The best heartwarming Christmas books

Who am I?

I’ve always been fascinated by the role that love plays in a satisfying life—from romantic love, to brotherly love, to friendship. Compassion and caring affect not only the recipient, but also profoundly change the life of the giver as well. That’s why I’m drawn to redemptive character arcs. I write women’s fiction, sweet Christmas stories, and literary fiction that revolve around these themes—sometimes with a hint of mystery/thriller/suspense for fun! My novella, The Christmas Club, was adapted for the screen in 2019 as a Hallmark Channel Christmas movie of the same name.

I wrote...

The Christmas Club

By Barbara Hinske,

Book cover of The Christmas Club

What is my book about?

Verna Lind expects Christmas of 1952 to be the best holiday she’s had since the war ended. But as she’s leaving the bank, a frigid wind off Lake Erie catches her hard-earned Christmas club savings, whisking the bills into the busy streets of downtown Cleveland and devastating her plans. Strangers come to her aid, though no one anticipates the power of their chance encounter or the seeds of happiness Verna’s lost money will sow. 

From USA Today Bestselling Author Barbara Hinske comes this heartwarming Christmas tale celebrating the generosity of the human spirit and the irresistible pull of love—an instant holiday classic for admirers of It’s a Wonderful Life and The Gift of the Magi.

The books I picked & why

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How the Grinch Stole Christmas

By Dr. Seuss,

Book cover of How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Why this book?

The kindness of the human spirit has called to me—like a magnet seeking true north—since I was a small child. I grew up reading Heidi and Pollyanna. Throw in a strong redemptive character arc, and I’m all in. How the Grinch Stole Christmas has it all—plus an adorable dog. I’ve read this book at least once a year for almost my entire life. This book, more than any other, has inspired my work as a writer.

A Christmas Carol

By Charles Dickens,

Book cover of A Christmas Carol

Why this book?

There’s a reason this novella has been a bestseller for decades. With exquisitely-drawn characters, perfectly-described settings, and the most artfully-crafted redemptive character arc in fiction, this is another classic that must be read year after year. What reader can stop themself from longing to make things all better for Tiny Tim and the Cratchits?

The Gift of the Magi

By O. Henry,

Book cover of The Gift of the Magi

Why this book?

This story shines a spotlight on selfless love. I cried buckets when I read this as a child. I also wondered if I’d ever be willing to cut my hair, as Della did, to raise the money to buy Jim that watch chain. I’m still not sure I would. The story beautifully articulates the parameters of selfless love. I’ve always been fascinated by this theme.

Madeline's Christmas

By Ludwig Bemelmans,

Book cover of Madeline's Christmas

Why this book?

Who doesn’t love the twelve little girls in two straight lines, whose mantra is: We love our bread, we love our butter, but most of all, we love each other? Madeline is a resourceful, kind, and hard-working protagonist—even if she does occasionally get into a bit of harmless mischief. Every book in the Madeline series is uplifting. Yes, please.

Polar Express

By Chris Van Allsburg,

Book cover of Polar Express

Why this book?

This recent addition to the list of classic holiday books is a joy to look at—full of gorgeous, atmospheric illustrations. If this book doesn’t get you into the holiday spirit, nothing will. The profound message wrapped in this packaging is that seeing (or hearing) magical things requires belief in magical things. It’s a cautionary tale, warning against adult cynicism. That’s worth remembering, year after year. 

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Christmas, magical realism, and Santa Claus?

5,716 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Christmas, magical realism, and Santa Claus.

Christmas Explore 86 books about Christmas
Magical Realism Explore 98 books about magical realism
Santa Claus Explore 10 books about Santa Claus

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like Christmas Day in the Morning, The Elves And The Shoemaker, and Never Let Me Go if you like this list.