A Christmas Reading List

For many of us the festive season offers a little more time than usual to get comfortable with a good book. With that in mind, we’ve put together a reading list of Christmas-y books to give you some inspiration for your own Christmas reading list.

Christmas: A Biography, Judith Flanders

This newly published non-fiction book looks at the history of Christmas and its many wacky traditions, from the really early days up to the present madness. British by birth and current residence, Canadian by childhood, Flanders is a bestselling journalist and historian who has a thing for the Victorians.

The Polar Express, Chris Van Allsburg

Winner of the 1986 Caldecott Medal for the previous year’s best children’s picture book, it’s been argued that this book is actually aimed more at adults than little kids. The story’s protagonist hops a train that takes him to the North Pole, where Santa offers him the first present of Christmas. And things just get more magically nostalgic from there.

The Night Before Christmas, Nikolai Gogol

Not the contraction-loving poem by Clement C. Moore (“‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all thro’ the house”), but a classic story by the Ukrainian-Russian writer. Featuring a witch, the devil, cossacks, all kinds of magic, and a quest to obtain the Tsaritsa’s slippers, the story apparently is still told to children in Russia and Ukraine.

A Child’s Christmas in Wales, Dylan Thomas

Pretty much what the title says it is, this nostalgic and romanticized recounting of Christmases past by the famous poet grew out of a script he wrote and recorded for BBC radio in 1952. Fun fact: the popularity in the U.S. of Thomas’s original recording has been credited by the Library of Congress with starting the audiobook industry down there.

Hogfather, Terry Pratchett

Discworld #20, and the fourth in the Death story arc, this book’s titular character is a red-cloak-wearing winter deity who drives a sleigh pulled by four wild boars to deliver presents on Hogswatchnight–December 32. In this book, the Hogfather disappears as assassins are coming to get him. Cue Death, who steps into the Hogfather’s gift-delivery role to keep belief alive.

A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens

Sure, it’s a little cliche to put this book on this list. But it is a great book, and one that’s largely overshadowed by its many, many film adaptations (some of them pretty awesome in their own right). A plot summary is probably unnecessary, so we’ll leave you with this: the novella’s proper title is A Christmas Carol in Prose, Being a Ghost-Story of Christmas. Because, y’know, 1843.

The blog will be taking a short break for the holidays. We’ll be back in the new year, though. See you then!

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