Monday, December 14, 2015

My Christmas Novel To-Read List

A couple years ago I posted about my top 10 favorite Christmas books. I was reviewing that list earlier when I sent my Christmas lists off to various family members (I'm finally getting serious about expanding our Christmas book collection, and using grandparent gifts to do it), and realized that all the books were children's books and picture books (technically The Gift of the Magi is a short story, but that's beside the point).

So this year I thought, why not do a post talking about all the best Christmas novels? After all, I'm really trying to get into the idea of seasonal reading for myself, not just the kids. So, I sat down to write out a list of good Christmas novels, and here's what I came up with:

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

Yep. One novel. That's all I could think of. (And confession, I haven't even read A Christmas Carol, despite being a huge Dickens fan, and owning two movie versions. Maybe this will be the year!). And I thought, well, this is ridiculous. There must be thousands of novels out there that take place at Christmas, or are Christmas themed, or at least have a Christmas scene in them, right? How do I not know any of these novels? Are they just all super cheesey, overly sentimental, Hallmark channel romance type novels? (I'm not knocking Hallmark channel, if that's your jam, but apparently this is not a genre I read). So, I did the only thing I could when looking for a list of good Christmas novels: I went to the internet. Here is the best I could find, books that I'm actually putting on my to-read list with A Christmas Carol (and yes, there are a TON of cheesey romance Christmas novels out there, but alas, none are included on this list).

The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis - To be honest, I'm a bit embarrassed I didn't think of this one right off, because obviously this is a fantastic seasonal Christmas read. Not only is it about a magical land of eternal winter, but Father Christmas actually shows up. This would be an excellent time of year to revisit this classic.

Letters from Father Christmas by J.R.R Tolkien - I had no idea this book existed, but now I'm super intrigued and definitely want to check it out. Apparently this is a collection of letters that Tolkien actually wrote and mailed to his children every Christmas, written as if coming from Father Christmas himself, detailing his fantastical adventures and including illustrations. It looks super adorable.

The Christmas Mystery by Jostein Gaarder - Another book I didn't know existed, but I've read two other books by this author (Sophie's World and The Solitaire Mystery, both of which I highly recommend), and have a feeling I would enjoy this one as well. The reviews are a bit mixed, but a time-travel mystery where the protagonist ends up in Bethlehem? Where the actual nativity story plays a part of the plot? I'm totally interested.

Harry Potter (1-7) by J.K. Rowling - Yes, I know. Not strictly about Christmas. But for some reason these books kept showing up on Christmas book lists all over. I guess technically there is a Christmas scene in every book. And the movies always came out around Christmas. And I got the first three books for Christmas when I was in seventh grade, and proceeded to spend the rest of my break binge reading them. So yes, there is something very Christmasy about these books. I've been meaning to re-read them for years now, and I must admit there doesn't seem to be any better time to re-read than Christmas time.

The Christmas Tree by Julie Salamon - Technically this is a novella, but that counts, right? This looks like a delightfully sweet little tale of an orphaned girl who befriends a tree in the convent where she grows up, a tree she eventually gives up to be the Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center.

And, that's about what I came up with. So yes, there are lots of other Christmas novels out there, but I was surprised how hard it was to find ones that actually looked good to me. Any recommendations?

P.S. Episode 2 of The Book Blab will be airing on Wednesday, December 16th at 8 PM CST. You can view either from the Blab website, or I'll have the live feed streaming here. It will be a fun discussion about pretty books that make great gifts.

(Image Source)


  1. Well Christmas novels for adults, I'm a huge Anne Perry fan (historical mysteries) and have enjoyed her Christmas novellas.

  2. I haven't read it since high school, and it probably falls in your sappy romance genre, but I remember really liking "Two From Galilee" by Marjorie Holmes. It is about Mary and Joseph, and even though the love story could be historically inaccurate, I liked reading about and thinking about the human emotions behind the Christmas story.

    1. So I just looked it up, and this sounds adorable, actually! Potentially sappy, but I'd rather have Mary and Joseph's love story than anyone else's this time of year. It's definitely going on my to-read list. Thanks!