We should not forget that Christmas is not about buying and consuming but about loving, sharing and appreciating. It is a time for our loved ones, a time for cuddles and smiles, a time for cookie baking and carol singing. Christmas is a time for the whole family to gather in the living room to watch, read, or listen to Christmas stories. Here we have compiled a list of some of the best Christmas books that you can read this December with your loved ones.

 

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

A Christmas Carol by Charles DickensOur number one most favorite Christmas book is (not a surprise for anyone, I guess) Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. We all know the plot but this handsome edition cannot be matched in terms of atmosphere, mood and sheer elegance. Innocenti’s full-page watercolors are striking, full-bodied evocations of 19th-century London, particularly the life and vigor of the city’s streets: merchants sell their wares, urchins tumble and play, the gentry ride in their carriages, and the destitute huddle in doorways and keep warm at makeshift stoves.

Each page of text is boxed with fine sepia rules, overlaid with a delicate, gradually fading wash, and topped by a single, modest ornament. The effect suggests an old manuscript or parchment–one that, every so often, opens a splendid pictorial window on the world of this classic narrative. For all its elegance, however, this is a somber and unsentimental view of Dickens’s world. The beautiful and the sordid, the good and the malevolent, are never far apart – a concept that is powerfully suggested through the frequent use of high, oddly angled perspectives, as if readers, along with Scrooge and the spirits, are privy to telling glimpses of life skimmed from above.

 

 

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

J.R.R. Tolkien Letters from Father ChristmasWe are going to continue with a master of fairy-tales and imaginary worlds unparalleled in the breadth of his fantasy: J.R.R. Tolkien. Maybe you know him best for his sweeping, mythical and epic Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit but you should not miss this book either. In 1920, a few short years after Tolkien returned from World War I, he began an endearing family Christmas tradition that would continue for the next 23 years. After the birth of his firstborn son, John, Tolkien began to write his four children letters from Father Christmas.

Every December an envelope bearing a stamp from the North Pole would arrive for J.R.R. Tolkien’s children. Inside would be a letter in a strange, spidery handwriting and a beautiful colored drawing or painting. The letters were from Father Christmas. They told wonderful tales of life at the North Pole: how the reindeer got loose and scattered presents all over the place; how the accident-prone North Polar Bear climbed the North Pole and fell through the roof of Father Christmas’s house into the dining room; how he broke the Moon into four pieces and made the Man in it fall into the back garden; how there were wars with the troublesome horde of goblins who lived in the caves beneath the house, and many more.

No reader, young or old, can fail to be charmed by Tolkien’s inventiveness in this classic holiday treat.

 

 

The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg

In the middle of the night, a young boy is woken by a train pulling up outside his house. The train is full of children and it takes them to a magical trip to the North Pole. Through dark forests, over tall mountains, and across a desert of ice, the Polar Express makes its way to the city atop the world, where the boy will make his Christmas wish. When he arrives, Santa Claus offers him any gift he desires. The boy modestly asks for one bell from the reindeer’s harness. It turns out to be a very special gift, for only believers in Santa can hear it ring.

This book is one of the all time great magical stories, with stunning illustrations. For millions of readers worldwide, this mysterious journey to the North Pole has become a beloved classic. In this 30th anniversary edition, the inimitable artistry of Chris Van Allsburg is revealed in a never-before-seen fashion, with a new jacket design and expanded interior layout. “At one time, most of my friends could hear the bell, but as years passed, it fell silent for all of them. Even Sarah found one Christmas that she could no longer hear its sweet sound. Though I’ve grown old, the bell still rings for me, as it does for all who truly believe.” Pick up this book and see if you can hear the bell!

Christmas Day in the Morning by Pearl S Buck

Pearl BuckFrom Pulitzer and Nobel Prize-winning author Pearl S. Buck and acclaimed artist Mark Buehner comes a heartwarming story that illustrates the true meaning of Christmas.

Rob wants to get his father something special for Christmas this year—something that shows how much he really loves him. But it’s Christmas Eve, and he doesn’t have much money to spend. What could he possibly get? Suddenly, Rob thinks of the best gift of all…

The acclaimed author of nearly a hundred books for children and adults, Pearl S. Buck captures the spirit of Christmas in this elegant, heartening story about a boy’s gift of love. Originally published in 1955, this timeless story with glorious full-color art by Mark Buehner will be a welcome addition to your holiday collection.

 

 

 

 

The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus: The Best of the Classics by L. Frank Baum

L. Frank BaumEvery child knows about Santa Claus, the jolly man who brings gifts to all on Christmas. There are many stories that tell of his life, but the delightful version relayed in The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus is by far the most charming and original of all. Only L. Frank Baum, the man who created the wonderful land of Oz, could have told Santa’s tale in such rich and imaginative detail.

The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus tells the captivating story of Neclaus, a child found and raised in the magical Forest of Burzee by a wood-nymph. Among the immortals, Neclaus grows an innocent youth, until the day when he discovers the misery that rules the human world and hovers, like a shadow, above the heads of the children. Now, in the attempt of easing human suffering, he, with the help of his immortal friends, will have to face the forces of evil and of resignation, in order to bring joy to the children and teach them, for the sake of humanity, the importance of sharing and caring for each other.

 

 

 

 

 

Nutcracker and Mouse King and the Tale of the Nutcracker by E. T. A. Hoffmann  and Alexandre Dumas

The NutckrackerIt wasn’t until the 1950s that seeing The Nutcracker at Christmastime became an American tradition. But the story itself is much older and its original intent more complex. This eye-opening new volume presents two of the tale’s earliest versions, both in new translations: E.T.A. Hoffmann’s Nutcracker and Mouse King (1816), in which a young girl is whisked away to the Land of Toys to help her animated nutcracker defeat the Mouse King, and Alexandre Dumas’s 1845 adaptation, The Tale of the Nutcracker, based on Hoffmann’s popular work. Irresistible tales of magic, mystery, and childhood adventure, these timeless delights and fresh interpretations about the importance of imagination will captivate readers of all ages.

In 1892, the Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and choreographers Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov turned Alexandre Dumas‘s adaptation of the story into the ballet The Nutcracker.

 

 

 

 

The Night Before Christmas by Nikolai Gogol

The Night Before ChristmasWritten in 1831 by the father of Russian literature, this uproarious tale tells of the blacksmith Vakula’s battle with the devil, who has stolen the moon and hidden it in his pocket, allowing him to wreak havoc on the village of Dikanka. Both the devil and Vakula are in love with Oksana, the most beautiful girl in Dikanka. Vakula is determined to win her over; the devil, equally determined, unleashes a snowstorm to thwart Vakula’s efforts. Zany and mischievous, and drawing inspiration from the folk tales of Gogol’s far-flung village in Ukraine, The Night Before Christmas is the basis for many movie and opera adaptations, and is still read aloud to children on Christmas Eve in Ukraine and Russia.