The best books for Christmas nostalgia

Who am I?

I’ve always loved Christmas books. As I’ve gotten older, part of the attraction around Christmas is the nostalgia. Recalling the excitement as a child, the anticipation, but also the people who are no longer with us. When I started out writing, I only ever envisaged doing one book, but a little bit of success snowballed. When I was looking for ideas, I noticed my last Barton book would be released just before Christmas, and The Santa Killer was born. I wanted to write a book like Christie’s where there was the emotions around murder and crime, but also the drama of Christmas. Hopefully it’s sad, exciting, and thrilling but also poignant.


I wrote...

The Santa Killer

By Ross Greenwood,

Book cover of The Santa Killer

What is my book about?

The Santa Killer is coming to town.... One night less than two weeks before Christmas, a single mother is violently assaulted. It’s a brutal crime at the time of year when there should be goodwill to all. When DI Barton begins his investigation, he’s surprised to find the victim is a woman with nothing to hide and no reason for anyone to hurt her.

A few days later, the mother of the woman attacked rings the police station. Her granddaughter has drawn a shocking picture. It seems she was looking out of the window when her mother was attacked. And when her grandmother asks the young girl who the person with the weapon is, she whispers two words. Bad Santa.

The books I picked & why

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The Night Before Christmas

By Clement C. Moore, Christine Brallier (illustrator),

Book cover of The Night Before Christmas

Why this book?

My children are eleven and eight, so we still read to him at bedtime, and we did to her until fairly recently. I love this book. It’s so atmospheric. It’s the only way I can remember the names of Santa’s reindeer. The kids are bored of it. Dad! Not again!

The Night Before Christmas

By Clement C. Moore, Christine Brallier (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Night Before Christmas as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Polar Express

By Chris Van Allsburg,

Book cover of Polar Express

Why this book?

It’s the cover from the movie that I love the most, which my daughter has watched to death. My son’s just getting into reading, so he’ll be getting this to open on the big day. The train in the snow screams Christmas to me. Shame when he wanted a Nintendo Switch.

Polar Express

By Chris Van Allsburg,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Polar Express as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Discover The Polar Express, a true Christmas classic.
"Magical" Guardian
"Evocative and atmospheric" Sunday Times
"A thrilling tale" Independent
All aboard the Polar Express to the North Pole! Follow one boy's journey to receive a very special gift from Santa himself: a bell that only true believers in Father Christmas can hear ring. Discover the beloved Christmas classic that inspired the blockbuster family favourite movie starring Tom Hanks.

A Christmas Carol

By Charles Dickens,

Book cover of A Christmas Carol

Why this book?

Obviously just brilliant. I rarely read adult books twice, but this one I read every few years. It’s a simpler world and also quite scary when I first read it for English at school when I was twelve. I think it’s his best book. Pure genius. Maybe my daughter can get this for Christmas. Much cheaper than a phone.

A Christmas Carol

By Charles Dickens,

Why should I read it?

10 authors picked A Christmas Carol as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Tom Baker reads Charles Dickens' timeless seasonal story.

Charles Dickens' story of solitary miser Ebenezer Scrooge, who is taught the true meaning of Christmas by the three ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future, has become one of the timeless classics of English literature. First published in 1843, it introduces us not only to Scrooge himself, but also to the memorable characters of underpaid desk clerk Bob Cratchit and his poor family, the poorest amongst whom is the ailing and crippled Tiny Tim.

In this captivating recording, Tom Baker delivers a tour-de-force performance as he narrates the story. The listener…


The Snowman

By Raymond Briggs,

Book cover of The Snowman

Why this book?

This has it all. Every time I see the cover I think of the house where I grew up and I can picture the scene in the lounge on Christmas morning where I’m sorting the presents into piles for when my grandparents arrive, while watching this on BBC2. One year I got given it as a book, and it was a different experience to read it, but just as lovely.

The Snowman

By Raymond Briggs,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Snowman as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An activity book based on the animated film of Raymond Briggs' The Snowman. Children of all ages will enjoy exploring the fun and excitement of Christmas with this festive book packed with things to do and make.

Hercule Poirot's Christmas

By Agatha Christie,

Book cover of Hercule Poirot's Christmas

Why this book?

Agatha Christie was one of the first crime authors I read. My dad had loads of books in the garage, so I sometimes used to sneak a bag of sweets in there and read, and this was one of them. I really enjoyed the drama and tension, combined with the Christmas attitude. It stands the test of time, too.

Hercule Poirot's Christmas

By Agatha Christie,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Hercule Poirot's Christmas as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Christmas, private investigators, and dreams?

6,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Christmas, private investigators, and dreams.

Christmas Explore 123 books about Christmas
Private Investigators Explore 160 books about private investigators
Dreams Explore 43 books about dreams

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like Christmas Day in the Morning, The Gift of the Magi, and The Elves And The Shoemaker if you like this list.