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12 Classic Holiday Themed Books to Read This Season

There is nothing quite as comforting as curling up with a hot cuppa and a holiday-themed book on a winter’s night.  It’s even more special if you’re planning to reread a beloved favorite or a quintessential holiday classic that you’ve been meaning to read for some time now.  So while it may not be snowing outside and you’re probably working right up until Christmas — you can still get into the holiday spirit with one of these holiday classics!

The Night Before Christmas by Nikolai Gogol

Written in 1831 by the father of Russian literature, this uproarious tale tells of the blacksmith Vakula’s battle with the devil, who has stolen the moon and hidden it in his pocket, allowing him to wreak havoc on the village of Dikanka. Both the devil and Vakula are in love with Oksana, the most beautiful girl in Dikanka. Vakula is determined to win her over; the devil, equally determined, unleashes a snowstorm to thwart Vakula’s efforts. Zany and mischievous, and drawing inspiration from the folk tales of Gogol’s far-flung village in Ukraine.

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

A Christmas Carol recounts the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, an elderly miser who is visited by the ghost of his former business partner Jacob Marley and the spirits of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come. After their visits, Scrooge is transformed into a kinder, gentler man.

The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen

When a boy is cursed with an inability to perceive goodness, a young girl must go on a lonely quest to restore his heart and vision and free him from captivity in the palace of the Snow Queen.

Christmas at Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons

Christmas at Cold Comfort Farm is a charming collection whose hilarious title story features Christmas dinner with the Starkadders before Flora’s arrival. With Adam playing Santa while draped in Mrs. Starkadders’s shawls, the family shares their traditional “Christmas pudding”-a mélange containing random objects of doom foretelling the coming year: a coffin nail for death, a bad sixpence for financial ruin, and a menthol cone to indicate that the lucky recipient will go “blind wi’ headache.”

Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak

First published in Italy in 1957 amid international controversy, Doctor Zhivago is the story of the life and loves of a poet/physician during the turmoil of the Russian Revolution. Taking his family from Moscow to what he hopes will be shelter in the Ural Mountains, Zhivago finds himself instead embroiled in the battle between the Whites and the Reds.

The Nutcracker by E. T. A. Hoffmann

On Christmas Eve, Fritz and Marie excitedly await the arrival of Godfather Drosselmeier and the marvelous gifts he brings for them every year. When Marie discovers a rather curious nutcracker doll amongst the presents, she suddenly finds herself caught up in an age-old battle and ultimately transported to a magical world of sugar-frosted castles, chocolate kings, and true love.

Hercule Poirot’s Christmas by Agatha Christie

On the night before Christmas, cruel, tyrannical, filthy rich Simeon Lee is found in his locked bedroom with his throat cut. Now Hercule Poirot must put his detective powers to the test to solve one of his most chilling cases – and to prevent a clever killer from spilling more blood.

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

Every December, an envelope bearing a stamp from the North Pole would arrive for J.R.R. Tolkien’s children. Inside would be a letter in strange spidery handwriting and a beautiful colored drawing or some sketches. The letters were from Father Christmas. Letters from Father Christmas is a gorgeous, festive gift featuring a wealth of letters that Tolkien created for his children, appearing in this format for the first time. Published on the 100th anniversary of the first letter Tolkien sent to his firstborn, John, in 1920, this handsome edition will also include an introduction from daughter-in-law Baillie Tolkien, reflecting on the centenary anniversary of the letters, as well as a personal note by Tolkien himself reproduced for the first time.

The Fir-Tree by Hans Christian Andersen

In the middle of the wood is a little fir tree who thinks of one thing only – growing bigger. He takes no pleasure from life because he always thinks about how he is not as big as the other fir trees. So, when the little fir tree finally grows up, Christmas approaches and his destiny is turned upside down.

The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus by Frank Baum

Baum chronicles Santa’s life from his childhood in an enchanted forest–to his destiny of sharing gifts and spreading love to his fellow man. Along the way we witness him making his first toys, learn the origins of the Christmas tree and Christmas stockings, and discover the stories behind many Christmas secrets, like why Santa slides down chimneys, how he picks his reindeer, and how he delivers all his toys in one night.

The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg

A young boy, lying awake one Christmas Eve, is welcomed aboard a magical train to the North Pole. The Polar Express makes its way to the city atop the world, where the boy will make his Christmas wish. This is a story for all who believe in the spirit of Christmas and those who treasure the sound of a reindeer’s silver bell.

Christmas Pudding by Nancy Mitford

In Christmas Pudding, an array of colorful characters converge on the hunt-obsessed Lady Bobbin’s country house, including her rebellious daughter Philadelphia, the girl’s pompous suitor, a couple of children obsessed with newspaper death notices, and an aspiring writer whose serious first novel has been acclaimed as the funniest book of the year, to his utter dismay.

What do you think about these holiday-themed classics?

Have you read any books from this list?  What is your favorite holiday-themed classics?  What books would you add to the list?

Comments (2)

  • Michele

    I have read many of the books listed here. My favorite is A Christmas Carol. I have several different editions, illustrated by different artists. My favorite one is illustrated by John Leech.
    I love this novel because, no matter how you have lived your life, you can have a second chance in life if you really want to.

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