Our Top 20 Favorite Christmas Books

Everyone has favorite Christmas books to enjoy during the holiday season, and we at Books & Chardonnay are no different. The winter holidays are about family, warmth, and festivity. What better way to celebrate all of those things than with some beloved holiday stories?

Grab a cozy blanket, pour some hot chocolate and gather ’round the fire. Today we’re sharing our favorite Christmas books to read alone or read aloud.

P.S. Lists of favorites are subjective. Thus, your favorites might not be on this list. Feel free to share the Christmas books you love in the comments here or on social media.


Our Top XX Favorite Christmas Books

1. A Christmas Carol

by Charles Dickens


A Christmas Carol is sure to fall at the top of all “best of” or “favorite” Christmas book lists, but it’s for good reason. Charles Dickens‘ classic about a cheap, cranky, money-lender who becomes a changed man after a series of dreams, has been told many times and in many different ways. However, it remains relevant and beloved all these years later.

2. A Visit from Saint Nicholas

by Clement C. Moore


It wouldn’t be Christmas without at least one reading of A Visit from Saint Nicholas – also affectionately known as “The Night Before Christmas.”

3. The Father Christmas Letters

by J.R.R. Tolkien


Every year around Christmas the Tolkien children received an envelope stamped from the North Pole. Each envelope created artwork and a letter from Father Christmas. The letters described the adventurous goings-on at the North Pole, stirring childhood fantasies about elves, reindeer, and clumsy polar bears. Letters from Father Christmas is a delight for both children and adults and will forever have a place in our hearts.

4. The Gift of the Magi

by O. Henry


O.Henry‘s classic tale of selfless giving is a short story that’s big on message.

5. The Polar Express

by Chris Van Allsburg



You’ll send your children to bed with visions of night trains, hot chocolate, and special bells after you share this beautifully illustrated classic. Is it any wonder you’re asked to read it again and again?

6. How the Grinch Stole Christmas

by Dr. Seuss


A favorite Christmas book for children of all ages, How the Grinch stole Christmas is tale of big, full, hearts and the true spirit of the season.

7. The Little Match Girl

by Hans Christian Andersen


The saddest tale on our list, but a beautiful story worth telling. The Little Match Girl explores happiness, love, and compassion through the eyes of a destitute child.

8. The Night Before Christmas

by Nikolai Gogol


Nikolai Gogol‘s 1831 classic about a blacksmith’s battle with evil is a Christmas Eve favorite for children in Russia and the Ukraine.

9. Holidays on Ice

by David Sedaris



A Christmas tale to enjoy after the kids are in bed, Holidays on Ice is a collection of hysterical stories that aren’t your usual touchy-feely holiday fare – and we’re good with that.

10. The Christmas Train

by David Baldacci


One of the more current holiday books on this list, The Christmas Train tells the hysterical story of a journalist who is banned from flying and finds the true spirit of the season during his long train ride home.

11. Skipping Christmas

by John Grisham


The Kranks just want to travel this Christmas. Why is that so hard to understand?

12. The Greatest Gift

by Philip Van Doren Stern


You may know it as It’s a Wonderful Life. The Greatest Gift is the story of a man who receives the wonderful gift of knowing what life would be like without him.

13.  A Child’s Christmas in Wales

by Dylan Thomas


Dylan Thomas’ memoirs of Christmas as a child growing up in Wales are now a classic to share with kids all over the world.

14. Miracle on 34th Street

by Valentine Davies


Valentine Davies’ heartwarming story – adapted into an equally heartwarming film – confirms that there is, indeed, a Santa Claus.

15. The Twelve Terrors of Christmas

by John Updike


Ok, so perhaps The Twelve Terrors of Christmas isn’t a warm and fuzzy holiday tale, but it’s amusing and worth reading nonetheless. Probably not one to share with the kids, though.

16. Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer

by Robert L. May


When I was a kid, there was two favorite Christmas books I remember my parents reading to us every year. The first was the aforementioned Visit from St. Nicholas, and the second is Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. It will always hold a special place in my heart – and hearts of kids everywhere.

17. The Tailer of Gloucester

by Beatrix Potter


A poor tailor must finish sewing the Mayor of Gloucester’s waistcoast by Christmas Eve. Things aren’t going as planned but thankfully he gets by with a little help from his friends.

18. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

by Simon Armitage


Perhaps more of a New Year’s Eve tale than a Christmas tale, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is long form poem about a knight who rides to avenge the man who took his head a year earlier. Except it’s much nicer than it sounds.

19. The Life & Adventures of Santa Claus

by L.Frank Baum


The author of The Wizard of Oz uses his wonderful storytelling to share adventurous tales of Santa Claus. The writing might be a little grown up for very young readers, but it’s terrific reading aloud for tweens, teens, and adults.

20.  The Nutcracker

by E.T.A Hoffman


It simply wouldn’t be Christmas without a telling of The Nutcracker – whether through music, dance, or this wonderful book.

Were our favorite Christmas books your favorites too? Weigh in and let us know. Happy holidays!

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Related Reading:  How to Start a Book Club
  1. I don’t think I’ve heard of most on your list! Except the classics which are also movies.

    Our favorite is probably There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bell, which is a rehatch of There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly. 🙂

    1. They’re all great books – There’s no time like the present to check out the ones you’re not familiar with.

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