Every year, Christmas sneaks up a little bit faster. Sometimes, we need a boost getting into the Christmas spirit and some help slowing down to enjoy the holiday season. Christmas books can help this time of year!
While there are some great classic Christmas novels, like A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens about the infamous Ebenezer Scrooge, and, of course, lots of wonderful stories for kids, we instead focused this list of recommendations on contemporary books to read at Christmas for adults, including some romance novels, comedies, and even a few mysteries.
Grab some hot chocolate and find a quiet moment before bed to curl up by the Christmas tree and read one of the recommendations from our reading list below!
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This 2020 release is festive, funny, and heartwarming, with the perfect balance of friendship and romance!
Chloe, Jules, and Lucy met on vacation as kids and they've been best friends ever since, despite living on three different continents. Twenty-two years later, they decide to swap homes for Christmas... Lucy travels to snowy Breckenridge, Colorado; Jules escapes down under for a summery Christmas in Melbourne, Australia; and Chloe travels halfway around the world for a quiet holiday in a quaint English village.
If you've seen the movie The Holiday, then the concept will sound familiar, but this book has even more to offer!
All three of the locations in this book were already very near and dear to Angela's heart, but the author captures each locale so perfectly that you'll feel like you've been there, too!
Oh my, this new 2021 holiday novel has all three of our favorite things - it's a Rom Com, set in New York City, at Christmas.
Sabrina Post is a 26-year-old struggling writer who arrives at the Plaza Hotel to begin her next gig - ghost-writing a memoir for a famous art dealer. It's a dream gig - she gets her own suite AND a big paycheck! Her week gets even more magical when she finds out the art dealer once worked for the author of the Eloise books, Kay Thompson.
Throw in a member of the British aristocracy that Sabrina meets at the hotel bar and you have the perfect heartwarming holiday read!
This new 2021 release really brings the magic of Christmas, and it's also a testament to the power of second chances!
Ivy Perkins is recently divorced and is looking to make a big change in her life. That change comes in the form of an old farmhouse sight unseen. She knows it will be a labor of love... but it might be more labor than she counted on.
As she sorts through all the junk that the prior owners left behind, she comes across a beautiful, decades old Santa suit. Tucked in the pocket is a handwritten note from a little girls whose Christmas wish was for her father to return home from the war. Ivy desire to learn more about the note's author draws her in to her new community and may even result in a second chance at love.
This book will really put your in the holiday spirit because it celebrates the spirit of joy and giving rather than the material aspects of the season.
When a family members comes home to Christmas in the UK straight from treating an endemic in Liberia, the only option is for her to quarantine. Except if the family wants her to join them for the holiday, they all have to agree to quarantine together for 7 days.
As the family is locked down together, they're forced further into each other's lives. This funny Christmas novel shows how many secrets can be revealed when a group of dislikable family members have to share space for a week.
Travel to the remote island of Mure, halfway between Scotland and Norway, this Christmas. The staff includes local islanders with big dreams of working their way to a better life and a member of the kitchen staff who is concealing his prominent position as the only son of a Duke.
As the grand opening approaches during the Christmas season, secrets are also at risk of being unwrapped.
Melissa enjoyed the Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan and can't wait to read this 2020 release!
This 2021 Christmas book brings together two generations of women and exemplifies the magic of the holiday season.
Hopeful fashion designer Meg has to put her dreams on hold to return to her hometown of Chicago to manage her father's apartment building. The residents are an eclectic group and all seem to need her right away.
One of the residents, Ellie, is having an equally bad season as she's being forced to leave her apartment and move into a nursing home. As she packs, one dress brings back the most memories - both good and bad.
When she reveals the important history of the dress to Meg, she decides to gift her the dress with the caveat that it must be worn to the building's holiday party. Will the magic of the dress strike again for it's new owner?
The hilarious writing duo Christina Lauren released this holiday book in 2020 and it quickly rose to the top of our favorites list - just like all of their other romantic comedies.
Mae has spent every Christmas since her birth at the same snowy Utah cabin. Knowing it's the last year they'll spend at the cabin, feeling trapping in a job she hates, and having just made a big mistake in the romance department leaves her feeling totally hopeless.
When her Christmas wish is for clarity on what will make her truly happy, she sets herself into a groundhog day experience of reliving the same day until she can get it right and connect with her true love. But don't worry, the repetition doesn't go overboard - soon the story will continue moving forward and you'll find yourself very invested in Mae's romantic fate.
Like Charles Dicken's Scrooge, seventeen-year-old Holly received a Christmas Eve visit from three ghosts who showed her how selfish and spoiled she'd become. Unlike Scrooge, she was unconvinced and she did not change her ways. Then she died.
She's now stuck working for the top-secret company called Project Scrooge where she serves as the new Ghost of Christmas Past. Each year she helps the company as they attempt to save another miserly grouch. Despite helping many people, she remains miserable - watching as her family and friends go on living while she stays frozen at seventeen, unable to interact with them. But the Scrooge she's been assigned to help reform this year may change everything.
This holiday rom com is set in a small town in England where 34-year-old Kate has signed up with a dating service that is lining her up on 12 holiday themed dates with 12 different men, in hopes that she'll find her perfect match. Each date proves more disastrous than the last, and everyone in town is keeping tabs on Kate's progress.
This book is perfect for fans of Gilmore Girls because it gave us major Stars Hallow vibes (just England rather than New England), right down to Kates long and complicated relationship with the diner owner.
Joy Candellaro dreads Christmas this year after divorce leaves her alone during her previously favorite season. Instead of dwelling at home, she leaves town alone on an adventure to the pacific northwest. Once she arrives, she decides to stay.
When she meets a young boy experiencing Christmas for the first time without his mother, they instantly bound and help each other heal. Soon, she finds herself heartbroken again. On Christmas Eve, Joy must find the courage to believe in love.
Comfort & Joy has been described as a modern-day fairy tale, which sounds perfect for the holidays!
If you are looking for something funny and wholesome this holiday season, it doesn't get any better than this adorably charming and heartwarming YA novel!
On the eve of her Christmas break, 17-year-old Sophie overhears her boyfriend say he wants to take a break from her. Heartbroken, she heads out of town to spend the holidays with her large, extended Italian-American family while her parents go to visit her pregnant sister in another town.
When her grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins get wind of her breakup, they are determined to find her someone new. They each claim dates on the calendar and set her up on 10 blind dates in the days leading up to Christmas.
Donna VanLiere wrote the beautiful tear jerker, The Christmas Shoes, and her most recent Christmas release sounds like it will have the same effect. The story has a split timeline starting in 1972 and 2012.
In 1972, Joan's husband is determined to build her a beautiful dining room table before Thanksgiving dinner. While he works on the table, Joan works on her mother's recipes, inspired to make a delicious meal. Their lives are interrupted when Joan is diagnosed with breast cancer.
In 2012, a pregnant Lauren finds an old table that has recently been refinished. When she gets home, she discovers handwritten recipe cards, complete with loving notes from a mother to her daughter. After being raised in foster care without that kind of relationship in her life, Lauren is moved by the card and wants to learn how to cook for her baby using the recipes. She's drawn to the family on the cards and hopes to unlock the mystery of who they belong to before Christmas.
Let It Snow is one of those classic Christmas concepts that never get old. Christina is busy preparing for the busy season at her toy shop in Nantucket when her Scrooge-like landlord raises the rent to a level that means her only option is closing her shop.
She tries to keep her hope alive that she can appeal to some decency under his harsh exterior, and realizes that could be possible after meeting his sweet grandaughter. Of course, an attractive bachelor also enters to assist in her attempt to save her store. While the concept isn't unique, sometimes an enjoyable, predictable read is just what we need to escape unpredictable reality.
If you enjoyed 28 Summers as a beach read this year like we did, you may want to check out Elin Hilderbrand's Winter series. Winter Street is the first of 4 books that follow the Quinn Family in Nantucket. Kelley Quinn owns an Inn and has four children, each with their own complications and imperfections.
When Kelley walks in on his wife kissing Santa Claus, chaos erupts with ripple effects throughout the family. Expect this series to be more of a beach-read style for winter, light entertainment with wacky circumstances to take you out of your own holiday chaos.
We are both big fans of the Shopaholic series, so Christmas Shopaholic shot straight to the top of our holiday reading lists last year, and it did not disappoint! This wintery novel stands alone from the series, so don't worry if you haven't read the others.
We always laugh out loud at least once reading Sophie Kinsella, so I'm putting this in the holiday self-care stress relief category!
Looking for something a bit different? Perhaps a murder mystery set around the holidays? Hercule Poirot’s Christmas is the 20th book in Christie's beloved investigator series.
On Christmas Eve, a family reunion goes awry when there is a crash and scream. The family rushes upstairs to find their tyrannical leaders dead. When Poirot arrives, he meets a family resistance to his help.
Love historical fiction with a bit of romance thrown in? This may be the Christmas book for you!
Update: Melissa read this one after seeing it recommended over and over. She LOVED it as a book and was so enthralled that she read right through the time she was supposed to be putting up her Christmas tree.
BUT, keep in mind that it's set in Europe during WW1, which was not a jolly time. While there are many Christmas mentions, there's no mistaking that the book is set in wartime and that comes with a lot of misery as well.
Karen Kingsbury is always a good choice if you're looking for a Christian book for Christmas.
A Baxter Family Christmas has a very impressive Amazon rating, but a few dissenters felt it was better as a stand-alone than part of the Baxter series. The great news is that if you read it first and love it, there are 23 other books about the Baxters for you to enjoy later!
When I want a fast read that still makes me fall in love with characters, I know I can always count on great books from Debbie Macomber. Her Christmas books are always Hallmark channel-worthy!
In addition to Twelve Days of Christmas, you can also check out Dear Santa, which has the perfect holiday concept of the main character rediscovering all the letters she wrote to the north pole as a child and remembering the dreams she once had.
A family member purchased a book for me that has easily become my FAVORITE Christmas book because it's helped me tackle a REALLY important topic with my children - The talk about Santa Claus. It's called "Secret Santa Claus Club" by Jeff Janke. As anyone with kids knows, this is something that is inevitable for anyone who celebrates Christmas and something most of us DO NOT look forward to. This book tells the story of a young girl reminiscing about Christmas and each year her experiences change as she grows older. She eventually starts to realize the truth and her parents let her in on the secret. The way they reveal the Santa truth is unique and special and I will be using it with my own children in the coming years. It's time for you and your family to join the Secret Santa Claus Club! I am happy (and relieved) I found this book. You can tell the author really cares about this difficult subject and wants to help.
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