From Dr. Seuss to Agatha Christie to David Sedaris, Musement shares 10 of the best books to help you get into the Christmas spirit.
Despite the circumstances of 2020, Christmas is still coming — though with adjustments and safety measures in place. The Christmas spirit never dies, but this year, we’re pushed to find more creative ways to nurture it, and books are one of the best, most transportive outlets. So, with that in mind, here are 10 of the best Christmas books to evoke the yuletide spirit.
1. A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens
There’s arguably no Christmas story as nostalgic as Charles Dickens’ tale of Ebenezer Scrooge, the curmudgeon visited by the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come during his Christmas Eve slumber. His Christmas transformation and the supporting characters like Bob Cratchit and Tiny Tim add to the story’s heartwarming factor. First published in 1843, A Christmas Carol has never lost is magic.
2. How the Grinch Stole Christmas! , Dr. Seuss
It wouldn’t be a Christmas round-up without the scowling green Grinch who plots to steal Christmas from the residents of Whoville. Needless to say, his scheme doesn’t go as planned, and he emerges completely changed. This book has been delighting readers of all ages since its 1957 publication.
3. The Best Christmas Pageant Ever , Barbara Robinson
Published in 1971, Barbara Robinson’s tells the story of the Herdman siblings, six misfits who offer to perform in their Sunday School’s Christmas pageant. This laugh-out-loud novel will steal your heart.
4. Hercule Poirot’s Christmas , Agatha Christie
Just as page-turning as when it was first published in 1938, this mystery features Christie’s titular mustachioed Belgian detective as he solves the case of who murdered the millionaire Simeon Lee on Christmas Eve. In true Agatha Christie-style, the book will keep you guessing until the end.
5. Letters from Father Christmas JRR Tolkein
The epic fantasy writer who gave the literary world such characters as Bilbo Baggins and Gandalf the White might not be the first author whose Christmas stories come to mind, yet Letters from Father Christmas, his collection of letters that he wrote to his children each year under the guise of Santa Claus, is one of the most delightful holiday books out there.
6. The Night Before Christmas, Clement Clarke Moore
Also known as A Visit from St. Nicholas, this immortal poem has withstood the test of time. First published in 1823, the poem has gone on to appear in various print forms that showcase the works of different illustrators — Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without it.
7. Little Women, Louisa May Alcott
While at first glance this might not seem the most Christmasy of books, the novel goes full circle, starting and ending on the holiday, and beautifully capturing the values that lay at the heart of the Christmas spirit. Readers get a glimpse into the lives of the March sisters, who eventually epitomize what Christmas the true meaning of Christmas.
8. The Polar Express , Chris Van Allsburg
The book that begot the 2004 film, The Polar Express, published in 1985, is a classic Christmas story that never fails to win over adults in addition to young children. The book tells the story of a young boy who’s awakened from his Christmas Eve slumber by a train outside his home. He investigates and learns it’s the Polar Express en route to the North Pole, so he hops aboard.
9. A Christmas Memory, Truman Capote
Originally published as an essay in Mademoiselle magazine in 1956, Truman Capote’s A Christmas Memory is a fictional, though slightly autobiographical, account of the author’s childhood. The story thoughtfully hones in on the joy and generosity that characterize the holiday season.
10. Holidays on Ice, David Sedaris
This American humorist and author writes with wit and flair and his Holidays on Ice is a collection of satirical Christmas-themed essays, some previously published, that will undoubtedly leave you with an unerasable grin on your face.