My favourite Christmas books for 2023

A big part of the magic of my Christmas is snuggling on the sofa and losing myself in a festive story. I’ve gathered a list of my favourite Christmas books (for both adults and children) which I hope you and your family will love, whatever the time of year!

Christmas can be such a hectic time, and books are a perfect way to absorb the wonder of the season in a peaceful way – and they provide hours of enjoyment without costing a fortune.

If festive-themed books are particularly popular in your household, you could create a new much-loved tradition with your own home-made book advent calendar, with a different story for each day in December.

Just to mention that I’ll receive a small commission on products purchased via affiliate links on this page.

This is at absolutely no cost to you and I’ve only suggested books that I would recommend to my friends and family.

Kid Christmas: Of The Claus Brothers Toy Shop

By David Litchfield
Children aged four to seven
Amazon, £11.79

Nicky’s uncles Hanz, Louis and Levi (the Claus brothers) are the finest toy makers in the land, and he often helps out in their toy shop.

When Nicky meets some children who don’t have any toys of their own, he comes up with a plan to help them.

Thanks to the Yule 3000, designed by his uncles and pulled by flying reindeer, Nicky hopes to deliver all the toys in one night – though it turns out he’ll still need some help from his friends.

Like all the best Christmas stories, this stunning book created by author-illustrator David Litchfield is all about the true magic of the season: the joy of giving.

It’s full of Christmas spirit – kids (and big kids) will love and treasure it

Jim’s Spectacular Christmas

By Emma Thompson and Axel Scheffler
Children aged three to eight
Amazon, £9.00 

Told by actress and screenwriter Emma Thompson with amusing illustrations by Axel Scheffler (best known for The Gruffalo), this is a Christmas story about Jim, a dog who lived at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

Jim was inspired by a real dog who belonged to Sir Henry Cole, director of the museum who also created the first Christmas card.

Readers discover the relationship between this influential man and his scruffy, mischievous dog alongside some entertaining mishaps and adventures.

It’s a funny, unexpected festive tale that I think readers young and old will love to get stuck into.

Listen To The Christmas Songs

By Marion Billet
Children up to three years old
Amazon, £7.65 

If you’re looking for a Christmas book for a baby or toddler, this musical delight is a great choice.

Six favourite Christmas songs are included in this sturdy, illustrated book.

Simply press the button on each colourfully-illustrated page and you can sing along to cheerful festive ditties including We Wish You A Merry Christmas and Jingle Bells

I particularly love that the songs are sung by children – they’re very cute and all the more engaging for very young kids.

But never fear – there’s an ‘off’ button for when you need some peace and quiet!

A Christmas Carol

By Charles Dickens
From age nine and up
Amazon, £3.99 

I return to this book every Christmas – in fact it’s one of my favourite books of all time. 

And I’m not alone: I asked you all on social media to let me know your favourite festive tales, and this was the resounding winner!

I think it’s so well loved because it’s a beautiful reminder of the true spirit of Christmas and a reminder to be kind to others.

For those who don’t know the story, it focuses on bitter, miserly Ebenezer Scrooge who hates everything about Christmas.

But that changes when he’s haunted by three spirits who warn him to change his mean and stingy ways before it’s too late.

A Christmas Carol is a classic and the perfect book to read in front of the fire on a chilly winter’s da


By Ali Smith
For adults
Amazon, £7.85 

The second in Smith’s seasonal quartet is clearly inspired by A Christmas Carol: one of the main characters, Sophia Cleves, appears to be a Scrooge for our time – she’s rich, elderly, alone, unhappy and sometimes cruel. 

The novel follows the lives of the four people who meet at her 15-bedroom home in Cornwall for Christmas and their dysfunctional relationships.

Be warned that Winter’s not a traditional festive read, but it’s an extremely well-written seasonal tale of survival which manages to be warm, funny and extremely sad all at the same time. 

Twas The Nightshift Before Christmas

By Adam Kay
For adults
Amazon, £4.50

Author of bestselling book This Is Going To Hurt Adam Kay returns with more anecdotes about life on the wards – with tinsel on top!

Alternatively hilarious and heart-breaking, Twas the Nightshift Before Christmas is a collection of 25 tales of intriguing and shocking incidents (warning: this is not for the squeamish!) from the hospital wards at Christmas time.

This funny, sympathetic and eye-opening book also draws attention to the struggling National Health Service (NHS) and its overstretched staff – you can’t help but feel gratitude to them for the Christmas miracles they work day in, day out.

A Ukrainian Christmas

By Yaroslav Hrytsak and Nadiyka Gerbish
For adults
Amazon, £13.75

This beautiful book takes readers on a fascinating journey through the Ukrainian festive season, its culture, unique Christmas traditions and undefeatable spirit.

It’s filled with evocative illustrations which complement the writing beautifully, making it a book I know my family and I will treasure and revisit for many years to come.

A Ukrainian Christmas is a powerful reminder of the true meaning of Christmas and the strength of holding on to your culture and beliefs, even as others try to take everything from you.

Christmas Poems

By Professor Carol Ann Duffy
For adults
Amazon, £15.00

This beautifully-illustrated collection brings together, for the first time, Carol Ann Duffy’s much-celebrated festive poems from her time as Poet Laureate.

I’ve only bought this book recently, but I was genuinely moved by lots of the poems and can tell it will be fondly re-read every festive season.

Some poems are retellings of stories you’ll be familiar with such as (here it is again!) A Christmas Carol, others focus on famous people like Dorothy Wordsworth and Pablo Picasso.

My favourite poem, Another Night Before Christmas, describes how a little girl decides to stay awake all night so she can find out if Father Christmas really exists.

The writing is musical and magical – I love it and I hope you will too!

Are there Christmas-themed books not included here that you love reading every year? Let me know and I’ll share your favourites with the Christmas Organised community so we can all enjoy them.

Happy festive reading!

Alex x

All prices are correct at the time of writing (3 March 2023)

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