As I was figuring out what to write about today, I was looking around my living room when my eye fell on my box of Christmas decorations. First things first: yes, I love Christmas, but not so much as to decorate my house early November. I have in fact only moved here about two months ago, and I still have a few boxes standing around, waiting to be unpacked. Anyway, as it is currently grey and raining outside, I was tempted by the Christmas atmosphere almost jumping out of that box. But, instead of putting up Christmas decorations, I decided to write about Christmas! I have almost finished a romance blog tour filled with Christmas stories, so I decided to look into the best Christmas books, across all genres. And I listed my personal top 5 here.
1. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
Of course, the first book on this list has to be A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. This classic Christmas story was released on the 19th of December 1843 and sold out on the 22nd of that same month. It was an instant hit and has survived all that time to still be considered a classic Christmas story today. Who hasn’t heard of the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future? Even if they don’t always know where the origins of these ghosts lie, the majority of people know of them. It has inspired more books, prequels and sequels, theatre adaptations and movies to count. With this book, I’m actually quite a fan of two of the many movie adaptations. The first is the Disney live-action remake from 2009 with Jim Carrey as Scrooge (trailer). And the second movie adaptation is a little bit older, from 1999 to be exact, and also lesser known but with the amazing sir Patrick Stewart as Scrooge (trailer).
2. The Nutcracker and the Mouse King by E. T. A. Hoffmann
The second book on this list is even older; The Nutcracker and the Mouse King was first published in 1816 by E. T. A. Hoffmann, originally in German. In 1844, the book was adapted by Alexandre Dumas and renamed “The Nutcracker”. That revised story was then the basis for the world-famous ballet of the same name, which was first performed in 1982 with music by Tchaikovsky. The story is about a young girl named Marie (in the ballet often called Clara) who gets a nutcracker from her godfather for Christmas. At night, the toy comes alive and battles the evil Mouse King. When he wins, he takes Marie away to a magical kingdom populated by dolls.
3. ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas by Clement Clarke Moore
This Christmas classic was written by Clement Clarke Moore, an American writer and Professor of Literature from New York. He is best known for writing the poem ‘A Visit from St. Nicholas’, which we now know as Twas the Night Before Christmas. He published it anonymously in 1823 and it wasn’t until 1837 that it was attributed to him first and he later confirmed his authorship by including it in an 1844 anthology of his works. It is seen as one of the most well-known American verses ever, and has been adapted for numerous plays, musicals, movies and so on. And with every new adaptation that comes along, there aren’t many of us that don’t smile wistfully when we hear: ‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring – not even a mouse.
4. How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss
Who doesn’t know of the Grinch, right? He was invented by Dr. Seuss in his picture book How the Grinch Stole Christmas in 1957. This furry, green recluse hates Christmas so much that the word has since come to describe people who are greedy, stingy and/or hate the Christmas celebrations. The rhymed children’s story criticizes the commercialisation of Christmas and tries to remind us that Christmas isn’t about gifts, but about spending time with our loved ones. So far, it has only been adapted into movies twice: a 1966 TV special and in the live-action film from 2000 featuring Jim Carrey as the Grinch – one of his best roles, in my opinion. But, good news, a third movie adaptation is on its way: How the Grinch Stole Christmas with Benedict Cumberbatch voicing the Grinch is set for release in November 2018.
5. The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg
I’m a big fan of Christmas in general, and specifically of Christmas books and movies. It wasn’t until I saw the 2004 Oscar-winning film adaptation with Tom Hanks, that I discovered The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg. This children’s book was also illustrated by its author, for which he won an award, and it was first published in 1985. By 1989, over a million copies had been sold and the book had been featured on the bestseller list for four years in a row. It’s now one of those classic Christmas stories that parents read to their children all through December. The storyline is relaxed and calm, perfectly supported by the beautiful drawings, and it spreads the Christmas cheer along with a message of youthful hope.
Do you agree with my top 5 of favourite Christmas books? I’d love to discover your most favourite Christmas books, please share them with me in the comment section below!
Happy reading and Merry Christmas,