No matter how early stores want to start Black Friday sales, or how soon they want to start playing Christmas music, it's not truly the Christmas season until you've watched at least one Christmas movie (but, preferably, five). From the classic Charlie Brown Christmas to Love Actually, you'll likely need 25 days of Christmas just to fit in all the movies you plan to watch.
But Christmas time is also the perfect time for reading. The weather is getting colder, you might have more time off than usual, all of which makes it the perfect time to stay in and catch up on all those amazing books you might have missed throughout the year. But, don't worry, your reading time and your Christmas movie time don't have to be separate. Actually, a lot of classic Christmas movies pair up pretty nicely with some equally seasonal reading, no matter what you're in the mood for!
If your favorite Christmas movie is Elf, chances are, you're a kid at heart, and might want to reread The Night Before Christmas. If cheesy holiday romances are your jam, there's a book for that, too! Here are 10 holiday-themed books to read based on your favorite classic Christmas movies.
1. If You Love Love Actually: Read My True Love Gave To Me edited by Stephanie Perkins
Love Actually is all about the love stories, and My True Love Gave To Me is full of those. The other best part of Love Actually? Getting so many stories all together in one movie, which My True Love Gave To Me also does! There are 12 fantastic short stories by some of the top names in YA, perfect for the holiday romance fans out there, and especially perfect for Love Actually fans everywhere.
2. If You Love Elf: Read The Night Before Christmas by Clement Clarke Moore
Chances are, you love Christmas with the same childlike sense of wonder you had when you were 5, and it's never gone away. (And that's a good thing!) The highlight of Elf is his boundless love for all things Christmas, and what book is more festive than the classic, The Night Before Christmas? None! "'Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house..." you are freaking out because, SANTA! I KNOW HIM!
3. If You Love The Santa Clause: Read Holidays On Ice by David Sedaris
The Santa Clause is, hands down, the best Christmas movie possibly ever. I loved it when I was little, and I loved it more once I was old enough to understand Tim Allen's hilarious sarcasm throughout the movie. If you want something as funny as it is festive, just like The Santa Clause, try out Holidays On Ice by David Sedaris, a collection of holiday-themed essays that will have you remembering you childhood Christmases, your adult worries, and everything in between.
4. If You Love The Holiday: Read Let It Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle
While everyone else has always loved Love Actually, I've always been more fond of The Holiday — the unsung hero of the Christmas-themed movies. The multiple storylines are more focused, you can root for each couple and character harder, and it's full of good cheer. Which brings me to Let It Snow. Three short stories in one small package, perfect for fans of The Holiday.
5. If You Love National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation: Read Winter Street by Elin Hilderbrand
Christmas Vacation is a classic, but Elin Hilderbrand's contemporary novel is the perfect follow up. Full of the same dysfunctional family chaos we all know and love from the Griswolds, Winter Street brings us Christmas with the Quinns. Kelley Quinn seems to have it all: the perfect family, four children he is immensely proud of, and a successful career as the owner of the Winter Street Inn on Nantucket. But the holidays have a way of bringing chaos, and it isn't long before the Quinn family finds itself in the midst of its own quirky family drama.
6. If You Love A Charlie Brown Christmas: Read Eloise at Christmastime by Kay Thompson
Charlie Brown reminds us every year to appreciate what we have, even if it doesn't look like much from the outside. There are notoriously no adults present in any Peanuts special, but it's especially prominent in A Charlie Brown Christmas. If you couldn't get enough of Charlie and the gang, you're in luck, because Kay Thompson has another uplifting holiday story for you! Eloise at Christmastime follows another young kid without much adult guidance around the holidays, and like Charlie Brown, Eloise never lets that get in her way.
7. If You Love It's a Wonderful Life: Read A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
Ebenezer Scrooge definitely didn't know how wonderful life was at the beginning of A Christmas Carol because he was so busy making it miserable for everyone around him. If your favorite Christmas movie is the tear-jerker It's a Wonderful Life, chances are, your favorite Christmas read is (or will be!) A Christmas Carol. Both classics, both about second chances, they remind us about what really matters this time of year.
8. If You Love The Year Without a Santa Claus: Read Skipping Christmas by John Grisham
OK, so this is technically also a movie (Christmas With the Kranks) but the book came first. And, really, the idea is the same. The Year Without a Santa Claus is, well, exactly what it sounds like, but it's an old childhood classic, for sure. Skipping Christmas involves one family who decides to ignore Christmas, just once, but spoiler alert: Things don't go according to plan.
9. If You Love A Christmas Story: Read Wishin' and Hopin' by Wally Lamb
Of course you could always just read Jean Shepherd's original book A Christmas Story, on which the movie is based, but if you're looking for a new story with the same dose of nostalgia, a young boy with Christmas dreams, and an LOL hilarious ride, Wishin' and Hopin' will has that same Christmas magic.
10. If You Love The Polar Express: Read The Christmas Train by David Baldacci
Let's face it, you've already read the iconic picture book, oh, a hundred million times. So now you can read an adult fiction holiday story also set on a train, which also teaches readers what the holiday spirit is all about.
Image: Universal Pictures