The lists of holiday movies that surface every year are abundant and a bit redundant. There are some great Christmas books out there that will be a fresher holiday leisure activity than watching “Home Alone” for the thousandth time (although, “Home Alone” is great, you should watch it, too). For those of you lucky enough to have a Christmas break, cracking open a good book is the perfect way to spend your days cuddled up inside. Just add hot chocolate (with marshmallows, of course) and you’ve got yourself the perfect way to while away those idle winter hours. Here are the top ten holiday books to add to your TBR pile this month. These would also make great gifts for the bookworms on your list.
- “My True Love Gave To Me: Twelve Holiday Stories” by various authors: Read a short story a day during the twelve days of Christmas for the ultimate holiday reading experience. The stories are written by some of today’s most popular writers, including Rainbow Rowell, David Levithan, and Gayle Forman.. The plus here is that the stories incorporate different holidays and customs, not just Christmas, so it truly does have something for everyone.
- “Holidays on Ice” by David Sedaris: If you are fan of darker comedies, this is the holiday book for you. Sedaris brings to life the absurd behind the scenes of the department store Santa world and parodies the ridiculous family update newsletters and children’s holiday plays. I recommend getting the book on tape read by Sedaris himself. The sarcastic and twisted humor that this collection emits is fully enjoyed by listening. Bring it on the drive to Grandma’s house (as long as you don’t have Grandma or kids in the car).
- “Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares” by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan: The authors of “Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist” gift us a sweet and fun holiday adventure. Alone for Christmas, Lily leaves a mysterious book of dares on the shelf of a Manhattan bookstore and Dash is the bookish fellow that finds it. This young adult book will delight old and young readers alike. And the literary references make it bibliophile’s dream.
- “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens: This is quite possibly the most quintessential Christmas book ever published. Travel through time with the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future as Ebenezer Scrooge learns the true meaning of Christmas. Although Dickens wrote it way back in 1843, the story still resonates today. Do away with the “bah-humbug!” and add some vintage Christmas cheer to your reading list.
- “Wishin’ and Hopin’” by Wally Lamb: This funny coming of age novella is set in the 1960s and is centered around a 10 year old Catholic school boy. With a lot of heart and not too much sappiness, this book is a sweet, nostalgic holiday treat. 2014 is a good year to read it as Hallmark just released a TV movie version starring Molly Ringwald as substitute teacher, Madame Frechette.
- “The Polar Express” by Chris Van Allsburg: This is a great bedtime read during the holiday season that adults will enjoy as much as the kids. This story of wonder takes us on a ride to the North Pole and to Santa himself. Families have enjoyed reading “Express” as a yearly tradition since it was published in 1985. Tots will go to bed with visions of trains and sleigh bells dancing in their heads.
- “The Christmas Box” Trilogy by Richard Paul Evans: If you are up for a literary challenge this season, read the three books in this holiday trilogy or just read the first in the series for a more manageable task. But, be prepared for some feels and arm yourself with tissues. These books deal with love, loss, and heartache.
- “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” by Barbara Robinson: This is for the middle schoolers, although most parents indulge in reading it, too. Originally published in 1972, this is an oldie, but a goodie. Follow the troublemaking kids of the Herdman family takeover the school play and turn it into the most unusual telling of the Christmas story ever.
- “Let It Snow” by John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle: Three holiday tales interconnect in this collection of short stories from very capable YA storytellers. Romance is the theme and it is heightened by the magical season during which the stories take place.
- “How The Grinch Stole Christmas” by Dr. Suess: No list about Christmas books should be without the wonderfully silly “Grinch.” You probably watch it every year, but when is the last time you read the book aloud? The sing-songy rhymes and colorful characters are fun for any age. And with all the consumer madness, we can all use a reminder that “Maybe Christmas doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas means a little bit more.”
originally published at collective lifestyle 12.2014