Seven of the Best Books to Read at Christmas

Christmas is the time for curling up beneath a blanket with a good book while snow swirls past the window outside. Ideally, you'll want a hot chocolate or a dram of whisky too, as well as a generous plate of mince pies.

However, choosing the perfect reading material is the most important part. So if you're planning a festive getaway soon, then you should definitely pack one of these deliciously wintery reads.

1. The Snow Child

What is the secret of the Snow Child?What is the secret of the Snow Child?Max Pixels

Based loosely on the Russian folktale of the same name, The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey moves the setting of the story to the Alaskan wilderness of the 1920s. Here we find two homesteaders, Mabel and Jack, who are trying to build a life for themselves in very harsh conditions.

Mabel longs for a child, so when a mysterious little girl keeps appearing from nowhere in the depths of winter, the reader is kept guessing. Is the Snow Child real, or is she all in Mabel's imagination?

2. A Child's Christmas in Wales

Magical festive nostalgiaMagical festive nostalgiaSabina Sturzu, Unsplash

"It was snowing. It was always snowing at Christmas. December, in my memory, is white as Lapland, though there were no reindeers."

Written in the 1950s by famed poet, Dylan Thomas, A Child's Christmas in Wales looks at the festive season through the excited eyes of a young boy.

Based on Thomas's own childhood Christmases in his small Welsh town, it features snowmen, tin soldiers, board games, and all of the Yuletide nostalgia you could ever wish for.

3. Kolymsky Heights

Enjoy a chiller thrillerEnjoy a chiller thrillerWill Malott, Unsplash

If you fancy a bit of snow-bound suspense, then Kolymsky Heights by Lionel Davidson will keep you gripped. Considered to be one the best thrillers ever written, it tracks the adventures of Johnny Porter as he tries to break into a secret Russian base in deepest Siberia.

The more you follow Johnny's daring race against time over snow-covered terrain, the more grateful you'll feel to be cosy and safe indoors at winter. Brrr.

4. The Oxford Book of Christmas Poems

Are you a soulful poetic type?Are you a soulful poetic type?Eleonora Albasi, Unsplash

Christmas doesn't just inspire memorable prose — it also produces great poetry too. Featuring works by everyone from Norman MacCaig to Spike Milligan, The Oxford Book of Christmas Poems will whisk you from a Bethlehem stable to freezing farmlands to snowy English cities. If this book doesn't make you feel thoroughly festive, then nothing will.

5. The Left Hand of Darkness

Escape to a fantasy worldEscape to a fantasy worldNong Vang, Unsplash

Ursula K. Le Guin was one of the world's greatest authors of fantastical fiction. Set on the wintery planet of Gethen, her 1960s novel, The Left Hand of Darkness, is a true classic.

It follows the journey of Ai, a visitor from another planet who is struggling to make sense of Gethen's strange genderless society and customs. As much of the action takes place on a risky journey across icy terrain, it is a perfect cold weather read.

6. The Box of Delights

Retro Christmas charmsRetro Christmas charmsKai Stachowiak, Need Pix

You definitely don't need to be a child to enjoy John Masefield's 1930s classic, The Box of Delights — just a child at heart. It begins with Kay Harker travelling home by train from boarding school for Christmas, where he meets a Punch & Judy man who entrusts him with a mysterious box.

He soon realises that the box grants him magical powers, but of course, it isn't long before evil forces are pursuing him for it. If you'd like a little bit of retro enchantment over the festive season, then this is for you.

7. A Christmas Carol

Light a candle and cosy up with a classicLight a candle and cosy up with a classicAlisa Anton, Unsplash

Finally, we couldn't not mention A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. Almost everyone knows the tale of Ebenezer Scrooge and his spooky visits from the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future. But if you're only familiar with the story through its many great film adaptations, then can we suggest that you settle down in a comfy chair and finally get around to enjoying the book itself?

Of course, a great read needs a great Christmas break to enjoy it on. So how about cosying up with your book of choice in our gorgeous luxury glamping pod in the Scottish Borders?

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