Reading Christmas books is one of my favorite things to do in December.
It makes sense, when else would I read them? June? January? It’s just so fun to cuddle up in a blanket with a cup of tea or coffee, and read. Especially when it snows. Even if it doesn’t, there’s still something festive yet comforting about a good Christmas read.
How do you find those GOOD Christmas reads, though?
Every year, the challenge is the same. Most of the available titles out there are either Amish Romance or chick flicks. Nothing wrong with either, but you can only read so many of those before you simply cannot stomach another one. Maybe it’s just me.
This year, we’re also looking for a good Christmas book to read with our Women’s Book Club. Which is double the challenge, because we all read and enjoy very different kinds of books.
After doing some research, I came up with a list of titles that piqued my curiosity and will hopefully give us a good variety to pick from, for our December book club read. My criteria: lighthearted, clean and with a happy ending.
This list includes 10 book titles, with a picture of the book cover, a link to Amazon – most of them are great deals this time of the year! – a little comment about why I included it in this list and the description provided by Amazon.
The Gift of the Inn, Golden Keyes Parsons
My friend Summer found this one. It’s written by a Christian author and it is not romance. Sounds promising already.
Despite her best efforts to go through the motions and the good fortune to have a husband stationed stateside rather than in the midst of the brutal combat unfolding in Europe and the Pacific, Christmas Eve is a less than festive time for innkeeper Naomi Lockhart. It’s been especially hard since she, her husband, Quenton, and their daughters restored her parents’ Colorado boarding house and turned it into a charming inn. Residing in the setting of the tragedy and haunted by a heartbreaking and terrible loss, Naomi can’t help but relive the Christmas Eve so many years ago when her infant child disappeared without a trace. Gracie brushed aside comments about how little she resembled her parents for most of her life without really understanding why they made her feel so odd. A slip of the tongue by her grandmother brings the discovery that the people who raised her are not her birth parents and acts as a catalyst for the start of a search for her real identity. After a whirlwind romance with a young, Europe-bound GI and subsequent elopement in defiance of her affluent, traditional parents, Gracie flees Texas for Colorado, following one of the few clues that she has about her real identity. She finds herself alone and working as a waitress in blizzard-prone Colorado Springs, Colorado at the end of her pregnancy. Snow bound, she struggles to bring her child into the world as she becomes ever more confident that the innkeeper from across the road, who acts as a midwife of necessity, may hold the answers she seeks. Meanwhile, her wounded husband desperately tries to reach her side. Set against the backdrop of the Second World War, this final novel from beloved writer Golden Keyes Parsons is an engaging story of love, loss and reunion.
The Christmas Train, David Baldacci
This one seems to top pretty much every “Books to Read at Christmas” list out there, and there’s a Hallmark movie. Not sure how clean or wholesome it is, but the fact that Hallmark picked it up is a good sign.
One of America’s most critically acclaimed storytellers, David Baldacci has enthralled millions with his popular novels. Showcasing his remarkable versatility, Baldacci gift-wraps a beloved holiday classic…Disillusioned journalist Tom Langdon must get from Washington, D.C., to L.A. in time for Christmas. Forced to travel by train, he begins a journey of rude awakenings, thrilling adventures, and holiday magic. He has no idea that the locomotives pulling him across America will actually take him into the rugged terrain of his own heart, as he rediscovers people’s essential goodness and someone very special he believed he had lost. David Baldacci’s THE CHRISTMAS TRAIN is filled with memorable characters who have packed their bags with as much wisdom as mischief…and shows how we do get second chances to fulfill our deepest hopes and dreams, especially during this season of miracles.
The Christmas Promise, Donna Van Lierre
A few years ago, I read “The Christmas Hope” by the same author. I got it as a gift from my friend Nancy and really enjoyed it. Donna seems to write almost exclusively Christmas novels and she’s a Christian author, so I have high hopes for this one.
Each Christmas we are given a promise from heaven. And each year on earth we make promises to each other. This is a story about how a promise from one person to another shows us the true meaning of faith, remembrance, and love. Seven years ago Gloria endured a family tragedy that almost shook her faith entirely. Each Christmas she places a card in an envelope on her tree, restating a promise she made to her husband before he died. Now, having moved from her small town and all the painful memories it held, she is building a life by caring for people in need. Whether it’s a young mother who can’t pay her electric bill or a family who needs some extra food, Gloria always finds a way. Miriam is a thorn in Gloria’s side. Miriam is a constantly critical, disapproving neighbor who looks with suspicion at all the good things Gloria does. When a twist of fate makes them roommates instead of neighbors, it’s the ultimate test of patience and faith. Chaz has a good job as head of security at Wilson’s Department Store, but each night he returns home to an empty apartment. He longs for a wife and family of his own but realizes that the life choices he’s made have alienated him. He befriends a young boy whose mother has fallen on hard times, giving him a chance to have a life he thought impossible.In The Christmas Promise, the lives of these characters collide and we learn that even as we move ahead, the past is never far behind. And when we are forgiven much, we love much. In this warmly humorous and deeply poignant story, we are reminded that the Christmas Promise is the promise of second chances.
The 13th Gift, Joanne Huist Smith
True Story? I’m intrigued. Reading about Christmas miracles and acts of kindness is wonderful, and if it is actually true, all the better. But I do hope it reads like a novel, light and easy.
For readers of Richard Paul Evans and Greg Kincaid comes The 13th Gift, a heartwarming Christmas story about how a random act of kindness transformed one of the bleakest moments in a family’s history into a time of strength and love.
After the unexpected death of her husband, Joanne Huist Smith had no idea how she would keep herself together and be strong for her three children–especially with the holiday season approaching. But 12 days before Christmas, presents begin appearing on her doorstep with notes from their “True Friends.” As the Smiths came together to solve the mystery of who the gifts were from, they began to thaw out from their grief and come together again as a family. This true story about the power of random acts of kindness will warm the heart, a beautiful reminder of the miracles of Christmas and the gift of family during the holiday season.
O Little Town, Don Reid
This one doesn’t have “Christmas” in the title, which is quite unusual. I can tell you this after browsing tens of books of this kind. So I thought I’d include it in the list, especially because the story sounds good, too.
Christmas, 1958: Elvis is on the radio, Ike is in the White House, the Lord is in his holy temple . but there is no peace in Mt. Jefferson. In a small town where everybody seems to know everybody, there are still a few secrets. Three families find they are connected in ways they never suspected: an angry teen, a dying man, a lonely wife, a daughter in trouble . just ordinary people, muddling their way through ordinary challenges. Illness. Marriage. Bad decisions. Friendship. Faith. Forgiveness. Spanning three generations, O Little Town is a tender tale of love and redemption . and a lonely gravesite where roses mysteriously appear every Christmas. It will touch your heart.
Christmas on Jane Street, Billy Romp
I have to admit the cover of this book is irresistible. And the story seems wonderful too. A family that sells Christmas trees, heartwarming holiday gifts, making a difference in a neighborhood. These all sounds lovely. I can not vouch for how clean the language is, but I do want to give it a try.
The warm, wonderful, real-life tale of the family that brings the Christmas spirit to life on a street corner in Manhattan.
Every holiday season for nearly twenty years, Billy Romp, his wife, and their three children have spent nearly a month living in a tiny camper and selling Christmas trees on Jane Street in New York City. They arrive from Vermont the day after Thanksgiving and leave just in time to make it home for Christmas morning—and for a few weeks they transform a corner of the Big Apple into a Frank Capra-esque small town alive with heartwarming holiday spirit.
Christmas on Jane Street is about the transformative power of love—love of parent and child, of merchant and customer, of stranger and neighbor. The ideal Christmas story, it is about the lasting and profound difference that one person can make to a family and one family can make to a community.
A lovely, lovingly illustrated little gem of a book, this delightful tenth anniversary edition of a beloved Christmas classic tells the poignant, inspiring story of an unforgettable family and the warm, wide circle of friends who have welcomed them to the neighborhood.
The Christmas Candle, Max Lucado
I read quite a few Max Lucado books and enjoyed his light-hearted yet wise style. The only fiction title I read by him was “The Miracles at The Higher Grounds Cafe”. While I definitely prefer his non-fiction, you can count on Lucado to be both encouraging and up-lifting. That’s a perfect recipe for a Christmas novel.
From New York Times best-selling author Max Lucado comes a timeless message that will warm your heart. Imagine a Victorian England village in the Cotswolds where very little out of the ordinary ever happens . . . except at Christmas time.
Shepherd’s Abiding, Jan Karon
The Mitford series is one of my all time favorites. I was introduced to it by my friend Nancy (I know! I keep mentioning her, but Nancy really did bring a lot of good books into my life, for which I’m extremely grateful!)
The series, including this title, is about a small town Episcopalian priest and his community.
Experience the joy of Christmas in Mitford in the eighth novel in the beloved series from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of To Be Where You Are. Millions of Americans have found Mitford to be a favorite home-away-from-home, and countless readers have long wondered what Christmas in Mitford would be like. The eighth Mitford novel provides a glimpse, offering a meditation on the best of all presents: the gift of one’s heart.
Since he was a boy, Father Tim has lived what he calls “the life of the mind” and has never really learned to savor the work of his hands. When he finds a derelict nativity scene that has suffered the indignities of time and neglect, he imagines the excitement in the eyes of his wife, Cynthia, and decides to undertake the daunting task of restoring it. As Father Tim begins his journey, readers are given a seat at Mitford’s holiday table and treated to a magical tale about the true Christmas spirit.
Unwrapping Christmas, Lori Copeland
I have read a few of her books and while I’m not a fan, they are easy to read and wholesome, even though heavy on romance. All of these make a good Christmas read, so I’d give it a chance.
It’s that time of year again, and with excitement and high expectations, Rose has planned the perfect Christmas for her family and friends. But when she feels them drifting away during a time that should celebrate togetherness, Rose is forced to slow down in the most unexpected way. In this whimsical, uplifting story, she discovers the true meaning of giving.
A Wish for Christmas, Thomas Kinkaid
I only recently discovered that Thomas Kinkaid writes novels. It seems like most of them are Christmas ones, too. If this one proves to be enjoyable, I’m excited that there are so many more available.
Cape Light reflects on its past and revels in its future in this Christmas novel from Thomas Kinkade and Katherine Spencer.
After serving in Iraq, David has returned home to find that his widowed father has remarried. Jobless and dealing with physical injuries that may never heal, David doesn’t have much Christmas cheer, especially when Christine, his ex-girlfriend, comes to work at his father’s tree farm. Trying not to seem bitter or discouraged is even harder than the physical therapy he must undergo, and David realizes that he not only needs to heal his body but his heart as well. Meanwhile, Lillian Warwick’s daughters are concerned about their elderly, yet fiercely independent, mother living on her own. Even her old friend, Dr. Ezra Elliot, can’t get through to her. When the tables are turned and Ezra is in need of her help, they are both surprised to find they value each other beyond just friendship. And Lillian begins to wonder if it’s still possible to let love into her life…
Quite a list! Feel free to get inspired and let me know if you read any of them and how you liked it.
Have you already read any of these?
Which other Christmas books would you recommend?