The amount of things I think I’m going to do (and not do) during my break at Christmas is so out of sync with any sort of reality it’s hilarious.  That doesn’t stop the fantasy though.  In my mind I’m going to spend a full week on the couch in my pajamas.  Somehow I’m also going to organize all of my drawers and closets, visit friends, probably learn to snowshoe and post on social media about how I’m taking a week off of social media.  Complete with a cute little picture of my feet relaxing in front of a fireplace.  #imhopeless

I’m going to go on runs in the snow (if it ever snows), cook hotdogs on the fireplace, wear slippers, accomplish everything and accomplish nothing in the span of one week.

I’m also going to read hundreds of books.  Nevermind that it takes me over a month to get through most books because I only read in bed and usually fall asleep before I finish a chapter.  Nevermind that the very same thing will happen if I try to read during the day on the couch.  Nevermind that I’m not even sure there are hundreds of books I want to read at the moment.  I’m. Going. To. Do. It.  In my imaginary life I get a lot more done, plus I’m 4″ taller.

Earlier this year I introduced you to my list of summer reads. Books that are perfect for sitting by the pool or on the beach.  Books you can curl up with in a slightly musty cottage.  Summer books differ from winter books in that they’re a bit lighter, quicker paced and easier to read.  WINTER books are like the season, slow, heavy and almost never ending.  They’re the kind of books with some heft that more often than not have won some sort of literary award.  The one time this doesn’t hold true is in the month of December.

A time when even the most austere of readers has been known to bundle under the covers with a hot chocolate, a shortbread cookie and secretly crack open a Christmas romance novel.

Romance novels.  The literary world’s most sneezed upon genre.  It’s also the most profitable.  Romance novels make more money for the publishing world than any other books.  By a lot.

  1. Romance &  Erotica – $1.44 billion dollars
  2. Crime & Mystery – $728.2 million
  3. Religious & Inspirational – $720 million

Now that I’ve sort of legitimized romance novels I will now confess that although I’ve never read a “regular” romance novel, I had a period in my life when I was absolutely obsessed with Christmas themed romance novels.  Which I read of course around Christmas.  When I was in University a friend and I would start buying these books around the month of October and we’d read them nonstop until Christmas. I said it was a way to avoid writing papers.  But I liked those books. I actually liked them.

They just made me feel cozy, happy, relaxed … all the things one normally doesn’t feel while trying to avoid writing 2,000 word papers.  They’re all the things we all want to feel 100% of the time actually which probably explains why romance is indeed the most read genre in the world.

So while they aren’t normally what I reach for when I’m looking for a book I’ve included a couple of romance novels on this list of Christmas reads.

What makes a good Christmas book?  It has to be short, satisfying and of course have something to do with the holidays.

Top 10 Christmas Books

Top 10 Christmas themed books

Click on any of the book titles to learn more about them.

Visions of Sugar Plums – Janet Evanovich (Christmas/Crime Novel/Humour)

A Redbird Christmas – Fannie Flagg (feel good)

Little Women – Louisa May Alcott (juvenile fiction)

Hercule Poirot’s Christmas – Agatha Christie (mystery)

Holidays on Ice –  David Sedaris (humour)

A Cowboy Christmas – Vicki Lewis Thompson (romance)

The Christmas Mystery – James Patterson & Richard DiLallo (mystery)

An Irish Christmas Feast – John B. Keane (Short Stories)

Trading Christmas – Debbie Macomber (romance)

A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens (classic)

Bonus book!

The Latke Who Couldn’t Stop Screaming – A Christmas Story – Lemony Snicket  (Children’s book)

My personal favourites on this list are Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris which is absolutely hysterical and A Redbird Christmas by Fannie Flagg because she’s such a good storyteller.  I haven’t read Agatha Christie’s  Hercule Poirot’s Christmas but I’ve ordered it and can’t wait for it to arrive. A Christmas Christie mystery!  And how could a book titled The Latke Who Couldn’t Stop Screaming be anything but fantastic?

I tried very hard to find a couple of gay and lesbian holiday themed romance novels but not a single gay or lesbian friend would admit to ever having read one.  Feel free to add them to the list if you have a recommendation.

I’ll leave you now for the weekend with a little homework.  Pick a Christmas book to read this month. I don’t care if it’s one from my list or one you’re going to read to your kids.  There’s only a month long window where this kind of book will feel magical and we’re already 8 days into that month.

Get that book, go to bed early with a mug of hot chocolate, a plate of shortbread cookies and settle into some holiday rest, relaxation and reading. It’s not just for University students trying to avoid writing papers.

It’s for anyone trying to avoid anything.

Have a good weekend!





  1. Robert says:

    I normally don’t read a lot of fiction books but romance and erotica are usually impossible to put down and since the selection from Kindle unlimited is not lacking on them I could almost read one per day

  2. Jennifer says:

    Stuart McLean, a humourous Canadian journalist, writer and entertainer as well as CBC radio host, recently died. A collection of some of his best Christmas stories was just released and it includes a number of never before published stories. I’m giving two copies as gifts this year at Christmas and I’m hoping to get a copy for myself under the tree. Guaranteed to make you laugh, cry and end the book wishing for more. It’s called Christmas at the Vinyl Cafe.

  3. Janet says:

    Hmm, Erotica books at Christmas time 🤔… is there really a book titled ..
    “Gray Christmas” ?

    • Stephanie says:

      Haha… if Santa’s in it, I’m cancelling Christmas.

    • Alena says:

      Dunno, but that should not stop you from writing 50 Shades of Christmas.
      Given what in the previous 50 Shades books, it should not take very long to write – you can write over the weekend and have it published by Christmas (I think the only limiting factor is the speed of one’s typing – how long can it possibly take to write a book where the heroine blushes 3 times and bites her lips 4 times on every single page?

  4. Tasha says:

    My mom bought me a Christmas book every year until I was 21. She keeps them for me, and we read them at Christmas. I have one the same for my son. Favourites include The Snowman by Raymond Briggs (I also recommend Father Christmas by him as well), Jolly Christmas Postman, and Samurai Santa.

    I too love a good Christmas romance, they are completely low stress, you know that they will get together at the end, AND there is the Christmas magic too.

    • Rebekah says:

      I absolutely love Father Christmas! A grumpy Father Christmas never fails to cheer me up. Also love A Jolly Christmas Postman – kids get to open someone else’s mail!

      I would recommend The Gift of anything by Patrick McDonnell – a very funny yet effective little fable, with his fabulous sketchy drawings to illustrate.

  5. Try “The Shepherd” by Frederick Forsyth. A must read on Christmas Eve. You can read it in about an hour. Used to be read by “Fireside Al” (Alan Maitland) on CBC Radio every Christmas Eve.

    • Teri says:

      I miss Alan Maitland.
      And Max Ferguson.
      And Stuart McLean.
      Stuart McLean could write the most gentle, real and hilarious stories Such a wonderful story-tellers voice too.
      The year Dave cooked the turkey is a classic.
      The good days at the mother ship of CBC.

    • Jan in Waterdown says:

      My dad was an RAF pilot in WWII, flew a Mosquito fighter-bomber. Whenever I heard this on Christmas Eve, we were usually driving to see my folks and it always brought tears to me eyes. Ok, I need a kleenex . . . sweet memories . . .

  6. Jack Barr says:

    Al Maitland still reads the Shepherd (posthumously), every Christmas on CBC. It has been our family’s and many of our friends tradition to listen to it. Always fresh. As an over the hill member of a CF100 sqn., based in France, I have flown, at night as well, very similar flightpaths over the “Channel”: always brings back fond memories.

    • Jan in Waterdown says:

      My Dad, was Jack and he too flew his Mossie in France . . .

      • Jack Barr says:

        Incidentally, since Christmas Eve is on Sunday this year (CBC’s “As It Happens” doesn’t broadcast on Sunday), Fireside Al will be reading the “Shepherd” on Friday eve.

        • Jan in Waterdown says:

          Thanks so much Jack! I also have a CBC dvd of it that I bought at Lee Valley quite a few years ago.
          Hope your Christmas is full of warm memories!

        • Jack Barr says:

          Hi, Jan. May you also have a memory-filled family
          Your dad would have been well before me when he was flying Mousquitos, an amazing, versatile and, for its time, fast a/c made mostly of wood and mostly in Canada. It filled many rolls- dangerous ones: night fighter, pathfinder, reconnaissance; not unlike some of our rolls later with the CF100, an all-weather fighter/interceptor.
          with envy,

  7. Lily MacBloom says:

    Instead of reading Fannie Flagg I highlly encourage you to get both the the Red Christmas and Green Fried Tomatoes as audio books. She reads them herself and her delivery makes you laugh out loud< (because that's more than LOL)

  8. Noreen McKechnie says:

    I’ve been reading Christmas romances for several weeks already. Love them, I call them my guilty pleasures between “quality fiction” . Also embarrassing to admit I sometimes reread old ones during the summer!

    • Leeuna says:

      Noreen, so do I. We must like a little Christmas in July. I will read a book in a day or so. I’ve already read fifteen since the beginning of November. I love being retired. 🙂

  9. MindyK says:

    These are letters that Tolkien wrote to his children as though from Santa. They detail life at the North Pole (the North Polar Bear gets blamed for everything that goes wrong) and are illustrated with little watercolors. I got it for Christmas when I was a kid and was absolutely delighted when my mother mailed my battered copy to me when my own son was small. We read it every year.

    Regarding Little Women, I had the oddest experience. I’ve read it a dozen times. Know the story backward and forward; love it. I recently listened to it as an audio book and discovered that I have been reading an abridged version my entire life. And, honestly, kind of like the Princess Bride is the “good parts version,” so is my abridgement. There’s a lot of boring moralizing in the unabridged LW.

  10. Monique says:

    Not Christmas..but..have you read Wonder?

  11. Staci Martin says:

    I read “Little Women” every Christmas Eve!

  12. Elaine says:

    Thanks SO much, Karen, for your list! I didn’t know Fannie Flag has a new one; I love her books. Since I don’t drive, my daughter took me to Chapter’s yesterday and has now crossed that off HER to-do list but now that a reader says Stuart McLean has a new book, I really want/need to return and buy that book as a gift. I know she’ll murder me but heck, she’s the daughter I told you about that hated my dried up chicken and (as a kid), hid it in her pj drawer. Days later, I’d find the “petrified” hunks when putting freshly laundered pj’s back in her drawer. I think she owes me one, don’t you? I really need that book!!

    • Marcia says:

      I put food I didn’t want to eat in the pockets of my robe and on this little shelf that was under the kitchen table. My parents were never the wiser until we moved and they found my “stash”.

  13. Alena says:

    If you can fall asleep before finishing a chapter you are reading the wrong books. I cannot imagine falling asleep with Elizabeth George in my hands. I have to admit I won’t read anything on your list unless I really want to fall asleep (which I am sure the Dickens would accomplish successfully). Debbie Macomber’s books make for good TV movies (and I usually check my Instagram feed during those so that I don’t feel like I wasted all that time).

    I just finished Laura Lippman’s Every Secret Thing and it was an excellent book (my first Lippman; and I have instantly became a fan) that I can warmly recommend. It’s not Christmassy but I don’t think it matters.

    Before Lippman, I read Ruth Ware’s A Dark, Dark Wood – a book which I saw mentioned in newspapers, online, etc. When I got it (together with Lippman, the books were a gift from a dear friend) I read the reviews on and inside the cover first. They are practically promising that you will shit yourself (pardon my French) reading the book because it’s so sinister and blood curdling and what not. Well, don’t believe the reviews. I had no problem going to the bathroom in the dark or anything else the critics warned about. The book is OK but nothing special and not such a thriller at all.

  14. Kate K says:

    I’d like to add to the list: The Autobiography of Santa Claus by Jeff Guinn. It’s designed to read a chapter a day from Dec 1-Dec 24. There’s a follow-up book, The Autobiography of Mrs. Claus. Both are a lot of fun!

  15. Sheryl Strachan says:

    Winter Solstice by Rosamunde Pilcher –
    I read it every year at this time.

  16. I’ve never read an adult Christmas book. How can this be!? I’ll check out Amazon Prime and see if there’s any freebies. I do, however, wrap up 25 kid Christmas books every year for our advent. Most of them came from second hand stores, so it was very inexpensive to collect them. The kids take turns opening one every night and we read it by the tree. It’s one of my favorite December traditions.

  17. Debra Milam says:

    OK, my daughter says it’s cheating and I’m not really reading a book so it doesn’t count. I listen to books on my mp3 player. I listen from the time I get up in the morning till I fall asleep at night (it has a shut off timer). There are a lot of books out there. I go through one in a day or two. I would prefer to read, but if I sat down to read I would never get anything else done, this way I can listen and carry on with all the necessary things of daily life.

    • Alena says:

      Hi Debra,
      Perhaps I should consider this. I am the same type – if I am reading the book, nothing else exists (I barely get the dog out for her potty breaks and I feed her, but that’s it). I can never peel myself off of a book.

  18. Marcia says:

    Although I generally like David Sedaris, I didn’t like “Holidays on Ice”. Didn’t find it to be as funny as his other books. One of my very favorite Christmas books is “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” by Barbara Robinson. Hilarious and heart-warming. If you haven’t read it, you should.

  19. Patricia says:

    I love reading a Christmas book or two of some kind at this time of year. I like the “heart warming, restore your faith in humanity” kind of books.
    In that vein, I recommend,
    The 13th Gift
    A True Story of a Christmas Miracle
    by Joanne Huist Smith
    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 the gifts were from, they began to thaw out from their grief and come together again as a family. This true story about the power of random acts of kindness will warm the heart, a beautiful reminder of the miracles of Christmas and the gift of family during the holiday season

  20. Heather says:

    Winter Solstice by Rosamunde Pilcher is among my favourites. Heading over to Amazon now to order Hercule Poirot’s Christmas. Thanks!

  21. Marilyn says:

    For a little hit of long ago, there is the Miss Read series. She wrote charming books of old England and there are several about Christmas. Light and warm.

  22. Catherine says:

    I have a recommendation for a gay Christmas romance – “All Through the Night” by Suzanne Brockmann (excerpt at ).

    It’s the 12th novel in the Troubleshooter series but it can definitely be read as a standalone. It’s “the first mainstream romance novel with a hero and a hero ever to hit The New York Times hardcover fiction bestseller list, and in 2007, Suz donated all of her earnings from this book, in perpetuity, to MassEquality, to help win and preserve equal marriage rights in Massachusetts”.

    But, I can’t believe you missed “Hogfather” by Terry Pratchett. An exchange between DEATH and Susan, his granddaughter:
    ‘Tooth fairies? Hogfathers? Little -’
    ‘So we can believe the big ones?’

    I also recommend the movie they made of Hogfather starring Ian Richardson and David Jason.

    My favourite Stuart McLean story is “Dave Cooks the Turkey”. It starts at 16:30 –

  23. Gaeyl says:

    I don’t usually read novel however I recently picked up Commonwealth by Ann Patchett and A Light in the Window Jan Karon . I have fond memories of Little Women or anything by Louisa M Alcott and equally Agatha Christie . Enjoy Your to do list and no stress just do what you enjoy the most.

  24. Jennie Lee says:

    I hope someone can answer this: was there a video made of part of “Holidays on Ice”? I’d swear I’ve seen and heard the part where he sings a Christmas carol in the style of Billie Holiday. I know a good writer puts images in your head, but a good imitation of Lady Day?

  25. This is such a great idea for a post!!!
    I LOVE David Sedaris.
    A good kids book is “Blue Toes”

  26. Tanya J says:

    Your Christmas romance novel obsession is only challenged by my Hallmark Channel cheesy romance Christmas movies obsession because my obsession comes with lots of holiday eye candy.

    The scripts are terrible. The acting? Meh. But the sets! Small snow-covered main streets with their magically decorated shops, old farmhouses where old Uncle Joe still lives, luxurious country estates with fresh greenery wrapped up sprawling staircases. It’s a never ending parade of everything that screams “charming Christmas.”

    The movies run 24/7 all month. Best. Thing. Ever.

  27. Alex says:

    I have to read the new Anne Perry Christmas story every year. It usually has a sub theme of redemption, maybe some romance, and, if I’m lucky, some murder. All wrapped in Victorian Christmas paper.

  28. TucsonPatty says:

    I love these two authors and these books – “This Year It Will Be Different, and other stories” by Maeve Binchy, and “‘Tis The Season” by Lorna Landvik.
    I love Lanvik writing and a favorite is ” Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons” which is about a book club and their books. There are 58 books mentioned in this book and it is great!

  29. Nancy Preston says:

    My absolute favorite holiday book is “I Am One of You Forever”, a collection of short stories by author Fred Chappell. A beautiful book that I read every winter.

  30. Tina W. says:

    Cheddar Off Dead by Julia Buckley is a perfect cozy mystery/romance set at Christmas. Fun and easy to read.

  31. I can’t say I’ve ever read specific “Christmas” books, but after reading this list I’m starting. Tonight. After I stop at Chapters. This list is amazing. I’ve got Christmas reads for the next 10 years covered! Thank you everyone for sharing your favourites and a big thank you to Karen for starting the ball rolling.

  32. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    Good list Karen…both old and new!…I love books!

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