1. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
Yes, yes I know it's an obvious choice....but Dickens is pretty much the King of Christmas; in fact many of the traditions we now associate with the holiday stem from this book, or the other Christmas stories written by this well known philanthropist. You may think it's not worth bothering with reading the text because the story is so well known but actually it does hold a few surprises. I'd also advocate reading this because it's by far the most accessible of all Dicken's works, and is a gateway book to his other, more difficult tomes. Plus it's heartwarming and all that.
2. The Secret Shopper Unwrapped by Kate Harrison
I loved this book, primarily because I'd already read every Shopaholic book before reading this, [although I gather there is a new one out - hurrah!] and I wanted a fix of shopping magic [even though I don't own many clothes, I do like reading about them!] and this more than delivered. The characters were very well drawn - I really felt like they could be real people, and I loved the setting of the Department Store...because I'm the kind of person who gets excited by department store decorations [Debenhams in Clapham has some pretty ones at the moment!]. I also liked the premise of three women all united as secret shoppers, and I enjoyed the Christmas quotes and tips littered throughout the text.
3. Let It Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle
I haven't read this one, but it is written by two authors I really like, John Green and Maureen Johnson [and I'm sure I'd also like the writing of Lauren Myracle if her style is similar] so I have high expectations of it; its been on my reading to-do list for yonks. I like the way the three authors have collaborated to make three interconnecting stories [that sounds like it would have been a fun writing exercise - anyone fancy collaborating with me?] Unfortunately, the stories are all romantic [what is it with Christmas and romance? All my most romantic memories are around this time of year too ...there's just something in the air! ] and so this might not be the best thing to read if you're feeling bitter and alone, although who knows, the stories might actually cheer you up by making you feel gooey and mushy.
4. The Night Before Christmas by Clement C.Moore
Oh go on - it's a classic, and you can read it in twenty minutes [or less!] This is a great one to read to the kids, and there's so many editions, you can pretty much pick one with illustrations to suit your aesthetic. Bonus points if you actually read this poem on Christmas Eve. I think this version looks nice and cheery, love that red!
I won't say Happy Christmas just yet [let's save that for nearer the time] but I will say Happy Run Up to Christmas!