I love singing carols. I love the scents of a summer Christmas: mango and sun-warmed eucalypts and English box. I love planning presents, wrapping them, giving them, and being surprised by them.
And most of all I love the sure hope of a saviour born for us.
Here are some of my favourite Christmas books:
1. A timeless take on the King Arthur story.
“Back in the cosy, brilliant cave of the long room with the fire and the glowing tree, it was untouched Christmas for a while, just as it had always been.”
The Dark Is Rising, by Susan Cooper, 1973.
Will Stanton turns eleven and comes into an unexpected heritage of power and responsibility. And with it comes incredible danger. This novel is second in the five-part Dark is Rising sequence.
Will’s big family have a nice old-fashioned Christmas together in the interludes between Will’s struggles with the Dark. They give presents, decorate the home with holly, go carolling, play in the snow, and eat mince pies.
I read this series of novels when I was around eleven. They evoke memories of sitting under my desk (my favourite childhood reading spot) and eating the raspberry lollies my sister brought me from Sovereign Hill.
My favourite bit: Will and his brother sing Good King Wenceslas in a dim old manor house, and somehow Will steps through a door in time into the past.
2. A classic tale of redemption
“I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.”
A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens, 1843.
We all know this one – Scrooge the heartless miser is given one last chance to change when he’s visited by the ghosts of Christmases past, present and future.
Some say Charles Dickens invented the traditional Christmas. He certainly helped cement it in western culture. A Christmas Carol gathers all the classic Christmas traditions: goose, pudding, holly, carols, presents, games, and most of all, love for others and hope for our souls.
My favourite bit: The Cratchit family’s simple but joyful Christmas celebration.
3. A warm welcome for an expectant mum.
“Bless my socks! Dance and sing!
This little bub is God’s high king!”
Bethlehem Town, by Andrew McDonough, 2014.
For all ages.
Another Christmas bullseye by Lost Sheep. This one was a close contender for last month’s post: Three books that made me cry. I can’t read Bethlehem Town aloud without getting choked up, it’s so beautifully told and so heart-warming. But I also love the Christmassiness of it.
Apparently, this story is a truer rendition of the first Christmas, biblically speaking, than some of our traditions. Mary doesn’t give birth alone with Joseph in a lonely stable behind an inn, but squeezed into a family home, surrounded by people and animals.
My favourite bit: “Everybody’s welcome in Bethlehem Town.”
Merry Christmas, and thanks for reading!
❤ 🎄🎁🌟🎄🎁🌟🎄🎁🌟🎄 ❤
Disclaimer: The opinions in this post are mine, current at the date of publication, shared for entertainment purposes, and may change in the future. The books I write about are for adults unless stated, though some of them could be okay for younger readers 😊