Everything about Christmas makes me want to curl up with a good book. Cold weather, dark evenings, fireplaces, warm drinks -all of these things pair perfectly with reading. Even the loud, stressful busyness of the season call for the much needed stillness and focus of a great story. If you need permission to indulge in a little quiet time, consider this your nudge. Trust me, your family, friends, and co-workers will get a better version of you when you do.
I’ve broken down my recommendations into categories.
(It is a busy time after all.)
Reading seasonally is fun, but especially during Christmas. I’m not a huge Hallmark movie person, though I tend to watch them while wrapping presents. If you love Hallmark Christmas movies, I recommend A Plain and Simple Christmas by Amy Clipton or We’ll Alway have Christmas by Jenny Hale. Both of these are Christmas love stories. What they lack in twists and surprises, they make up for in sweetness and Christmas spirit.
If you’re looking for something that’ll make you laugh, you can’t go wrong with John Grisham’s Skipping Christmas on which the movie Christmas with the Kranks is based. I’d love to say I’m more sophisticated, but I love that frozen cat and the overzealous carolers. The book is just as good as the movie.
This year, I read Christmas Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella and laughed the whole time. If you’re familiar with the Shopaholic books, this one follows the same format as the others with hilarious situations and sweet, enduringly lovable characters. Add some Christmas, and it’s a win-win.
I love mysteries -even at Christmas. When I came across God Rest Ye Murdered Gentleman by Vicki Delaney, I didn’t want my Kindle to tell Goodreads because it sounded too silly, but here I am recommending it because it was so much fun. Mysteries that take place in a pie shop, knitting club, Christmas pageant, etc. are always enjoyable for me. The sillier the name, the better the book in my opinion. Another series like this is The Christmas River series by Meg Muldoon. I imagined stopping after the first one, but ended up reading (and enjoying) all three.
If you like something a little less cozy and more of a thriller, I recommend Death Comes to the School by Catherine Lloyd or In the Bleak Midwinter by Julia Spencer-Fleming. These books had me on the edge of my seat.
Recently, I dusted off A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens for the fist time in years. Forget everything you know about this story from countless movie and play versions and enjoy the original text. There’s a reason we keep telling this wonderful story year after year.
Although it’s not technically a classic, I loved Two From Galilee: The Story of Mary and Joseph by Marjorie Holmes. This book from 1982 is biblical fiction and although we can’t know Mary and Joseph’s backstory, Holmes did some serious research on what life could have been like for this couple who risked so much to bring Jesus into the world.
In my house, we love to read books together. An oldie but goodie is The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson. My kids love this sweet story about the peace Baby Jesus brings to all in His path at Christmas. It’s also really funny.
Another book we’ve enjoyed as a family is The Last Holiday Concert by Andrew Clements. We actually love his entire collection, but this one take place at Christmas, so it get’s a shout out. Clements books always spark great conversations.
Christmas is busy. I get it. No time to snuggle up by the fire? Buy or borrow an audiobook and listen while you wrap presents, or haul kids to practice, or drive to work. Books tend to work their way into my Christmas memories each year. I remember the tree, and cute things my kids said, and the book I was reading at the time. I hope you’re the same way. If not, grab a Christmas book and give it a try. It may just be the escape and quiet you need during this most wonderful, most hectic time of year.