From many of my blog interactions via comments, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, I think that many of you enjoy reading as much as I do. While I love watching holiday movies, I think I love curling up with a good holiday book even more- there is nothing like putting on comfy pyjamas, sitting in front of the fire with a good cup of tea, and getting lost in the pages for a few hours! Today I’m sharing my favourite holiday books for you to escape for a little bit and get wrapped up in (holiday pun INTENDED), there are both fiction and non-fiction options!
Santa Claus: A Biography, Gerry Bowler
I have a rather special connection to Santa Claus: A Biography. In my undergraduate history degree I was lucky enough to take a course on the history of Christmas, an incredibly challenging but worthwhile course that allowed me to delve deeply into the history of one of my favorite subjects. Dr. Gerry Bowler is a talented historian who brings to life a complex but fascinating subject, Santa Claus. This biography of the well-known character begins in the Roman period and spans to modern day; it covers the religious, political, cultural, economic, and social history that encircles Santa and Christmas in general. Although it covers such a broad range of topic and time, it moves quickly and keeps you entertained! It features mummified saints that are traipsed across mountain and sea, bottles of pop, and even Nazi death cults to lead you through the maze that is the history of Santa, providing you with ample discussion for holidays parties and evenings around the fire.
Skipping Christmas, John Grisham
Skipping Christmas, the novel version of Christmas with the Kranks, is a softer and warmer version of the movie. John Grisham breaks away from his regular style of gritty and often saddening tales of convicts on death row to bring us the story of Luther and Nora Krank who set out to skip Christmas for just one year. In an attempt to avoid the chaos of parties, the hours spent cooking, the money spent buying gifts (and then wrapping them), they decide to excuse themselves for just one year. That is, until their daughter decides last minute that she is coming home specifically to celebrate with her parents. Although I do love Christmas with the Kranks, I prefer to novel version- it lacks the slapstick comedy that makes Kranks funny, but it also avoids the sometimes outlandish behaviour that makes you want to throttle movie-Luther. This is a fast read, and wonderful for anyone feeling a little crazy and rushed!
Miracle on Regent Street, Ali Harris
I had to include at least one piece of chick-lit in this list, as it plays a pretty big role in my holiday reading schedule. While I totally get that chick lit is not for everyone, Miracle on Regent Street is a lovely and happy story that makes me feel warm inside. Evie works for a family run department store that desperately needs to turn its’ sales around in the month of December or it will close forever. She uses Christmas displays and her entertaining work family to try and save the store- can she turn it around? Ali Harris create so warm and cozy world and although it might not leave you wondering at twists and turns, the strength and growth of characters is what will keep you turning the page! (Sometimes, you want something familiar that you can settle into, especially during the hectic chaos of the holidays.)
Christmas in the Crosshairs: Two Thousand Years of Denouncing and Defending the World’s Most Celebrated Holiday, Gerry Bowler
Another fantastic book from Dr. Bowler (who really is the most wonderful professor)! If you have any form of social media (or even just watch the news or read the paper), you will have seen the battle raging on the holidays- when can you start celebrating? What can you do to celebrate? And if your practices don’t line up with expectations, what anger and vitriol can you expect to face over it? Dr. Bowler documents the war on Christmas, from Scotland’s attempt to abolish Christmas in the seventeenth century to activists in this day and age who vandalise shops and shout parody carols, and it’s certainly not the merry ride that you associate with Christmas. His skill and strength really is delivering a huge volume of information (and making it stick) without overwhelming readers with a mountain of details. If you are at all interested in how Christmas is what we know it as today, Christmas in the Crosshairs definitely needs to be on your to-read list!
Christmas at the Vinyl Cafe, Stuart McLean
Christmas at the Vinyl Cafe is somewhat of a tradition for my mom and I; we inevitably end up in the car together several times throughout December and will often listen to the holiday trials and tribulations of Dave and Morley! The late Stuart McLean was a Canadian treasure, and is in my top three favourite Canadian authors- his casual stories of everyday life that can be read or listened to (his audiobooks/radio broadcasts are more popular than the physical book form) are so entertaining but equally relaxing. Many of his stories feature Dave and Morley, the parents of Stephanie and Sam, who often find themselves in such hilarious mishaps as 10 year olds getting into the punch at Christmas and attempting to cook a turkey without a functioning stove. If at all possible, I would recommend listening to these rather than reading them- preferably with a loved one who won’t judge your excessive laughter! (For anyone interested in listening, here are a couple of the stories!)
What are your favourite holiday books? Do you have any holiday reading traditions?