A VINTAGE Christmas

A compendium of the best writing about Christmas, from its magical moments and charitable deeds to mournful reminiscences, family feuds and inequalities. Our best writers, including Charles Dickens, Louis de Bernieres, Laurie Lee, John Cheever, Anne Enright, Arthur Conan Doyle and many more, have seen it all and written it down, capturing along the way what abides that is good and true in the festive season, and what real magic can be found.

How To Eat by Nigella Lawson

When Nigella Lawson’s first book, How to Eat, was published in 1998, two things were immediately clear: that this fresh and fiercely intelligent voice would revolutionise cookery writing, and that How to Eat was an instant classic of the genre. The pages of this versatile culinary bible contain some of the most inspiring writing about food, the world over – not to mention its Christmas recipes (those goose fat roast potatoes) that are loved up and down the country. The perfect gift for the young cook in your life who was just a tiny thing when this book first came out.

The Roasting Tin & The Green Roasting Tin by Rukmini Iyer

For the cook who’s pressed for time, it has to be Rukmini Iyer’s The Roasting Tin. The concept is simple: fresh, easy ingredients, a few minutes prep, and let the oven do the work. Each chapter also includes a helpful infographic for how to build you own roasting tin dinner using whatever is in your fridge tonight. The Green Roasting Tin is ideal for vegans, vegetarians – and veg-loving meat-eaters too.

Forever and a Day by Anthony Horowitz

For spy thriller fans everywhere: you might think you know all James Bond’s adventures. But what about his very first? Forever and a Day is the explosive prequel to Casino Royale, written by bestselling author Anthony Horowitz, who imitates Ian Fleming’s style effortlessly. It begins with a body and three bullets, as the previous 007 floats in the waters of Marseille, killed by an unknown hand. James Bond must step up and earn his licence to kill. 

Pantsdrunk: The Finnish Art of Drinking at Home. Alone. In Your Underwear by Miska Rantanen

Does this person you’re shopping for like drinking? Do they like drinking at home? How about drinking home alone in their underwear?* This book on the Finnish philosophy of Päntsdrunk is considered a path to recovery and self-empowerment to help you face your future challenges – think 'lagom' or 'hygge' with a touch of humour. 

*Will also appeal to fans of Netflix binges, mindless scrolling, sweet and salty snacks, sofa time, and those who want to block all work communications this festive season.

Career Girls by Ms T. McGill

Whilst it’s true that we’ve evolved from the murk of the typing pool into the beige of the boardroom, life in the office for women can still be underwhelming in myriad ways that would be familiar to our sisters from the fifties. Complete with nostalgic illustrations and genuine retro advice, Career Girls guides the reader through the eternal conundrums faced by women in the workplace everywhere. From redressing the pay gap through a semi-legal sponsorship scheme to surviving a leadership course where you’re forced to express yourself through the medium of dance, Career Girls is perfect for those that could do with some gender equality education.    

How To Be Successful Without Hurting Men’s Feelings by Sarah Cooper

The unspoken rules for how women should behave in the workplace are as numerous as they are confusing, but this book has all the solutions to those tricky questions like how to do you ask for a pay rise without being pushy or take credit for an idea without being called arrogant. Sarah Cooper illustrates how women can achieve their dreams, succeed in their careers and become leaders, without harming the fragile male ego. It even includes several pages to doodle on while men finish explaining things. 

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, translated by Michael Morpurgo

The Little Prince has captured the hearts of readers around the world since he first appeared in 1943. Written by pilot Antoine de Saint-Exupéry while in America, the tale was inspired by his experiences in the French Air Force. On the surface it’s a simple story, but this little prince is as wise as they come and his messages of compassion and goodwill continue to endure. This new translation is by the bestselling author of War Horse, Michael Morpurgo, and is just the thing for story lovers young and old. 

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel about the Republic of Gilead has taken the world by storm in the last couple of years, not least thanks to the award-winning hit TV series starring Elisabeth Moss as Offred. This hardback – a feat of book cover design by Noma Bar and Suzanne Dean – is the ultimate edition of a timeless classic and will make someone’s Christmas extra special, whether they’re new to it or count it among one of their favourite books.

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Mary Shelley’s monster and his creator are some of the greatest characters in Western literature, and they came into being because of a challenge set by Shelley’s friend Lord Byron: who could write the scariest ghost story? 200 years later, the tale of young scientist Victor Frankenstein pushing moral boundaries to cross the final frontier and create life is more relevant than ever, as AI becomes a very real possibility. Mary Shelley was just 19-years-old when she wrote it, and this special hardback edition is one to inspire and be treasured by young writers and readers. 

In Europe: Travels Through the Twentieth Century by Geert Mak

It’s almost impossible to miss the story of Europe in the present day (even if it is confusing), but what do we know about its collective past? In In Europe, historian and journalist Geert Mak reminds us how unprecedented an experiment is the European project. Part travelogue through the continent and part history of this collection of countries joined together by borders, ideologies and cultures, this is a book for anyone who likes to think deeply about the world and their place in it, past and present.    

More from VINTAGE this Christmas