Christmas is derived from the words Mass of Christ/Christ’s Mass, which are abbreviated as Christmas. It symbolizes the tradition of conducting a mass to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. Christmas is observed annually on December 25 in honor of the birth of Jesus Christ. The time around Christmas till the New Year is also called the Holiday or festive season.
Best Christmas Books To Read!
The standard Christmas traditions include exchanging gifts, singing carols, and decorating the Christmas trees. However, the reason for celebrating Christmas extends beyond these festive customs. Certain values integral to the festival include giving to the less fortunate, being grateful for what we have in life, spending quality time with our loved ones, and doing good to all, despite the situations.
In short, more than Santa Claus and the stars, their act of giving and spreading light goes a long way. Apart from all things festive, books also play a vital role in setting the mood for the festival. Here is a list of the best Christmas books that can transport you to the perfect winter holiday, regardless of the season. From children to adults, fantasy to murder mysteries, this list includes works for readers of all ages in all genres.
1. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
This well-known story from the 18th-century centers on the life of Ebenezer Scrooge, a wealthy but cruel miser. The story takes place on Christmas Eve, when Scrooge reluctantly permits his Clerk Bob Cratchit to take time off for the holiday season, refuses to pay a donation intended to benefit the poor, and declines to attend the Christmas dinner that his nephew Fred had invited him to.
Jacob Marley, his deceased business partner, is seen wandering with heavy chains and visits him as a ghost. He informs Scrooge that three spirits will visit him and suggests he reform his ways and redeem himself, or else he will endure an even worse afterlife than Marley.
As Marley stated, three spirits visit Scrooge, each showing various portions of his life.
- Ghost of the Past: Scrooge’s early years and adult life are highlighted in this section. His fiance breaks up with him after learning he has a greater regard for money than herself.
- Ghost of the Present: It features the Clerk’s family and his sick but content kid Timothy.
- Ghost of the yet to come: Scrooge’s funeral is shown, and no one mourns his death
Did Scrooge wake up? Did he mend his ways and help people in need? What happened to Tim? This story is a perfect read for people of all ages. This is a story of redemption and second chances at life. The story also focuses on being content with what we have and helping those in need. You can get the book here! 📖
2. The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry
This popular short story of the twentieth century portrays the life of Jim and Della, a couple who struggle to make ends meet and want to give each other the best gift for Christmas. Jim sells his watch to buy a comb for Della’s long beautiful hair, whereas Della sells her hair to buy a chain for Jim’s expensive watch inherited from his ancestors. With both the gifts becoming unusable, what happens later forms the story’s ending. The story is a perfect example of loving and caring for others and emphasizes that unconditional love is the most valuable gift among everything. This story is just 40 pages long and is also popular for its ironic ending. You can get the book here! 📖
3. Hercule Poirot’s Christmas by Agatha Christie
This classic Murder Mystery stands out from the typical Christmas stories that try to instill moral values in people who read it. Multimillionaire Simeon Lee, the patriarch of the Lee family, extends an invitation to his sons and their wives for Christmas. His estranged granddaughter and a surprise guest, the son of Mr. Lee’s former diamond mine partner, also arrive at his house. The Lee family is dysfunctional, and Mr. Lee is an authoritarian who enjoys suppressing people. Only his eldest son is devoted to him, while the others have little regard for him. It’s implied that he’ll update his will after Christmas.
After dinner, Mr. Lee is killed, and Superintendent Sugden takes the investigation. Hercule Poirot, a Belgian detective commonly featured in Agatha Christie‘s stories, also begins investigating the case. What happened later? Who killed the family’s patriarch, and what was the motive behind that? This is a classic Agatha Christie setup with dysfunctional families, buried secrets, and an out-of-the-box murderer. It is a typical “Knives Out” mystery where our suspect falls on almost all the characters except the actual murderer. You can get the book here! 📖
⭐ RELATED READING: Best Underrated Agatha Christie Books You Shouldn’t Miss! 📚
4. The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg
This is a fantasy picture book set during the Christmas season. The story centers on a little kid who travels to the North Pole on the Polar Express to meet Santa Claus. There are several other children on the train as well. Did they meet Santa Claus? What happens in the end? This story which is merely 40 pages long, is a delightful and quick read. The underlying message of the story is to believe in something magical. The story emphasizes that the world’s most beautiful things can only be experienced through the heart. It also tells us to hold onto the belief and enjoy it while it lasts. You can get the book here! 📖
5. Letters From Father Christmas by J. R. R. Tolkien
This book includes beautiful letters and illustrations that J.R.R. Tolkien wrote to his children John, Michael, Christopher, and Priscilla over 20 years, from 1920 to 1943, while posing as Father Christmas. These letters tell the story of life at the North Pole and include characters like the elf called Ilbereth, who is the secretary of Father Christmas, and North Polar Bear, who fell asleep in the bathtub with the water running and all the things he broke, and his battle with the goblins aided by his nephews Paksu and Valkotukka.
Sometimes these characters would write the letters or add messages to them, giving a fun touch to the stories. Though intended for children, this chronological letter collection can be read by people of all ages. Another fun fact is that author J.R.R. Tolkien, who wrote the all-time epic fantasy novel “The lord of the Rings” has authored this sweet book. You can get the book here! 📖
6. A Boy Called Christmas by Matt Haig
There are numerous legends surrounding the origin of Santa Claus. This book by Matt Haig falls under the same category and follows the life of Nikolas, an 11-year-old boy who lives in Finland with his father. His mother had died, and the father-son duo lived in poverty. He has a mouse friend named Mikka. One day, his father takes up a job to find a mythical city named Elfhelm in return for a huge sum of money. He is left under the care of his aunt Carlotta, who abuses him. Distressed, he is set to find his father and travels north along with Mikka.
While traveling, he meets a reindeer who helps him, and he names it Blitzen. Sometime later, he finds Elfhelm, but things don’t seem fine there. There is a lot of class difference between the elves, and Nikolas is not easily accepted. What happens to him later? How will he fit in with the elves? What role does Santa Claus have in the story? The story opens on a sad note before proceeding to further dimensions and places. It has beautiful illustrations throughout, and the points on “How to be jolly when times are bad” is worth reading and cherishing. You can get the book here! 📖
7. The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus by L. Frank Baum
This children’s book from the 19th century features illustrations by Mary Cowles Clark. The story is about a baby boy raised by an immortal being, Necile, in the magical forest of Burzee under Master Woodsman Ak. The boy’s world is surrounded by Nymphs, Fairies, and other such beings, and he lives a peaceful life until he realizes he needs to stay close to the human race.
Then he relocates to The Laughing Valley, where he develops a liking towards children and is kind to them. He also accidentally starts making toys, thus beginning the journey of the Santa Claus. The book also details Christmas customs and answers common questions, like “Why do we have Christmas trees?” “What is the significance of reindeer on Christmas?” and “Why does Santa enter houses through chimneys?” You can get the book here! 📖
8. The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
This story is set against the backdrop of the Christmas season. Blue Carbuncle, as featured in the title, is a gemstone reported missing from a hotel. Despite the lack of evidence, plumber John Horner is detained for the theft due to his prior criminal history. On the other hand, Sherlock Holmes is found investigating a hat that police Commissioner Peterson got while intervening and saving a victim of a street altercation. Peterson also finds a goose and the hat the victim dropped in the commotion. As Holmes tries hard to deduce the hat’s owner, Peterson brings a gem his wife found from the goose.
In due course, the victim is found to be Mr. Henry Baker, irrelevant to the gem. Who stole the gem? How did it get inside the goose? What is the connection between the gem and the plumber? It is a pleasure to read about the blue carbuncle’s journey from person to person and place to place because it perfectly fits the title. The short story, which is only 30 pages long, is available as a standalone book and in short story collections by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. You can get the book here! 📖
9. How the Grinch Stole Christmas! by Dr. Seuss
This story is a timeless classic that can be read by people of all ages across generations. Whoville is the happy town of the Whos, known for their warm spirits and good nature. Being born with a heart “that is two sizes small,” the Grinch, who resides in Whoville, is mean and ill-mannered by nature. He lives with Max, his dog. When Christmas comes around, Grinch hatches a plan to end the festivities since he finds the Carols and musical instruments annoying.
On Christmas Eve, he robs the Whos while posing as Santa Claus. What happens later? Will Grinch’s plan come to fruition? Will the Christmas celebration be stopped? Celebrating Christmas is emphasized in this short tale of 60 pages. It reinforces the idea that the true meaning of Christmas is found in acts of love and kindness and not in materialistic possessions. You can get the book here! 📖
10. The Christmas Train by David Baldacci
This is the story of former war correspondent turned journalist Tom Langdon. He had been in a long-distance relationship with a Hollywood voice actress. So, during Christmas, he needed to get from Washington D.C. to Los Angeles to spend the Holiday with his girlfriend. Due to a misunderstanding with airport security, he is all set to travel by train.
Another interesting fact is that Tom was a distant relative of Mark Twain, and his father’s last request was to publish a book about train travel, which Mark Twain had never completed. So, Tom starts his train journey across the country. But this trip gives Tom much more than he expected. He makes several new friends among various people on the train, including an eloping young couple, a retired priest, a film director, and much more.
Eleanor, Tom’s long-lost love from his past, is also on the train. How will Tom connect with everybody? What is going to happen on the train? What was Tom destined for? This story is a mix of everything- a bit of romance, humor, and adventure alongside many quirky characters. Falling under the genre of an adventure read, this book is a perfect Christmas pick for adults. You can get the book here! 📖
How many books have you read from this list? Which is your favorite among all? And more importantly, do you believe in Santa Claus?
I am a freelance content writer and book reviewer who loves unleashing creativity, one pen stroke at a time. I like reading and writing about what I read. In an attempt to explore and introduce Tamil and Indian literature. Welcome to my world!