Season’s Readings: Christmas Books for Teens & Adults

Make the season warmer with a good book.

Make the season warmer with a good book.

We already gave you 21 Christmas books for kids. How about another batch of seasonal reads for teens and adults?

1. Christmas Stories by Truman Capote, Leo Tolstoy, Vladimir Nabokov and more

For the erudite Christmas enthusiast—this phenomenal collection includes Christmas stories from more than a dozen of literature’s greatest lights, including Alice Munro, Charles Dickens, Willa Cather and O. Henry. (You can probably guess which O. Henry story is included.)

2. Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris

If you haven’t read any Sedaris, then “SantaLand Diaries”—the story of a 33-year-old man working as an elf at SantaLand—is a great point of entry.

3. The Worst Noel: Hellish Holiday Tales

The perfect collection for people who hate Christmas. Writers tell the story of their worst Christmases.

4. A Different Kind of Christmas by Alex Haley

Haley’s best known as the author of Roots and the ghostwriter of Malcolm X’s autobiography. That sort of resume doesn’t immediately make one think of Christmas. However, A Different Kind of Christmas is true to both the season and Haley. It tells the story of a young man who’s trying to help one of his father’s slaves escape on Christmas Eve.

5. The Sugar Cookie Sweetheart Swap by Donna Kauffman and more

Three sweet stories with baking, romance, and Christmas in common. Light and delicious, just like the titular cook.

6. You Better Not Cry by Augusten Burroughs

Burroughs was on his sixth memoir by the time he wrote You Better Not Cry. That’s even more than Winston Churchill. You would think Burroughs would be out of material by now, but his Christmas-tinged recollections range from sweet to sad and never miss their mark.

7. Decked With Holly by Marni Bates

This YA book about a girl pretending to be fauxmantically involved with a mega-popular rock star is over the top in all the right ways. Teens who liked Bates’ Awkward will get a kick out of Holly too.

8. When the Snow Falls by Fern Michaels & more

It’s a hard-baked holiday. Michaels and other authors tell Christmas noir stories with PIs that are twisted as a candy cane (but not as sweet.)

9. He Sees You When You’re Sleeping by Mary Higgins Clark and Carol Higgins Clark

A posthumous man tries to earn his way into heaven by helping a 7-year-old moppet whose family has run afoul of the mob.

10. I Saw Zombies Eating Santa Claus by S.G. Browne

The hysterical Breathers gets a holiday sequel. The failed leader of a zombie civil-rights movement—you might have to read Breathers for context—tries to help his fellow undead and a lonely Breather girl while dressed as Santa Claus.

11. A Christmas Blizzard by Garrison Keillor

A wealthy and depressed urbanite is stranded in North Dakota—on his way to Hawaii, no less—because of a blizzard. A small town and the holiday teach him some life lessons.

12. Politically Correct Holiday Stories: For an Enlightened Yuletide Season by James Finn Garner

The master of cultural sensitivity James Finn Garner explains why snow forts are too militaristic, snow angels are offensive to the agnostic, and that Santa is nothing more than an exploiter of elves. (Don’t worry. He’s kidding.)

13. Rudolph! by Mark Teppo

Rudolph opens with Santa hacking the Vatican and gets weirder and wackier from there. The North Pole Coalition—led by Santa and a hairless, irradiated reindeer named Rudolph—decide to storm the afterlife, so they can give one little girl an honest-to-goodness Christmas miracle.

14. The Gift by Nora Roberts

This book compiles two Roberts’ holiday romances, All I Want for Christmas and Home for Christmas.

15. An Irish Country Christmas by Patrick Taylor

The third book in the Irish Country series with Dr. Barry Laverty. Like its counterparts, Christmas is long on charm and atmosphere.

16. Mrs. Miracle by Debbie Macomber

Even if you don’t know Macomber by name, you probably still know her stories. She’s responsible for the stories behind several Hallmark films. So if you enjoy Hallmark films, you’ll love Macomber’s books.

17. Santa & Pete by Christopher Moore & Pamela Johnson

Did you know that Santa used to have an African accomplice named Pete? You know about the elves and Rudolph; but, somehow, Santa’s most important helper has disappeared in the annals of time. (If you liked Moore’s story about Jesus’ forgotten friend Biff, then you’ll get a kick out of this too.)

18. The Christmas Wish by Richard Siddoway

A big-city professional is forced to reassess his childhood when he returns to his hometown for Christmas and hears of his grandpa’s mystery woman, Lillian. He’s tasked with both finding “Lillian” and saving the family’s real-estate business.

19. A Nantucket Christmas by Nancy Thayer

Massachusetts in the off season is chilly for Nicole Somerset, who can’t seem to thaw her new step-daughter Kennedy’s heart.

20. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

You know this one: stingy lender, hobbled child, three ghosts, humbug. Even if you’ve seen a half-dozen movie versions of this story, you should still read the book. It has some of Dickens’ finest writing.

21. The Bible

Not to proselytize, but it is the first Christmas book.

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