11 Classic Books To Read By The Fire This Holiday Season

Each year as the holiday season rolls around, there are a million ‘tis the season movie marathons. There are plenty of Christmas specials for your favorite TV shows. Stores explode with red-and-gold merchandise that just screams "festive." However, despite all this holiday cheer, in my opinion the best holiday books to read come wintertime aren’t shiny and new. They’re not displayed with fresh paperback covers next to new ornaments at the store. Nope, the best holiday stories are the ones that have been around for ages: your favorite classic books.

Sure, everyone knows certain literary holiday tales like “The Night Before Christmas,” but there are plenty of awesome holiday scenes in classics, even if the whole book isn’t entirely about the season. And in my opinion, if there’s at least one festive scene, that qualifies that book as a Holiday Read.

Something about the descriptions of holiday celebrations in fictional worlds (especially set in bygone eras) calls out to me. When the characters are freaked out of their minds to get an apple and an orange in their stocking, or they get snowed in because their carriage can’t make it through the stormy weather, or they receive a ghostly visit that turns their life around… well, that’s the kind of quality content I want to read while curled up beside a crackling fire.

1. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Little Women begins at Christmastime, and this bildungsroman is the perfect pick for getting into the true spirit of the holiday season (though Jo and Laurie rip my heart out every time I read it).

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2. The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

Is there a more wintry picture than the image of Lucy Pevensie, walking through a wardrobe, into the enchanted and snowy world of Narnia? NO THERE IS NOT.

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3. Emma by Jane Austen

Jane Austen's Christmas scenes are full of drama and holiday cheer, and Emma has a lot of both: snowy weather, a holiday party, and a marriage proposal make this book a perfectly spirited read.

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4. Anne Of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

Anne's reaction at receiving a puff-sleeve dress for Christmas is the most adorable thing ever. I can only hope everyone I bought holiday gifts for will love them that much.

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5. Little House On The Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder

When I was younger, reading this scene made me believe that there could be nothing better to receive as a holiday gift than a NEW TIN CUP. The excitement!

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6. Far From The Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy

The climax of this pastoral love story happens at Christmastime, and the tale harkening back to a simpler time is a perfect read for the holidays.

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7. The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson

I'm going to count this book as a classic, because to me it's definitely a childhood classic at the very least. This was one of my favorites growing up, and the story of the Herdman family infiltrating the local Christmas pageant is a must-read come holiday time.

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8. Bridget Jones's Diary by Helen Fielding

If you're always thinking of resolutions come holiday time, Bridget Jones's Diary is the perfect classic to read. Hilarious and sweet, this book — and the awesome movie — are perfectly festive.

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9. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

Though this book isn't the most cheerful, the holiday scenes provide a glimmer of light in an otherwise tragic love story. For those who want to celebrate AND wallow... this is the perfect classic!

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10. Hamlet by William Shakespeare

Hamlet paints a rather haunting portrait of holiday time, but peaceful nonetheless. And what better way to celebrate the holidays than with a good old-fashioned ghost story? If anything, it'll make you realize that your family's not so bad, after all...

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11. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

It may be the typical choice, but there's a reason this book is so popular: it perfectly encapsulates the sentiment of being kind and generous — from the holidays on.

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Image: Columbia Pictures