20 Best Christmas Books to Read for the Holiday Season

The holiday season is officially here and it’s time to make hot chocolate, decorate your tree and of course, make a list of best Christmas books to read!

Christmas books to read-classic-must-haves-reading

Hello there! Christmas is everyone’s favorite. Period. No questions asked and no arguments. I’m sorry, I just can’t believe people who would say otherwise. So, moving on! 😉 Christmas is extra special because it is during the most coziest time of the year, it’s at the end of the year and you have so much to look forward to. Finally, it’s the season for treats, love, warmth, and happiness.

Well, with so much of warmth, it’s also the perfect time to snuggle up and read. Uh! Just by writing this, I’m already imagining myself under my warm woolen blanket hugging the book I’m currently reading and smelling each page – only to be interrupted by my 10 month old son to feed him. Ugh! I can’t even read in peace. Well, but that cute smile makes up for everything, so I pick up an Eric Carle classic. Gah!

Well, if you’re not stuck like me and planning on endless reading this holiday season, we got you! We have made a list of 20 best Christmas books to read.

Best Christmas Books to Read this Holiday Season

From classic Charles Dickens to romantic Anita Hughes to heartwarming Fredrik Backman, here’s a list of best Christmas book to read of all time!

1. A Christmas Carol

By Charles Dickens

A Charles Dickens novel is a must for Christmas. This classic short novel was published way back in 1843. It’s considered as one of the outstanding Christmas stories of modern literature.

The story revolves around Ebenezer Scrooge, who is an elderly miser. Christmas is just another day for Scrooge. But all of this changes when his long-dead business partner, Jacob Marley’s ghost appears and warns him to change his ways before it’s too late.

This is one of the best Christmas books to read as it captures the holiday spirit like no other book.

2. Anna Karenina

By Leo Tolstoy

Well, this book is apparently the inspiration for our very own Bollywood queen’s name, Kareena Kapoor. Kapoor revealed in an interview that her mother was inspired by the name of the protagonist and named her Kareena. Well, I can write about Bollywood any time. Lol! Coming back to the book, Anna Karenina is considered to be one of the greatest novels of all time.

It’s about the contemporary life of a sophisticated woman, Anna in Russia. She abandons her empty existence as the wife of Karenin and turns to Count Vronsky to fulfil her passion but encounters tragic consequences. A book that etches the characters in your mind is a perfect read to hook you this Christmas.

3. The Deal of a Lifetime

By Fredrik Backman

Fredrik Backman’s stories are about human emotions penned in a beautiful way. His novel, ‘A man called Ove’ is one of the New York’s best sellers and one of my personal favorites, too. So, The Deal of a Lifetime is definitely on my to be read list this season. It’s a short read and even beginners can easily get a hang of it.

It is a story where a father shares it with his son on Christmas Eve. The story revolves around a man who finds that he may be able to help a little girl dying from cancer. But he needs to sort things out with his son first. A perfect read that speaks about the holiday spirits and what it truly means – love and sacrifice!

4. Winter Street

By Elin Hilderbrand

As the name suggests, this is a cozy wintery read that you can read while sipping a hot cuppa of latte. 🙂 It’s a story of a family who gathers together for Christmas, which is filled with surprises.

Kelley Quinn is the owner of Nantucket’s Winter Street Inn and a proud father of four, who were living in different places. As Christmas approaches, Kelley is looking forward to getting the whole family together to spend some quality time at the inn.

But there is a lot going on with the delightfully dysfunctional Quinn family – a love triangle, an unplanned pregnancy, a federal crime, many shots of whiskey, a small house fire and endless rounds of Christmas caroling. This heartwarming book is all about coming home for holidays!

5. Hiddensee

By Gregory Maguire

Hiddensee is an enchanting story about Drosselmeier, the one-eyed toy maker who will carve the legendary wooden bauble. Gregory Maguire intertwines the story of the famous Nutcracker with the life of the mysterious toy maker. Hiddensee imagines the back story of the Nutcracker, revealing how this creature came to be carved and how he aided an aiding girl named Klara through a dreamy paradise on Cristmas Eve. This novel brings the message of hope.

If you are into romanticism, this is one of the best Christmas books to read. It’s not only a classic story but the author makes you discover flowering German romanticism ties to Hellenic mystery cults – a fascination with death and afterlife.

6. Harry Potter Series

By J.K. Rowling

Well, well, well! How can one not read (or re-read) *drum rolls* The Harry Potter series. The classic fantasy novels are a cult favorite and are considered to be one of the best readable book series in the world.

Harry Potter series are easy to engage and written in a way that any audience can enjoy. Each character makes you want to attend Hogwarts school. There’s a mix of fantasy, real life lessons and emotions that are close to heart.

As soon as you start off with the first book where the first chapter goes ‘A boy who lived’, I bet you can’t stop. All the novels have Christmas shenanigans that you can’t miss. The Philosopher’s Stone and The Prisoner of Azkaban are my personal favorites. Thank you J.K. Rowling for making my childhood super awesome.

On a lighter note, people who don’t like Harry Potter novels, please give it a try. It’s the season of perpetual hope. 😉

7. Christmas in London

By Anita Hughes

What’s London’s most festive time of the year? Well, there’s no second guessing. It’s Christmas, of course. This novel by Anita Hughes has everything Christmassy – London, cinnamon rolls, baking and a reality TV show.

When Manhattan baker, Louisa Graham learns that her cinnamon rolls are an instant hit with a local production company, she’s invited for their annual Christmas Eve dinner. Louisa’s famous baking idol, Digby Bunting is present who is more interested with her than her food.

Kate’s the producer of the show and she runs into an old acquaintance on her first day in London. He’s no longer a skinny boy that she met in Scotland ten years ago. He’s now a handsome brilliant mathematician and newly divorced. There’s definitely still a spark between them and also a scar of how they left things.

Kate and Louisa are preparing for the show while old and new memories are complicating their work. Set in the most beautiful place in the world and during the most wonderful time of the year, the novel is filled with love, friendship and the season’s most important lesson – forgiveness.

8. Comfort and Joy

By Kristin Hannah

One of the best Christmas books to read this year is here. As the title suggests, the novel is all about comfort and joy – perfect for Christmas, right?! But the story by Kristin Hannah has more to offer than just a happy-go-lucky kinda plot.

This novel is best described as a modern day fairy tale. There are surprises, action, melancholy, second chances and more! The protagonist, Joy, loves Christmas more than any time of the year. Now, as Christmas approaches, she isn’t glad; recently divorced and alone. Can you blame her? She can’t summon the old enthusiasm to celebrate the festivities around her.

Without telling anyone, she buys a ticket and boards a plane to the beautiful Pacific Northwest. But her plane crashes and so does her impromptu holiday retreat. She survives and the unexpected detour takes her into the deep woods of the Olympian forest, Joy makes a bold decision to leave her ordinary life behind. And as fate has it, she bumps into her soulmate.

9. The Man who Invented Christmas

By Les Standiford

The very first book on our list of best Christmas books to read was – A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. And here’s a book about the journey of the best author himself when he had no hope left. The debt-ridden Dickens wrote a book with a hope of keeping his creditors at bay. But his publisher turned it down and he had to put out whatever little money he had. The result was ‘A Christmas Carol’ that is still synonymous with holiday season even to this day.

The book was an instant hit and immediately caused a sensation. A warm book that takes you back to the Victorian England, its most beloved author and the birth of Christmas as everyone’s favorite holiday. The story is as intriguing as the prose itself. If you loved ‘A Christmas Carol’ then you surely have to read this one.

10. Christmas on the Island

By Jenny Colgan

Christmas on the remote Scottish island is incredibly beautiful. It’s that time of the year where you’re getting cozy in front of wood fires and enjoying with the people you love. But there’s a situation where you accidentally get pregnant with your ex-boss and you’ve no clue how to tell this to him. The festive season is all about goodwill and peace but will Joel think Flora is a bearer of glad tidings?

Also, a Syrian refugee, Saif is trying to enjoy his first western Christmas with his sons but without his missing wife. Could this little family find comfort and joy?

This book is as warm as your coffee in your mug. The frozen settings in the beautiful Northern edge gives you an unforgettable Christmas.

11. The Snow Queen

By Hans Christian Anderson

If you’re a fan of the Disney Queen Elsa from Frozen then definitely this book is for you. The Snow Queen is elevated from a children’s book to a fine piece of art. The magical tale of friendship and adventure is retold through beautiful and intricate illustrations. Although this book is ideal for children, there’s no harm in venturing your inner child through this gem. It makes a perfect gift for people of all ages.

12. The Tailor of Gloucester

By Beatrix Potter

People are passionate about something and they just can’t get enough of it. For Beatrix Potter, it was animals. She ditched her conventional Victorian childhood and spent time in the countryside and used to draw and study animals. Beatrix was passionate about nature and she is best known for her famous series of little books.

She describes ‘The Tailor of Gloucester’ as one of her favorite books and I totally agree. The story is simple and is based on true events. A tale of a tailor who left the unsewn pieces of coat in his shop and found the garment had been mysteriously finished for him in the night. It turned out that the real tailor’s assistants were his apprentices.

But in Potter’s version, the secret helpers of the tailor are skillful little brown mice. And the mousy tailor is working on the mayor’s clothes for a Christmas day wedding. How Christmassy can it get, eh! One of the best Christmas books to read while you’re sipping your hot chocolate.

13. The Gift of the Magi

By O. Henry

A tale of love and sacrifice, this novel by O. Henry is one of the best classic pieces of American literature. It’s a story of a couple who are on a budget and have to gift each other. It portrays the sacrifices each one makes and puts the season’s gift giving tradition into perspective. One of the best Christmas books to read to know the importance of the holiday season.

14. One Day in December

By Josie Silver

One day in December is a wintry tale about two people and ten missed connections. It’s about friendship, heartbreak, missed opportunities and roads not taken. A heartwarming and immensely moving love story, this book is a reminder that fate takes inexplicable turns along the route of happiness.

In the words of Reese Witherspoon, the founder of Hello Sunshine, “Get ready to be swept up in a whirlwind romance. It absolutely charmed me.” And we totally agree with Reese – a perfect read with your blanket wrapped around you on a cozy wintry evening.

15. A Christmas Memory

By Truman Capote

The holiday season is perfect for a sweet treat, right?! And what’s better than fruitcakes? This book is a recollection of Truman Capote’s rural Alabama boyhood. It was first published in the year of 1956 and has become a modern-day classic.

A seven year old buddy inaugurates the Christmas season by crying out to his cousin, Miss Sook Flak “It’s fruitcake weather”. Thus begins an unforgettable tale of an odd but enduring friendship between two souls. One is young and another one is old and the story is a collection of memories they share of the beloved holiday rituals.

16. A Child’s Christmas in Wales

By Dylan Thomas

Originally written for a radio show, ‘A Child’s Christmas’ was recorded by Thomas in 1952. The story is about retelling Christmas from a child’s point of view and is a romanticized version of Christmas’s past, showing a much simpler time. The poet recalls the holiday’s mistletoe décor, crackling fires and snow.

17. Hercule Poirot’s Christmas

By Agatha Christie

In the list of the best Christmas books to read, how can we forget hard-boiled Agatha Christie’s novel? A merry little murder mystery that tasks the most notorious detective with investigating a family reunion that ends in a bloodshed. Consider this book as an antidote to all the good things brought on this year. I would say it’s a perfect nighttime read on a holiday.

18. Last Christmas in Paris

By Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb

All is fair in love and war. A story that blossoms during the World War I, it’s a work of fiction. The protagonist Evie watches her brother and her best friend leave for duty, she believes that the three will reunite to celebrate Christmas on the streets of Paris. But war has other plans.

19. The Night Before Christmas

By Nikolai Gogol

This 18th century novel is a dark tale that relates the adventures of Vakula and his fight against the devil for the heart of the beautiful woman. The basis for many film and opera adaptations and still a traditional story read aloud to children on Christmas Eve in Ukraine and Russia.

20. The Greatest Gift

By Philp Van Doren Stern

This book is the inspiration to the film ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ starring Jimmy Stewart. The protagonist wants to commit suicide and is perched on the edge of a bridge and is interrupted by divine intervention. This classic 1943 short story about a man named George is about how he gets a glimpse of the world without him. This is surely an interesting one in our list of best Christmas books to read.

So, this was our list of the best Christmas books to read this holiday season. Which ones are on your list? Let us know by commenting below. And if you’re reading one on our list, do share it with us by tagging us in your book selfie on Instagram @shilpaahujadotcom.

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