87 books like Ghosts for Christmas

By Richard Dalby,

Here are 87 books that Ghosts for Christmas fans have personally recommended if you like Ghosts for Christmas. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of A Christmas Carol

Loquacious McCarbre Author Of The Legends of Grimous Ironblood: Curious Bottle Book 1

From my list on fantasy folktale campfire stories.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a writer and performer, I’ve always loved live storytelling! Stories really come alive when performed and there’s an unexplained magic that bonds an audience with the storyteller and connects us to our collective past. Having performed countless times in plays, murder mysteries, and storytelling, the joy and excitement felt crackling in the air is like nothing else. I’ve plenty of fond memories of storytelling over the years, from terrifying ghost stories around the campfire of Camp Wing in America to the fantastical folktales of my stage play The Storyteller’s Apprentice at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. So, next time you’re sitting at a campfire, give it a go! 

Loquacious' book list on fantasy folktale campfire stories

Loquacious McCarbre Why did Loquacious love this book?

This Victorian classic sent shivers down my back when the ghost of Jacob Marley rattles his spectral chains to send a dire warning to Ebenezer Scrooge about the perils of his miserly life.

I was gripped from the first word as his tragic life is revealed by the narrator in the most effective and emotive way. I remember feeling anger as Scrooge mistreats his underpaid clerk, Bob Cratchit, dismisses his kind and generous nephew, Fred, and believes Christmas to be a “Bah!” and a “Humbug!” However, as Scrooge was shown the error of his ways by three phantoms, my anger transformed into sadness and pity.

How could someone be given so many chances at redemption and spurn them all? Happily, Scrooge learned his life lesson before it was too late.

By Charles Dickens,

Why should I read it?

13 authors picked A Christmas Carol as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 7, 8, 9, and 10.

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…


Book cover of Collected Ghost Stories

Lauren Owen Author Of Small Angels

From my list on books to read in a haunted house.

Why am I passionate about this?

My interest in ghosts is partly due to growing up in York, which is one of the most haunted cities in the UK. In that city, I think that pretty much every pub has its own ghost, and if you’re unlucky (or lucky) enough, you stand a good chance of spotting long-dead Roman soldiers, plague victims, or ghostly dogs as you walk the streets. This atmosphere has seeped into my fiction; I have written two novels of the supernatural and am currently working on a third. I’ve also made a study of the grim and gothic in fiction; my Ph.D. thesis was largely about vampires (especially Dracula) but also strayed into other monsters and uncanny stories over the past two centuries. 

Lauren's book list on books to read in a haunted house

Lauren Owen Why did Lauren love this book?

The other recommendations on my list are titles that will help you if you want to calm yourself down, maybe even get some sleep, whilst staying in a haunted house. But maybe you want to lean into the atmosphere. If that’s the case, you need M. R. James. 

His ghosts are rarely glimpsed clearly, you get troubling hints of their appearance, or you just see the horrible things they have done to their victims, and that makes them all the more terrifying. In these stories, anything could turn on you: a doll’s house, your Latin homework, the advert you see on your daily commute. Proceed with caution.

By M.R. James,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Collected Ghost Stories as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

M.R. James is probably the finest ghost-story writer England has ever produced. These tales are not only classics of their genre, but are also superb examples of beautifully-paced understatement, convincing background and chilling terror.

As well as the preface, there is a fascinating tail-piece by M.R. James, 'Stories I Have Tried To Write', which accompanies these thirty tales. Among them are 'Casting the Runes', 'Oh, Whistle and I'll come to you, My Lad', 'The Tractate Middoth', 'The Ash Tree' and 'Canon Alberic's Scrapbook'.

'There are some authors one wishes one had never read in order to have the joy of…


Book cover of Christmas Ghosts: An Anthology

Andi Brooks Author Of Ghost Stories For Christmas Volume One

From my list on ghostly Christmas stories.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an Anglo Irish writer who is as filled with a wide-eyed wonder of the magic of Christmas in my middle age as I was as a small child. Alongside my lifelong love of Christmas and its traditions, I have enjoyed an equally long love of ghost stories. Combining these two passions, I am the editor of the Ghost Stories For Christmas anthologies of classic Christmas ghost stories, the first of which was published in 2022. I am also the writer of Ghostly Tales of Japan, a collection of original stories set throughout Japanese history.

Andi's book list on ghostly Christmas stories

Andi Brooks Why did Andi love this book?

This anthology holds a special place in my heart. I received a copy of it as a Christmas present from my dear grandmother in 1979. Just holding it in my hands brings back so many happy memories of that long-departed lady. The book contains just eleven stories, but it is “a collection of deliciously scary fare.” Among the choice delicacies contained within its covers is the shortened version of A Christmas Carol made by Dickens for his public readings of the story, which I read in his imagined voice. Alongside anthology favourites by Hugh Walpole, Algenon Blackwood, and Jerome K. Jerome are less familiar, but equally rewarding ghostly tales by Marjorie Bowen, Oliver Onions, Margery Allingham, and others. I don’t know if it is still in print, but anyone who takes the trouble to find a copy will be richly rewarded. 

By Seon Manley, Gogo Lewis,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Christmas Ghosts as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Christmas ghosts: An anthology


Book cover of The Nightmare Before Christmas

Andi Brooks Author Of Ghost Stories For Christmas Volume One

From my list on ghostly Christmas stories.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an Anglo Irish writer who is as filled with a wide-eyed wonder of the magic of Christmas in my middle age as I was as a small child. Alongside my lifelong love of Christmas and its traditions, I have enjoyed an equally long love of ghost stories. Combining these two passions, I am the editor of the Ghost Stories For Christmas anthologies of classic Christmas ghost stories, the first of which was published in 2022. I am also the writer of Ghostly Tales of Japan, a collection of original stories set throughout Japanese history.

Andi's book list on ghostly Christmas stories

Andi Brooks Why did Andi love this book?

The Nightmare Before Christmas must be unique among books, and films, in that it can be enjoyed both at Christmas and Halloween. Tim Burton really is a wonderful and unique artist, as witnessed by The World of Tim Burton exhibition in 2015. It’s such a pity that he hasn’t illustrated more books. He is, of course, also a wonderful storyteller. The Nightmare Before Christmas brings together both of his extraordinary talents to produce a modern classic overflowing with original characters as familiar and beloved as any in the festive genre. One of the joys of parenthood is to share the things you have loved with your children. My own son is a confirmed lover of both the book and the film, and will no doubt pass on our tradition of reading, and watching, The Nightmare Before Christmas every Christmas and Halloween to his own children.

By Tim Burton,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Nightmare Before Christmas as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

Jack Skellington is the most important figure in Halloween Town and for years he has delighted in organising macabre tricks and frights for Halloween. But this year he doesn't feel right - there must be more to life than scaring people? Then Jack stumbles upon a cheerful, colourful place called Christmas Town and he knows what he must do - he will bring Christmas to Halloween!

This is the first book written and illustrated by the incomparable visionary Tim Burton.


Book cover of The Valancourt Book of Victorian Christmas Ghost Stories

Kyle Sullivan Author Of Krampus Confidential

From my list on delivering holiday magic with a dark twist.

Why am I passionate about this?

Since I was a child, Halloween and Christmas have held equally hallowed positions in my heart. When I learned of Krampus folklore in my teens, I was immediately fascinated. Krampus offered the best of both worlds—a dose of Halloween creepiness to counterbalance the bright jubilation of the winter holidays. Krampus Confidential, a middle-grade mystery, and adaptation of The Maltese Falcon, is my second children’s book that aims to introduce this magnificent creature to children in a way that doesn’t inspire nightmares. My first, Goodnight Krampus, is a board book for young readers that reimagines the monster as a rambunctious toddler who gives Santa a hard time by refusing to go to sleep on Christmas Eve.

Kyle's book list on delivering holiday magic with a dark twist

Kyle Sullivan Why did Kyle love this book?

Though the stories in this collection aren’t likely to scare you silly, they will almost certainly give you the creeps. The Victorians loved spending their cold, dark winter evenings with eerie tales of the unsettling, the uncanny, and the unholy. And who could blame them? The 13 tales collected here are diverse in content and tone, but they all offer an ideal candlelit escape when the days grow dark and the cold wind wails.

By Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Walter Scott,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Valancourt Book of Victorian Christmas Ghost Stories as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The first-ever collection of Victorian Christmas ghost stories, culled from rare 19th-century periodicals

During the Victorian era, it became traditional for publishers of newspapers and magazines to print ghost stories during the Christmas season for chilling winter reading by the fireside or candlelight. Now for the first time thirteen of these tales are collected here, including a wide range of stories from a diverse group of authors, some well-known, others anonymous or forgotten. Readers whose only previous experience with Victorian Christmas ghost stories has been Charles Dickens’s “A Christmas Carol” will be surprised and delighted at the astonishing variety of…


Book cover of Christmas Past: A Selection from Victorian Magazines

Andi Brooks Author Of A Treasury of Christmas Stories: Classic Tales For The Festive Season

From my list on Christmas anthologies.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an Anglo-Irish writer and anthologist enjoying a life-long love affair with Christmas, which I have successfully transplanted to my home in Japan. I have edited three Christmas-themed anthologies, with many more to come. My own writing has been translated into French and Japanese. Determined to never grow up, in my sixtieth year, I still firmly believe in Father Christmas!

Andi's book list on Christmas anthologies

Andi Brooks Why did Andi love this book?

I knew that I would love this book from the moment I first set eyes upon it. I like that the stories and illustrations have been reproduced exactly as they were originally published in the Victorian magazines.

This is a book which I always read alone and free of distractions so that I can not only lose myself in the stories, but also contemplate the messages they contain. Like our Victorian forebears l love the sentimental aspects of Christmas, and this anthology never fails to cause me to think back with a smile, and sometimes a tear, to Christmasses long ago with relatives and friends no longer with us.

By Dulcie M. Ashdown,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Christmas Past as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Victorian Christmas is everyone's ideal of what a Christmas ought to be; children enraptured before a candlelit tree, tables groaning under an abundance of turkey, goose and pudding, stories of ghosts and hobgoblins, carol singers, church bells ringing through the midnight air. It is only in the last hundred years or so that such Christmas feasts and entertainments have been shared by the majority, rather than by the privileged few.

In Victorian times, 'Christmas as at Windsor' became the established order, for it was the festivities of the Royal Family that people took as their model. The popular Press…


Book cover of Sketches by Boz

Steve Morris Author Of Out on Top – A Collection of Upbeat Short Stories

From my list on short stories for when spare time is short.

Why am I passionate about this?

Short stories suit the speed of modern society. I began writing them as a child and began to get them published in magazines. My first collection of stories in 2009 got quite a lot of press in the UK and two more collections followed. Initially, they were darkly-themed backfiring scenarios for the anti-hero and I redressed the balance in Out on Top. We all deserve some good Karma!

Steve's book list on short stories for when spare time is short

Steve Morris Why did Steve love this book?

This is often overlooked by readers of Dickens. I think the term “sketches” is important here at a point where Dickens was still experimenting with his art and particularly his characters which were always going to be his greatest strength. Sketches by Boz is a collection of fascinatingly detailed insights into London life intertwined in episodes (or scenes) as Dickens terms it through a richly caricatured study of a set of interesting lives of the working classes, in a way that only Dickens has ever been able to do. The “sketches” had, prior to this, been serialized in weekly installments (the soap operas of the day). Dickens had experienced sufficient highs and lows of social mobility in his own life to fully qualify his portrayals. "The Tuggses at Ramsgate" is perhaps for me the most memorable but the whole volume is bursting with energetic individuality and character. I have…

By Charles Dickens,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Sketches by Boz as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Charles Dickens (1812-1870) was an English short story writer, dramatist, essayist, and the most popular novelist to come from the Victorian era. He created some of the most iconic characters and stories in English literature, including Mr. Pickwick from "The Pickwick Papers", Ebenezer Scrooge from "A Christmas Carol", David Copperfield, and Pip from "Great Expectations", to name a few. Dickens' began by writing serials for magazines, and from 1833-1836 he used the pseudonym Boz, taken from a childhood nickname for his younger brother. "Sketches by Boz" contains 56 stories and, like most of Dickens' work, vividly portrayed the lives of…


Book cover of A Holiday By Gaslight: A Victorian Christmas Novella

Emmanuelle de Maupassant Author Of The Lady's Guide to Mistletoe and Mayhem

From my list on Christmas romances set at country houses.

Why am I passionate about this?

Historical romance author Emmanuelle lives on the bonny banks of Loch Fyne with her husband and beloved haggis pudding Archie McFloof—connoisseur of bacon treats and squeaky toys.
While waiting on her own country house party invitation [sending a wink to Inveraray Castle—which is just down the road, and boasts a duke!] she makes do by serving up imaginary shenanigans.  

Emmanuelle's book list on Christmas romances set at country houses

Emmanuelle de Maupassant Why did Emmanuelle love this book?

In this ‘last chance for love’ romance, our gently bred heroine allows herself to be courted by a London merchant for the sake of her family’s dwindling coffers. The courtship of convenience isn’t going well, however, as the darkly handsome hero keeps his emotions so much under wraps that Sophie despairs of him ever declaring himself. Will an invitation to their Christmas family gathering inspire the necessary proposal? Sophie is almost ready to throw in the towel, but her heart whispers that her suitor may not be as reluctant as he first appears. 

By Mimi Matthews,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Holiday By Gaslight as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Readers will easily fall for Sophie and Ned in their gaslit surroundings." -Library Journal, starred review

A Courtship of Convenience

Sophie Appersett is quite willing to marry outside of her class to ensure the survival of her family. But the darkly handsome Mr. Edward Sharpe is no run-of-the-mill London merchant. He's grim and silent. A man of little emotion--or perhaps no emotion at all. After two months of courtship, she's ready to put an end to things.

A Last Chance for Love

But severing ties with her taciturn suitor isn't as straightforward as Sophie envisioned. Her parents are outraged. And…


Book cover of The Elementals

Charlotte Greene Author Of Gnarled Hollow

From my list on haunted houses to scare the bejesus out of you.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a writer of sapphic horror and romance fiction, and a professor of nineteenth and twentieth literature and Women’s and Gender Studies. I’ve been an avid reader of ghost-focused fiction since I was a little kid. This fascination was, in part, encouraged by my horror-loving parents, but I think I’ve just always loved being scared, and for me, the scariest thing imaginable is a haunted house. I’ve read widely in the genre, by turns spooked, thrilled, and baffled, and this reading eventually encouraged me to write my own haunted house novels. If you love a chilling tale, you’re going to love the books on this list.

Charlotte's book list on haunted houses to scare the bejesus out of you

Charlotte Greene Why did Charlotte love this book?

This is one of those books that creeps up on you. The setting is unusual and it uses the tropes of Southern Gothic in unexpected ways. For one thing, McDowell’s novel is set at the beach during a vacation. Most of the haunted activity takes place during the day in the oppressively sunny landscape of the vacation home for a group of visitors recovering from various ills. For another, and like a lot of Southern Gothic stories, family dynamics and history are a big part of the backstory here, but there are unpredictable elements as well, including the very nature or un-nature of the setting itself.

By Michael McDowell,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Elementals as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"The finest writer of paperback originals in America." - Stephen King

"Surely one of the most terrifying novels ever written." - Poppy Z. Brite

"Beyond any trace of doubt, one of the best writers of horror in this or any other country." - Peter Straub

"Readers of weak constitution should beware!" - Publishers Weekly

"McDowell has a flair for the gruesome." - Washington Post

After a bizarre and disturbing incident at the funeral of matriarch Marian Savage, the McCray and Savage families look forward to a restful and relaxing summer at Beldame, on Alabama's Gulf Coast, where three Victorian houses…


Book cover of Ghost Stories of an Antiquary

Lisa Morton Author Of Haunted Tales: Classic Stories of Ghosts and the Supernatural

From my list on collections of classic ghost stories.

Why am I passionate about this?

I've always been a fan of ghost stories. As a kid, I loved horror movies and the works of Edgar Allan Poe, Bram Stoker, and H. P. Lovecraft; later on, I discovered movies like The Innocents (based on Henry James's The Turn of the Screw) and The Haunting (adapted from Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House). As a ghost historian and editor, I've discovered dozens of brilliant tales from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries; these are stories that remain relevant, entertaining, and frightening.

Lisa's book list on collections of classic ghost stories

Lisa Morton Why did Lisa love this book?

Ask any scholar of horror fiction to name the greatest ghost story writer of all time, and chances are good they'll come up with M. R. James (1862-1936). James, who is also highly regarded for his scholarly works and translations, was a provost at King's College, Cambridge who entertained students during the Christmas season with his ghost tales (honoring the old English tradition of telling ghost stories at Christmas). His classics include such justifiably famous stories as "Oh, Whistle, and I'll Come to You, My Lad" and "Casting the Runes" (which was adapted into the classic 1957 movie Curse of the Demon). This edition also includes a superb introduction by David Morrell.

By M.R. James,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Ghost Stories of an Antiquary as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Dive into this collection of exquisite, classic horror stories-just make sure to have the lights on and the doors locked!
First published in 1904, Ghost Stories of an Antiquary contains eight tales of supernatural horror by genre master M.R. James. Highly regarded as a masterwork of horror, this collection is a must-have for fans of the frightful.
The stories in this collection include: "Canon Alberic's Scrap-Book," "Lost Hearts," "The Mezzotint," "The Ash-Tree." "Number 13," "Count Magnus," "Oh, Whistle and I'll Come to You, My Lad," and "The Treasure of Abbot Thomas."


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Interested in Christmas, Victorian, and Japan?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Christmas, Victorian, and Japan.

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