There’s not a lot I like more than a good book at Christmas. Ideally, I have a big fluffy chair between the window to watch the snowfall and the burning logs of the fireplace. On the small table near my chair, I have a mug of tea or coffee. Here’s a list of my cozy Christmas books.
*Updated November of 2020 to add even more Christmas books to the list!
Oh, and I almost forgot, I’m breathing in the fir tree scent from the fresh Christmas tree (or the essential oils diffuser!). Add a good cozy Christmas book to all that, and I’m in heaven.
I have quite a few Christmas books on my stand right now, and I can’t wait to dive in! Some of them are oldies but goodies. Then, a few are brand new I’m super-excited to experience for the first time.
One is even a Christmas novella from a very talented lady I’ve known most of my life and is the beginning of a new series for her.
Let’s dive in, shall we?!
I hope you too can pick up some of these Christmas books (or others!) to give as gifts or enjoy yourself this holiday season!
🎄 My holiday booklist: Christmas books
These first 7 books were on my original Christmas booklist. I’ve since added several categories to include more festive books to read in winter or during the Christmas season. So look through the list, and let’s curl up with a blanket and good book by the fire.
by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb
First of all, this book is marketed incredibly well. Who can pass up the cover with a girl walking towards the Eiffel Tower in a bright red coat and the words Last Christmas in Paris and A Novel of World War I over her? Truly, I am the ideal target reader as a history buff and former French teacher. As are many others, I’m naturally drawn to anything Paris, and World War I is a fascinating time period to explore. Good characters and the emotional upheaval of the time make for an absorbing read.
Second, I’ve read several of Hazel Gaynor’s previous books and love her writing style and delicate description. It seems to place you in the scene with all five of your senses alert and aware of the situation. I’ve not read Heather Webb before but am already intrigued by the setting, time period, and style of this book. Much of the book is told in letters back and forth between Thomas Hardy on the front line in France and Evie Elliott in a quiet suburb of London.
Pick up your copy from Amazon today by clicking here: Last Christmas in Paris.
***Update! I finished this book just before Christmas, and I oh so wanted to like it much more than I did. It is difficult to write a story in letters, and unfortunately, it just did not hold my interest. Now, it could be because we were crazy busy, and I read it in many sessions. Perhaps if read in 1 or 2 sittings it would be better. That said, I’d probably give it a 3 ½ stars out of 5.
by Charles Todd
(Bonus book! I veered off of my scheduled reads list)
Another book I read this month set during the same World War I time period was The Walnut Tree: A Holiday Tale by Charles Todd. I’d recommend it as more of a page-turning read with characters you care about with all their problems, idiosyncrasies, and determination. It’s a part of the Bess Crawford series but focuses on one of her fellow nurses during World War I. It’s a well-written, historical, romantic mystery, and I loved it!
Order it here from Amazon.
by Tamera Alexander
If you read much Christian fiction you will probably recognize the name, Tamera Alexander. Because I’ve read most of her books, I know I can always count on her to give me an uplifting, compelling story. Her characters speak from the heart, and I love the historical world she paints. (Also, as my younger self I used to babysit her children and know first-hand what a fun and amazing family they are!) This Christmas she takes us to Civil War-torn Nashville and the Carnton Plantation.
“Amid war and the fading dream of the Confederacy, a wounded soldier and a destitute widow discover the true meaning of Christmas – and sacrificial love.”
Around Christmas, this is just the kind of story I like to indulge in by the fire with my steaming mug of tea. However, I feel I have to warn you. I’ve found I don’t like to put down Tamera Alexander’s books and end up reading through the night or don’t get anything at all done until all the pages have been turned. Definitely, it’s a heart-warming addition to a list of Christmas books!
Spoil yourself and order it now on Amazon by clicking here: Christmas at Carnton.
***Update! I finished Christmas at Carnton and find myself eagerly awaiting the next book in the series! If you have any interest in the Civil War era, in Tennesee especially, this is the book for you! This inspiring story was well-told with fascinating characters and locations. I highly recommend it for yourself or as a gift for a friend. Now, I’m journeying to Paris during World War I with Last Christmas in Paris.
by Kate Milford
I have a confession to make. I love mysteries. Generally English mysteries in a big house and a good who-dun-it. Greenglass House is juvenile fiction, but I’m excited to have it on my list so I can then pass it off to my daughter. Double-win!
I don’t know about you, but I usually like to preview the books she reads (although she’s getting too fast for me!). This is not to spy on her and be controlling, but more a way to be a part of her life. Because I love books so much, it is awesome to be able to discuss them with my 9-year-old daughter and watch her face light up with excitement. Of course, I want to be a part of that and know where the excitement is coming from.
So here in Greenglass House, we have a mystery with 12-year-old (the innkeeper’s adopted son). It’s wintertime, and he lives in the spooky smuggler’s inn. Secretive guests start arriving during this normally quiet period for the inn, and the cook’s daughter Meddy teams up with Milo to solve the mystery of Greenglass House. Why are things going missing? Who are all these people in conflict? They must find the secret of the house and learn about themselves at the same time. Awesome.
by Agatha Christie
Hercule Poirot. What does the name mean to you? Funnily for me, my first thought is of the fastidious detective’s famous mustache. This is the ultimate Christmas cozy mystery because we find the great detective in a family mansion investigating what? A murder of course. Was it the random burglar? The butler perhaps? Or do we dig deeper into the animosities between the family members gathered for the “merry” holiday season?
I love it. There’s a reason Agatha Christie mysteries have sold over a billion copies in English and another billion in other languages. I really can’t resist a good mystery, so take it from me. Another one for a list of great Christmas books. Get yours today!
To get it on Amazon click here: Hercule Poirot’s Christmas
by Sarah Caudwell
Sarah Caudwell is fabulous. Who else could make English tax law a comedy in an old English village with a murder mystery? It sounds completely off, but it is hysterical. This is one of those books I’ve read many times and just happens to take place during the Christmas season. The Sibyl in Her Grave is one of those witty, crazy books that somehow makes complete sense, and I find myself laughing out loud every other page no matter how many times I read it.
A huge part of this book is the great cast of characters. Professor Hilary Tamar (an Oxford don) is called upon by her friend Julia at Lincoln’s Inn to help her aunt with a tax problem. Aunt Regina and her friends have pooled their resources to invest in equities and made off extremely well. Now the tax man’s come calling, and the money’s all been spent!
Add to that a psychic counselor Isabella del Camino (the Sibyl) who’s moved into the rectory of the village and plowed down a cherished garden. She also keeps an aviary of ravens and has offended everyone in the village. So what happens? Spoiler: She ends up found murdered of course.
Chaos, fun, and tax law intertwine to make a great story. Reading my description it doesn’t do it justice at all. There’s too much to the story and awesome character quirks, and it’s a fun place to escape to more craziness than your own holiday household.
by Samantha Silva
Last but not least, Mr. Dickens and His Carol. Every Christmas my family watches various versions of what’s probably the most famous Christmas tale ever written, “A Christmas Carol”. Have you ever wondered about the man who wrote it? Was he really hating Christmas, depressed by the failure of his last book, in writer’s block, and envisioning the poorhouse? What inspired him to write this classic Christmas story?
“Mr. Dickens and His Carol is a charming, comic, and ultimately poignant story about the creation of the most famous Christmas tale ever written. It’s as foggy and haunted and redemptive as the original; it’s all heart, and I read it in a couple of ebullient, Christmassy gulps.”
-Anthony Doerr (author of All the Light We Cannot See, another fabulous book)
Purchase your own copy to get started on right away! Click to order on Amazon here: Mr. Dickens and His Carol.
📖 More winter and Christmas books
by Charles Dickens
What Christmas booklist is complete without A Christmas Carol?
“I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach.”
by William Shakespeare
Shakespeare at Christmas, why not? It’s named for the twelfth night after Christmas, the end of the Christmas season, Twelfth Night is your Shakespearean pick for the season.
“Be not afraid of greatness. Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and others have greatness thrust upon them.”
by Katherine Arden
The Bear and the Nightingale is the first book in the Winternight Trilogy, and I loved all three books. They combine two of my favorite genres, historical fiction and fantasy. The books absolutely immerse the reader in medieval Russian folklore and bring it to life.
The characters are well-written so you imagine yourself as their friend and confidante in this fascinating setting and world of the Winter King.
by Jeanette Winterson
This is a fun book for the Christmas season! In Christmas Days: 12 Stories and 12 Feasts for 12 Days, Ms. Winterson has a sense of humor and playful writing style mixed with history, stories, and recipes.
by Julie Klassen
An Ivy Hill Christmas is a feel-good Christmas read set in the festive English village of Ivy Hill in Regency England. It’s the perfect Christmas setting, and every now and then we can use a good BethanyHouse period story with dramatic characters and hints of love. Let’s just not overdo it. 😉
by Michelle Griep
Once Upon A Dickens Christmas is a set of three Christmas stories tied by character links you’ll discover. 12 Days at Bleakly Manor was lots of fun, and A Tale of Two Hearts a festive read by the fire. I enjoyed the first two much more than the third, The Old Lace Shop, and found the writing style of it a bit too much for my taste, but so many others liked it the best of the three.
It depends on what you like to read, but all are fun for the Christmas season! You can find them published individually or in one volume.
14. The Snow Child
by Eowyn Ivey
I first read Ivey’s book To the Bright Edge of the World and loved the story and writing. Therefore, when The Snow Child was recommended to me I knew it had to be good. It ticks all the right boxes for me and is well-written with a powerful story that will stick with you.
Magical realism, check, historical fiction, check, untamed Alaskan frontier, check. The Hachette Book Group even provides a great The Snow Child reading group guide if your book club is interested!
15. The Virago Book of Christmas
edited by Michelle Lovric
This collection is hard to find now, but I originally bought the book because it contained a short story by Stella Gibbons called “Christmas at Cold Comfort Farm“. It features all the memorable characters from a younger Starkadder family a few years before Flora Poste comes to straighten them out in the hilarious Cold Comfort Farm.
It was by far my favorite, but the collection also includes awkward social Christmas stories from Agatha Christie, George Sand, Virginia Woolf, Charlotte Brontë, and many more to make you smile.
16. Little Women
by Louisa May Alcott
Little Women is one of my favorite books, but I especially enjoy reading it around the holidays. It depicts such a strong family bond and joy around Christmastime together, it’s the perfect read for the season. Join Jo, Beth, Amy, and all the rest for Christmas!
🧒 Children’s cozy Christmas books
Here’s a fun list of kids’ cozy Christmas books. Or maybe rather for the child at heart!
by Drew Daywalt
The crayons are back in The Crayons’ Christmas! If you haven’t read The Day the Crayons Quit or The Day the Crayons Came Home, check them out from the library or buy them as a holiday gift! My kids love all of these, and they’re great to read aloud.
by Amye Rosenberg
“Now!” said Aunt Mim. “Let’s go outside and turn this big old fir tree into the biggest, most beautiful Christmas tree in the world, so Santa can’t miss it. Hurry! Tonight is Christmas Eve!”
The Biggest, Most Beautiful Christmas Tree was a favorite of mine when I was a child, only brought out to read in December!
by Clement C. Moore
The Night Before Christmas is another book absolutely necessary on any Christmas booklist.
by Dr. Suess
This one is definitely a Christmas classic. 🎄
by Laura Ingalls Wilder
From Little House on the Prairie Chapter 19: Mr. Edwards Meets Santa Claus
But Mary and Laura looked at their beautiful cakes and played with their pennies and drank water out of their new cups. And little by little they licked and sucked their sticks of candy, till each stick was sharp-pointed at one end. That was a happy Christmas.
by J.K. Rowling
One can never have enough socks,” said Dumbledore. “Another Christmas has come and gone and I didn’t get a single pair. People will insist on giving me books.~ Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
Really, most of the Harry Potter books have fun scenes during the winter holidays. I’m sure we all wish a package would show up for us Christmas morning with a sweater knitted by Mrs. Weasley!
Currently, my son and I are reading the series together (on Prisoner of Azkaban now!), and it’s so much fun to revisit them all.
by C.S. Lewis
A classic! If you haven’t read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, do so now and transport yourself to Narnia, where when introduced, we find it’s “always winter but never Christmas.”
by Mary Pope Osborne
In Christmas in Camelot, Jack and Annie spend Christmas Eve in Camelot and must save King Arthur and his knights from impending doom!
My son loves the Magic Treehouse books. He’s read ALL of them, and there are quite a few in several series. There’s the original Magic Treehouse book series, the more advanced Merlin Mission, and the non-fiction companions to many.
by Mary Pope Osborne
In A Ghost Tale for Christmas Time, Jack and Annie visit Victorian England. How can they help save Charles Dickens from his past?
by Susan Cooper
The Dark is Rising is my favorite by far in The Dark is Rising Sequence (series). It’s really a different style than the others, and so can actually stand alone.
On the Midwinter Day that is his eleventh birthday, Will Stanton discovers a special gift – that he is the last of the Old Ones, immortals dedicated to keeping the world from domination by the forces of evil, the Dark. At once, he is plunged into a quest for the six magical Signs that will one day aid the Old Ones in the final battle between the Dark and the Light. And for the twelve days of Christmas, while the Dark is rising, life for Will is full of wonder, terror, and delight.
LOVE. Published originally in 1973, it’s a Newberry Award winner. Don’t miss this one!
11. Greenglass House
by Kate Milford (see #4 in the above original list)
🕵️♂️ Cozy mysteries for winter or Christmas
by Louise Penny
Join Chief Inspector Armand Ganache for an engrossing mystery in winter in Three Pines, a picturesque village in Quebec.
2. Silent Night
by Deanna Raybourn
by Anne Perry
If you read many mystery novels, you’ve probably read at least one by Anne Perry! She has many Christmas stories and novellas involving the characters of her Charlotte and Todd Pitt series. I always enjoy reading one around Christmas!
by Agatha Christie (see #5 in the above list)
by Sarah Caudwell (see #6 in the above list)
by Stephanie Barron
Jane and the Twelve Days of Christmas is a very enjoyable peek into an 1814 Regency Christmas with some detective work and murder thrown in. Jane and her family are invited to The Vyne, the ancestral country home of the prominent Chute family. Other friends and well-wishers join the Christmas party, and we have a traditional snow-bound Christmas.
by P.D. James
The Mistletoe Murder and Other Stories is a compilation of four stories by the great mystery novelist P.D. James. With a more serious and sinister tone than some of the books in this list yet with sly humor, these stories reveal the good, bad, and difficult aspects of human nature.
by Carola Dunn
It’s December of 1923, and Daisy Dalrymple Fletcher is the daughter of the imperious Dowager Viscountess Dalrymple who’s decided they will all spend Christmas at, wait for it…the ancestral home of Lord Westmoor in Cornwall.
by Rhys Bowen
Set in 1936, this is the sixth book in A Royal Spyness Mystery series. It can definitely be read as a stand-alone. Once again we have a house party, but this time it’s the local villagers who are being murdered.
📚 Cozy Christmas books tradition: Jolabokaflod
Did you know they have an amazing holiday in Iceland called the “Jolabokaflod”? It’s translated as the “Yule Book Flood” and the gist of it is you search for the months before Christmas Eve to find the perfect book for family members and everyone opens up books on Christmas Eve. Isn’t that perfect?!
It gets better.
The tradition is that everyone then gets to read their books late into the night, or all night, all while eating CHOCOLATE!!
Yes, they do this every year, and it may be my new favorite holiday! Why not try it out for yourself and maybe even select a few books from my list of cozy Christmas books? Happy reading!
Pin this list for later here!
For more Christmas book recommendations check out Explorer Momma’s: Christmas Mystery Books to Read Next.