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The holiday season has arrived. It’s time to dust off your favorite Christmas books and find some new ones to enjoy this December.

A good read can be a great gift for a family member or friend, or it can be something to enjoy for yourself.

Books For Adults and Teens

Adults and teens looking for holiday reading favorites might look for entertainment, nostalgia, or a love story.

Some Christmas books will tell a story about love that you simply won’t get in any Hallmark movie. Although most of the best Christmas stories have film, play, or musical adaptations, there are some things that jump off a page that the big screen just can’t recreate.

New fiction books written for adults and teens come out every year. People looking forward to the big day have their pick of the litter. They should especially enjoy looking at yearly lists published every December.

Stories like A Christmas Carol and The Gift of the Magi account for some of the best literature in history. These two timeless tales (and many others) never go stale, and they’re good for one read every December.

Books For Children

Some of the best classic holiday stories can ignite the magical feeling of Christmas for children. The legend of Santa Claus, of course, creates some of the most memorable Christmas narratives written for children. The stories of magical elves, a workshop at the North Pole, and the romanticization of snowfalls provided the perfect setting for The Polar Express and some Dr. Seuss classics.

Children’s Christmas stories can also communicate the message of lessons learned during a season meant for giving. Religious stories about the birth of Christ can go a long way toward teaching about the real reason for the season.

12 Memorable Christmas Books To Spark The Holiday Spirit

  • Classics

  • 'A Christmas Carol' by Charles Dickens

    Ebenezer Scrooge in A Christmas Carol

    There’s a reason A Christmas Carol has stood the test of time since 1843. The literary classic about the incredible epiphany of Ebenezer Scrooge deserves every one of its countless written, film, and musical adaptations.

  • 'The Gift of the Magi' by O'Henry


    O’Henry wrote with his trademark irony in one of the most authentic love stories in literary history. Jim and Della selflessly exchange Christmas gifts that become useless in the most unexpected way. However, the reader can enjoy the deeper meaning of the scenario.

  • 'The Greatest Gift' by Philip Van Doren Stern

    You might know the story of The Greatest Gift better from the film adaptation It’s A Wonderful Life. The 1943 short story of George Pratt’s contemplation of suicide might make you look at the world a little bit differently this Christmas.

  • 'The Nutcracker and the Mouse King' by E. T. A. Hoffmann

    The Nutcracker

    You might think of a graceful ballet or a holiday decoration when hear about The Nutcracker. It actually originated as a short story in Prussia in 1816.

  • Adult/Teen Novels

  • 'Mr. Dickens and His Carol' by Samantha Silva

    Charles Dickens

    If you enjoy A Christmas Carol, you’ll probably enjoy a historical fiction novel about Charles Dickens writing the classic. Readers Digest complimented how readers can be “swept away by the old-timey Christmas feel” reading a book published in 2017.

  • 'What Child Is This?: A Christmas Story' by Caroline Cooney


    It didn’t become one of the most popular holiday novels, but What Child is This won’t disappoint you. The novel tells the story of children from different family structures and how they view the world during the Christmas season.

  • 'A Christmas Story' by Jean Shepherd

    You probably remember the suggestive leg lamp and the infamous bb gun, but have you read the original version from Jean Shepherd? The vignettes authentically capture the mischief, the friendship, and the emotion of a child at Christmastime.

  • 'The Christmas Shoes' by Donna VanLiere


    If you’re looking for an emotionally moving read, try The Christmas Shoes. It’s based on the popular song by NewSong.

  • Children's Books

  • 'The Polar Express' by Chris Van Allsburg

    The Polar Express

    “At one time, most of my friends could hear the bell, but as years passed, it fell silent for all of them. Even Sarah found one Christmas that she could no longer hear its sweet sound. Though I’ve grown old, the bell still rings for me, as it does for all who truly believe.” –The Polar Express

    A child’s “dream” about a trip to the North Pole on Christmas Eve is just a fantasy, but just like the bell Chris brings home, it reminds children of the magic of Christmastime.

  • 'Twas the Night Before Christmas' by Clement Clarke Moore


    Is there anything more original than a child hearing “Twas The Night Before Christmas” before going to bed with dreams about the next morning? Sure, it’s technically a poem, but it’s one that no parent should skip.

  • 'How the Grinch Stole Christmas' by Dr. Seuss

    How the Grinch Stole Christmas

    Dr. Seuss was the king of creativity, and How the Grinch Stole Christmas goes down as one of his all-time best. The innocence of Cindy Lou Who stops the Grinch from a horrible deed in all-time great for readers of any age.

  • Any Nativity Story

    The Nativity Scene

    Let’s not forget why Christmas is a holiday. The original Christmas story belongs in the classic, adult, and children’s categories.

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