It’s that time of year when the evenings are dark, cold and long, though often busy with holiday preparations. Not to mention the plethora of holiday movies piling up on the DVR as we try to balance our busy-ness with our precious free time.

But sometimes we just need time to exhale and slowly drink in the joy and meaning of the Christmas season. For me, this involves nights in front of a fire, wrapped in a blanket, drinking hot cocoa. Or sitting in the dark with nothing but the Christmas lights on listening to holiday music playing in the background. Sometimes, it involves a good book and the time to enjoy stories revolving around the best characteristics and intentions of mankind.

RELATED: 50 Absolutely Amazing Christmas Movies That Will Make You Smile

For those needing a break from all the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, may I recommend a quiet night in with a good book? Whether you prefer historical or contemporary, literary or chick lit, this list of Christmas stories offers something for everyone.

TWENTY-FIVE CHRISTMAS BOOKS

(in no particular order)

#1: The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry

One dollar and eighty-seven cents is all the money Della has in the world to buy her beloved husband a Christmas present. She has nothing to sell except her only treasure — her long, beautiful brown hair. Set in New York at the turn of the twentieth century, this classic piece of American literature tells the story of a young couple and the sacrifices each must make to buy the other a gift. Beautiful, delicate watercolors by award-winning illustrator Lisbeth Zwerger add new poignancy and charm to this simple tale about the rewards of unselfish love.

Why You Should Read It: This short story is a Christmas classic. It’s a sweet tale of sacrificial love which is especially fitting this time of year. And you have no excuse not to read it since it’s available for free on Kindle.

#2 Christmas at High Rising by Angela Thirkell

You'll Love These 25 Delightful Christmas BooksOriginally published in the 1930s and 1940s and never before collected, these stories by the inimitable Angela Thirkell relate merry scenes of a trip to the pantomime, escapades on ice, a Christmas Day of gifts gone wrong, and an electrifying afternoon for Laura Morland and friends at Low Rising, not to mention the chatter of the arty set at a London private view. Charming, irreverent and full of mischievous humour, they offer the utmost entertainment in any season of the year.

Why You Should Read It:  I’ll be honest, this collection of short stories caught my eye thanks to that vintage looking cover. Doesn’t it just conjure up scenes of country village quaintness? It’s sure to make your night in feel even cozier. The fact that it’s a collection of short stories means it can be read one cozy evening at a time.

#3: A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

On the night of Christmas Eve, Ebenezer Scrooge is visited by three Christmas spirits. The Ghost of Christmas Past confronts Scrooge with his youth, the Ghost of Christmas Present reveals the Cratchits’ struggle amid poverty, and the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come harrows Scrooge with dire visions of the future if he does not learn to treat his fellow man with kindness, generosity and compassion.

Why You Should Read It: How sad is it that I have never actually read this book? I’ve seen numerous stage, television and film adaptations. If you are like me, this year may need to be the year to change that, especially since it’s also available for free download on Kindle.

#4: Tim Cratchit’s Christmas Carol by Jim Piecuch

Tim Cratchit’s Christmas Carol shows us Tiny Tim as an adult. Having recovered from his childhood ailment, he began his career helping the poor but has since taken up practice as a doctor to London’s wealthy elite. Though Tim leads a very successful life, he comes home at night to an empty house. But this holiday season, he’s determined to fill his house with holiday cheer—and maybe even a wife.

When a single, determined young mother lands on Tim’s doorstep with her ailing son, Tim is faced with a choice: stay ensconced in his comfortable life and secure doctor’s practice, or take a leap of faith and reignite the fire lit under him by his mentor, Scrooge, that fateful Christmas so many years ago.

Why You Should Read It: Raise your hand if you love a good sequel as I do. I love the idea of following back up with the characters Dickens’ introduced to the world in A Christmas Carol. Tiny Tim is one of Dickens most beloved characters, so there is already an emotional connection established to draw the reader into the story.

#5: Bespoke by Amanda Dykes

While the elusive Secret Symphony of Giovanni St. John captivated the world’s fascination, it left his daughter closed away in the Silent House – she, the one who holds the fullness of truth about the ninth symphony. Now Aria St. John is determined to not only break free of the loss that has defined her, but to honor her father through one final gift in his last days.

On the tiny Isle of Espoir, only one man can help in her quest: James Shaw, the village blacksmith… and the lost friend of her childhood. Will they be able to overcome the tragedy that separated them before it’s too late?

Why You Should Read It: This is one of the most unique story ideas I’ve ever read and one you really shouldn’t miss out on. It is thoughtful, tender and just really beautiful. The good news is it is a quick, short read and you can get it for free on Kindle.

#6: Christmas at Gate 18 by Amy Matayo

Supermodel Rory Gray just wants to go home. After wrapping up a three-day high-fashion photo shoot overseas, she’s exhausted and ready for the holiday. A holiday that involves Hollywood parties, air-kissing the industry elite, and a whole lot of fakeness…but whatever. Once she gets through that torture, she’ll head to her beloved Seattle and the life of anonymity she misses so much. In less than twenty-four hours, she’ll be there.

Colt Ross has spent the past six months detaching himself from the Hollywood world he grew up in, and home is the last place he wants to be. But he’s been called back by his overbearing father for reasons he can only imagine. Likely reasons that involve taking over the family corporation or fundraising among Hollywood elite—something Colt has no interest in being part of. Not that he has a choice; when you’re the son of an industry executive, rubbing elbows comes with the territory. In less than twenty-four hours he’ll be home. After all this time away, home no longer appeals to him. Especially not at Christmas. Leave it to his father to ruin a holiday.

But when a late-season hurricane grounds both of their flights in the Dominican Republic, Rory and Colt find themselves stuck at the airport far longer than anticipated. As weather conditions worsen, they both begin to realize that this Christmas will be spent with strangers packed inside a single airport terminal—specifically at gate 18.

Rory and Colt are faced with a choice: band together in their misery or make this Christmas one they will never forget. For two people who aren’t real fond of the holiday, this Christmas might turn out to be the best they’ve ever had.

Why You Should Read It: If you’ve never read a book by Amy Matayo, you’re in for a real treat. I always enjoy her contemporary romances. They tend to tackle deep emotional issues and portray very human characters. I especially like stories like this one, which are always a good reminder not to judge others based on first impressions.

#7:  Upon a Ghostly Yule by Amanda DeWees

When debutante Felicity Reginald impersonates the ghost of a willful 18th-century beauty at a Christmas house party in 1856, she is embarking on a dangerous masquerade. The real specter is hungry for life—and when she steps into Felicity’s skin, nobody, least of all dashing Sir James Darrington, is prepared for what happens next. James and Felicity must overcome the bitter misunderstanding that has kept them apart in order to solve the mystery and save Felicity before the ghost’s growing influence takes over entirely.

Why You Should Read It: For fans of gothic stories, I can recommend those written by Amanda DeWees. If you are looking for a Christmas tale with a bit more “atmosphere,” then this one is for you.

 #8: A December Bride by Denise Hunter

What started as a whim turned into an accidental—and very public—engagement. Can Layla and Seth keep up the façade in Chapel Springs this holiday season—for the sake of her career . . . and his heart?

Under normal circumstances, Seth Murphy—the best friend of Layla O’Reilly’s ex-fiancé—would be the last person she’d marry. But the news of their upcoming (and phony) nuptials convinces a big client that Layla may be high-society enough to work for his agency—a coup that would put her fledgling home-staging business on the map.

Seth has secretly loved Layla for years, even when she was dating his best friend. Maybe she’ll never forgive him for the way he hurt her back then, but he has to try. And Layla is willing to keep up their engagement farce until she’s landed her client.

For Layla, it’s the chance to save her career. But for Seth, it’s his last chance to win her heart.

Why You Should Read It:  I’ve long adored Hunter’s sweet contemporary romances. This little novella is a spin-off story of one of my favorite of her series, Chapel Springs. It was also adapted into a Hallmark movie. If you enjoyed the film starring When Calls the Heart’s Daniel Lissing and Jessica Lowndes, then you will love the novella, which is even better!

RELATED: A December Bride (2016) TV Movie Review – Denise Hunter’s Novella Starring Daniel Lissing

#9:  The Gift by Cecelia Ahern

If you could wish for one gift this Christmas, what would it be?

Every day Lou Suffern battled with the clock. He always had two places to be at the same time. He always had two things to do at once. When asleep he dreamed. In between dreams, he ran through the events of the day while making plans for the next. When at home with his wife and family, his mind was always someplace else.

On his way into work one early winter morning, Lou meets Gabe, a homeless man sitting outside the office building. Intrigued by him and on discovering that he could also be very useful to have around, Lou gets Gabe a job in the post room. But soon Lou begins to regret helping Gabe. His very presence unsettles Lou and how does Gabe appear to be in two places at the same time?

As Christmas draws closer, Lou starts to understand the value of time. He sees what is truly important in life yet at the same time he learns the harshest lesson of all.

Why You Should Read It: Ahern is an Irish author whose novels P.S. I Love You and Love, Rosie were adapted for the big screen. She writes such creative and quirky stories. I haven’t read this one yet, but if it is anything like the rest of her books, it’s sure to be full of lovable but very human characters.

#10:  12 Days at Bleakly Manor by Michelle Griep

England, 1851: When Clara Chapman receives an intriguing invitation to spend Christmas at an English manor home, she is hesitant yet feels compelled to attend—for if she remains the duration of the twelve-day celebration, she is promised a sum of five hundred pounds. But is she walking into danger? It appears so, especially when she comes face to face with one of the other guests—her former fiancé, Benjamin Lane.

Imprisoned unjustly, Ben wants revenge on whoever stole his honor. When he’s given the chance to gain his freedom, he jumps at it—and is faced with the anger of the woman he stood up at the altar. Brought together under mysterious circumstances, Clara and Ben discover that what they’ve been striving for isn’t what ultimately matters.

Why You Should Read It: I’ve had this one on my TBR list for a while, thanks to rave reviews. It’s the first in the Once Upon a Dickens Christmas series. And I’m pretty much a sucker for anything inspired by classic authors like Jane Austen or Dickens. Having read other novels by Griep, I have no doubt it will be a great story.

#11  The Mischief of the Mistletoe by Lauren Willig

Despite her dear friend Jane Austen’s warning against teaching, Arabella Dempsey accepts a position at a girls’ school in Bath, just before Christmas. She hardly imagines coming face-to-face with French aristocrats and international spies. Reginald “Turnip” Fitzhugh-often mistaken for the elusive spy known as the Pink Carnation-has blundered into danger before. When Turnip and Arabella find their Christmas pudding yielding a cryptic message, they are launched on a Yuletide adventure. Will they find poinsettias-or peril?

Why You Should Read It: Willig is a well-known name among readers of historical fiction. But even without her famous name, who could resist meeting Jane Austen in a Scarlet Pimpernel inspired Christmas story?! It’s such a creative idea. And that cover exudes all kinds of vintage holiday card cheer.

#12  The Bridge by Karen Kingsbury

Molly Allen lives alone in Portland, but she left her heart back in Tennessee when she walked away from Ryan five years ago. They had a rare sort of love she hasn’t found since. Ryan Kelly lives in Nashville after a broken engagement and several years on the road touring with a country music duo. Sometimes when he’s lonely, he visits The Bridge—the oldest bookstore in historic downtown Franklin—and remembers the hours he and Molly once spent there.

For over four decades, Charlie and Donna Barton have run The Bridge, providing customers with coffee, conversation, and shelves of classics—even through dismal sales and the rise of digital books. Then the hundred-year flood sweeps through Franklin and destroys everything. The bank is about to pull the store’s lease when tragedy strikes. Can two generations of readers rally together to save The Bridge? And is it possible that an unforgettable love might lead to the miracle of a second chance?

Why You Should Read It: If you are a fan of reunion romances, then this one is for you. Or if you appreciate stories about couples who have remained married through good times and bad then this is also for you. This book gives readers the chance to see romance both in its’ beginning stage and in the more mature settled stage. Plus, who doesn’t love a story featuring a book store?!

#13  Letters from Father Christmas by J.R.R. Tolkien

Every December an envelope bearing a stamp from the North Pole would arrive for J.R.R. Tolkien’s children. Inside would be a letter in a strange, spidery handwriting and a beautiful colored drawing or painting. The letters were from Father Christmas.

They told wonderful tales of life at the North Pole: how the reindeer got loose and scattered presents all over the place; how the accident-prone North Polar Bear climbed the North Pole and fell through the roof of Father Christmas’s house into the dining room; how he broke the Moon into four pieces and made the Man in it fall into the back garden; how there were wars with the troublesome horde of goblins who lived in the caves beneath the house, and many more. No reader, young or old, can fail to be charmed by Tolkien’s inventiveness in this classic holiday treat.

Why You Should Read It: I feel like I just discovered gold! Did anyone else know that Tolkien published a Christmas book? Or have I been living under a rock? I can only imagine how full of wonder and imagination this collection is. Wouldn’t it be great if it was adapted for the big screen some day?

#14  Giver of Wonders by Roseanna M White

A miracle once saved her life ~ will another give her a future?

Cyprus was little more than a child when a fall left her paralyzed…and when the boy known as the wonder-worker healed her. Ever since, she has wondered why the Lord spared her, what he has in store for her. But her pagan father thinks she was spared solely so she could be introduced to the wealthy wonder-worker, Nikolaos.

Nikolaos has never questioned that his call in life is to dedicate himself to the church and to God. Never, that is, until he and his cousin Petros meet the compelling Cyprus Visibullis. For years he struggles with the feelings she inspires…and with the sure knowledge that Petros loves her too.

Petros knows he will never be good enough for Cyprus’s father to consider him as a match for his favorite daughter not as long as Nikolaos is there. But when tragedy strikes the Visibullis family, he will do anything to save his beloved. Unfortunately, his beloved is determined to do anything to save her sisters ~ even at the cost of herself.

As the festival of lights bathes their Greek city in beauty, Cyprus, Petros, and Nikolaos celebrate the miracle of their Savior s birth together one last time. And in remembrance of their Lord’s greatest gift, one of them will make the ultimate sacrifice for the others…and a centuries-long tradition will be born.

Why You Should Read It: Roseanna M White writes wonderfully detailed and researched historical fiction novels. I love that she has set her holiday novella in the same time period as the original Christmas story. Plus, how often do you get to visit ancient Greece in fiction?

#15  Enchanted: A Christmas Collection by Melissa Tagg

One Enchanted Christmas

Last December, author Maren Grant went on a magical date with her book’s cover model—Colin Renwycke. Fast forward one year. With a looming deadline, Maren is desperate to recapture her creative spark. Then she remembers Colin’s invitation to visit his family’s Iowa farm…

Drew Renwycke never planned to move home and take over the farm. But he’s spent too many years watching his siblings unravel—including Colin. When Maren lands on his doorstep, he realizes she may be the key to coaxing his brother home.

One Enchanted Eve

As a Denver Culinary Institute student, Colin Renwyke is out to embark on a new career as a pastry chef. But despite his skills in the kitchen, he’s a mess in the classroom and his ongoing disasters are proving too much for his prickly instructor. If he loses his spot at the school, he’s out of backup plans.

Culinary school instructor Rylan Jefferson has the chance to reclaim her dream of running her own bakery. But she only has until Christmas Eve to come up with the perfect recipe to impress an eccentric investor. She has no time for holiday parties or family plans . . . and especially not for her unruliest student baker.

But Colin has the one ingredient Rylan needs most—talent. Lots of it. And when he makes a proposal that just might solve both their problems, Rylan can’t say no.

One Enchanted Noel

When Seb Pierce agreed to work for his wealthy grandfather for one year—in return for an early draw on his inheritance—he never expected the agreement to land him in a quirky small town in Iowa at Christmas-time, renovating a dilapidated theater…and running into a woman he never thought he’d see again.

Although she’s finally settled in her hometown, Leigh Renwycke can’t shake the familiar restlessness that used to get her into trouble. When Seb Pierce waltzes into her world and begs for her help planning the theater’s holiday reopening, it might be enough to jumpstart a new career…and to prove once and for all that the new-and-improved Leigh is here to stay. Until old secrets and new sparks get in the way…

Why You Should Read It: Who doesn’t love a bargain? With this collection, you get three stories for the price of one! Melissa Tagg is known for writing series based on families everyone yearns to be a part of. I love how real the interactions between these siblings are. Anyone who has brothers and/or sisters will be able to relate to the mix of emotions family can evoke around the holidays.

#16  A Sugar Creek Christmas by Jenny B Jones

Morning television show darling Emma Sutton has just been fired. The only way to get her job back is to find a holiday story to warm the coldest heart. So when her hometown of Sugar Creek, Arkansas, needs a Christmas event planner, Emma moves back, sure her story lies in the town’s desire to become a tourist’s holiday wonderland. The plan is perfect—until Emma meets her new boss.

Charming, handsome Noah Kincaid isn’t just Sugar Creek’s newest mayor. He’s also Emma’s ex-fiancé. Ten years ago Emma left Noah her ring and a goodbye note, but it’s haunted her ever since. The last thing Noah wants to do is work with the woman who broke his heart, but Emma’s desperate to prove to him that her bah-humbug ways won’t interfere with her work.

Emma finds it’s more than the mistletoe drawing her back to Noah. Whatever they had is clearly not over, but Noah’s kisses can’t protect Emma from a past that won’t leave her alone. As the snow falls and the trees glisten, love will come to Sugar Creek. But will it come in time to make all of Emma’s Christmas dreams come true?

Why You Should Read It: Have you ever bemoaned the lack of screwball comedy in fiction? Well, you’re in luck, because no one writes funnier stories than Jenny B. Jones. If you enjoy romantic comedies with trouble-prone heroines then you will love this novella set in small-town Arkansas. It also serves as a prequel of sorts to her new cozy mystery series, Enchanted Events.

#17  A Holiday by Gaslight by Mimi Matthews

A Courtship of Convenience – Sophie Appersett is quite willing to marry outside of her class to ensure the survival of her family. But the darkly handsome Mr. Edward Sharpe is no run-of-the-mill London merchant. He’s grim and silent. A man of little emotion–or perhaps no emotion at all. After two months of courtship, she’s ready to put an end to things.

A Last Chance for Love – But severing ties with her taciturn suitor isn’t as straightforward as Sophie envisioned. Her parents are outraged. And then there’s Charles Darwin, Prince Albert, and that dratted gaslight. What’s a girl to do except invite Mr. Sharpe to Appersett House for Christmas and give him one last chance to win her? Only this time there’ll be no false formality. This time they’ll get to know each other for who they really are.

Why You Should Read It: First of all, don’t you just love that cover? I really enjoyed this delightful Victorian era novella. It’s short enough to read quickly but long enough for a good plot and character development. It doesn’t hurt that Edward Sharpe reminds me a bit of Mr. Rochester or John Thornton. Who can resist such brooding heroes, especially at Christmas time?

#18  Silent Night by Stanley Weintraub

Silent Night, by renowned military historian Stanley Weintraub, magically restores the 1914 Christmas Truce to history. It had been lost in the tide of horror that filled the battlefields of Europe for months and years afterward. Yet in December 1914 the Great War was still young, and the men who suddenly threw down their arms and came together across the front lines — to sing carols, exchange gifts and letters, eat and drink and even play friendly games of soccer — naively hoped that the war would be short-lived, and that they were fraternizing with future friends.

It began when German soldiers lit candles on small Christmas trees, and British, French, Belgian and German troops serenaded each other on Christmas Eve. Soon they were gathering and burying the dead, in an age-old custom of truces. But as the power of Christmas grew among them, they broke bread, exchanged addresses and letters and expressed deep admiration for one another. When angry superiors ordered them to recommence the shooting, many men aimed harmlessly high overhead.

Why You Should Read It: For those looking for a more serious holiday story, this one is based on a true story. Who would guess that war and Christmas could fit into the same story? It was adapted for film in 2004 as Joyeux Noel. I’ve not read the book, but I did see the movie. If you’ve ever wondered about the power of Christmas to bring people together, this story is proof of it. It’s both challenging and inspiring.

#19  The Little Match Girl by Hans Christian Andersen

Hans Christian Andersen’s classic tale presents the heartwarming story of Adriana and her grandmother, who travel to a new world in the hopes of finding a better life. But suddenly Adriana’s dreams are shattered, and she’s left with only a flute, a box of matches, and her faith in God to fulfill her dreams. A wonderful story full of compassion, love, and faith.

Why You Should Read It: Hans Christian Andersen wrote many beloved children’s stories. Though this one is rather sad, it serves as a good reminder not to forget the less fortunate among us during this holiday season. It also is an example of how love is more powerful than death.

#20 The Mistletoe Promise by Richard Paul Evans

At thirty-two Kimberly Rossi, a finance officer at a Lexus car dealership, has had her heart broken more times than she wants to remember. With two failed engagements, a divorce and again alone with no prospects, she hardly seems the type to dream of being a published romance author. Dreading another holiday alone, she signs up for The Mistletoe Retreat, a nine-day writing retreat in Burlington, VT. Deep inside Kimberly knows she’s at a junction in her life and it’s time to either fulfill her dream or let it go. The other reason she decides to attend the conference is because famed romance writer, H.T. Cowell, once the best selling romance writer in America, and the author whose books instilled in her the desire to be a writer, will be speaking in public for the first time in more than a decade.

In one of her breakout sessions Kimberly meets another aspiring writer, and one of the few men at the conference, Zeke, an intelligent man with a wry wit who seems as interested in Kimberly as he is in the retreat. As Kimberly begins to open up to him about her stories and dreams, she inadvertently reveals her own troubled past. As Zeke helps her to discover why her books fail to live up to their potential she begins to wonder if he’s really talking more about her life than her literature. But as she grows closer to him, she realizes that Zeke has his own darkness, a past he’s unwilling to talk about.

Why You Should Read It: Yet another book on this list that has been adapted into a Hallmark movie and it’s one that celebrates writers. I think many can relate to the idea of pursuing a hidden dream after your life has thrown a few unexpected curve balls. Not to mention, that Richard Paul Evans just writes really beautiful stories.

#21  The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg

A young boy, lying awake one Christmas Eve, is welcomed aboard a magical trip to the North Pole . . . Through dark forests, over tall mountains, and across a desert of ice, the Polar Express makes its way to the city atop the world, where the boy will make his Christmas wish. 

Why You Should Read It: Watching movies based on books always makes me want to read the book itself. I can only imagine that this children’s story is as charming as the film and would make a great companion to the film. It would be a great choice to read together as a family.

#22  Miracle on 34th Street by Valentine Davies

Why You Should Read It: Did you know the holiday film originally began as a book? I didn’t. I find both versions of this story about a cynical little girl who doesn’t believe in Santa Claus rather charming. It’s a touching tale of how the magic of Christmas can melt even the most resistant heart. This is another classic which deserves to be read for itself.

#23  A Royal Christmas Wedding by Rachel Hauck

Avery Truitt aches for true love—the kind she once shared with Prince Colin. Can she dare to hope for happily ever after, or is a fairy-tale ending beyond reach? 

College volleyball star Avery Truitt has not seen her former flame, Prince Colin of Brighton Kingdom, since he suddenly pushed her away five years ago. But now, the sadness of losing her father and the joy of her sister Susanna’s pregnancy have brought Avery back to Brighton just in time for Cathedral City’s enchanting Christmas season. Avery knows she can’t avoid seeing Colin—now the Kingdom’s most eligible bachelor—whether or not her heart is ready to relive the pain. But seeing him again might bring her the closure she needs after all this time.

When Colin finds himself at the center of a centuries-old Brighton tradition, he must decide whether to follow the path laid out before him or follow his heart to the only woman for whom he would ring the Pembroke Chapel Bell. Can Colin convince Avery to meet him at the chapel on Christmas morning—as tradition dictates—or will Avery run back to her St. Simons home and pursue a coaching career as planned?

Why You Should Read It: Fans of Hallmark’s prince/princess inspired holiday romances should really enjoy this similar style tale. I’ve read many of Hauck’s stories over the years and they are always rather sweet, but also thoughtfully told.

#24  Christmas with Holly by Lisa Kleypas

One rain-slicked night, six-year-old Holly lost the only parent she knew, her beloved mother Victoria. And since that night, she has never again spoken a word. The last thing Mark Nolan needs is a six-year-old girl in his life. But he soon realizes that he will do everything he can to make her life whole again. His sister’s will gives him the instructions: There’s no other choice but you. Just start by loving her. The rest will follow.

Maggie Collins doesn’t dare believe in love again, after losing her husband of one year. But she does believe in the magic of imagination. As the owner of a toy shop, she lives what she loves. And when she meets Holly Nolan, she sees a little girl in desperate need of a little magic.

Three lonely people. Three lives at the crossroads. Three people who are about to discover that Christmas is the time of year when anything is possible, and when wishes have a way of finding the path home…

Why You Should Read It: My very favorite of all Hallmark Christmas movies is based on this book. The film has a very definite Three Men and a Little Lady vibe, which is what makes it rather special. I’m eager to discover if the book is as charming as the movie. How could it not be with Lisa Kleypas penning the story?

#25  Christmas at Little Beach Street Baker by Jenny Colgan

In the Cornish coastal village of Mount Polbearne, the Christmas season has arrived. It’s a joyous time for family, friends, and feasting, as decorations sparkle along the town’s winding streets and shop windows glow with festive displays. And in Polly’s Little Beach Street Bakery, the aroma of gingerbread cookies and other treats tempts people in from the cold.

Though Polly is busy keeping up with the demands of the season, she still makes time for her beekeeper boyfriend, Huckle. She’s especially happy to be celebrating the holiday this year with him, and can’t wait to cuddle up in front of the fireplace with a cup of eggnog on Christmas Eve.

But holiday bliss soon gives way to panic when a storm cuts the village off from the mainland. Now it will take all of the villagers to work together in order to ensure everyone has a happy holiday.

Why You Should Read It: Jenny Colgan has an excellent reputation among fans of her books. This holiday tale sounds utterly charming. And who can resist the chance to read about a hero named Huckle? Not to mention, the Cornish setting is sure to conjure up images of the delightful Port Wenn from the British series Doc Martin.

BONUS: The Christmas Story in Luke 2:1-20

Why You Should Read It: For millions around the world, this is the original Christmas story. I have fond memories of my dad reading it to me and my sisters every year. It’s always a good reminder that Christmas is not about the gifts, parties or school programs, but the simple, priceless qualities of love, peace and goodwill to men. At least Charlie Brown thinks so.

What are some of your favorite Christmas themed stories? Are there any you would add to this list?

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