Whisk yourself to an enchanted world with these festive books.

If all you want for Christmas is time to put your feet up and snuggle up with a good book, then this edit of adult Christmas books is for you. Whether it be seasonal romance escapism, a whodunnit in the snow or Christmas classics, you will find some of the best festive page-turners in our 2021 edit. It’s time to hunker down, light the fire, make frothy hot chocolate and curl up with a Christmas book. As you browse our curation of eight Christmas books for adults, consider supporting independent bookshops, rather than you know who.

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

Emma Thompson and Greg Wise

This humbling must-read of personal essays is rather special. Among the misty-eyed recollections and endearingly funny festive tales written by actors and singers are very real stories by people who struggle with Christmas, who have been homeless at this time of year or who volunteer at Crisis. Refugees and charity workers join big name contributors including Emily Watson, Emilia Clarke, Meryl Streep to share their memories of Christmas past and hopes for future ones. Buy it here.

One Day in December

Josie Silver

Looking for a quirky love story this Christmas? Josie Silver’s uplifting feel-good romance is a Sunday Times bestselling Christmas book and unashamedly romantic. You may laugh, weep, ache and shout at the two young Londoners as the story takes the pair through awkward dinners, double dates and flirtatious scenes. ‘Get ready to be swept up in a whirlwind romance,’ said Reese Witherspoon. ‘It absolutely charmed me.’ Buy it here.

The Penguin Book of Christmas Stories

Edited by Jessica Harrison

Christmas classics from superior short story writers Truman Capote, Chekhov, Dylan Thomas and Shirley Jackson are included in this moving compilation. Expect Santas, ghosts, Christmas miracles and unexpected guests in some of the greatest festive stories of all time. Buy it here.

Twas The Nightshift before Christmas

Adam Kay

From the multi-million-copy bestselling author of This IS Going to Hurt, this book includes sometimes horrifying, sometimes hilarious diary accounts of life in hospital over the Christmas period. As with much of Adam Kay’s writing, there’s much black humour and cynical wit as we are reminded of the unsung heroes who work over the holidays. It is described as ‘a love letter to all those who spend their festive season on the front line, removing babies and baubles from the various places they get stuck, at the most wonderful time of the year.’ Buy it here.

The Ultimate Christmas Cracker

John Julius Norwich

For those hunting for a warm and witty gift, there are few cheerier reads than this book by the legendary popular historian Julius Norwich. Originally intended as just a treat for his friends, word of mouth ensured that this book morphed from a charming pamphlet in 1969 into a bestselling Christmas cracker today. While his daughter Artemis Cooper selected the best bits to include, Julian Fellowes wrote the introduction. Buy it here.

Tied up in Tinsel

Ngaio Marsh, £12.99

It’s Christmas in an isolated manor house and there’s a murder. This classic detective novel, written by the brilliant Ngaio Marsh, was first published in 1972 and has been republished exclusively for Hatchards by HarperCollins. The crime story has all the ingredients of a festive thriller; snow falling, a disliked visiting servant, flaring tempers in the kitchen, Santa Claus mystery and a beloved wife in the thick of the mystery. Buy it here.

The King and the Christmas Tree

A.N.Wilson, £9.99

One for all ages, this richly illustrated Christmas book takes the reader through the history of the Norwegian’s experience of the Second World War. It is the story behind the enormous Christmas tree that arrives in Trafalgar Square as an enduring gift of thanks from Norway to the people of Britain following WW2. This is a true tale of human courage, friendship between nations, loyalty and resistance. A tear-jerker. Buy it here.

White Christmas

Katie Flynn, £7.99

This is the brand-new heart-warming historical romance by the Sunday Times bestselling author Katie Flynn. It is the love story of a 15-year-old Jewish refugee called Rozalin Sachs during the Nazi Revolution. After a tragic accident separates Rozalin from her parents, she falls in love with a boy called Felix, but then disaster strikes. One to read with mulled wine and a minced pie. Buy it here.

By Annabel Jack
December 2021

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Annabel Jack

Contributing Editor

Annabel is a regular contributor to The GWG, with a taste for finest in food, fashion and interiors.