Reading list

The ultimate Christmas survival guide

Feeling overwhelmed by festive preparations? Don’t panic. From cooking up a storm to family peacekeeping, these books will help make sure you’ve got it all wrapped up.

Jamie Oliver's Christmas Cookbook

By Jamie Oliver

The best bits of Christmas are when you’ve got family members wedged in all corners of the house, perched on every last piece of furniture, trading funny stories over home-cooked food. Jamie’s latest book has everything you need to make those moments, from classic Christmas recipes to edible gifts, cocktails and ideas on what to do with the leftovers. Of course, you could just have everyone round again tomorrow… 

Highballs for Breakfast

By P.G. Wodehouse

This is a book for both the morning after the night before… and the afternoon before that night. Whether you’re looking for the perfect cocktail for any given occasion, tales of drunken escapades to put your Christmas party antics in the shade, or a tonic, bracer or tissue restorer to cure a hangover worse than one of Bertie Wooster’s, this book is perfect for anyone who loves a laugh and a drink.

How It Works: The Grandparent

By Jason Hazeley and Joel Morris

Even the closest of families can be tested by the intense sociability of Christmas – especially when everyone’s got different ideas about what they want to eat, do, and watch on TV. This handy little Ladybird guide will help you keep the peace. Its large clear script, careful choice of words, frequent repetition and thoughtful matching of text with pictures make it just the thing to tackle any inter-generational tension and foster goodwill and understanding among the whole family.

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The Wimpy Kid Do-It-Yourself Book 

By Jeff Kinney

This new version of the Wimpy Kid activity book is great for keeping kids occupied while you’re entertaining friends, wrapping something top secret, or on the road to the grandparents’. Presented as a diary just like the one kept by Wimpy Kid hero Greg, it’s full of activities that allow fans to explore his world as they draw their own cartoons, write a Wimpy Kid-style journal and test their knowledge by filling out facts and lists.

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Hygge: The Danish Art of Happiness

By Marie Tourell Søderberg

Some of our happiest memories are of family Christmases. And that’s all down to what the Danes call Hygge - the art of creating intimate, cosy moments that give us a sense of belonging. At a time of year when it’s easy to end up feeling more frazzled than festive, this little book gives the rest of the world the chance to take inspiration from its happiest nation, step away from the frenzy and make the most of the simple joy of being together. 

Cut It Out!

By Poppy Chancellor

This beautiful book from Poppy Chancellor is exactly what you need to create last-minute gifts and cards for those unexpected visitors (there’s always one!). Inside are 30 designs to help you create a stunning piece of art with just a blank piece of paper, a craft knife and a cutting mat. And the super-organised will love the designs for invitations and partyware. 

Leaner, Fitter, Stronger: A Festive Survival Guide

By Tom Exton, James Exton, Max Bridger and Lloyd Bridger

Let’s get one thing straight: the idea that you have to sacrifice parties or puddings to stay healthy over Christmas is a miserable lie! This free ebook from the authors of Leaner, Fitter, Stronger is a lifesaver, with tips on quick workouts, hangover cures, detox smoothies and smart food swaps to help you look after yourself as things get busier, without skimping on fun.

Johanna’s Christmas

By Johanna Basford

There’s no denying that Christmas is fun. But it can be stressful, too. In those moments when you’re pulling your hair out over finding enough chairs for Christmas dinner or getting hold of that toy that all the shops have sold out of, this book is perfect for grabbing a few minutes of stress-relieving downtime. And when you’ve finished, the beautiful festive art prints of snowflakes and gingerbread houses will make great gifts and decorations, too. 

In The Night Garden: The Bedtime Book

Christmas is an exciting time for little ones (and their parents!). And with so much going on and Santa on his way, even champion sleepers can sometimes find it that little bit harder to nod off. The In the Night Garden Bedtime Book’s soft, lullaby-like language will help your child to relax and drift off to sleep as each of their favourite Night Garden friends does the same. There’s also a step-by-step bedtime routine to use before you read the story, and a relaxation technique for afterwards that might even have grown ups yawning!

Hello, is this planet Earth? 

By Tim Peake

When the whole world seems to be sitting in your living room, it can be easy to lose perspective. Tim Peake’s amazing book is the perfect thing to restore it. Compiling 150 photos that Tim took during his time on the International Space Station, it also features personal comments and stories from the man whose journey into space captured the imaginations of children and adults across the planet – such as the time he dialled a wrong number and greeted an unsuspecting woman with, “Hello – is this planet Earth?”

Christmas Days: 12 Stories and 12 Feasts for 12 Days

By Jeanette Winterson

This gorgeous and versatile book is for entertaining in every sense of the word. Full of magical tales of ghosts and spirits, frost and snow, chances at love and tricks with time, it’s the perfect anthology for the whole family to read and enjoy together. There are festive recipes from the past and present – from Turkey Biryani to Mrs Winterson’s mince pies – so that you can share a meal as well as a story, and the gorgeous illustrations make it a great coffee-table ice-breaker for first-time visitors.

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