10 books like The Night Before Christmas

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

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like The Night Before Christmas. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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A Christmas Carol

By Charles Dickens,

Book cover of A Christmas Carol

Out of all of the books I have read, I have read A Christmas Carol more times than any other. An instant phenomenon when it was first published in 1843, it has never been out of print. It is the embodiment of not just a Christmas ghost story, but of a story that encapsulates the very essence of the spirit of Christmas in the popular imagination in a way that no other story ever has. Although I had always loved watching the 1951 classic film Scrooge with the wonderful Alastar Sim in the title role, I didn’t read the book until I was in my teens, when I came across a lovely copy of a 1950 edition in a charity shop. Since then, I have read, and shed a tear over, A Christmas Carol every Christmas – I won't embarrass myself by revealing exactly how many times that is, but…

A Christmas Carol

By Charles Dickens,

Why should I read it?

12 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

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.


Vanity Fair

By William Makepeace Thackeray,

Book cover of Vanity Fair

Serialised in Punch magazine in 1847/8, Vanity Fair covers the period from 1813 to about 1831. The heroine is an ambitious young woman called Becky Sharp, whose plan on leaving school is to use her youth, good looks, flirtatious nature, and, well, feminine charms to climb the social ladder. She’s what my grandmother would have called a minx. And minxes are such fun to watch from a safe distance, particularly when their adventures take them to Brighton (Regency hotspot), Brussels (awaiting news from the field as the Battle of Waterloo rages), and even to Court to be presented to the Prince Regent. It’s a soap opera, but one with fabulous historical detail and great costumes.

Vanity Fair

By William Makepeace Thackeray,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Vanity Fair as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

William Makepeace Thackeray's Vanity Fair depicts the anarchic anti-heroine Beky Sharpe cutting a swathe through the eligible young men of Europe, set against a lucid backdrop of war and international chaos. This Penguin Classics edition is edited with an introduction and notes by John Carey.

No one is better equipped in the struggle for wealth and worldly success than the alluring and ruthless Becky Sharp, who defies her impoverished background to clamber up the class ladder. Her sentimental companion Amelia Sedley, however, longs only for the caddish soldier George. As the two heroines make their way through the tawdry glamour…


Little Owl and the Star

By Mary Murphy,

Book cover of Little Owl and the Star: A Christmas Story

When I was little, I knew Christmas Eve was somehow more significant to our family than Christmas Day. In early evening, we would walk next door to my grandmother’s farmhouse for “Wigilia.” She greeted us with hugs and her double kisses. I remember warm light, voices conversing, and a table spread with delicious food, including fried smelts, my favorite. 

I wish I had understood better at a younger age, how Wigilia was a “vigil” of our family’s faith. Little Owl and the Star: A Christmas Story, with its endearingly simple story and gentle, yet striking illustrations, might prompt such a conversation about this. The little owl has a feeling of “waiting” and accepts an invitation from the star to witness the nativity scene.

Little Owl and the Star

By Mary Murphy,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Little Owl and the Star as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A joyous version of the Nativity, by a bestselling author/illustrator. It is a silent night, and Little Owl is sitting in his tree with a waiting feeling when a star sparkles along. "Come with me" says the star and Little Owl follows, as do three men on camels and shepherds with their sheep, until all who have followed the star find themselves part of the happiest scene on earth.;Shortlisted for the Bisto Book of the Year Award.;With shiny and sparkly foil effect on the cover!


A Dog Named Christmas

By Greg Kincaid,

Book cover of A Dog Named Christmas

According to Nielson ratings, 18.7 million households viewed the 2009 Hallmark Hall of Fame movie debut of A Dog Named Christmas. It outperformed the NFL game and 60 Minutes broadcasts that Sunday evening. I was one of the movie’s ‘captives.’

The short novel equally touched my heart. I admire how the author eased in the backstories of the dog, father, mother, and son—all so crucial in the story path. Todd, an animal lover and developmentally challenged young man wants his family to participate in a program to foster a shelter dog over the holidays. Can you guess the inherent conflict? The mother’s quiet strength and influence reminded me of Mrs. Brown in the movie, National Velvet.

A Dog Named Christmas

By Greg Kincaid,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

When Todd, a developmentally challenged young man still living on his parents' Kansas farm, hears that a local animal shelter is seeking temporary homes for its dogs during the holiday week, he knows exactly what he wants for Christmas.

Animals are Todd's first love, and his persistence quickly overwhelms his father's objections to befriending a canine, a reluctance that proves to have a painful origin.

The family takes in a very special animal, and the shelter's Christmas adoption programme soon grows larger than anyone had hoped. By the story's end, Todd, with the help of a dog named Christmas, has…


A Little House Christmas Treasury

By Laura Ingalls Wilder, Garth Williams (illustrator),

Book cover of A Little House Christmas Treasury: Festive Holiday Stories

Each time the ‘Little House’ books cross my path, I am reminded of where and when I first discovered the series. My dad regularly took my sister and I to the (Otis) Children’s Library, then located atop the Church Street hill in downtown Norwich, CT. We devoured the Little House books and much of the library’s young reader collection, usually finishing the books before their due date, when Dad was happy to drive us again. 

I probably identified with the Ingalls family. Their experience in the American frontier echoed certain life patterns of my dad’s immigrant family (a half-century later). Self-sufficiency, frugality, gratitude for small blessings, and appreciation for Nature’s beauty and bounties were just a few. This “Treasury” brings together many of Laura’s wonderful Christmas memories.

A Little House Christmas Treasury

By Laura Ingalls Wilder, Garth Williams (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A gorgeous and festive collection of Christmas stories from the prairie!

Celebrate the season with holiday tales from the life of Laura Ingalls Wilder, author of the beloved Little House series. Featuring Garth Williams’ classic artwork in vibrant full color!


The 13th Gift

By Joanne Huist Smith,

Book cover of The 13th Gift: A True Story of a Christmas Miracle

The 13th Gift is a mother’s memoir of an unforgettable Christmas. Just before the holidays, her husband suddenly dies. The family is devastated and lost; he was the glue in their family of five. The numb existence that sets in isolates them from one another. Christmas seems a bother, except to the young daughter. Then, a gift mysteriously appears on their porch.

I was pulled into this family’s touching day-by-day return from the abyss, thanks to the author’s storytelling and because I was reminded how powerful an act of kindness can be—and how simple. I think this true story inspires us to do more noticing and acting, when a person or family might need the help of an “angel.”

The 13th Gift

By Joanne Huist Smith,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The 13th Gift as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

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…


Polar Express

By Chris Van Allsburg,

Book cover of Polar Express

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.


The Pickwick Papers

By Charles Dickens,

Book cover of The Pickwick Papers

The Pickwick Papers is the first novel by uber-Victorian Charles Dickens, but the action takes place in 1827 and 1828.  The main character is Samuel Pickwick, founder and chairman of the Pickwick Club.  He and his three companions – Mr. Winkle, Mr. Snodgrass, and Mr. Tupman – travel around the country and then report on their adventures (or rather, misadventures) to members of the club. There is no grand plot as such; the tales were originally written for serialisation in a periodical and appeared in nineteen installments. This makes the book a perfect one to dip into for shorter reads, as it really doesn’t matter where you start and stop. Plus, of course, it is hilarious in its skewering of our human failings – it’s a go-to book for cheering me up.

The Pickwick Papers

By Charles Dickens,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In The Pickwick Papers we are introduced not just to one of the greatest writers in the English language, but to some of fiction's most endearing and memorable characters, starting with the 'illustrious, immortal and colossal-minded' Samuel Pickwick himself. It is a rollicking tour de force through an England on the brink of the Victorian era. Reform of government, justice and commercial life are imminent, as are rail travel, social convulsion and the death of deference, but Pickwick sails through on a tide of delirious adventure, fortifying us for the future - whatever it might throw at us.

This Macmillan…


Hercule Poirot's Christmas

By Agatha Christie,

Book cover of Hercule Poirot's Christmas

In this book, a murder takes place in a manor house just like in my novel, but during Christmas time. There is a connection to a diamond mine in South Africa, and how that played a part in the murder of the patriarch of the family. Detective Hercule Poirot has to delve into the family’s past to connect the dots and determine the motive and the identity of the killer. For those who like murders set during Christmas time, this is a novel for you.

Hercule Poirot's Christmas

By Agatha Christie,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

It is Christmas Eve. The Lee family reunion is shattered by a deafening crash of furniture, followed by a high-pitched wailing scream. Upstairs, the tyrannical Simeon Lee lies dead in a pool of blood, his throat slashed.

But when Hercule Poirot, who is staying in the village with a friend for Christmas, offers to assist, he finds an atmosphere not of mourning but of mutual suspicion. It seems everyone had their own reason to hate the old man...


5 book lists we think you will like!

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