Classics heaped with snow

A Christmas Carol

Charles Dickens

A gorgeous new edition of an iconic festive novel from Vintage Classics. Arguably Dickens’ most famous tale, the story of Ebenezer Scrooge learning the true meaning of Christmas as he receives a series of ghostly visitations on Christmas Eve has endured for many reasons. Its particular blend of wit, sincere emotion and Christmas spirit is hard to resist, especially in this new edition - complete with gorgeous flapped cover.

 

Village Christmas

Laurie Lee

From the author of Cider With Rosie comes this lovely and lyrical portrait of England through the months and years. As with much of Lee’s writing, these essays focus on his childhood home in the Cotswolds, exploring the traditions, landscapes and stories of his home, including his memories of Churchill’s icy January funeral, and of carol-singing in the snow. Warm and moving, this book makes the perfect fireside read.

Christmas at Cold Comfort Farm

Stella Gibbons

A must-read for fans of Gibbons’ beloved 1932 novel, this is a collection of 16 short stories, including the title tal. Heralding the return of the Starkadders and other familiar faces, and marked by Gibbons’ characteristic wit and gentle satire, this collection includes a new introduction by Alexander McCall Smith, and is packed full of period details, warmth and the magic of Christmas.

 

 

Touching and beautiful stories

The Gritterman

Orlando Weeks

It’s easy to get caught up in the tinsel and wrapping paper over the Christmas period, but Weeks’ picture book for adults is a touching story that will remind you of all those unsung heroes who work over the holidays. As the rest of the world sleeps, the Gritterman goes out to work. But soon, he will have to retire, and what is a life with gritting? This touching story is gorgeously illustrated by Weeks.

 

 

The Nutcracker

E.T.A. Hoffmann, illustrated by Sanna Annukka

The classic Christmas fairytale is now almost more famous as a ballet, but the original story is just as enchanting. Rediscover Marie’s adventures as her nutcracker doll transports her to a magical world of sugar plum fairies and chocolate kings in this gorgeous new clothbound edition illustrated by Finnish artist Sanna Annukka, who created the artwork for Keane’s album, Under the Iron Sea.

 

Christmas Days

Jeanette Winterson

A beautiful book that won’t even need gift wrapping, this curious illustrated read by prize-winning author Jeannette Winterson takes the reader through 12 festive stories and provides 12 festive recipes to match them. One for true lovers of Christmas, this collection is packed with love and mistletoe, frost and magic, holly and roaring fires. Perfect for curling up with while snow falls outside, or for reading aloud with some mulled wine in hand.

 

 

Elizabeth David's Christmas

Elizabeth David

Want to make sure your food is up to par this Christmas? Then this new edition of David’s classic book is for you. Containing more than 150 classic recipes by one of the most loved and respected cookery writers of the 20th century, this will cover you whatever the occasion - from the big Christmas Day meal to simple party dishes and desserts. 

 

 

Chilling and sinister tales

A Maigret Christmas

Georges Simenon

What could make a more festive read than a collection of nine Maigret short stories, all set in Paris at Christmastime? If the recipient is new to Maigret, this is a wonderful introduction to Simenon’s writing, but it also makes a lovely festive gift for long-term fans. The mysteries are mainly focused on yuletide goings-on around Maigret’s own neighbourhood - these include a little girl who insists she’s met Father Christmas, and a boy who leaves an ingenious trail for Maigret to follow in pursuit of a criminal.

 

 

Ghost Stories

M. R. James

James created most of his ghost stories to amuse his friends one Christmas Eve, and ended up transforming the entire genre. In this collection, selected and introduced by crime queen Ruth Rendell, James shows his mastery of the format, imbuing ordinary things with terror through the merest suggestion of something sinister. This is one for those who enjoying embracing the scarier side of the season, to be read with a glass of eggnog firmly in hand, or read aloud to friends in the flickering firelight.

 

The Woman in White

Wilkie Collins

Widely considered to be among the first mystery novels, this 1859 story follows Walter Hartright, who gets a job as a drawing teacher to a beautiful young woman and is quickly pulled into far more sinister goings on. Using multiple narrators and drawing on Collins’ legal background to create an electrifying story of suspense, jealousy and murder, it was an instant success when it was originally published in forty weekly installments. These days you can own it in a beautiful one-volume edition, as it’s one of our 50 beautiful Clothbound Classics.

 

Books for escapism

An Almost Perfect Christmas

Nina Stibbe

Christmas is a magical time, but it can also be a time of mishaps and misunderstandings. Stibbe’s hilarious non-fiction book is an ode to realistic Christmases, the kinds that feature dry turkeys and dodgy gifts. If you’re feeling overwhelmed with the pressure to make Christmas perfect, An Almost-Perfect Christmas will make you laugh, and remind you of the true meaning of the festive season.

 

Christmas Pudding

Nancy Mitford

If you are looking for escapism this Christmas, take shelter in Mitford’s classic novel of a fox-hunter, Lady Bobbin, holding a Christmas party. Guests include her rebellious daughter, a pompous suitor, a dejected writer and a beautiful ex-courtesan. A funny novel that will make you glad you’re not hosting Lady Bobbin’s guests for the festive season, and appreciative of the people in your home.

 

The Toymakers

Robert Dinsdale

The Toymakers is a fairytale for adults, set in the most magical of places - a toyshop. In 1917 war rages across Europe, but The Emporium is a place of hope and love. Into this comes Cathy Wray, running from a shameful past. She finds shelter at The Emporium but soon discovers that the shop has secrets of its own. This is an enchanting novel that will sweep you away.

 

Romantic and heartwarming

More books for Christmas