Christmas book recommendations
December 2, 2007 2:31 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for some good, happy Christmas stories.

What are your favorite Christmas stories? I've enjoyed Miracle on 34th Street, The life and adventures of Santa Claus (Baum), Miracle and other Christmas stories (Connie Willis), Hogfather (Pratchett), and The polar express.

I picked up some books at the library, but unfortunately I seem to have happened upon the legacy of Hans Christian Anderson, and got not just one, but two books where parents died of cancer on Christmas. So, please, nothing depressing. I'd really love something fun.

I have also read these suggestions and placed a few holds at the library for: Truman Capote's A Christmas Memory, The Doomsday Book (okay, so I know it's not cheerful, but at least it's sad with a point), Sedaris' "Holidays on Ice", and Jean Shepherd's "In God We Trust - All Others Pay Cash". And found a good reminder to read some of the books that I love with Christmas scenes in them -- Little Women, the little house books, the Betsy-Tacy books, and the Sherlock Holmes Christmas goose story.

While I would be happy to hear your favorite books, I'd also love a list of many Christmas books that you've enjoyed. I like having lost of suggestions to work with.
posted by Margalo Epps to Writing & Language (16 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
I haven't read it but my mother enjoyed John Grisham's Skipping Christmas.
posted by ceri richard at 2:42 PM on December 2, 2007


A Child's Christmas in Wales is a short story (read it online here or buy it here) is very charming and evocative, as told from the point of view of a small boy who is enchanted with the goings-on in his house at Christmastime.
posted by iconomy at 2:44 PM on December 2, 2007


(who grows up and is recalling past Christmases, I should have said)
posted by iconomy at 2:45 PM on December 2, 2007


I loved The Christmas Day Kitten by James Herriot. It's meant to be a kids' story, but I think it's touching.
posted by christinetheslp at 2:54 PM on December 2, 2007


I loved Rumer Godden's The Story of Holly and Ivy when I was younger.
posted by waterlily at 3:22 PM on December 2, 2007


Madeleine L'Engle wrote some short Christmas books for children based on her Austin family: A full house : an Austin family Christmas and The twenty-four days before Christmas : an Austin family story. I know I read them when I was younger, but can't remember much about their quality. While looking, I also came across a collection of Christmas stories by Newbery winning authors which includes one of the L'Engle stories as well as ones by E.L. Konigsburg, Katherine Paterson, etc.
posted by wsquared at 4:06 PM on December 2, 2007 [1 favorite]


Capote's "A Christmas Memory" isn't happy, if happy is what you are looking for.

I liked Rosamunde Pilcher's Winter Solstice.
posted by donajo at 4:11 PM on December 2, 2007


Oh my yes, "A Child's Christmas in Wales". I have read it to my children every year of their lives (and um, they are now 18 and 22).

Truman Capote's "A Christmas Memory" is also wonderful. But, yeah, won't exactly leave you laughing.

What about David Sedaris "Santa Diaries" Don't know if "happy" is the right word, but it's fall-off-your-chair funny no matter how often you hear it. Listen to it, don't read, because his delivery is about 90% of the hilarity.
posted by nax at 4:50 PM on December 2, 2007


I enjoyed the story by Paul Auster -- Auggie Wren's Christmas Story. Rather pleasant.
posted by pgorrindo at 4:59 PM on December 2, 2007


Nobody does Christmas like Dickens. He's written a load of essays in addition to the obvious stories.
posted by lhall at 5:10 PM on December 2, 2007


Ooh, I didn't know there were Austin Christmas stories. And, after my terrible luck with books that I picked out from the library (two cancer, one maudlin orphan), I finally lucked out.

The great Christmas kidnapping caper by Jean Van Leeuwen is awesome and hilarious. Features tough-guy mice, Macy's toy department, and Santa Claus.
posted by Margalo Epps at 8:05 PM on December 2, 2007


Oh, and thanks, I'll scratch the Capote.
posted by Margalo Epps at 8:10 PM on December 2, 2007


It's much more religious than any of the other books on your list, but The Best Christmas Pageant Ever was a book that I loved as a kid - very funny and touching. I'm not sure how it stands up to rereading as an adult though.
posted by twoporedomain at 7:21 AM on December 3, 2007


Rosemary Sutcliff's The Armourer's House has a lovely Christmas episode.

Noel Streatfeild's Curtain Up also has a touching Christmas scene.
I actually find the Holmes goose story quite depressing - doesn't the man whose goose it is have a hat that shows that his wife doesn't love him?
posted by paduasoy at 12:32 PM on December 3, 2007


Define happy. David Rakoff's parody of the night before Christmas (the first segment of this holiday episode of this American life) is bitingly satirical, and yet ends with someone coming to terms with her life and discovering that she likes herself. Maybe not the peppiest, but I find it satisfying.
posted by Sara Anne at 3:07 PM on December 3, 2007


The Christmas Day Kitten by James Herriot is not a happy book. Any book which includes a parent dying at Christmastime is not happy.

happy = no one dies.
posted by Margalo Epps at 3:22 PM on December 13, 2007


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