Books to read at Christmas
Books to read at Christmas
There is no time like the present to begin reading books all about the origins of Christmas, as well as festively themed novels. On our site, you can find many different books of both the aforementioned types, such as The Christmas Train by David Baldacci, and the more child friendly We’re Going on an Elf Chase by Martha Mumford.
However, we’ll go more into what our Scottish online bookstore has to offer in terms of Christmas books later on. For now, the focus of this article will be on classic Christmas books we know and love, as well as the origins of Christmas traditions and the most famous Christmas book of them all, the Bible.
Classic Christmas books
From childhood to adulthood, there are many classic Christmas books that evoke nostalgic memories of Christmases past. One of these is A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. First published in December of 1843, Dickens’ classic book is on the surface just a simple ghost story. But, paired together with Christmas symbolism and traditions, the story reveals what the true meaning of Christmas is — family and being together.
Another classic Christmas book is The Polar Express, which was written by Chris Van Allsburg in 1985, and subsequently translated into a stunning feature film starring Tom Hanks in 2004. This festive work of fiction was made to expand children’s imaginations, but has captured the hearts and minds of many adults too.
As well as the amazing storyline, Allsburg also included illustrations in the book, which have been widely praised and recognised. These illustrations help to guide the reader along the main protagonists journey to the North Pole, as he learns about friendship, bravery and the true meaning of Christmas.
Probably one of the most beloved and cherished books that is associated with Christmas is The Snowman, a book by Raymond Briggs, which was made into a classic 1982 film. This is a magical story, which shows how one night a snowman comes to life and takes a young boy on enchanting flight across the British landscape. It tells the story entirely through illustrations, that are beautifully made and presented.
Other classic Christmas books include How the Grinch Stole Christmas, The Night Before Christmas, and The Nutcracker. Many of these books encompass the joy and happiness that Christmas brings, and how its true meaning transcends generations.
A Victorian Christmas
At the turn of the 19th century, Christmas was barely celebrated. It was only when Queen Victoria began her reign, and the Victorian era began, that Christmas and the traditions that we know today really began to take shape.
Thanks to her marriage to Prince Albert, who was born in Germany, Queen Victoria introduced many of the aspects of Christmas that we see today. When he was a child, Prince Albert would regularly have a decorated Christmas tree in his family’s house, which he continued with Victoria once he moved to Great Britain.
Once the public saw an illustrated picture of this scene as printed in the Illustrated London News, many homes were bedecked with decorations and ornately adorned trees. The tradition of Christmas cards being sent to friends and family members also originated in this era, due to a commission to design a card by Henry Cole, a British civil servant and inventor.
This new commercialism of Christmas led to some other genius inventions, such as the Christmas cracker, and the need to have a whole turkey sitting on the festive dinner table. A book we mentioned earlier, A Christmas Carol perfectly describes what a Victorian Christmas was like, and how it moved to be more centred about the family, with gifts becoming much more than the ordinary fruits and candies that were originally gifted.
From this Christmas renaissance, the festive season has become a season of big celebrations and giving. It has also given us many classic Christmas books, which we mentioned earlier.
The True Origins of Christmas
Unfortunately many people are blinded by that commercialism and forget where Christmas truly originated from, the Bible. This collection of sacred texts and scriptures contains the story of Jesus and his birth.
In Luke 2:1 - 21, Jesus’ birth is described, including how Mary and Joseph travel to Bethlehem to find a place to rest, and how three (although it is debated whether it was indeed three or not) wise men follow the star to where the saviour has been born.
Also visiting Jesus was some shepherds, who were visited by an angel of the Lord, and therefore felt compelled to go visit the new Christ child. Also included in this incredible story was King Herod, who wanted this newly born son of God killed.
This story, whether true or not, is the reason we have Christmas today. Many Christians of all types spend this time of year celebrating his life with midnight mass, sermons and church visits.
This is a stark contrast to our modern Christmas, which is dominated by stores offering items which will allegedly make us happy, and reasons why we need to have a dinner table piled high with various meats and vegetables.
Which takes us into our next part, where we explain why a book is one of the best gifts that you can both give and receive.
Give a Book this Christmas
Rather than spending hundreds of pounds on a gift to give your loved one, why not wrap up a book to keep them reading and give them a break from cooking the Christmas dinner. A book is definitely a gift that keeps on giving, and there are so many different kinds and genres that you can choose from, not just ones that cover Christmas.
As well as the books that we mentioned at the beginning of this article, we have many other books on our online Scottish bookstore that are perfect for a special gift. From children’s books, to historical volumes, and true crime thrillers, we have a book for everyone.
If they enjoyed the TV show earlier this year, then they may enjoy the book of The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson. If they are a history buff, then the 1314 Bannockburn book by Aryeh Nusbacher, which details the Battle of Bannockburn and how it affected the Scottish landscape and culture.
Wrap up a book for Christmas and see your loved one’s imagination and happiness sky rocket.
So, at the end of this article, I hope you understand more about the origins of Christmas, and how it has affected our literature and traditions. Take a look at our online book library and see what book is the perfect gift for your friend or family member.