The Best Christmas Books For Adults.

There are endless possibilities for children’s Christmas books, but you have to search a bit to find a good Christmas read for adults. Here are 10 GREAT Christmas books an adult can cozy up with this holiday season while avoiding shopping, parking lots and Santas that smell like scotch.

Library decorated for Christmas with shelves of books, greenery, and a white Christmas tree.

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 winter 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.

Yup, 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.

Book Genres by Earnings
  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 and nothing more. I was a University student for God’s sake. I had better literary tastes than this.   But I didn’t. 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.  Cozy, happy and relaxed are all the things we all want to feel 100% of the time 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 books on this list of Christmas novels. 

Top 10 Christmas Books

Christmas tree built out of Christmas themed books.



Something for everyone to cozy up with this holiday season no matter what your reading taste. Humour, mystery, romance and literary fiction.

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.  

Bonus Holiday books! Jewish, gay, & lesbian selections.
Jewish Holiday book

The Latke Who Couldn’t Stop Screaming  How could a book titled The Latke Who Couldn’t Stop Screaming be anything but fantastic? A Lemony Snicket book.

Gay Holiday Book

Small Town Christmas Gay romance Christmas novels don’t seem to differ from straight ones very much. This one focuses on a small town sheriff who tries to hide his gay truth from coming out before an election. Enter, the highly successful businessman, who wanders into town for a business deal during the holiday season.  

Lesbian Holiday Book

A Swedish Christmas Fairytale The premise of this sounds like a PERFECT Christmas book. Excerpt from Amazon – “Amber Tate is about to lose her job at a London publishing house. And it’s nearly Christmas. Her boss gives her one last chance. Sadly, it’s the impossible task of obtaining the rights to the popular Lund Collection of fairy tales. The rights to the fairy tales are held by the author’s granddaughter, Emilia Lund, who lives a reclusive life in Sweden and has steadfastly refused to talk to anyone about the rights for the last several years. However, in order to convince her one and only friend that she can be sociable, Emilia agrees to invite Amber – under strict conditions – to the cosy setting of wintry Sweden. 

There’s only a month long window where this kind of book will feel magical.  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. 

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The Best Christmas Books For Adults.


  1. Marcia says:

    I collect Christmas books (children’s and adult’s) and have a few favorites that aren’t on your list:
    The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson. I Love this book and re-read it every year. It still makes me laugh.
    The Cat Who Came for Christmas by Cleveland Amory I think someone else recommended this.
    The Shepherd, the Angel and Walter the Christmas Miracle Dog by Dave Barry. If you’re a fan of Dave Barry, you’ll love this
    Wishin’ and Hopin’, A Christmas Story by Wally Lamb
    Why Christmas Trees Aren’t Perfect by Richard Schneider
    Red Ranger Came Calling by Berkeley Breathed
    The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey by Susan Wojciechowski

    The last three books are children’s books, but they’re wonderful. You’ll enjoy reading to the children in your life.

  2. Violet says:

    Has anyone tried The Christmas Gift by J. Dietrich? It’s an illustrated indie book that the author wrote for his wife. Very sweet.

  3. Grammy says:

    I just read A Redbird Christmas last year and loved it. I feel the same about all of Fannie Flagg’s books. Little Women for the first time when I was ten, and several more times over the years because, of course. I’ll check out one or two of your recommendations this year.

    For those who think they can’t find time for a whole novel, look to some great short stories about Christmas. My all-time favorite is O Henry’s “Gift of the Magi” — I read it to my young son the first time in the late ’60s and it became an annual tradition to read that aloud. I have read “Gift of the Magi” several years now to my grandson, and this year I’m going to have him read it aloud to me. I think it even qualifies as the “romance” genre, too, but not so yucky that little boys don’t love it.

  4. Vikki says:

    My almost-favorite author is Agatha Christie. (my #1 Favorite is Margery Allingham.) I keep Christie’s books and read them again after about 10 years. Yes, I remember who-dunnit but you can’t beat her for characterizations and descriptions of the life and times when these were written. My favorite for humor is anything by Bill Bryson.

  5. Librarian Nancy says:

    Loved Fannie Flagg’s Redbird Christmas. Here are a few others – the first two are recently published:
    Christmas Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella (chick lit – most recent in Kinsella’s Shopaholic series)
    A Noel Killing by M. L. Longworth (holiday mystery set in Provence)
    In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash by Jean Shepherd (the essay collection that the movie A Christmas Story is based on)
    Envious Casca by Georgette Heyer (holiday murder and mayhem at an English country house)
    When Elves Attack by Tim Dorsey (twisted Florida humor/adventure)

    • Musette says:

      I was just going to mention Envious Casca! While Georgette Heyer’s Regency books are my absolute favorites, there’s something weird and delightful about her English Country House mysteries (No Wind of Blame is hysterical!!)

  6. Margot Hayes says:

    PLEASE don’t omit Stuart McLean from your list. If you want sidesplitting Christmas stories, his are the best. They are available as audio books and on CD as well. Try not to listen to them on the road as it is difficult to drive when doubled over, crying with laughter, and attempting to not piddle on the car’s seat.

  7. Dave R says:

    Yes. Yes. A thousand times yes to David Sedaris. He is my all-time favourite author. I’ve read everything he’s written that I’m aware exists and have howled with laughter at so many of his stories. If you want a good laugh go to youtube and look up David Sedaris Stadium Pal David Letterman. I’ve listened to some of his audio books while driving, and ran the risk of crashing due to the tears in my eyes obscuring my vision. I’m currently going through the audiobook of Theft By Finding, and honestly, this is the only piece of his that I’m finding kinda meh. It’s not stories, but a collection of brief entries from his diaries. I’m about a third of the way through, so I’m hoping it gets better. But if you aren’t familiar with his work, don’t start with this one!

    • Karen says:

      Oh! I have that somewhere but haven’t read it yet. Or maybe I started it and put it aside. :/ Eep. David Sedaris is all anyone needs in life. ~ karen!

  8. Heather T says:

    Thanks for the book list, Karen…I do enjoy reading…

  9. Victoria Andersson says:

    I have a book tip for you! Ghost Farm by Novella Carpenter. A funny and inspirational book for all of us urban farmers.

  10. Cherie says:

    “A child’s Christmas in Wales” is a must read for me each year, actually, I listen to the Dylan Thomas recording, too, and watch the movie. And “One hundred shining candles” is a must read at Christmas. Although I see that this list is an oldy and that there are probably some new ones you would recommend, there are some great suggestions, and I will try to get some of those I have not yet read. Goodness, Woman, when do you have time to read? Or sleep, for that matter? I’d be happy to accomplish one tenth of what you do.

  11. Nancy Blue Moon says:

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

  12. 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.

  13. Tina W. says:

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

  14. 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.

  15. 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!

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

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

  19. 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?

  20. 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.

  21. 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 –

    • MaggieB says:

      The Hogfather, book and film, absolutely!

      • Richard Whiteley says:

        Anything by Terry Pratchett is a good read. He’s reputed to be the best satirist since Jonathan Swift. Until J.K. Rowling came along he was responsible for 4% of the total income of the British publishing industry. Pity his humour and wit never caught on in North America. His early death was a great loss to fans worldwide. There are still many annual conferences devoted solely to him worldwide. How many authors can claim the same ?

  22. 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.

    • Musette says:

      I stumbled upon the Miss Read books in my town’s ancient library. I thought they would be very simple but actually found them to be more complex and ‘adult’ than expected. They are a pleasure to read.

  23. Heather says:

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

  24. 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

  25. 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.

  26. 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.

  27. 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.

  28. Sheryl Strachan says:

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

  29. 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!

  30. 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.

  31. 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”.

  32. Staci Martin says:

    I read “Little Women” every Christmas Eve!

  33. Monique says:

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

  34. 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.

  35. 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. :)

  36. 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)

  37. 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,

    • Marcia says:

      Thanks for this recommendation. I found the book and love it!

  38. 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 . . .

  39. 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.

  40. 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?

  41. 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.

  42. 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

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