I love to read Christmas stories, so I thought I’d share a few of my favorites that I try to read every year.
If Only in My Dreams by Mariah Stewart
This is one of my favorite holiday stories and the only romance I included on the list. I’ve had a print copy of the anthology it was originally published in for years, but I was excited to discover that the author released it as in ebook in 2015. I love second chance stories and this one is well executed, with sympathetic characters, unrequited love, and enough longing to keep you warm on a cold winter night. I highly recommend this story to anyone looking for a heartwarming Christmas read with a touch of magic.
The Legend of Holly Claus by Brittney Ryan
This book was written for ages ten and up, but it’s a wonderful story to read at any age, and is also a great read aloud for the entire family. The blurb: Santa Claus, also known as Saint Nick and Father Christmas, is the King of Forever, in a place called The Land of Immortals. He is known for giving presents to good girls and boys the world over. But one day, he gets a special letter from a young boy, asking him what he wants for Christmas, and instantly Santa Claus and his wife are blessed with a miracle: a little bundle of joy whom they name Holly Claus. But with the miracle comes danger, as well as a curse from an evil man named Herrikhan. For Holly Claus’ heart is now frozen, and the gates to The Land of Immortals are locked, barring anyone from coming or going. Now, Holly Claus is a grown woman, and decides to break the spell that is holding her people captive. So, accompanied by her four faithful friends – a penguin, fox, wolf, and owl – Holly heads towards Victorian New York, where she encounters many different life-changing, yet dangerous, adventures.
Silent Night – The Story of the World War I Christmas Truce by Stanley Weintraub
I can’t recommend this book enough. It’s an extremely moving account of a true story. The blurb: It was one of history’s most powerful — yet forgotten — Christmas stories. It took place in the improbable setting of the mud, cold rain and senseless killing of the trenches of World War I. It happened in spite of orders to the contrary by superiors; it happened in spite of language barriers. And it still stands as the only time in history that peace spontaneously arose from the lower ranks in a major conflict, bubbling up to the officers and temporarily turning sworn enemies into friends.
A Dog Named Christmas by Greg Kincaid
I have four dogs of my own, so I’m sure you can imagine how much I love this book, especially since this story had inspired many shelters around the country to do the same with their dogs over the holidays. The blurb: When Todd McCray, a developmentally challenged young man still living on his parents’ Kansas farm, hears that a local animal shelter is seeking temporary homes for its dogs during the days leading to Christmas, he knows exactly what he wants for the holidays. His father objects, but Todd’s persistence quickly wins out. Soon the McCrays are the short-term foster family for a lovable pooch the young man names Christmas.
But what about all the other dogs who will be forced to spend the Yuletide season in cages? In the days that follow, Todd uses his special gifts of persuasion to encourage his hometown to participate in the “Adopt a Dog for Christmas Program.” What follows from his small act of kindness will teach his family, and his community, about peace on earth and good will toward men—and animals.
Christmas on Jane Street by Billy Romp and Wanda Urbanska
This is a charming true story that will warm your heart on a cold winter night. The blurb: The warm, wonderful, real-life tale of the family that brings the Christmas spirit to life on a street corner in Manhattan.
Every holiday season for nearly twenty years, Billy Romp, his wife, and their three children have spent nearly a month living in a tiny camper and selling Christmas trees on Jane Street in New York City. They arrive from Vermont the day after Thanksgiving and leave just in time to make it home for Christmas morning—and for a few weeks they transform a corner of the Big Apple into a Frank Capra-esque small town alive with heartwarming holiday spirit.
Christmas on Jane Street is about the transformative power of love—love of parent and child, of merchant and customer, of stranger and neighbor. The ideal Christmas story, it is about the lasting and profound difference that one person can make to a family and one family can make to a community.
The Shepherd, the Angel, and Walter the Christmas Dog by Dave Barry
This book is hilarious. I read it to my kids when they were 13, 11, and 9, and they all loved it. The blurb: With fond nostalgia, Dave Barry takes readers back to a simpler time: The year is 1960, and young Doug Barnes is playing a shepherd in the Christmas pageant at St. John’s Episcopal Church—which is a very big deal. But there are problems everywhere. His fellow shepherds are misbehaving, which makes their director, Mrs. Elkins, yell at all of them; the girl he likes is playing Mary opposite a Joseph who is depressingly smart, athletic, and cute; the family dog is doing very poorly, and they have no idea what they’re going to tell Doug’s little sister, Becky, who’s playing one of the Host of Angels and who loves the dog more than anything; and his dad’s just gotten a flat tire, which means they might not even get to the pageant after all.
But Christmas is a time of miracles. And for Doug and his family, this will be the most miraculous Christmas of all.
Fright Before Christmas: Thirteen Tales of Holiday Horrors
I couldn’t resist finishing with this book since I wrote one of the stories (under my children’s pen name, Ally Mathews). It’s target audience is 10-14, but it’s fun for those of all ages who like a good scare for the holidays. It’s available in ebook, print, and audio. The blurb: It’s the most wonderful time of year…or is it?
Christmas Eve is a night of mystery and magic, but not always in ways we expect. Things lurk in the shadows and they’re not the least bit jolly or merry. Let’s just say some presents are better left unopened.
‘Tis the season to be screaming along with our thirteen tales of holiday horrors. Ghosts. Monsters. Demons. And more! This Christmas, be careful what you wish for…
Now it’s your turn to share. Please post your favorite holiday books in the comments..