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For some, watching Frank Capra’s classic It’s a Wonderful Life is as indispensable a Christmas ritual as decorating the tree. For others, the completely secular Love Actually or the action thriller Die Hard somehow help ignite Christmas spirit, presumably just because they are set amidst the lights and tinsel of the season.
If you are looking for something more – something that comes a little closer to celebrating the reason for the season, or at the very least, doesn’t leave you feeling worse off than before you saw one of those films, why not try a Christmas book this year? Here are a few classic tales that might put you in a legit yuletide frame of mind:
1. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
Reading Charles Dickens’ tale of an old miser who is transformed and redeemed will give you an idea why it is so often imitated and why it has never been out of print since its publication in 1844.
2. Christmas at Thompson Hall: And Other Christmas Stories by Anthony Trollope
This Penguin Christmas Classic collection brings together the English novelist Anthony Trollope’s best Christmas stories set in Victorian England.
3. A Merry Christmas: And Other Christmas Stories by Louisa May Alcott
The author of Little Women evokes Christmas in 19th-century America with these favorite stories.
4. The Night Before Christmas by Nikolai Gogol
If you find Victorian Christmas tales run too sweet for you taste, you might enjoy Gogol’s Russian tale, featuring the Devil himself, running amok on the night before Christmas.
5. The Nutcracker by E.T.A. Hoffmann
Fans of Tchaikovsky’s ballet “The Nutcracker” will love reading Hoffmann’s story from which it was adapted. So might those who could never make heads or tails out of the ballet and want to know why in the world the prince had to become a nutcracker.
6. Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak
Not exactly Christmassy, but a romance set in Russia during the winter may be just what you are looking for.
7. Hercule Poirot’s Christmas by Agatha Christie
For those of you who find curling up with a detective story the epitome of coziness, even when there are slit throats involved, this Agatha Christie mystery set during Christmastime will set you up just right.
The Best Christmas Music You’ve Never Heard: Goosebumps Guaranteed
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