5 British Books Set At Christmas To Get You Feeling Festive
Six weeks, friends. Six weeks to finish your Christmas shopping. Six weeks until you can't tell whether the third helping of Christmas pudding or the fourth glass of Baileys is responsible for your current state of nausea. The season is very nearly upon us, so it's about time that those who celebrate start feeling festive. But what if you're not yet saturated with the holiday spirit? Read one of these classic British books set at Christmas, and find yourself overcome with the urge to cover your flat in tinsel.
Unapologetically nostalgic about the Christmases of your youth? Turn to A Child's Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas (also a solid present for your niece, or your godson, or any other difficult-to-buy-for child in your life). Deeply attached to the British countryside? Go for Laurie Lee's Village Christmas (or buy it for your mum, or uncle, or grandparents). Staunch murder podcast devotee, or ever so slightly Scrooge-like when it comes to unrelenting Christmas cheer? Turn to a murder mystery with a seasonal backdrop — Agatha Christie and Mavis Doriel Hay have you covered. There's an option for everyone, festive fans. Pour a Baileys, crack open the advent calendar three weeks too early, and get reading.
'A Child's Christmas in Wales' by Dylan Thomas
Even the most devout bearers of the festive spirit must admit that no Christmas can quite compare to those of their childhood — or at least, their childhood memories, perhaps the recipient of a little embellishment over the years. Thomas' lyrical prose deals in just that: nostalgia, reminiscence, and a childhood Christmas that's only grown more idyllic the further it recedes into the past.
'Village Christmas' by Laurie Lee
Those who cherished Lee's Cider with Rosie will find Village Christmas, a collection of essays published almost two decades after his death, just as profoundly lovely. Lee writes about the traditions and peculiarities of his Gloucestershire home, from May Day to the harvest festival to Christmas Eve. Never set foot in the countryside in your entire life? Lee's wistful tribute to the beauty of his rural home will still leave you inexplicably homesick.
'Hercule Poirot's Christmas' by Agatha Christie
Find the holiday season a bit too saccharine? Fancy a side of murder with your turkey? What better provider than Agatha Christie, never one to skimp on the bloodshed simply because it's Christmas. In Hercule Poirot's Christmas, a wealthy and reviled patriarch invites his family for an unexpected holiday dinner, with less than festive intentions. But he's brutally murdered on Christmas Eve, and as the whole family has a potential motive for dispatching the unpleasant man, the case proves a test for Poirot.
'The Santa Klaus Murder' by Mavis Doriel Hay
Another mystery novel, another patriarch found dead at a festive family gathering — but this time, the person to discover the body is dressed as Santa. Every guest falls under suspicion, but none more so than Father Christmas himself. Turn to The Santa Klaus Murder if you've got something of the Grinch in you, or you're just truly sick of seeing Santa's beaming face on every card, advert, and Coke can.
'A Christmas Carol' by Charles Dickens
Ha! You really thought you'd make it through a whole list of Christmas books without this one cropping up?! You were wrong. You don't need the plot of A Christmas Carol explained to you (Scrooge, Marley, a bunch of ghosts, Tiny Tim, a giant turkey), but you might benefit from a reminder that no other Christmas novel will leave you feeling quite so warm.