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Ten classic Christmas books for readers of all ages

Another month, another Round Robin! This month’s subject is set by American author Rhobin Courtright.

round robin, helena fairfax

What stories have you written or read where a holiday takes place? Do the holidays ever make it into one of your stories?

British readers would answer this question differently from how I guess Rhobin has meant it. For us, a holiday is a vacation, and a holiday read is generally a summer read. (Here are UK magazine The Stylist‘s top 100 holiday reads, for example.) We also don’t celebrate Thanksgiving.  I do love Christmas, though – and I love Christmas books!

The day after Christmas is what we in the UK (and many other countries) call Boxing Day – and it’s the perfect day for curling up with one of these books…

The Snowman, by Raymond Briggs

I absolutely love this book, and I love the musical animation that was made of it. A little boy rushes out into the wintry day to build a snowman, which comes alive in his dreams that night. The boy invites him home and in return is taken on a flight high above the countryside….

The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, by C.S. Lewis

NARNIA…the land beyond the wardrobe, the secret country known only to Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy…the place where the adventure begins.
Lucy is the first to find the secret of the wardrobe in the professor’s mysterious old house. At first, no one believes her when she tells of her adventures in the land of Narnia. But soon Edmund and then Peter and Susan discover the Magic and meet Aslan, the Great Lion, for themselves. In the blink of an eye, their lives are changed forever.
 

Little Grey Rabbit’s Christmas, by Alison Uttley, or Alison “Utterly Brilliant” as my daughter used to call her :)

This is a totally charming book and I love it. A stunning recreation of all that is good in Little Grey Rabbit’s world, with carol singers, mince pies, sprigs of holly and blazing hearths bringing a warmth and delectability to the life of Little Grey Rabbit and his adorable friends, this special edition of the classic tale would make the perfect gift for any child–or indeed any adult–who takes pleasure in a good, old-fashioned, heart-warming story.

Little Women, by Louisa M. Alcott

“Christmas won’t be Christmas without any presents…” One of the most famous Christmas openings ever. This book needs no blurb!

Hercule Poirot’s Christmas, by Agatha Christie

Motives for Murder: A fortune in uncut diamonds, hidden by an eccentric old man – A woman’s love, too freely given – A business empire built on ruthlessness. Each of them may have been a motive for the brutal slaying of wealthy old Simeon Lee. Coupled with Lee’s family, each member of which hated him and wished to see him dead, they present Hercule Poirot with a baffling challenge–one which the astute detective solves only through his uncanny ability to see “the little things.”

The Box of Delights, by John Masefield

One of my favourite Christmas books of all time. Strange things begin to happen the minute young Kay Harker boards the train to go home for Christmas and finds himself under observation by two very shifty-looking characters. Arriving at his destination, the boy is immediately accosted by a bright-eyed old man with a mysterious message: “The wolves are running.” Soon danger is everywhere, as a gang of criminals headed by the notorious wizard Abner Brown and his witch wife Sylvia Daisy Pouncer gets to work. What does Abner Brown want? The magic box that the old man has entrusted to Kay, which allows him to travel freely not only in space but in time, too. The gang will stop at nothing to carry out their plan, even kidnapping Kay’s friend, the tough little Maria Jones, and threatening to cancel Christmas celebrations altogether. But with the help of his allies, including an intrepid mouse, a squadron of Roman soldiers, the legendary Herne the Hunter, and the inventor of the Box of Delights himself, Kay just may be able rescue his friend, foil Abner Brown’s plot, and save Christmas, too. 

The Dark is Rising, by Susan Cooper

With these mysterious words, Will Stanton discovers on his 11th birthday that he is no mere boy. He is the Sign-Seeker, last of the immortal Old Ones, destined to battle the powers of evil that trouble the land. His task is monumental: he must find and guard the six great Signs of the Light, which, when joined, will create a force strong enough to match and perhaps overcome that of the Dark. Embarking on this endeavor is dangerous as well as deeply rewarding; Will must work within a continuum of time and space much broader than he ever imagined.

By the Shores of Silver Lake, Laura Ingalls Wilder

The Ingalls family live alone in the prairie all winter. I loved this book as a child. Laura and her family are heading to the Dakota Territory for a chance to own their own land–and stop moving. The new town of De Smet is filling up with settlers lured west by the promise of free land, and the Ingalls family must do whatever it takes to defend their claim. 

A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens

Ghosts, a family Christmas dinner and a happy ending. The perfect Christmas book!

* * *

Revisiting this selection of books has made me want to read all of them again! Rhobin also asked if we’d ever had a holiday feature in one of our own books. I have a Christmas short story called “Fallen in Love” which I actually posted as part of a Round Robin at Christmas three years ago. You can read it here.

I also have a book which ends at Hogmanay – New Year in Edinburgh. A Year of Light and Shadows is a romantic suspense which follows a year in the life of Scottish actress Lizzie Smith and the bodyguard who is sent to look after her because…well, you’ll have to read the story to find out! :) Their story is available here on Amazon.

I’m looking forward to reading about holiday stories in the other authors’ posts in the Round Robin. If you’d like to find out too, please click on the links below!

And if you have a favourite Christmas book – or any favourite holiday book – please let me know. I’d love to hear your recommendation!

Skye Taylor http://www.skye-writer.com/blogging_by_the_sea
Dr. Bob Rich https://bobrich18.wordpress.com/2017/11/18/holidays
A.J. Maguire  http://ajmaguire.wordpress.com/
Anne de Gruchy https://annedegruchy.co.uk/category/blog/
Diane Bator http://dbator.blogspot.ca/
Rachael Kosinski http://rachaelkosinski.weebly.com/
Rhobin L Courtright http://www.rhobinleecourtright.com

Marc Baun  http://www.marcibaun.com/round-robin-november-2017-holidays-traditions-writing/

 

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23 thoughts on “Ten classic Christmas books for readers of all ages

  1. Some wonderful holiday reads here, Helena! 😀 How have I missed this Ingalls book!! The Box of Delights looks delectable… a real gem! I’ve written one Christmas story which will also feature in my anthology … very much a feel-good tale with a happy ending and of course a touch of a carol!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know how you feel, James. I was feeling Scrooge-like about Christmas just recently – Christmas stuff in the shops in October winds me up no end! Listing all these fab Christmas books has helped put me back if the Christmas spirit, though :)
      Thanks for dropping in!

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  2. Loved your list, and I’ve read a few. I also took my kids to the Laura Ingler Wilder home in Mansfield, Missouri, where she wrote all her books. That was when I lived in Missouri. I’d forgotten we’d had round-robin stories for one post.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I always love your posts, Helena. Little Women is one of my all time favorite books, It may be the only book I’ve read more than once. The Agatha Christie book is intriguing. My mother loved her books, but I don’t remember ever seeing this one. May have to check it out. Many of my books have a holiday (in the US sense) in them. We’re about to have my favorite holiday of all. Thanksgiving. I’ve share your post. :)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanksgiving sounds like a proper family day, Marsha, without all the commercialisation of Christmas. I tried out a few Thanksgiving recipes last year, and loved them. I still haven’t done the marshmallows and potatoes, though :)
      Hope you and family have a lovely day. Thanks so much for dropping in!

      Like

  4. I love everything about Christmas and the holiday season. Helena, thank you so much for this reading list. Great choices! The list put me even more in the Christmas spirit.

    Today I decorated around our front door with lighted garland. I love decorating for Christmas. Right now I have an autumn theme going inside until after the weekend. When Corbin comes on Thanksgiving, I want him to think his grandma and grandpa live in a magical house. We have fairy lights coming up the stairs, in our living room, and in our dining room. <3

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That really does sound magical, Susan! It must be lovely to share your grandson’s excitement at Christmas. He will have some very special memories as he grows up.
      Thanks so much for dropping in, and for your lovely comment!

      Like

  5. Thanks for sharing this delightful list of Christmas stories. I loved Jan Karons’ Shepherds Abiding, #8 in the Mitflord series. Love most all of the books in this series. Yes, looking forward to Thanksgiving this weekend. The Pilgrims sailed from England in September 1620 and arrived Nov 9 near Plymouth, Massachusetts. The American Thanksgiving is based on their first harvest feast with the native people in the area in fall 1621. I appreciate that so far, the day set aside for family and friends and expressing gratitude, is not so commercialized.
    JQ Rose

    Like

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