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We start, perhaps predictably, but I hope you will forgive me, with A Christmas Carol. Aside from the nativity, it was the first play I was in as a child. I was the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come and while I can confirm that I made the right decision to write books, I truly believe that this slightly spooky tale of redemption and the true meaning of Christmas turned me into the hopeless goth I am today.
If, like me, you enjoyed the eerie element of A Christmas Carol and are looking for something similar, this collection of Victorian Christmas Ghost Stories from the likes of Arthur Conan Doyle and Tara Moore may just be for you.
This isn't technically a Christmas book, but without divulging too much, Christmas is so pivotal to the story that I will forever consider it a Christmas book. A perfect fireside read.
"Always winter and never Christmas; think of that!" Perish the thought! With snow, sleighs and Santa, the mere thought of this story makes my heart fizz. If you read this as a child, I urge you to read it again as an adult. It's every bit as enchanting.
While Tolkien was an officer for the British army during World War I, he would send his children letters from Father Christmas. Every December an envelope would arrive bearing a stamp from the North Pole. Inside would be a letter in unfamiliar, untidy handwriting complaining about how his reindeer got loose and the clumsy Polar Bear who fell through the roof of his house. The illustrations are as magical as the words, which is why I can't help but return to this again and again.
I must admit, the first time I read this, I didn't read it at Christmas. It was not long after I finished In Cold Blood and found myself seeking out more of Capote’s writing. "It's fruitcake weather!" A Christmas Memory begins and what follows is essentially a love letter to his Alabama boyhood. Warm, charming and deftly written, you can happily read this in one sitting, but you may need more than one mince pie.
It will be a surprise to no one that I buy my nephews a lot of books and this was the first Christmas one I gave them. While they've since graduated to the likes of The Dinosaur That Pooped Christmas, I'm thrilled to say, this is still their favourite. The ultimate night before Christmas read that will forever make me think of them, in their matching tartan pyjamas, shivering with excitement at the thought of just one more sleep.
I'm a bit in love with the Glendale Hall series. There's something reminiscent of Gilmore Girls about it so if, like me, you're a fan of the show, you'll be sure to find this as warm and uplifting as I do. Or if you're just in need of some festive escapism (and, let’s face it, who isn't right now?) take a trip to Glendale Hall.
Hot chocolate. Check. A cosy Cornish village. Check. An old friend showing up with a secret that threatens everyone's merry Christmas. Check. This has all of my favourite things.
Finally, I'm going to recommend something I haven't actually read yet, but I'm a huge Jasmine Guillory fan. This is the top of my festive reading pile this year but, as much as I want to read it immediately, I can't because, as Old Mr Duke from Someday at Christmas would scold, ‘December 1st and not a moment before!’
About Someday at Christmas
Shell Smith is the most popular make-up artist on the ART counter at Duke & Sons, a beautiful but old-fashioned department store in her hometown. But whilst Shell's love life is looking up, now that her long-time crush Nick is back in town, and business is booming in the beauty department, the rest of the store is noticeably quiet...
The owner's grandson Callum has come up with some creative ways to keep Duke & Sons afloat this Christmas, including allowing a production company to film a romcom after hours. When Shell discovers the secret, Callum recruits her to help out and, in the process, Shell finds there is more to Mr Duke Jr. than sharp suits and a business-like demeanour.
Change is coming and romance is in the air for Shell during this most wonderful time of the year. Except real life is nothing like a Christmas romcom... right?
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