If you’re like me, you’re thinking, “Hm, Christmas on Sunday equals a long weekend equals plenty of reading time! Score.”
If you’re not like me and have kids, you’re thinking, “I can spend post-present opening time sleeping, or I can read a good Christmas book to ensure that the kids don’t burn down the house during my food coma.”
Either way, this means it’s book time. Here are my current top 10 favorite Christmas reads. Not only do the books have reasonable lengths (no 600+ word monstrosities), but you can easily finish them in a lazy afternoon (picture this: fire crackling, mug of hot chocolate steaming, and a good book waiting).
In no particular order:
- The Sunflower by Richard Paul Evans – I said no particular order, but that’s a lie. This was the book that got me into the Richard Paul Evans Christmas books fan club. Two humanitarians meet in South America during Christmas and fall in love. But it’s not that simple…
- The Mistletoe Promise by Richard Paul Evans – Honestly, given the chance, I could fill up all 10 slots with Richard Paul Evans books. But I’ll try to contain myself to only a few (like three—you’ve been warned). This book came out a few years ago and I loved it, almost as much as The Sunflower. It’s about two people who come together. Each made a massive mistake that changed his and her life forever, but found redemption and understanding.The story suggests that everybody deserves forgiveness and love, that behind every tragic story on the news is an untold tale that needs to be heard.
- Finding Noel by Richard Paul Evans – This book, about a woman trying to find the sister from who she was separated in foster care, meets and falls in love with a man during her journey. This book has a special place in my heart for a couple of reasons, one of which is my Dad finding out that he had a sister he never knew about several years ago. I remember where I was when he received the phone call from the social worker. Having my aunt, and her family, in our lives has only made everything better.
- A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens – I would be remiss if I didn’t add not only a classic, but a truly redemptive story about a man who not only learns what Christmas truly is, but what life is truly for: to love and be loved. None of us are too old to change our course in life.
- Jacob T. Marley by R. William Bennett – With that in mind, I always wondered about Marley, Scrooge’s business partner in life who came back to warn him in death. I don’t know about you, but I was always put out by the fact that Marley wasn’t awarded the same chance to change (though in reality, we all have a lifetime of chances). Still, Scrooge was visited, what about Marley? It turns out that I’m not the only one who wondered about it. This book tells about the redemption of Marley in death and the instrumental role he played in not just helping Scrooge, but eventually redeeming himself. It is a must-read, especially for Dickens’ fans.
- The Immortal Nicholas by Glenn Beck – I admit that I struggle with the emphasis we put on Santa Claus during the Christmas season. The fact that he gives is a good thing, but usually pop culture looks at the gifts people get from him rather than the giving involved. So when this book came out, I was very excited to see how Glenn Beck would relate Saint Nicholas to the birth of Jesus Christ. He didn’t disappoint. In this story, the man who becomes Nicholas goes through hardship and experiences doubt. He watches over Jesus during Jesus’ mission and life, and ends up believing whole-heartedly in the divinity of the Savior. It’s an incredible journey of how a simple myrrh gatherer becomes one of the most beloved symbols of Christmas.
- The Story of the Other Wise Man by Henry van Dyke – I confess that I don’t remember much about this book, but I remember my dad reading it to the family over the Christmas story candle (yes, it’s a thing), and I loved it. The basic premise is that a fourth wise man started out to visit the Savior, but was sidetracked by helping others. You can probably guess what his gift was in the end.
- Christmas Jars by Jason F. Wright – This book is more like a novella than a novel, but it contains a heart-warming Christmas tale that highlights the good in people. It’s a fast read, but worth it. Plus, it inspires some good ideas that can focus you (and your children) on the giving and service aspect of Christmas.
- The Legend of Holly Claus by Brittney Ryan – I’ve always been somewhat offended that there are so few good Christmas books for young readers. There are a ton of Christmas picture books and plenty of holiday romantic fiction (which I do enjoy), but very few chapter books. I enjoy all genres, so I was thrilled a few years back when this book came out. It’s a fantastical approach to Santa Claus, focusing on his daughter and it comes equipped with a sweet little love story to boot. Basically, Holly’s cursed with a frozen heart and must find a way to save herself and her land. She makes her way to Victorian America where she finds answers. It’s like historical fiction, romance, adventure, and fantasy all rolled into one.
- Kringle by Tony Abbott – This is another fantastical adventure, but this time exploring the beginnings of Kris Kringle in a medieval world. Our hero must battle goblins and other dark creatures, overcome evil, and create a place of love and joy.
I have a few honorable mentions. First goes to The Glass Mermaid by Susan Clymer. The only reason it’s not in the top 10 is because I barely remember the book. I read it as a chld and remember loving it. As far as I can tell, it’s not even in print anymore. Anybody remember this gem?
The second honorable mention goes to Debbie Macomber’s Twelve Days of Christmas. I was a bit hesitant to read this book because I was concerned that it would begin a deluge of Macomber Christmas book readings (she has quite a collection). Plus, I see enough cheesy Christmas stories paired with romance on the Hallmark channel. I bit the bullet and read it, though, because I kept seeing it everywhere. It’s entertaining and sweet. Does it make me want to go out and buy every one she’s written? Not so much… but that book review is to come.
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