The best classic Christmas books

Who am I?

I’ve written dozens of plays and books, always with heart and humor. If you love Christmas, you know that it can also be a frenzied time, so we all need to curl up on a cozy night and read Christmas stories to bring back the magic and generosity of this special holiday. I like well-told tales that reaffirm the love we know is so important, stories that will mean just as much a hundred years from now. And surprise endings are always a delight!

I wrote...

A Little Christmas Prayer

By Joni Hilton,

Book cover of A Little Christmas Prayer

What is my book about?

A small village nestled in the shadow of a grand castle is brightened by the warmth and welcome of a local church. All are invited to come and pray, and come they do one Christmas Eve. Each villager has a prayer on their lips, even the king himself. Each one pleads for what they want. But a small boy who has known only poverty and struggle, has a heart full of thanks and says a prayer only of gratitude. Afraid of the king’s guards, he dashes away and the king mounts a search for this amazing child. Finally, he finds him, and life is changed for everyone.

The books I picked & why

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Christmas Day in the Morning

By Pearl S. Bucks, Mark Buehner (illustrator),

Book cover of Christmas Day in the Morning

Why this book?

This touching tale, set on a farm, captures the timeless desire we all have to give the perfect gift to those we love. Rob learns the true meaning of love as he gives of himself, and finds a way to surprise his father. Buck has a beautiful way of showing rather than telling, and pulls us in with hope and vulnerability. A gift of love is the best gift of all, and Christmas is the perfect time to share this tender family story.

Papa Panov's Special Christmas

By Leo Tolstoy,

Book cover of Papa Panov's Special Christmas

Why this book?

This heart-warming tale is a true Christmas classic. A lonely old shoemaker dreams that Jesus will come and visit him, so he eagerly anticipates the event, hoping to make him a special pair of shoes. Instead, his heart is tugged by others in need, and he helps three different people, from a street sweeper to a beggar. Finally, he gives up waiting for Christ to visit and realizes it was only a dream. But then he hears the voice of Jesus and learns that Jesus came to him in every person he helped that day.

The Gift of the Magi

By O. Henry,

Book cover of The Gift of the Magi

Why this book?

O. Henry is known for his surprise endings and this book is a beautiful tale of a poor young couple who sacrifice their most prized possessions in order to give a gift to each other. Della cuts her glorious hair to buy a watch chain for Jim, and Jim sells his watch to buy combs for Della’s hair. But instead of a sad story, this one ends with the lovely point that they each love selflessly, and can save their gifts for later.

A Christmas Carol

By Charles Dickens,

Book cover of A Christmas Carol

Why this book?

Most of us are familiar with this famous story, but it belongs in everyone’s Christmas collection, to be shared with children everywhere. Ebenezer Scrooge is visited by three ghosts who guide him through a complete transformation from a curmudgeon to a compassionate citizen. On Christmas morning he is a changed man. Incidentally, this book was the catalyst for actually celebrating Christmas in England ever after.

The Elves And The Shoemaker

By Jim LaMarche, Grimm Brothers,

Book cover of The Elves And The Shoemaker

Why this book?

Christmas is a wonderful time for magical tales that children love. In this one, a poor but good-hearted cobbler is rewarded for his honesty during the night, when clever elves sneak into his shop and make shoes for him to sell. It gives children the chance to imagine invisible helpers, and also the thrill of doing good deeds in secret.

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Christmas, farms, and England?

5,309 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Christmas, farms, and England.

Christmas Explore 69 books about Christmas
Farms Explore 32 books about farms
England Explore 649 books about England

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like The Krampus and the Old, Dark Christmas, Letters from Father Christmas, and Twas the Night Before Christmas if you like this list.