Best Books to Read at Christmas
Trying to get into the Christmas mood? I always recommend reading a book with a festive theme. Here are a few of my favourites.
I read this classic this summer. I’ve seen the Barbie film version when I was a child, but I didn’t really know the story. I’ve never seen the ballet and the Disney Nutcracker film from a few years ago wasn’t great. However, this story is a classic for a reason. They story is about a little girl who gets a toy – the Nutcracker – from a slightly magical and creepy acquaintance. She sneaks off at night to look at it, and it comes alive to protect her from the evil Rat King. A thrilling child’s fantasy.
Another classic, following the four March sisters in 19th century America. This is such a heartwarming story and there’s something for everyone. I see myself in all of the sisters, but where I was most like Amy as a child I feel more like Jo now, not just because I’m a writer but because of how her mind works when it comes to family, friends and love.
The Christmas classic we all know and love. There isn’t a year that goes by where A Christmas Carol isn’t adapted – be it on TV, film, radio or otherwise. It’s a perennial Christmas vibe and everyone hears the story each Christmas, be it via the book or an adaptation.
A few years ago I won a collection of Matt Haig’s stories, with bespoke art from the illustrator inside. It’s one of my prized possessions as it’s so lovely. My favourite book in the series is The Girl Who Saved Christmas. It follows and orphan who escapes the workhouse with a cat and is responsible for Father Christmas being able to get out of the North Pole and deliver presents. It’s just so adorable, dark but still festive.
Every night on Christmas Eve I read the famous poem The Night Before Christmas. It gets the senses tingling on Christmas Eve and the anticipation for presents, food and family the next all abuzz. Basically makes me feel like a child again.
Ignoring the religious allegory, I love the Chronicles of Narnia. I recently listened to The BBC 4 Radio Dramatisation on audio, and it’s the read the whole chronicles. Each story is amazing but my favourite by far is The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. A forever winter with no Christmas *gasp* the horror!
Another recent read of mine was Dear Reader by Cathy Rentzenbrink. The reason I recommend this one at Christmas is because it has so many wonderful book recommendations in, and reminds you why reading is such an escapist tool. Also, Cathy had a tough time growing up when her brother was sadly hit by a car when he was in his teens and left in a vegetative state for several years. It reminds you of the value of family.
And finally, author drama aside, I always recommend the Harry Potter series at Christmas. I personally read the series in the summer, but the Christmas scenes in Hogwarts are familiarly soul-soothing.
What are your favourite books to read at Christmas? Are they perennial classics or are they more familiar warming reads to make you feel relaxed and at home during the season? Let me know in the comments below.