9 Classic Christmas Books That Aren't 'A Christmas Carol'

by Sadie Trombetta

December is supposed to be the most wonderful time of year, but for a lot of adults, the youthful magic of the holiday season is nearly impossible to find underneath all of the stress and anxiety that comes with being a grown-up at Christmas. Instead of worrying about shopping, gift wrap, and decorating this year, let yourself truly embrace the holiday season like you did when you were young with one of these classic Christmas books for adults that prove the holiday isn't just for kids.

When I was younger, I looked forward to Christmas break for a lot of reasons: the presents, the food, the time off from school. Most importantly, though, I couldn't wait to have an entire week to read books for fun and not for class. A true book-nerd from an early age, I still look forward to continuing that same childish tradition every December, only with more grown-up books.

The holidays can be overwhelming as an adult tasked with gift shopping, present wrapping, and hosting duties. It's easy to get caught up in the to-do lists and lose track of the true spirit of the holiday, but I have found one of the best ways to stay merry and bright around Christmas time is to read festive stories. In the midst of all the holiday chaos, nothing beats curling up on the couch with a warm blanket, a hot beverage, and a good book to read by the light of the Christmas tree. Reading a festive novel serves as a great reminder of how the holidays are really supposed to be: cozy, jolly, and peaceful.

Everyone knows the holiday classics A Christmas Carol and "The Gift of the Magi," but there is a lot more to festive literature than just Charles Dickens and O. Henry. If you are looking for a new classic to help get you in the holiday spirit. here are 11 adult Christmas novels that will have you ho-ho-hoing in no time.

'Little Women' by Louisa May Alcott

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While it may *technically* be a children's story, Louisa May Alcott's classic is a moving work of timeless literature adults of all ages can get lost during the holiday season. A heart-warming tale of sisterhood, love, and growing up, Little Women features one of the most iconic Christmas scenes in the book world, a beloved family every reader has dreamed of spending the holiday with.

'The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle' by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

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The holidays are supposed to be about peace, goodness, and charity, but in Sherlock Holmes's fictional world, the bad guys never take a rest. In the classic Arthur Conan Doyle story "The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle," the author's famed detective and his trusted companion Watson are tasked with solving an intriguing Christmas mystery involving a stolen jewel, a holiday goose, and an old hat. Fun and festive, readers will love the gift of playing detective alongside their favorite book characters.

'A Christmas Memory' by Truman Capote

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In this slim classic, author Truman Capote shares his most beloved, not to mention heartwarming, childhood Christmas memories with readers in a short but enchanting story about tradition and family. A beautiful and festive book, A Christmas Memory is the kind of story readers will want to read again and again all holiday season long.

'Pet Sematary' by Stephen King

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Not everyone feels warm and tingly around the holidays, but even if you're a Christmas-hater, there is still a festive book for you: Stephen King's Pet Cemetery. Though the terrifying tale is usually considered a horror classic, not a traditional holiday story, King's frightening story about demonic animals that return from the dead does have a Christmas setting. Leave it to the Master of Horror to remind you that no matter what time of year it is, no one is ever really safe.

'P.S. Your Cat Is Dead' by James Kirkwood

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Speaking of dead animals, James Kirkwood's uproarious holiday novel about a struggling actor who is dumped by his girlfriend, mourning the loss of his recently deceased cat, and feeling more depressed than ever when his apartment is cat burgled by a gay man who makes him question everything he thought he knew about himself and his sexuality is the kind of dark comedy that will cheer up any lonely reader this Christmas. P.S. Your Cat Is Dead is a friendly holiday reminder that no matter how stressful your Christmas is, it could always, always get worse, and that it will get better.

'Sir Gawain and the Green Knight' by Annonymous

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If you've ever dreamed of spending the holidays in Camelot, your Christmas wish can come true with Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, an anonymously written story about a mysterious knight, his violent challenge, and the one member of King Arthur's court who was willing to face him: Sir Gawain. While there may be dozens of translations, including J.R.R. Tolkien's 1979 retelling, Michael Morpurgo and Michael Forman's picture book adaptation, but my favorite translation comes from Simon Armitage whose 2008 version transforms one of the earliest Yuletide tales into an imaginative and festive narrative true literature buffs will love.

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'A Redbird Christmas' by Fannie Flagg

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This novel from the celebrated author of Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe may only be 14 years old, but it was an instant classic for this reader. A Redbird Christmas is a heartwarming tale about one dying man's journey home to a forgotten corner of Alabama for what may be his last holiday there. Featuring a cast of loveable characters readers won't soon forget, this beautiful Christmas tale is charming enough to grow even the Grinch's heart two sizes.

'The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding' by Agatha Christie

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In another classic holiday mystery, one Agatha Christie's most beloved detectives, Monsieur Hercule Poirot, is faced with not one but five Christmas mysteries involving death, suicide, theft, and everyone's favorite holiday dessert: pudding. A fun and alluring tale, The Adventures of the Christmas Pudding is a delectable holiday treat for mystery fans and festive readers alike.

'The Night Before Christmas' by Nikolai Gogol

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Dating all the way back to 1831, Nikolai Gogol's The Night Before Christmas is nothing like the poem you remember reciting in grade school. Rather, it's a hilariously dark Russian comedy about a blacksmith who battles with the devil for his true love, his hometown, and his own soul. A fun and uproarious folktale, this holiday story will have you laughing all the way to Christmas.