Okay, we’re not quite in the Christmas in July season yet, even, but if you’re missing some of those Christmas feelings, even as you’re thankful for the warmer weather, you might look for some tried-and-true Christmas movies or TV specials. If you want to really sit and enjoy the weather while also getting those warm feelings in the cockles again, you might consider cracking open a Christmas book on your back patio. Here are five Christmas books guaranteed to bring that Christmas spirit back.
Hercule Poirot’s Christmas by Agatha Christie
The queen of murder mysteries, Agatha Christie, had a soft spot for the holidays, too, even if she invented the often cold but brilliant detective Hercule Poirot. This book is a mystery about the death of a man who has invited his family home for Christmas after years of distance from them. Poirot must solve the mystery in his typical charming way while using his impressive brain or, as he calls it “the little grey cells.”
Letters from Father Christmas by J.R.R. Tolkien
The father of fantasy, J.R.R. Tolkien, is best known for creating The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, but Letters from Father Christmas also has incredible staying power, and has become a holiday tradition for many families in the UK and elsewhere since it was first published in 1976. The book is a series of stories about Santa Claus (Father Christmas in the UK), each formatted as letters, written by Santa himself or his secretary. Tolkien originally wrote the stories for his children over the course of two decades, given to them in envelopes with postage marks and stamps designed by Tolkien himself.
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
While not a book strictly about Christmas, it does set the mood because it takes place around Christmas, telling the story of three sisters as they deal with family strife. The story of Jo, Meg, Amy and Beth is a perennial favorite, and one that has also been adapted into a film several times, most recently in 2019.
Mr. Dickens and His Carol by Samantha Silva
While the life story of Charles Dickens is often seen through the lens as the man who wrote A Christmas Carol, his life was of course more rich and complicated than that – even if he did tour with a one-man show of A Christmas Carol for a long time himself. Mr. Dickens and His Carol is an historical fiction novel hypothesizing what Dickens’ life might have been like as he worked on A Christmas Carol, and manages to keep that Christmasy feel while doing so.
Skipping Christmas by John Grisham
While best known for his political thrillers, in 2001 John Grisham took a turn to write a fun story about a family whose Christmas plans change, possibly for the worse. The book also become the film Christmas with the Kranks, so if you love that holiday favorite, here’s your chance to crack open its inspiration.