9 best Christmas books 2021

There's no experience more festive than reading one of the best Christmas books while wrapped up in blankets in front of the fireplace.

We don't think so, at least. Whether it's for yourself or a gift to someone else, there's nothing better than a great book to keep you company during the holiday season.

It's a chance to have some spare time and escape the stress we all know bringing the family together can bring; one of the most beautiful ways to enjoy and appreciate Christmas is to sit in an armchair in front of the fireplace and read a nice book.

Obviously, we're talking about Christmas-themed books, tales capable of transforming adults into children once again with magical, nostalgic stories.

There are Christmas books to suit everyone's tastes. From Christmas classics like the Grinch and Polar Express to new and exciting Christmas murder mysteries, we've got you covered with the best Christmas books to buy this year – and they also make perfect stocking fillers!

And if you're more into listening than reading, good news: all the books in this list are also available on Audible, and if you start your 30-day free Audible trial you'll get free audiobooks for the first month!

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The Penguin Book of Christmas Stories

  • The Penguin Book of Christmas Stories, £9.89 on Amazon – buy here

The Penguin Book collection includes the most spectacular, touching, scary, and unexpected Christmas stories from every corner of the world. It includes classics by Truman Capote, Shirley Jackson and Selma Lagerlof, as well as lesser-known gems from the likes of Italo Calvino and Wolfdietrich Schnurre's.

The stories in this book are set, literally, everywhere: from freezing Nordic forests to New York, the English countryside and even from space: there's something for everyone in this collection – from little ones to adults.

One More For Christmas

  • One More For Christmas by Sarah Morgan, £14.48 on Amazon – buy here

"Christmas isn't Christmas without a Sarah Morgan novel to inhale," one review of this book asserts — and we absolutely agree. This top five Sunday Times best selling Christmas romance novel is the story of a mother who hasn't seen her two daughters in years and decides to invite herself to their Christmas celebrations.

As they go into their first Christmas together in years, will the three ladies finally understand and accept that, sometimes, confronting a few hard truths is all it takes to mend a heart, and that mums always think they are doing what's in their children's interest?

"I loved this book, full of drama, humour, emotional fireworks and hot romance all wrapped up in the kind of charming Christmas package that Morgan specialises in." Wrote one reviewer.

A Christmas Memory

  • A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote, £10.99 on Amazon – buy here

These stories are by Truman Capote, the legendary author of Breakfast at Tiffany's, so we already love them. They are tender and melancholic, and a gripping ode to Christmas. The tales of this book portray the wondrous and the tragic of the festive season.

The stories presented in the book vary from sentimental childhood portraits to more unnerving pieces that reflect the gloom behind the festive season, and they were chosen from Capote's entire literary career.

A Treasury of African American Christmas Stories 

  • A Treasury of African American Christmas Stories, £15.99 at Waterstones – buy here

This book features a multitude of stories, from the late 1800s through until the 1930s. It is a collection of Christmas stories written by African-American journalists, activists, and writers, and is finally available to read again after more than a decade.

This important collection comprises essays by writers and activists like Pauline Hopkins and Langston Hughes, as well as jewels from forgotten writers.

They share unknown stories and poems from the late 19th century to the Depression era, and reflect on the Christmas experiences of African-Americans. It's a must read.

The Polar Express

  • The Polar Express: 35th edition by Chris Van Allsburg, £5.68 on Amazon – buy here

This one is a real Christmas classic: a little child joins the Polar Express, a mystery train going for the North Pole, and when Santa finally shows up, he gives him a present of his choice.

The child requests "one bell from the reindeer's harness" but there's a catch: only Santa believers can hear it ring, making it a very unique present.

This will be a lovely present for any child, especially if it's their first time reading it.

The Christmas Murder Game

  • The Christmas Murder Game by Alexandra Benedict, £11.99 on Amazon – buy here

This is the one for book lovers that can't get enough of mystery fictions – even during Christmas.

The book follows Lily Armitage, a woman who had no intention of returning to the 'Endgame House' where her mother had died 21 Christmases before. This was her wish until she receives a letter from her aunt inviting her to return to the Christmas Game, which is a yearly ritual.

As a result of this intriguing proposition, Lily will spend the 12 days of Christmas in the Endgame House with her estranged cousins, whilst deciphering the riddles that hold the key to the house's deepest secrets and the identity of her mother's killer.

The Ultimate Christmas Cracker

  • The Ultimate Christmas Cracker by John Julius Norwich, £5.99 on Amazon – buy here

John Julius Norwich was a very famous historian, and in 1969 he compiled an entertaining booklet of his "favourite things" he'd seen in the previous year.

The whole thing started off as a small treat for his pals but quickly grew into a tremendous word-of-mouth success, and from there, John Julius Norwich's'Christmas Cracker' became an integral component of the English Christmas experience as we all know it today.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

  • How the Grinch stole Christmas! by Dr. Seuss, £4 on Amazon – buy here

Beloved by children and adults, the Grinch is a Christmas essential.

The Grinch is the meanest monster you'll ever meet but you'll also fall in love with him. The monster, with a tiny heart, despises Christmas with all his being, so he plans to "steal Christmas" – but things don't go as planned.

The Grinch is a classic because it is able to show the readers the true essence of Christmas without being too heavy, and while using incredible drawings and colours to please the little ones – we can't get enough of it.

Last Christmas: Memories of Christmases Past and Hopes of Future Ones

  • Last Christmas: Memories of Christmases Past and Hopes of Future Ones, £11.99 on Amazon – buy here

This book contains essays from Graham Norton, Meryl Streep, Bill Bailey, Emilia Clarke, Olivia Colman, Emily Watson, and many more.

This book is a bit different from other Christmas books as it comprises personal essays that are written by people in different stages of life, different parts of the world and economic backgrounds. It will make you laugh and cry – sometimes at the same time.

And to make things even more heart-warming, the money raised by the book will also be donated to charity. What's not to love?

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