21 Best Christmas Books to Read around the Holidays in 2022

You found our list of famous Christmas books.

Christmas books are exciting stories that broaden your horizons and honor the holiday season. Examples include The Polar Express, The Toymakers, and Twelve Nights. A good Christmas book is one of the finest ways to get into the holiday mood.

These stories are similar to holiday books.

This article contains:

    • classic Christmas books
  • Christmas books for adults
  • Christmas books for kids
  • short Christmas books

Here we go!

List of Christmas books

From timeless classics like A Christmas Carol and The Night Before Christmas to children’s novels like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, there are plenty of Christmas books to enjoy during the holidays.

1. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer by Robert L. May

There are more ways to tell the tale of Santa’s most famous reindeer than just by singing the classic song. In 1939, Robert L. May, a copywriter, was entrusted with creating a new Christmas tale, and he wrote Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Rudolph is the ninth and youngest among Santa’s reindeer. The character uses his red nose to direct the sleigh on Christmas eve. After more than 50 years, Rudolph’s tale has become a part of holiday festivities. Denver Gillen’s iconic drawings from 1939 appear in this version, which helped establish the iconic appearance of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

Check out Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

2. The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg

Children’s Christmas books do not get much better than The Polar Express. Chris Van Allsburg’s Caldecott Medal-winning classic is about a small boy’s adventure on a magical train and his hopes and dreams for the season. The 1985 novel recounts the tale of a youngster who is awakened on Christmas Eve by the sound of a train outside his home. The youngster has an incredible Christmas journey that any kid would envy, and he makes friends with elves and Santa Claus along the way!

Since its release, The Polar Express has become a beloved classic that readers of all ages continue to discover and appreciate. The book’s charming illustrations and simple but humorous text transports readers to the North Pole and make folks believe in magic. Also, there is an animated movie adaption of the book with Tom Hanks voicing the conductor.

Check out The Polar Express.

3. The Twelve Birds of Christmas by Stephen Moss

Naturalist Stephen Moss writes passionately about the birds that inspired some of the most well-known Christmas legends in The Twelve Birds of Christmas. Moss’s decades-long career as a natural historian is evident in the meticulous research and beautiful prose. Stephen’s writing covers swans, partridges, and even woodpeckers. This book will give you a deeper understanding of each beloved Christmas tale’s culture, history, and mythology, even if you are not the greatest admirer of birds.

Check out The Twelve Birds of Chrismas.

4. The Usual Santas by Peter Lovesey

You will not find any familiar holiday tropes in The Usual Santas. However, for readers who appreciate a good crime thriller and are searching for Christmas books for adults, The Usual Santas is the ideal stocking stuffer. Following an introduction by Peter Lovesey, a group of award-winning authors lead readers through 18 tales of mystery and whodunit, all with Santa Claus as the central character. You may enjoy a winter vacation without leaving your couch, thanks to the fact that the tales in this Christmas book are set all over the world in exotic places like Copenhagen, Korea, Paris, and Havana.

Check out The Usual Santas.

5. One More Christmas at the Castle by Trisha Ashley’s

Some of the greatest Christmas reads are by romance novelists. One More Christmas at the Castle by Trisha Ashley is a heartwarming holiday tale. Sabine, an old widow, wants to spend one more holiday season at Mitras Castle before relocating. Dido Jones, a party planner, comes in to assist her with the seasonal decorations and celebrations, but she soon learns of her own tangled past with the house. Tensions increase as Dido develops romantic feelings for a member of Sabine’s family and learns that more secrets exist besides her unexpected ties to Mitras Castle. This Christmas may not be as merry as everyone had hoped due to the shocking disclosures.

Check out One More Christmas at the Castle.

6. Christmas: A Biography by Judith Flanders

Christmas: A Biography by Judith Flanders is a great way to break from fictitious holiday tales. The Christmas myths and stories Judith discusses in her writing are full of surprises for the reader. You will find out the history of the Christmas parade and why we use paper to wrap presents. Likewise, readers will learn new information, such as that in 1805, Lewis and Clark traded Christmas joke presents. Flanders’ highly renowned nonfiction book will take you on a journey through history, whether your holiday is a religious celebration or more of a family event.

Check out Christmas: A Biography.

7. The Toymakers by Robert Dinsdale

Robert Dinsdale’s The Toymakers follows a young runaway whose narrative is inspired by toys. In 1917, Cathy works for the Emporium in an attempt to escape the life-altering circumstances in London. She thinks the shop is just a normal toy store, but the owner’s two boys are really apprentices in the shadowy world of magic. As the first frost blankets London’s streets, Cathy is confronted with the actual meaning of family as a conflict threatens to take over the home she loves. If she can find a way to strike a balance between the two universes, she might be able to rescue the people she cares about using her wits.

Check out The Toymakers.

8. Twelve Nights by Andrew Zurcher

Older children who have read A Wrinkle in Time and The Golden Compass and are searching for a wonderful story to enjoy this Christmas season should read Twelve Nights. Andrew Zurcher’s first novel tells the story of how Kay and her sister Elle searched for their father, who went missing on Christmas Eve after everyone else in their family had gone to bed. The situation becomes more complicated when the sisters learn that their father’s colleagues claim they never even knew him. A pair of mysterious men come to Kay’s window, looking for her father. This intrusion sets Kay and her sister out on an adventure. The journey starts as a Christmas mystery but quickly escalates into a centuries-long battle against wraiths and other magical creatures.

Check out Twelve Nights.

9. Village Christmas by Laurie Lee

Laurie Lee’s reminiscences of her childhood in Village Christmas should be on everyone’s book list this holiday season. In Village Christmas, the author recalls how he moved away from his family at the age of 19, but how much he still values his childhood memories. Lee’s wit, which cheerfully depicts each custom, and the conversational style transport readers to another time and place. You will get Lee’s advice on how to deal with love during wartime and the account of how he fought to protect his native valley from greedy developers who threatened to erase its rich heritage. Each page turn is an invitation to the Cotswolds of yesteryear, elevating the reader’s vacation experience to new heights.

Check out Village Christmas.

10. A Magical New York Christmas by Anita Hughes

With Anita Hughes’s A Magical New York Christmas, you will check into the Plaza Hotel and lose yourself in a heartwarming holiday romance. Sabrina Post, a 26-year-old ghostwriter, travels to the Plaza Hotel to begin work on a book on Grayson Westcott, a famous art dealer. The struggling writer is thrilled to be paid and spend a week at the hotel, but her intentions to rest and write gets sidetracked when she meets a British guest at the hotel bar. Sabrina’s refusal to correct him when he mistakes her for a wealthy visitor leads her to realize that Ian Wentworth is also hiding his actual identity. Both characters are unaware that falling in love is a byproduct of their quest for the truth.

Check out A Magical New York Christmas.

11. The Night Before Christmas by Nikolai Gogol

Gogal authored the original The Night Before Christmas, which inspired the cheerier contemporary fable. As early as 1831, Gogal started penning a tale about a Ukrainian blacksmith who must fight the devil to protect his hometown of Dikanka. Mischief ensues as they both develop feelings for Oksana. This tale of two suitors vying for the affection of Oksana is still recited by many households on Christmas Eve. One of the most famous Christmas stories ever told came from the man considered the “father” of Russian literature.

Check out The Night Before Christmas.

12. An Almost Perfect Christmas by Nina Stibbe

Everyone hopes the holidays go off without a hitch, but reality usually proves otherwise. Through humor, Nina Stibbe’s An Almost Perfect Christmas helps readers forget their holiday woes and get into the season’s spirit. This book chronicles the author’s mother’s yearly struggle to create the perfect turkey, their pudding fires, and the round-robin code of behavior that kept their family on track for the new year. Even if your Christmas has been more chaotic than any other, this book will make you smile and chuckle. As you read through the book reliving Stibbe’s Christmases and New Year’s Eves, you will appreciate the holiday celebrations even more.

Check out An Almost Perfect Christmas.

13. The Gritterman by Orlando Weeks

The protagonist of The Gritterman recommends spending time in the snow on winter nights while basking in the glow of the moon. He had been working for the city to clear snow for decades, but now the council has let him go. This book chronicles his final day at work and, in a novel twist, includes a musical score. Orlando Weeks, the book’s author, drew on his own childhood to produce an engaging first novel for young readers. This book is one of the greatest seasonal reads or listens, regardless of your preferred medium.

Check out The Gritterman.

14. The Christmas Pig by J.K. Rowling

Reading The Christmas Pig is a fantastic way for kids to have a fresh holiday adventure. In the J.K. Rowling story, Jack is the main character and has a favorite toy called Dur Pig, or DP. Together, this pair faces the world, but on Christmas Eve, DP disappears. When Jack’s parents buy him a replacement toy called the Christmas Pig, Jack and the Pig go on an extraordinary journey to rescue their closest buddy. The Christmas Pig would be a great addition to any child’s library or Christmas stocking. If you are looking for Christmas books for kids, the artwork is unique and will make any kid happy on a cold Christmas Eve.

Check out The Christmas Pig.

15. Letters From Father Christmas by J. R. R. Tolkien

The Lord of the Rings trilogy brought J. R. R. Tolkien to prominence, but it is not all he is known for. Letters From Father Christmas is a compilation of letters he wrote as Santa Claus to his children. Tolkien would dress up as Santa Claus every year and leave messages for his kids to find. Some of the tales include a polar bear crashing through the roof, an encounter with the man on the moon, and the presence of goblins in the basement. Sometimes, the minor characters compose a letter explaining their perspective on the events. This delightful anthology has the power to make every reader feel like they are a member of Tolkien’s family.

Check out Letters From Father Christmas.

16. The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen

If you are still feeling fascinated by “Frozen,” you owe it to yourself to read Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen, the classic Christmas novel that served as inspiration for the film’s setting and characters. This “tale in seven stories” is one of the Christmas classic books, full of enchantment, camaraderie, and high adventure. The fantastic pictures by Finnish artists bring these uplifting and funny tales to life, elevating this book to the level of a true work of art much beyond that of a children’s book. This holiday season, instead of watching yet another repeat of “Frozen,” get together to read the book that inspired the hit Disney movie.

Check out The Snow Queen.

17. A Treasury of African American Christmas Stories

The Christmas season is an excellent time to think about how you have grown as a person, how society has changed, and the mistakes that require correction. Featuring works from well-known and lesser-known Black writers, A Treasury of African American Christmas Stories skillfully weaves literary strands like faith, unconditional love, and remembering one’s roots across this collection of stories set around the Christmas season. In addition, the book brims with hope in the face of violence, poverty, and racism. This anthology, rooted in history and calling on the better parts of human nature, urges readers to look both forth and inside this Christmas season and will resonate with readers from all walks of life.

Check out A Treasury of African American Christmas Stories.

18. A Christmas Legacy by Anne Perry

What you need for Christmas this year is a Victorian mystery. In A Christmas Legacy, Anne Perry spins a riveting narrative of Gracie, who has worked as a maid for many years but hopes to begin a new career after the holidays. At that moment, Millie bursts in, distressed because a thief has been rifling through the belongings of the neighboring family in whom she also serves as a maid. Before Millie is blamed and cast out on the street, Gracie understands she is the only one who can identify the thief. In the exciting story, you will find out whether Gracie succeeds in her mission to preserve Christmas and, maybe, a few lives.

Check out A Christmas Legacy.

19. Christmas Days by Jeanette Winterson

Good food is essential to every celebration, and the holidays are no exception. Jeanette Winterson wrote Christmas Days: 12 Stories and 12 Feasts for 12 Days so that everyone might enjoy her favorite seasonal delicacies. Winterson’s bleak sense of humor and the eerie magic of the holiday season are on full display in these twelve stories, which recount her recollections and include detailed recipes for each of the 12 days leading up to Christmas. Reading about ghosts, forbidden loves, and dysfunctional families is like taking a trip to a fantastic new restaurant. You should read this one while sitting at the kitchen table. Christmas Days is one of the short Christmas books to get you into the Christmas mood.

Check out Christmas Days.

20. How to Catch a Gingerbread Man by Adam Wallace and Andy Elkerton

For a more delightful holiday pastime, read How to Catch a Gingerbread Man while the cookies bake. In this children’s book, a gingerbread man comes to life and joins well-known figures like Peter Rabbit, Robin Hood, and Sherlock Holmes for an adventure in a bookshop. Readers may flip the pages themselves to help capture the elusive gingerbread guy. This book is a relaxing literary adventure perfect for putting your feet up with the kids after a hard winter’s day.

Check out How to Catch a Gingerbread Man.

21. Duke, Actually by Jenny Holiday

Duke, Actually, written by Jenny Holiday, is a contemporary romance set in New York City around Christmastime. This novel is the ideal book to curl up with after watching a heartwarming holiday film on Hallmark or Netflix. After his royal fiancée dumps him, the heir to the Duke of Aquilla, Baron Maximilian von Habsburg, is ready to find love in New York City. There, Baron meets Dani, who is looking for something more than the superficial relationships that have hurt her in the past. You may expect to see people making snow angels in Central Park and hear why falling in love over the holidays is the best.

Check out Duke, Actually.


For many folks, Christmas is the most delightful time of the year. A snowy Christmas novel, some home-baked cookies, and a steaming mug of hot chocolate are great ways to get into the holiday mood. This list is a selection of our best Christmas books for kids and adults to read this holiday season. There are a lot of great Christmas-themed read-aloud storybooks that are sure to put a smile on any child or adult’s face.

Next, check out Christmas trivia questions.

FAQ: Christmas books

Here are frequently asked questions about Christmas books.

What are the best Christmas books to read to children?

Some of the best Christmas books for children include The Snow Queen, Rudolph The Red Reindeer, and The Twelve Birds of Christmas. Also, consider getting The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg.

How do I find good Christmas books?

If looking for good Christmas books, you could consider the recommendations on Oprah Daily or search Amazon to buy the book. Good book review sites will help you get an idea of the book before you make your purchase.

Author: Carly Hill

Arguably the #1 Christmas fan. I believe it’s never too early to get started decorating your next tree!

Carly Hill

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