Christmas, hands down has got to be my most favourite time of the year. I love singing all the Christmas carols and songs, an excuse to watch Christmas films (I know these are cheesy but my Christmas is not complete without Santa Claus: The Movie, The Holiday, The Snowman and Love Actually) and I adore getting a real tree and decorating the house. Christmas just makes me smile.
What I also love is being able to pull out all of my favourite Christmas books. There is nothing I like more on a cold, festive feeling evening than to snuggle up in my chair with warm jumpers and socks, a cup of hot chocolate and a festive smelling candle and read one of my favourite, festive themed books. I wanted to share some of my favourites with you.
I can remember first reading this at school and even then, I couldn’t get over how incredibly sad this story is. It’s certainly a reminder of all we have to be grateful for and not just for his time of year too. Whenever I read this book I end up crying (it never fails.)
This wonderful story is an ageless chronicle of a young girl struggling to stay warm on New Year’s Eve using the very matches she is supposed to be selling to earn money for her family. With each strike of a match the little girl sees wonderful things in the flames which warm both her heart and soul.
The Snowman by Raymond Briggs.
This story never fails to put a smile on my face. It is just classic and timeless and it is a book that has been a part of my Christmas since I can remember. Whenever I see anything to do with the Snowman, I just launch into Walking in the Air in my head. To me, this story is amazing. I love it and if I am ever lucky to have children, it is one I look forward to sharing with them too.
One winter’s night, a snowman comes to life and an unforgettable adventure begins. Raymond Briggs’ favourite classic is a true piece of Christmas magic – narrated entirely through pictures, it captures the wonder and innocence of childhood and is now recognised throughout the world.
The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams.
I was pretty late discovering this book (late teens I think) but I will never forget how I felt when I first read it and it made me sad that it was a book I did not discover when I was a child. The story of The Velveteen Rabbit is so simple and yet completely magical and contains one of my favourite lines in a book. This story is just wonderful and it has such a lovely message.
In the nursery, only the toys that are old and wise truly understand what it means to be Real. The Velveteen Rabbit, a newcomer to the nursery, asks one of the most knowledgeable toys, the Skin Horse, what being real means. “Real isn’t how you’re made,” says the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become real. It doesn’t happen all at once. You become . . .”
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by C.S.Lewis.
Out of all the books in the Narnia series, this one will always be my favourite. Some of my best childhood memories involve sitting down with my brother on a Sunday evening with toast and tea whilst watching the BBC adaptation on TV (I wanted the Queen to be defeated but the snow to stay. Snow meant Christmas in my mind when I was little.) I can’t remember whether I saw the BBC adaptation before reading the book or the other way around but I love the story either way. The part with Father Christmas is one of the best bits.
Four adventurous siblings―Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy Pevensie― step through a wardrobe door and into the land of Narnia, a land frozen in eternal winter and enslaved by the power of the White Witch. But when almost all hope is lost, the return of the Great Lion, Aslan, signals a great change . . . and a great sacrifice.
The Twelve Days of Christmas by Trisha Ashley.
Trisha is such a wonderfully warm writer. Reading her books is like getting a lovely, big hug. The Twelve Days of Christmas has so much festive feeling in it I want to go live in that big house with an enormous Christmas tree and all the cooking and baking. I read this before Christmas the year it came out and it just completely set me up for the festive season. If anyone is looking for a Christmas themed book then I recommend this one. I adore this story and the cover is just beautifully Christmassy. Love, love, love.
Christmas has always been a sad time for young widow Holly Brown, so being asked to look after a remote house on the Lancashire moors is the perfect excuse to forget about the festivities.
Sculptor Jude Martland is determined that this year there will be no Christmas after his brother ran off with his fiancée. He’s keen to avoid the family home. However, he will have to return by the twelfth night of the festivities, when the hamlet of Little Mumming hold their historic festivities and all of his family are required to attend.
Meanwhile, Holly is finding that if she wants to avoid Christmas, she has come to the wrong place. When Jude unexpectedly returns on Christmas Eve he is far from delighted to discover that Holly seems to be holding the very family party he had hoped to avoid.
Suddenly, the blizzards come out of nowhere and the whole village is snowed in. With no escape, Holly and Jude get much more than they bargained for – it looks like the twelve days of Christmas are going to be very interesting indeed!
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.
Ebenezer’s story is so familiar to a lot of people; his journey to his past with the Ghost of Christmas Past or going to visit Bob with the Ghost of Christmas Present and the terrifying Ghost of Christmas Future and all the Christmas feels at the end when he discovers the error of his ways and realises that it is not too late to change his fate.
There are many fantastic moments in this book. I am not sure why I didn’t read this novella in its entirety until last year but I am so pleased I did. There is some fantastic humorous moments in this novella. It is wonderful. My Christmas is not complete without this story in some shape or form whether it be the film with Jim Carrey or Scrooged (which is another one of my festive film favourites.) This book quickly became one of my favourite novels and one I will always try to read at this time of year.
Dickens’s story of solitary miser Ebenezer Scrooge, who is taught the true meaning of Christmas by the three ghosts of Christmas past, present and future, has been adapted into countless film and stage.
The Gift by Cecelia Ahern.
My final Christmas favourite is fairly new to the list and that is The Gift by Cecelia Ahern. I love Cecelia’s novels anyway. There is always something quite magical and fantasy feeling about her stories and I like snuggling up and disappearing into them. This book made a definite impression on me. The cover alone sold it when I saw it on the bookshelf in the shop and I think I read it in about a day. Lou’s story is one we are all probably slightly familiar with and his behaviour is something a lot of people are guilty of. There is just such a wonderful message in this book. There are some lovely moments (and heart-breaking ones too.) I try to read this book every December as it just makes me feel incredibly grateful for what I have and who I have in my life. It’s nice to be reminded sometimes.
Lou Suffern wishes he could be in two places at once. His constant battle with the clock is a sensitive issue with his wife and family.
Gabe wishes he was somewhere warm. When Lou invites Gabe, a homeless man who sits outside his office, into the building and into his life, Lou’s world is changed beyond all measure…