Leading up to the holiday season, I love to read books with a Christmas theme. I adore everything about Christmas—the decorations, the food, the music, and the stories, and a good Christmas book is guaranteed to put me in a festive frame of mind.
There are a multitude of wonderful Christmas books out there, but these are a few of my favourites. They include novels, short stories, a children’s book, and a book on recreating a vintage Christmas.
Paper Angels by Jimmy Wayne
Paper Angels is a story about the true spirit of Christmas. After fifteen-year-old Thomas, his mother, and his younger sister, Sara, escape from Thomas’s abusive father, they struggle to survive with no home and no money. Too proud to ask for help, Thomas’s mother must work all the hours she can just to put food on the table. When Christmas comes and she can’t afford to buy Thomas and Sara any presents, she swallows her pride and signs up for the Salvation Army Angel Tree Program.
When Kevin Morrell, a husband and father with his own problems, comes across a big tree in a shopping mall, covered in paper angels, each bearing the name of a child in need, he has no idea that the name he picks from the tree will have far-reaching effects on his own life and that of a fifteen-year-old boy he has never met.
Written by Jimmy Wayne, an American country music singer and songwriter, Paper Angels is a story that tugs at the heartstrings and encourages you to think of those less fortunate during the holiday season.
A Redbird Christmas by Fannie Flagg
A Redbird Christmas, like all of Fannie Flagg’s books, contains a colourful cast of characters. When Oswald T. Campbell, aged fifty-two, is given only months to live, he decides to move to a town with a warmer climate; somewhere peaceful to end his days. Ending up in the small Alabama town of Lost River, he doesn’t count on getting caught up in the the lives of the residents, including a young, crippled girl called Patsy, who lives in a trailer in the woods, and a wounded red cardinal called Jack, who lives at the local village store and wins the hearts of everyone he meets. A Redbird Christmas is a sweet story, just the right length for a holiday read, that leaves you believing in the miracle of Christmas.
The Christmas Scrapbook by Philip Gulley
Philip Gulley is a quaker minister, who writes the Harmony series of books about the small quaker community of Harmony, Indiana. Although the books revolve around the lives of a central group of characters, each book can be read as a stand-alone story. In The Christmas Scrapbook, Pastor Sam Gardner secretly attends weekly scrapbook classes to make his wife a scrapbook for Christmas. However, his weekly absences begin to arouse Barbara’s suspicions and rumours soon spread through the community as Sam struggles to complete the scrapbook. This is a charming little book, a quick read, and as an extra bonus, it includes a sheet of Christmas stickers.
This Year it will be Different by Maeve Binchy
Maeve Binchy has always been a favourite author of mine. With richly woven themes of family, friendship and love, her stories are always heartwarming and leave you feeling satisfied. This Year it will be Different is a collection of fourteen Christmas-themed stories set in Australia, England, and Maeve’s homeland of Ireland. They explore the relationships between family and friends, and the stresses, but also the joys, that the holiday season brings.
Sadly, Maeve passed away earlier this year. Beloved by her millions of fans, she left behind a legacy of 16 novels and several short story collections. This holiday season I will be re-reading this delightful Christmas treasury in honour of Maeve and the wonderful story-teller that she was.
The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams
The Velveteen Rabbit is a classic children’s story by Margery Williams, which was first published in 1922. The edition that I have was republished in 1997, a lovely hard-covered book that tells the story of a stuffed toy rabbit given to a little boy at Christmas, and how love can make a toy become real. The illustrations by Don Daily are as magical as the story.
Have Yourself A Very Vintage Christmas by Susan Waggoner
Have Yourself A Very Vintage Christmas is a lovely book that explores Christmas traditions, decorating and crafts from the 1920’s to the 1960’s. It is full of vintage decorating tips, and step-by-step instructions for craft projects. There is also a section with recipes for homemade candy, and at the back of the book there is an art portfolio that includes pages of vintage images to use on greeting cards or papercraft projects. This is a great book for anyone who loves Christmas, vintage, and crafts.