Christmas – J. R. R. Tolkien
With a lovely collection of illustrated letters from Father Christmas, this book is designed to resonate with readers of all ages.
The story began in the 1920s when Tolkien’s children received personalised letters from Father Christmas himself. In each letter, Father Christmas would talk about the North Pole and explain the antics of his reindeers and the chaos of the entertaining polar bears. This edition of the story compiles each letter in order from the first in 1920 to the final letter for his youngest daughter in 1943. Tolkien brings his imaginary world to life to charm readers who enjoy a good Christmas read.
2.Winter Street – Elin Hilderbrand
Hilderbrand’s first Christmas book is filled with an array of surprises and stories about the chaos of a family located across America and how they come together for Christmas. Protagonist Kelley Quinn, the owner of Nantucket’s Winter Street Inn, eagerly awaits the arrival of his four grown children, who return home for Christmas.
However, as Kelley’s children return, they bring a life full of secrets. Patrick, the eldest, is a hedge fund manager with a guilty conscience; Kevin, a bartender, is secretly sleeping with a French housekeeper named Isabelle; Ava, a schoolteacher, is finally dating the perfect guy but can’t get him to commit; and Bart, the youngest and only child of Kelley’s second marriage to Mitzi, has recently shocked everyone by joining the Marines, and as they arrive home chaos ensues. Amongst the unpredictable and unexpected circumstances, this heart-warming book will resonate with you and other book lovers worldwide who experience a little Christmas madness.
3.Starry Night – Debbie Macomber
They say it’s the season for romance, second chances, and Christmas cheer – all of which is discovered in this book from #1 New York Times bestselling author, Debbie Macomber. Debbie writes about Carrie Slayton, a big-city society-page columnist overcoming challenges in the pursuit of career advancement. Carrie’s editor tasks her with the challenge of interviewing author, Finn Dalton. However, Finn is far from what Carrie expected throwing a spanner in the works of her carefully curated lifestyle.
As Carrie is forced to decide between pursuing a story that will alter her career forever or following her heart, you will discover that life is unexpected and that you must create your path to happiness. Starry Night is a perfect mix of humour, romance, and an engaging storyline that will see you hooked from the beginning.
4.Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – J.K Rowling
Hogwarts is the perfect place for any wintery Christmas celebration among its lofty buildings and formidable forest. J.K. Rowling’s first instalment in the Harry Potter series is a must-read full of unique stories and adventures.
Did you know there have been more than 500 million copies sold worldwide? If you haven’t already read Harry Potter, it’s a story about a young boy that lives a hard life at home with the Dudley’s, with no friends, a tiny bedroom, and little happiness. Harry is soon sent to Hogwarts, where he finally finds a place where he no longer feels ostracized as an unusual outsider. This book is the most poignant Christmas story as it discovers the true magic of Christmas. It’s hard to find another story that captures innocent Christmas joy than a character who has never been adequately loved.
5.A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
We can’t compile a list of Christmas books without including the excellent work of Charles Dickens in A Christmas Carol. The story centres around Ebenezer Scrooge, a notoriously unhappy man with no friends in his life. His dislikes Christmas and the merriness that accompanies it.
One Christmas, he encounters the ghost of an acquaintance from the past, which shakes him out of his slumber with a sombre warning for his future. Scrooge soon learns to change his ways, adopt a new outlook on Christmas and all the people around him. The story of Scrooge is a lesson in the possibility of redemption, the damaging and painful effect of isolation, as well as the importance of love and compassion. The beauty of Christmas shines as Scrooge embarks on an entire character transformation. A classic read that is more relatable than ever after ongoing lockdowns and isolation felt over the last two years.
6.The Greatest Gift: A Christmas Tale by Philip Van Doren Stern
This festive book is a heart-warming and inspirational read about Frank Capra and his classic movie, ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’. Based on the movie, this read offers a chance to see the world through new eyes, as protagonist George Pratt contemplates his life on Christmas Eve. As a stranger approaches him and grants his wish: that he’d never been born in the first place, George is given an insight into what life would be like without him. He quickly realizes that life is the greatest gift of all and learns to cherish every moment. A lovely uplifting read for anyone who likes getting in the Christmas spirit.
7.The Nutcracker by E.T.A. Hoffman
Dating back to the 1800s, the Nutcracker is a classic tale that has stood the test of time in books, movies, and ballet. Hoffman’s original story, coupled with illustrations by Sanna Annukka, will shed new light on the age-old tale that will fill you with Christmas joy. A brilliant book that follows a magical, imaginative young girl called Marie who sees her toy Nutcracker come to life at the stroke of midnight. Read this classic childhood story to bring this story back to life, providing you the opportunity to reimagine its scenes in a new way.
8.The Twelve Dates of Christmas by Jenny Bayliss
Your Christmas reading list is not complete without a typical Hallmark romance! This book follows 34-year-old Kate Turner, a designer looking for a relationship in her small town. As Kate is strung for options, her friends decide to sign her up to a dating agent that promises to help singles find love before the holidays. With only twenty-three days until Christmas, Kate is faced with twelve dates with twelve different men. As her adventure for love becomes chaotic, she starts to question herself and what she wants in a relationship. If you’re a big romance fan and enjoy Christmas books, this is one you won’t be able to put down.
9.Royal Holiday by Jasmine Guillory
Here’s another entertaining holiday romance to get you in the festive spirit. From bestselling author Jasmine Guillory, comes a story of an unforgettable romance when Vivian Forest spontaneously agrees to tag along on her daughter’s work trip to England. Vivian soon gets more than she bargained for when she becomes attracted to a private secretary for the Queen. As a holiday romance, Vivian must discover what she wants and manage the effects of the steamy affair when she returns home. A very intriguing romance read that features royalty and the Christmas holidays
10.Christmas on the Island by Jenny Colgan
Travel around the world and experience Christmas on the remote Scottish island of Mure. This story is a book in ‘The Summer Seaside Kitchen’ series; however, you don’t need to read the books in order as there are no complicated plots that require background information. In this edition, the story is set around Christmas time and follows Flora, who runs a Seaside kitchen. The book begins with her partner Joel who is in the US for a business trip, but Flora knows she can’t keep the news from him as he returns. Meanwhile, her best friend Lorna, an island schoolteacher, is in love with Saif, the island doctor. As Christmas approaches, Saif revisits feelings of guilt for his wife that has been missing in war-ravaged Syria. With quirky characters, this book is full of eventful activities and humour making it a perfect read this Christmas and a chance to escape this busy time of year.
There you have it, the top 10 Christmas books from the Carry A Book team. Whether you’re looking for a classic Christmas tale or a modern seasonal Hallmark romance, there’s an array of options to suit your preferences. With various genres in our Christmas picks, we hope that there’s a book or two that you find interesting and add to your reading list this month. Don’t forget you can discuss your favourite reads, meet other like-minded individuals and join an online book club on Carry A Book app.