Sunday, November 19, 2017

Sunday Afternoon Tea - Some of My Favorite Christmas Books

I was asked to share some of my favorite Christmas books.  I have collected quite a few through the years, most of them at book sales and used book stores.  I've also been known to bring a Christmas book home from the library but mostly I like to own them.  Some of these favorites are out-of-print, thus the treasure hunting for used editions at affordable prices.

I never feel I have to read every book each year for that would be adding pressure to an already busy season.  Instead I choose those I want to read that year (another reason for owning my books) and then leave others for either the next Christmas season or, gasp... off season reading.

I included some favorite books here, all with a Christmas theme.  Some are actual Christmas books while others are novels taking place at least part of the time during Christmas season.  For instance, Little Women is not really considered a Christmas book but it has lovely Christmas scenes within so it can be part of your Holiday reading.

Shepherds Abiding by Jan Karon - I've mentioned this before but I absolutely love this book and you need not have read the Mitford series to enjoy it. The scenes of Mitford during the Holidays as well as Father Tim and his wife working on their handmade Christmas gifts make for a delightful Season... even if your own may be less than wonderful this year.

Info... here.

Christmas at Fairacre by Miss Read contains three deliciously lovely Christmas stories; Village Christmas, The Christmas Mouse, and No Holly for Miss Quinn. I read it every year.

Info... here

I also have a vintage copy of No Holly for Miss Quinn that I keep just for the cover.  I can't be the only reader who does that.

Info... here.  (This book is also now available for the Kindle.)

These three stories take place in English villages that make one long for the quaint village life of that time period.  However, they are also not overly sweet or too nostalgic. I think many of us will be thankful to Jan Karon, who made the Miss Read books better known here in the U.S.

The Sister of the Angels by Elizabeth Goudge - This lovely Christmas story is the sequel to A City of Bells (one of my favorite Goudge books).  It is about Henrietta, her grandfather, her father, and the rest of the residents of "The City of Bells".

This long out-of-print book may be hard to find but if you love A City of Bells, it is well worth it.  This link takes you to an Amazon third party seller but you may find it cheaper elsewhere.  Info... here.

A Christmas Book by Elizabeth Goudge is an anthology of sections from various Goudge books where the story takes place at Christmas.  It is enjoyable to pick it up on a busy day and read one story or many at one time.

This book may also be hard to find but it is worth it for lovers of Goudge's stories. Amazon link to a third party seller... here.

Winter Solstice is a story by Rosamunde Pilcher, part of which takes place in Scotland at Christmas.  This was the second book I read by Pilcher, the first being her well known The Shell Seekers.

While I enjoyed the first book, I totally fell in love with the story in Winter Solstice and found myself wanting to live in a small Scottish town at Christmas.
Info... here.  (Kindle version available.)

Christmas With Rosamunde Pilcher takes you into the real world of Pilcher's family at Christmas with photos, and family stories.  It also contains a Christmas short story written for this book.  If you are a fan of Pilcher and Scotland, you will enjoy this book.  It is one to sit down with to enjoy with a cup of tea when you need to "get away from it all".

This book is out of print but there are very reasonable used copies available.  Link to a third party seller is... here.

The Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens is a classic, of course, but have you read it outside of a classroom?  It is a classic for a reason.  Lovely writing and perfect for reading aloud to the children.

Link to this paperback edition is... here.

There are a lot of more recent and popular authors who write Christmas books and I'm sure I've read a few.  It's just none stuck to my memory since I often bring one of these home from the library.

However, last year I bought the book by Robin Jones Gunn that contained both Finding Father Christmas and Engaging Father Christmas in it.  I didn't get a chance to read it last year so it is rather high up on my reading list this year.  I think I can recommend them because people I trust recommended the stories to me.

Link to this book with two stories is... here.  (Kindle version available.) There is also a third story available which you can follow at the same link.  I have my copy out to read for the first time soon.

I also own some books which are more Advent oriented.  Even though I do not attend a liturgical church, I do like this kind of reading during the Holidays. The first book is by an Episcopalian whose writings I have longed appreciated.

What the Land Already Knows: Winter's Sacred Days is part of the "Stories from the Farm in Lucy" trilogy by Phyllis Tickle. I own all three of these books but this one was the first I read. Only Phyllis Tickle can write liturgical stories that include cows, barns, and raising children in rural Tennessee.

Out of print but a link to third party book sellers is... here.

Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus, this book is edited by Nancy Guthrie and includes chapters written by many different authors including George Whitefield, John Piper, Jonathan Edwards, Charles Spurgeon, Randy Alcorn, Francis Schaeffer, Joni Erickson Tada, and more.  I have used this book for years, reading one chapter off and on through Advent.

Info... here.

I'll share more as I think of them!

Disclaimer:  Most links to are Associate links.


Vee said...

Recently, I shared this same thought with another blogger...original I am not. Have you ever wanted to write a Christmas story of your own? You have read so many and you know what is appealing, comforting, hospitable, good... If I wrote a Christmas story, it would feature bewildered people, a wise and good woman who bakes a lot and her wonderful, Narnia magical home. Ha! That’s a basic theme that is apparent in most Christmas stories...and a happy ending is required.

Sandi said...

Merry Christmas! It’s almost here.

Bess said...

You've shared many of my favorites, too, Brenda! However, I'm not familiar with the last three books, so I'll check into them. Part of me wants to own every book I like, but it's just not practical for me, or possible. But I know you have a lovely collection. I'm pretty happy with my modest collection, but it's definitely short on fiction! "When my ship comes in," I will have to remedy that. Have a very blessed and Happy Thanksgiving, dear lady. Bess

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing! Most of your Christmas favorites are my favorites as well. Did you know there is a new Jan Karon "Mitford" book out?! So exciting!! The title is "To Be Where You Are" (maybe you can request a free copy and review it for everyone ;-) ... and I want you to know I also have a copy of No Holly for Miss Quinn that I bought mainly for the illustrated jacket! I still insist that you would LOVE the Louisa May Alcott Christmas Treasury, but I promise this is the last time I will mention it, but the ISBN is 1589199502 fyi. I read the "Finding Father Christmas" stories last year after you posted about them, and loved them, but I did NOT love the Hallmark movie they made from it. Why do they have to change so many details from the original books when they make them over into movies? It should have been set in England! The Love Comes Softly/When Calls the Heart series disappointed me as well - too many changes to Janette Oke's stories. Just reinforces what I believe (with rare exception): books are so much better! -Joy

P.S. I think you'd better list "Where Treetops Glisten" ... read that one, too, after your recommendation, and it's a winner! (-:

Anonymous said...

Have already placed an order for one of the books you recommended. Love the lists you share with us. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your loved ones. Blessings, Sharon D.

Ginny Kubitz Moyer said...

I love this post! I also read Christmas at Fairacre every single year. It makes me feel ready for the holiday.

Have you read Elizabeth Goudge's I Saw Three Ships? It's a delight. Makes me cry, in a good way.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for listing the books you enjoy reading for Christmas. I too love Miss Read books and Elizabeth Goudge books, which I find hard to find. Some of the other authors I was unfamiliar with, so I will have a look at the library. I do hope you have a very blessed Thanksgiving. Best wishes Lyn from Australia.

Deanna Rabe - Creekside Cottage Blog said...

I re-read Shepherds Abiding every Christmas. I love Miss Read but haven't read any of the Christmas books. I bought some Rosamund Pilcher books at a used book store, that was going out of business, for .25 cents each. If there is a book of hers you're looking for let me know and I'll check my stash. I had never read her before, but have started one book.

I always think of Little Women as a Christmas movie, so it makes sense that the book would feel that way, too!

Keep the lists coming, Brenda!

Nancy said...

The only Christmas book I read at Christmas is A Child's Christmas in Wales, Dylan Thomas. My other Christmas books are read throughout the year as I seem to enjoy them more. No pressure to make Christmas the most wonderful time of the year.

I am glad you love Winter Solstice by Rosamunde Pilcher. A favorite of mine. Plus, it is comforting to know that another Christian reads her books.

Anonymous said...

Thank-you for your Christmas book list! I have three of them on your list and have really enjoyed them. I try to read "Shepherds Abiding" every year, but I think I'll read Miss Read's "Christmas at Fairacre" this season. Found "Winter Solstice" a couple years ago at a thrift store and loved it! Happy Thanksgiving!
Hugs and Blessings,
Laura C.(WA)

Karla said...

Thank you for the book recommendations! I found Finding Father Christmas at my local library at lunch today and have already read it through! Another one I have ready to read next is Blue Christmas. What a lovely way to enjoy the holiday!

Kay said...

I LOVE Winter Solstice. Another of her books with 2 sweet Christmas scenes is "Coming Home." it's a very thick book set before and during WW2 but so good. I also love to read Grace Livingston Hill's "Substitute Guest." Set at Christmas time and has the gospel message in it.