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Get Into the Festive Spirit with Some Holiday-Themed Books

It’s the holiday season! And is there any better way to get into the festive spirit than curling up near a warm fire with a cozy book and a mug of hot cocoa? Many of our favorite memories of celebrating Christmas involve watching, reading, or listening to some festive stories with our family. If you’re in the mood to dive into holiday-themed literature this season, we have a great list for you.
christmas reading book
Now, ‘A Christmas Carol’ probably tops your list, but there’s a lot more to festive literature than just that classic by Charles Dickens. So we’ve compiled 10 of our favorite Christmas books for you to read with those you love. Rediscover these timeless page-turners to welcome the festive season this year.

1. A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote

Classic Christmas Books, A Christmas Memory
“It's bad enough in life to do without something YOU want; but confound it, what gets my goat is not being able to give somebody something you want THEM to have.”
Originally published in 1956, this Christmas classic is a collection of semi-autobiographical stories by Truman Capote. The story, which takes place in the 1930s, chronicles the childhood Christmas memories of a young boy named Buddy and his family. It’s an endearing and heartwarming book that reminds us about tradition and family you'll want to read over and over again.

2. Letters From Father Christmas by J.R.R. Tolkien

Classic Christmas Books, Letters From Father Christmas by J.R.R. Tolkien
“If you find that not many of the things you asked for have come, and not perhaps quite so many as sometimes, remember that this Christmas all over the world there are a terrible number of poor and starving people.”
Before J.R.R. Tolkien enchanted the world with his epic Lord of the Rings series, he created a magical fantasy world with Santa Claus through the Christmas letters he wrote for his four children. The letters shared in this short and meaningful book detail many of Father Christmas’ unique escapades in the North Pole and are riddled with delightful life lessons. What makes the letters even more special are Tolkien’s terrific drawings that make his world come to life.

3. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Classic Christmas Books, Little Women
“I've got the key to my castle in the air, but whether I can unlock the door remains to be seen.”
While it may not always be considered a Christmas read, Little Women is a classic that deserves to be savored during the holiday season. This beautiful tale about sisterhood, love, and coming of age illustrates the festive spirit perfectly.
Moreover, the book also features one of the most iconic and heartwarming Christmas scenes in literature. If you haven’t read this 19th-century Louisa May Alcott novel, now is the perfect time to start. You won’t regret spending time with the March family at this time of the year.

4. The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry

Classic Christmas Books, The Gift of the Magi
“Life is made up of sobs, sniffles, and smiles, with sniffles predominating.”
This poignant 1905 story revolves around a poor newly married couple. Both of them try to contemplate what to get the other for Christmas and make personal sacrifices to achieve that goal. Set in New York at the turn of the twentieth century, this beloved piece of American literature teaches us the value of unselfish love and the simple lesson that true gifts are beyond material possessions.

5. The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding by Agatha Christie

Classic Christmas Books, The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding
“On a silver dish the Christmas pudding reposed in its glory. A large football of a pudding, a piece of holly stuck in it like a triumphant flag and glorious flames of blue and red rising round it. There was a cheer and cries of 'Ooh-ah.'”
Now, here’s a classic holiday mystery to go with the other feel-good stories on this list. The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding features Monsieur Hercule Poirot, Agatha Christie's most beloved detective, trying to solve not one but five baffling mysteries. And all of them are set in an English country house at Christmas time. While there’s death and theft in this fun and thrilling tale, there’s also some Christmas pudding.

6. The Greatest Gift by Philip Van Doren Stern

Classic Christmas Books, The Greatest Gift by Philip Van Doren Stern
“I understand right enough,” the stranger said slowly. “I just wanted to make sure you did. You had the greatest gift of all conferred upon you—the gift of life, of being a part of this world and taking a part in it. Yet you denied that gift.”
Before It’s a Wonderful Life, one of the most iconic Christmas movies of all time, there was The Greatest Gift. You might be surprised to know that this short story written by Philip Van Doren Stern in 1943 became the basis for the classic film directed by Frank Capra and starring Jimmy Stewart.
In this book, the protagonist George Pratt considers ending his life on Christmas Eve, after being depressed about the failures in his life. This is when he’s approached by an odd man who shows him what his town and family would be like if George was never born. If you're familiar with the movie, you would know what happens next. But this is so beautifully told that you can’t help fall in love with the story again.

7. The Nutcracker and the Mouse King by E.T.A. Hoffmann

Classic Christmas Books, The Nutcracker
“With that, he reached into his pocket, and guess what he took out-- Nutcracker, whose lost teeth he had put back in very neatly and firmly, and whose broken jaw he had fixed as good as new.”
Reading The Nutcracker and The Mouse King has become a favorite Christmas tradition of many families. Originally written in 1816, E.T.A. Hoffmann’s story is centered on a young girl named Marie who befriends a nutcracker that comes to life on Christmas Eve. Marie is then taken to the Land of Toys, where she must help his friend defeat the Mouse King. This delightful tale of magic, mystery, and childhood adventure is the perfect holiday treat.

8. Silent Night: The Story of the WWI Christmas Truce by Stanley Weintraub

Classic Christmas Books, WWI Christmas Truce
“On both sides in 1915 there would be more dead on any single day than yards gained in the entire year. And there would be nearly four more years of attrition — not to determine who was right, but who was left.”
In 1914 during World War I, German and British soldiers spontaneously decided to take a break and laid down their arms to join in festive celebrations. Famously called the Christmas Truce of 1914, historians say that almost 100,000 soldiers participated in this unofficial ceasefire where gifts were exchanged and officers swapped buttons and coats.
What’s more, despite orders to continue shooting, the unofficial truce spread across the front lines. Silent Night by Stanley Weintraub provides an in-depth analysis of this forgotten and extraordinary Christmas story.

9. The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus by Frank Baum

Classic Christmas Books, The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus
“. . . It is the Law that while Evil, unopposed, may accomplish terrible deeds, the power of Good can never be overthrown when opposed to Evil. . .”
L. Frank Baum, known all over the world as the author of Wonderful Wizard of Oz, also wrote this book about the life of Santa Claus. As the title suggests, this story tries to explain the origins of Santa Claus. While there are several versions of the origins of the jolly man in the red suit, this one is truly charming and original.
Here, Santa is an orphan who is raised in a magical forest. The story then follows Santa as he learns to make toys, picks out his sleigh and reindeer, and visits every child during Christmas Eve. We also learn how the first stockings were filled, how Claus created the first Christmas tree, and how he became immortal.
A strong element in this book is a love for nature, love, and peace, which is a great message to share with children during the festive season.

10. How the Grinch Stole Christmas! by Dr. Seuss

Classic Christmas Books, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!
“Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!”
You may know this tale by heart, but a Christmas isn’t really complete unless you have once read How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, no matter how old you are. Dr. Seuss’ classic children’s book about a grumpy Grinch – an angry creature living on a mountain overlooking a fictional town extremely fond of Christmas – still charms and delights.
We might know how the story ends, but the Grinch finally learning that “Christmas doesn’t come from a store” is a moment that still tugs at our heartstrings. Moreover, the theme that Christmas is a spiritual experience and not a material one remains as relevant now as it was in 1957 when the book was originally written.
Share this list with all your loved ones!
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