It’s just nine days to go and no doubt some of you have already started some of your Christmas reading. For those who haven’t and who (like me) will be travelling a lot over the festive period, you are going to need plenty of Christmas-related reading material.
Here’s my essential reading collection for Christmas.
Top of anybody’s list should be Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Filmed and refilmed, reimagined and reworked every year, nothing compares to actually reading the original. Think you know the story? Of course you do, but you’ll find there are subtle differences between your favourite film version and the actual text. It’s very readable and that warm fuzzy glow at the end is difficult to avoid.
Next is Terry Pratchett’s Hogfather. Set in the fictional “Discworld” over a festive period known as Hogswatch that is remarkably similar to our own Christmas, Death must save Hogswatch by delivering presents and uncovering the mysterious disappearance of the titular Hogfather. It is a magical and wonderful tale about the importance of belief and imagination. Sky filmed a two part mini series a few years ago.
For those who like to read essays and opinion, there is no better book to read than The Atheist’s Guide to Christmas. It is a collection of essays about losing religious faith, advice about coping with Christmas stress, kindness, ideas, bus campaigns and how you can enjoy Christmas as an atheist without feeling like a sell out. There’s a Christmas for everyone here with a mix of poignant childhood memories, amusing observations and the explanation of the secular meanings of Christmas.
The Truth About Christmas is a short book discussing the history of many of our traditions and their pagan origins. Mostly aimed at children, it is a bit of light reading but it is an enlightening look at the festive period nonetheless.
If your tastes are a little more childish with a very relevant pop at commercialism, then perhaps How the Grinch Stole Christmas! might be more up your street. A tale about a creature that is determined to ruin Christmas for his fellow Whoville occupants, it is basically a satire and a critique of the over-commercialisation of Christmas.
Ghost stories of an Antiquary (and More Ghost Stories of an Antiquary) by MR James. There are presently two volumes available for free download from Amazon. Not very long, each volume is approximately 2-3 hours reading, we have a fine tradition here in the UK of ghost stories at Christmas and it was arguably MR James that created it. In the 1970s, some of his stories were converted for the small screen. If spooky Edwardian tales are still your thing, then go for these.