Oh the weather outside is frightful/ But the fire is so delightful/ And since we’ve no place to go/ Let’s just stay inside and read some jolly Christmas tales! Apart from snow flurries, hot cocoa, Christmas trees, bright lights, and happy snowmen, nothing gets us in the holiday spirit better than a stack of our favorite holiday stories (except maybe the stories plus snow flurries, hot cocoa, etcetera). Without further ado, here’s a quick list of must-reads to have stacked on the shelf this December!
- The Jubilee Express by Maureen Johnson
Jubilee was literally named after a house in the Flobie Christmas Village collection. And as if that weren’t bad enough, her parents have gotten themselves arrested in a riot involving the purchasing (or lack thereof) of said Christmas village. So now, lucky Jubilee gets to ride a train all the way down to her grandparents’ house in Florida, where she will have to spend Christmas without snow. At least… that was the plan. An untimely blizzard causes Jubilee’s train to break down in a small town somewhere on the outskirts of Virginia. The only thing in sight is a Waffle House, which soon becomes overcrowded with the train’s disgruntled riders, twelve of whom happen to be preppy cheerleaders–oh joy. Jubilee then decides to hike to a nearby neighborhood, where she spends Christmas with a local family, an event which most definitely does not go as planned. In a blizzard of romance and a series of comedic events, Johnson creates a tale in which acceptance and welcoming are extended to the weariest of travelers.
2. The Patron Saint of Pigs by Lauren Myracle
If Myracle’s last name was not enough to convince you to support her desire to be the author of a best-selling Christmas novella, her superb characterization and plot in The Patron Saint of Pigs certainly will be! The story follows Addie, a girl who made a horrible, unmentionable mistake which may or may not involve chopping all her hair off and dyeing it pink. In the midst of her overdramatic self-pity, it comes out that Addie’s two best friends think her to be a little too self-centered. In a seemingly futile attempt to prove them wrong, Addie sets out to pick up her friend’s Christmas present – a teacup pig named Gabriel – from the pet shop five minutes from her work on her break. Just five minutes away…now imagine any and everything that could possibly go wrong. All of that happens. The comedy of Myracle’s masterpiece is just a fragment of the story’s beauty, which is coupled with a voyage of sacrifice, selflessness, friendship, and forgiveness–the makings of a holiday classic in the eyes of the YA book world.
3. Midnights by Rainbow Rowell
Ah, good ole New Year’s Eve. It’s this time of year the introverted Mags is forced to socialize at her friend’s yearly New Year’s Eve party, which involves far too many people, in far too little space, doing far too much dancing. Here, Mags meets an unlikely friend, Noel, and although the two are polar opposites, they hit it off well. Rowell’s short story follows Mags and Noel through four years’ worth of New Year’s Eve parties, from sophomore year in high school until freshman year of college, each more amusing than the next, and each exploring the true meaning of friendship, the bittersweet acceptance of change, and moving on to new phases in life.
4. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
Any Christmas booklist would be incomplete without A Christmas Carol! The story follows Ebenezer Scrooge, a man who despises Christmas more than any other. Three ghosts are sent to scare him out of his “Humbug!” attitude and transform him into a new man before he ends up like his doomed friend, Jacob Marley. With the ghosts, Scrooge explores the Christmases of past, present, and future through the eyes of others, and he gains a new appreciation and love for giving and the holidays. I would plead to anyone, don’t write Dickens’ classic off just because it might seem too cliché! Although many have seen a play or movie adaption of the storyline, nothing compares to Dickens’ imagery and lively writing style.
5. Matthew 1-2 or Luke 2
There is no better way to celebrate the holidays than to reread the story of Christ’s birth. Although Christmas trees, presents, and the like can be an exciting aspect of the holidays, it is vital to keep in mind the true meaning of Christmas and what Christ did for us on this often misunderstood time of year. He took on flesh for us. Hallelujah!
Now grab some hot cocoa, sit next to the Christmas tree, watch the snow fall outside the window (if it’s not snowing, my sincerest apologies), and cuddle up under a warm blanket with a good holiday story. Let the countdown to Christmas and 2018 begin! Happy holidays, my friends!