Book Recommendations: A Holiday Edition

With the season of gift-giving just around the corner, I thought it would be fitting to start snuggling up with some cozy blankets and read some holiday books. Below is a list of my favorite holiday reads, as unique choices for adventurous readers or those who celebrate other religious holidays during this time of year.

1. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

This is perhaps the best Christmas book of all time. Am I being biased? You bet I am! In addition to being my favorite Christmas book, it has been performed, filmed and read by millions of people around the world. The term “Scrooge” has come to signify a grouchy person and we all know what “Humbug” means. I highly encourage you to read or reread it this holiday season as it will get you in the spirit of charity and cheer no matter what faith you practice.


2. The Nutcracker and the Mouse King by E.T.A. Hoffman

This book is the source of inspiration for the famous Nutcracker ballet which Tchaikovsky composed that is now synonymous with the holiday season all across the globe. There are many adaptations of this story in both dance and movie form, including the recently released Disney one. I urge you to read it to see the differences between the ballet and the original book and it will certainly heighten the beauty and magic of the season.


3. Letters to Father Christmas by J.R.R. Tolkien

With Tolkien as the creator, this treasure is guaranteed to be a masterpiece. Tolkien has written many other stories and pieces outside of his celebrated Lord of the Rings trilogy, so why not give this one a go?


4. How the Grinch Stole Christmas! By Dr. Seuss

This beloved children’s book by a beloved author will surely warm your heart and remind you what the true meaning of Christmas is this holiday season. This is a great option for those of us who are too busy planning parties and exchanging gifts to sit down and read a more substantial book. It is also perfect for those of us who are secretly children at heart, myself included.


5. Chanukah Lights by Michael J. Rosen

 This book is a pop-up, recreating the many Chanukah celebrations over time and in many different locations across the world. Written by an acclaimed poet, author and pop-up master (who knew those existed?!), it is sure to spin your dreidels into delight with every turning page!


6. Hanukkah in America: A History by Dianne Ashton

 For those of us who are more historically inclined, this book describes the regional practices of Hanukkah all across the United States and celebrates the creativity, ingenuity and spirit of American men and women of the Jewish faith.


7. The Story of Kwanzaa by Donna L. Washington

A children’s book focusing on the meaning of Kwanzaa, it is also great for those who are not familiar with the history of Kwanzaa or what Kwanzaa is and why it is celebrated.


8. Silent Night: The Remarkable Christmas Truce of 1914 by Stanley Weintraub

Another book for history buffs, it tells the true story of the series of truces around Christmas 1914 at the beginning of World War One. It is especially an interesting read this year as November 11 marked the centennial of the ending of World War One.

I wish you all a spirited season filled with cheer, magic and just a bit of mayhem. Happy Holidays!