While I love a Christmas film, especially when you discover one you’ve never seen before on the Christmas channel, I do sometimes prefer a good Christmas read that I can get lost in and avoid the hecticness of the season for a few hours; there’s nothing better. Now some of these are pretty obvious whilst others are a bit more obscure but I wanted to share those that I like and keep returning to for those Christmas feels.
A Christmas Carol and Other Christmas Stories, Charles Dickens
An obvious one? Of course! Dickens is synonymous with Christmas if you ask me. Growing up in Rochester, Kent and still living nearby, I’ve been forever surrounded by this acclaimed wordsmith. While he’s not by no means the ‘father’ of christmas, he’s definitely a close companion to the season in my mind; especially with his works having themes such as generosity, kindness, and charity – all hand-in-glove with the season! This edition by Barnes & Noble was a gift one Christmas and every year since, I’ve revisited its pages and relived the seasonal magic. While A Christmas Carol is a classic, I do often prefer reading the shorter Other Christmas Stories found accompanying it. I find them a bit more digestible.
The Folio book of Christmas
This is an anthology of prose and some poems all surrounding Christmas. It has excerpts of letters, journal entries, and articles from the likes of Kenneth Grahame, J. R. R. Tolkien, William Wordsworth, Charles Dickens, Thomas Hardy, Cecil Beaton, and even Queen Victoria. I love reading the journal entries and letters recounting their festive days and how detailed they are. It’s nice to read something that was written so long ago but the feelings surrounding Christmas are still very much the same as we experience today. Because of the fact this book is a collection, it makes it so much easier to dip in and out of when I want to.
Some Christmas poetry is perfect for those cozy evenings with a hot chocolate and blanket. I have built quite the collection of Christmas poetry so far but I do have my eye on a few more books I’d love to get. My favourite thing the past few years has been discovering more pamphlets by Candlestick Press, which has meant that I’ve amassed quite a collection for Christmas poems. My collection includes: Christmas Movies; a Double Bill of Festive Poems, Christmas Lights; Ten Poems for Dark Winter Nights, By Bus to Christmas, Christmas Crackers; ten poems to Surprise and Delight, and The Twelve Poems of Christmas Volume Two. The latter is selected by Carol Ann Duffy who I believe has selected for a whole host of volumes for Candlestick Press but I’ve only had chance to get the second volume thus far. The Christmas Movies one really made me laugh. Reading poetry about the likes of Love Actually and The Holiday was something I didn’t think I’d ever come across!
The other book I have absolutely loved reading recently and is a newer addition to my bookshelf is Poems for Christmas by Macmillan Collector’s Library. I know you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover (or size) but it is such a cute and convenient size to grab and take it out with me in my bag. I also love that it not only has poetry but also what we now call songs. I know they started somewhere as poetry originally but it seems so odd to see them in print outside of a school assembly. It also means that I can’t read them as poetry but instead have to mentally sing them or even hum them to myself.
A Family Under The Christmas Tree, Terri Reed
As I mentioned in my Christmas Films post, I’d watched the hallmark adaptation of this but hadn’t read it yet – well that has now changed. I read A Family Under The Christmas Tree in the span of about two evenings. I was anxious to see what it was like and how many changes Hallmark had made from the original work. I did have a few problems with this book (review here) but if you’re looking for a book with all those Christmas feels and that family warmth to a story then look no further, this is perfect… I also recommend watching the film too.
So those are my festive reading recommendations. If there’s any you think I’ve missed or would like to recommend me some, then please do – I’m always looking for new reads!
Cheerio for now!