It’s the holiday season! To quote my favorite Christmas song, Whoop de doo, and dickory dock, and don’t forget to hang up your sock! Actually, socks should probably stay on your feet for the following activity, to ensure maximum coziness. And what is winter for, if not the pursuit of maximum coziness? On the subject of coziness, my absolute favorite thing to do in December is bake cookies. Sugar cookies. Snickerdoodles. Ginger snaps. Molasses chews. Heck, I’ll even throw a chocolate chip in there. But once the cookies are baked, you’re going to need something to do while you eat all those cookies. And that brings us to my second favorite December activity: reading. Grab a cookie, curl up in front of the fireplace (or a picture of a fireplace you taped to the wall of your apartment), and peruse the list of my favorite Holiday reads below!
Note: I think it is perfectly acceptable for adults to read picture books during the holidays. ‘Tis the season for the kid in all of us, right?
Let it Snow, by John Green, Maureen Johnson
With these three authors, it’s hard to go wrong. Let it Snow features three separate but interconnected stories which is one of my favorite literary devices – I love it when familiar characters pop up in different places! A quick, fun read.
Do, however, prepare yourself for a bit of anti-cheerleader smack talk, if, like me, you were once a member of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pom-Poms.
Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins, by Eric A. Kimmel and Trina Schart Hyman
Sometimes you need to fight a goblin to save Hanukkah. And not just one goblin – eight crazy nights of goblins! A man named Hershel must rid a village of pesky goblin candle thieves, because until the candles are lit, no one gets their latkes. This beautiful illustrated book is a wonderful read, and the Hanukkah book pick of my Jewish fiancé, so you know it’s good. (He’s very discerning.)
Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott.
“Christmas won’t be Christmas without any presents,” grumbled Jo, lying on the rug.
THIS BOOK IS A PRESENT. It is always a great time for a reread of this classic, one of my favorite books of all time, but Christmas is an especially great time for a reread! Maybe I’m finally old enough that I’ll understand the appeal of Professor Bhaer. I’ll let you know.
Cranberry Christmas, by Wende and Harry Devlin
When a mean old man named Cyrus Grape tries to keep kids off the town skating pond, Maggie and Mr. Whiskers spring into action to save the day. This book includes many of my favorite things, such as ice skating, sea captains with large beards, and a cookie recipe.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, by J.K. Rowling
The Yule Ball is my favorite scene in all of Harry Potter – perhaps in all of literature?! I have been known to read only that chapter, on more than one occasion. Fred and George’s dancing. Hermione’s makeover. Ron being the worst date ever. Fleur Delacour. This whole chapter is solid gold. By all means, read the rest of the book, too, but Yule Ball is where it’s at.
Trouble with Trolls and Christmas Trolls, by Jan Brett
You would think I might be traumatized by a story about a blonde girl whose beloved dog is almost kidnapped, but like Treva is a BAMF and those trolls stand no chance of taking Tuffi. The follow up, Christmas Trolls, has said trolls stealing Christmas like tiny grinches, but I recommend reading both as they are a delightful set. Definitely my most favorite, most wintry illustrations of all time.
My True Love Gave to Me, edited by Stephanie Perkins
Confession: I haven’t actually read this one yet! It’s on the top of my TBR pile, and I am so excited to start it now that the high school I work at is out on Christmas break.
The first line of the promotional copy includes the words “If you love…made-for-TV holiday specials,” so I know this book was made for me. Twelve super incredible authors and what is sure to be twelve super incredible stories. I’m in!
Do you have any favorite holiday reads? I’m always on the lookout for more!
Stephanie Kate Strohm is the author of YA novels Pilgrims Don’t Wear Pink and Confederates Don’t Wear Couture. When she’s not writing, she can usually be found baking delicious pies, knitting hideous scarves, and sneaking her dog, Lorelei, into shops all over Chicago. Her next book, The Taming of the Drew, will be published by Sky Pony Press in Spring 2016. For more info, like Stephanie on facebook, follow her on twitter and check out her blog.