It's the holiday season — but deciding what to read around Christmas isn't as simple as it would seem, even for the most dedicated book-lover. Movies are easy: as soon as December rolls around, you can settle into your prescribed diet of films about elves, reindeers, and naughty children left alone by mistake. But what are you supposed to read?
Of course, there are some classic Christmas books that are just begging to be read by a roaring fire — but c'mon: you've already read Bridget Jones's Diary and Little Women a thousand times. It's time for something new.
And so, here is a round up of all the books that should go onto your December TBR — depending on which Christmas movie you love the most. Not all of these books are explicitly Christmassy, but they all capture the holiday spirit contained in your favorite festive films. These are stories of love, family, adventure, and celebration — and with a glass of mulled wine in your hand, they'll certainly put you in a merry mood. Whether you love the old black-and-white classics, the cheesy holiday rom-coms, or the cringy Christmas comedies, I've got the perfect book recommendation for you to enjoy this December.
If your favorite movie is Home Alone , you should read... Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
If you loved Kevin, the mischievous star of Home Alone , then you're going to adore Max. He's just as brave, and every bit as imaginative — but he's also filled with such raw emotion that he's relatable no matter how old you get.
If your favorite movie is Love, Actually , you should read... The Engagements by J. Courtney Sullivan
The Engagements is a novel about many different kinds of love and relationship — and just like in Love, Actually , they all intersect in surprising ways. What sets this novel apart is that the love stories span a period of 60 years, from the late 1940s to the early 2010s.
If your favorite movie is Elf , you should read... Into the Wild Nerd Yonder by Julie Halpern
Underneath all the slapstick, Elf is a story about figuring out where you belong. Into the Wild Nerd Yonder is just as laugh-out-loud hilarious as its Christmassy counterpart, and it's got the same heart of gold. In it, we see Jessie battle the terrifying world of high school cliques — and learning to fit in where she least expected it.
If your favorite movie is Miracle on 34th Street , you should read... The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
There are few things as heartwarming as watching the cynical Mara Wilson open her heart to Santa Claus — but Nicola Yoon's novel may just top it. Her protagonist, Natasha, has never believed in destiny or dreams coming true — until she bumps into Daniel one day on a crowded street, and realizes that fate may have a hand in things after all.
If your favorite movie is It's A Wonderful Life , you should read... The Railway Children by E. Nesbit
If It's A Wonderful Life is your Christmas go-to, I'm guessing you're a sucker for a happy ending. The Railway Children may have a bleak beginning, but (spoiler alert) it has one of the happiest endings of any book ever written. Warning: you will cry tears of joy.
If your favorite movie is How the Grinch Stole Christmas , you should read... Goodnight Mister Tom by Michelle Magorian
If you love Dr. Seuss's story of a recluse whose small heart grows three sizes when he learns to love, you can't go wrong with Michelle Magorian's war-time classic Goodnight Mister Tom . It tells the story of Willie Beech, who is evacuated to the countryside and adopted by the reluctant misanthrope Mister Tom — and the beautiful and unlikely bond that grows between them.
If your favorite movie is Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer , you should read... Beautiful Music for Ugly Children by Kirstin Cronn-Mills
No matter which version of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer is your favorite (although if it isn't the 90s cartoon with Whoopi Goldberg, then you're wrong), you're bound to love Beautiful Music for Ugly Children . This wonderful YA novel is about Gabe, a trans teenage misfit who sets up his own community on a public access radio show.
If your favorite movie is The Holiday , you should read... Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan
The Holiday is the magical story of what can happen when fate brings two people together — and if you loved that, you'll adore this YA collaboration about two teenagers, both called Will Grayson, and a chance meeting that will change their lives forever.
If your favorite movie is The Muppet Christmas Carol , you should read... um, A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
I mean, duh.
Image: Columbia Pictures