December is a great time to catch up on reading. It gets dark early, Christmas lights are up, and nobody will make fun of you if you spend 5 hours on the couch wrapped in blankets. Plus - PJs are acceptable daytime attire (on the weekends, unless you work at the North Pole). There are so many books with iconic Christmas scenes that we love to reread this time of year. What could be better than sitting by a fire, reading about your favorite fictional character sitting by a fire? Not many things.
Do not fear - these are not "Christmas" books, but books that include memorable scenes that take place on or around Christmas.
You'll find the fun, the festive, and the heartwarming essence of the Christmas season in these books with iconic Christmas scenes:
Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder
One of my favorite book series’ when I was a kid was the Little House on the Prairie series. I had a boxed set of paperbacks that I kept in as perfect condition as I could manage. My favorite one was the first book, Little House in the Big Woods. One of the first chapters takes place at Christmas, and it has always been so vibrantly memorable to me. The family doesn’t have much by way of physical belongings, but each of the children is thrilled to receive a pair of handmade mittens and a peppermint candy stick in their stockings on Christmas day. But Laura gets something extra in her stocking – a beautiful rag doll. As the youngest, Laura treasures the doll not just for having a plaything, but because of how beautiful it is in her eyes.
I just love this scene from Little House in the Big Woods because it has always struck me how thankful the Wilder’s are for what we (as middle-class Americans) would consider very small gifts. The knitted mittens made by their mother weren’t seen as boring or low quality. They were pulled on with delight. The candy sticks weren’t tossed aside, but savored. For people who owned so little, these small gifts were delightful. If you have any doubts, notice that this scene made the COVER of the book.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K Rowling
Every book in the Harry Potter series depicts Christmastime so beautifully (can you say “Yule Ball”??), but my personal favorite has to go to Harry’s first Christmas at Hogwarts in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.
Knowing Harry’s backstory and the horrible upbringing he had under the roof of the Dursley’s, it’s a relief that he can stay at Hogwarts over the Holidays. But that first Christmas is special for many reasons:
- Ron, who has a wonderful family, decides to skip the Christmas festivities with his parents and stay back at school to keep Harry company. (I'm not crying, you're crying!)
- Harry gets his first ever real Christmas gifts - from friends, his dear Hagrid, and even professors (the best being his invisibility cloak!)
- MRS. WEASLEY KNITS HARRY A SWEATER. (Ughhh I'm crying again.) As per Weasley holiday tradition, Mrs. Weasley knits every one of her children a new sweater with their initial on it. And whilst barely knowing Harry, she knits him one as well for him to open on Christmas. As heartbreaking as it is to know how much Harry has suffered as an orphan, it’s just as heartwarming to think of Mrs. Weasley standing in as a mother to him in many small ways. Plus, she must have been working on all those sweaters, like, all year! This definitely required some advance planning.
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Little Women has so many delightful Winter scenes. The personalities of the March girls do well to add warmth to the cold December and the solemn state of their own home. Louisa May Alcott writes so eloquently about the joy of Christmas, intentionally demonstrating the joy in giving rather than receiving.
Little Women is one of those classics that is reread every December by many fans because of the way it depicts the celebration of Christmas. In the story, the March girls are going through a season of poverty and struggle as their father is away at war. That alone takes a major toll on the family! But as Christmas approaches, the March sisters become downtrodden at not being able to celebrate Christmas with the luxuries they were accustomed to. Then, when Christmas day does arrive, Mrs. March implores the girls to give up the little luxury they had – a special breakfast – and donate it to a family in need. One by one, Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy step up and volunteer to take food over to this other family. And one by one, they find excess of joy.
This is just such a heartwarming story, and a timeless one. I love that Alcott doesn’t just portray the March girls as perfect, either. The truth is, they don’t want to give up their Christmas traditions of treats and togetherness. But they admire the selflessness of their mother and take action to serve others, even when it hurts. And in the end, they always, ALWAYS, discover true joy when they make sacrifices for others in need.
The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S Lewis
Why this one wasn't the first one to pop into my mind is a mystery, but it deserves a place on this list nonetheless.
It's no mystery, however, that the eternal Winter in Narnia evokes some of the feelings of the holiday season by default. Yet, the cold and downright creepiness of the White Witch and her minions puts a chill over any cheer pretty quickly. That is, until you get to the Christmas scene.
While on their quest through the frozen forests of Narnia, the Penvensie children cross paths with Santa. He gives them each unique gifts with magical qualities designed specifically for them. I love this scene because A) it's beautifully written and so vivid and B) the gifts are so meaningful. And when you take into account that the novel is a Biblical allegory and start thinking about spiritual gifts, it's even more mind blowing.
What are some other books with iconic Christmas scenes that come to mind for you? Share your favorites in the comments!
Page Chaser is operated by HarperCollins Christian Publishing, Inc. (HCCP), the publisher of the Winter Seasons Edition of Little Women. HCCP is a subsidiary of HarperCollins Publishing, Inc., the publisher of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.