This Christmas, ask Santa for books!

  • Saudamini Jain, Hindustan Times
  • Updated: Apr 07, 2015 18:38 IST"Christmas won’t be Christmas without any presents," grumbled Jo. And with that opening line, Little Women became the obvious go-to book for festive cheer.

Add to that, some Dickens (A Christmas Carol – because how can you not love the jolly spirit, you Scrooge you!) or even O Henry (so what if your Christmas present is useless, it’s the thought that counts anyway and that is The Gift of the Magi).

Also read: Christmas call, your guide to festive cheer in Delhi

If you read as a kid, Dr Seuss gave you the grinch who stole Christmas (little lesson: Christmas doesn’t come from a store, maybe Christmas perhaps means a little bit more.). And these books pretty much make most people turn red and green and all things warm and wonderful in December.

So we decided to look through our bookshelves and Kindles and find you some of our favourite Christmassy books best Christmas story ever

A Christmas Memory

by Truman Capote

This is the last Christmas seven-year-old Buddy spends with his very distant sixty-something-year-old childlike cousin Sook, who is also his best friend. They bake fruitcakes, go into the woods looking for a Christmas tree, save pennies, make kites for each other and on Christmas Day, fly them together.

In short, it is our favourite Christmas story of all time. Most of us discovered it tucked in our copies of

Breakfast at Tiffany’s - A Short Novel and Three Stories

. And it’s one we revisit over and over again.

Lines to quote this Christmas:

“Oh my,” she exclaims, her breath smoking the windowpane, “it’s fruitcake weather!” The one book that belongs on your bookshelf

Letters From Father Christmas

by JRR Tolkien

In 1920, when his firstborn was three years old, Tolkien began a Christmas tradition. For 23 years, he wrote letters to his four children, from Father Christmas. Some are short, some are long – they’re all written in a shaky handwriting. For some years, there are several letters written across the winter months.

These are the adventures at the North Pole. There’s Father Christmas, his elvish secretary, crafty goblins and many other creatures. There are accompanying illustrations (which Tolkien drew himself). There are references to the Second World War too (

The number of children who keep up with me seems to be getting smaller. I expect it is because of this horrible war...).

You must buy a copy of the book if you love

The Lord of The Rings

, have children or if you ever wrote a letter to Santa. A new book for the season

The Last Of The Spirits

by Chris Priestley

This is a fantasy book for young adults, really. But full-grown adults like us also enjoyed it because it is a wonderful retelling of A Christmas Carol. We use the word, ‘retelling’ a little loosely here. Because although you know the story, this has its surprises.

Two freezing, hungry children Sam and Lizzie follow a rich man (Scrooge, that is) on the street and ask him for money. When they are rudely refused (Bah! Humbug!), Sam vows to kill him.

And so, from the very beginning, you move back and forth between the familiar territory of the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future from Dickens’ original and the strange story of Sam and Lizzie. Read it because as the last line of the book states, For what would Christmas be without a ghost story?

Also read:Quick-fix recipes for the perfect Christmas pudding and punch
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From HT Brunch, December 21
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