by Treehouse Editors
compiled by Rachel Bondurant
’Tis the season for joy and generosity and good cheer and family. And after about five minutes of that, ’tis the season for a break, amiright? Let’s be honest: we love our families…in doses. Anyone who’s pushed small children to the ground on their way to bethe first volunteer to make a last-minute grocery run alone knows exactly what I’m talking about.
And that’s why God (or Santa, if that’s your thing) invented books. These are my five favorites to escape into during this joyous season of love and sharing.
Editor’s note: I realize the last entry on this list is a movie. I couldn’t think of any other books that I read at Christmastime, and didn’t want to lie, what with Santa watching, so just go with it.
- Lamb! The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal: You can’t have a Christmas-themed list without including a Jesus-themed book, right? Regardless of your creed, this book hits the spot, so long as you have a sense of humor. Chapter One opens with a six-year-old Jesus repeatedly resurrecting a lizard every time his little brother bashes it to death with a rock; so right away, you know you’re in good hands. Christopher Moore takes tremendous creative liberty in theorizing what Jesus (and his wacky pal, Biff) did during those mysterious years the Bible doesn’t cover. It’s important to note: this is 100% fiction, hardly historically accurate, and all in good fun. And (spoiler alert), the ending is a tearjerker.
- Pride and Prejudice: I can’t explain why I read this one at Christmas; something about winter just inspires the desire to do so. (Gloomy weather makes me feel British, maybe?) A friend of mine dubbed P&P the quintessential “chick lit,” and I can’t argue with him. I laugh, I cry, I curse the obstacles that Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy face, and cheer when they overcome them. This is the 18th century’s version of When Harry Met Sally, or literally any other romantic comedy ever. Thanks for setting the standard, Jane Austen.
- Any of the Harry Potter books: Except the last one, because Christmas in that one is kind of a bummer. But any of the others will suffice, because J.K. Rowling never fails to include some kind of holiday cheer in each book. Personally, I think the first one is best, because c’mon, who doesn’t read that and wish they were getting their own invisibility cloak under the tree?
- A Visit from St. Nicholas: First of all, I didn’t realize this poem wasn’t simply called “Twas the Night before Christmas,” until I Googled it. Anyway, my father has read this book aloud to my brothers and sister and I every year for as long as I can remember, probably since my sister was a toddler. We’ve been scattered across cities, states, and continents – rarely in the same place anymore – but without fail, come Christmas Eve, we’re gathered around the phone on speaker, or FaceTime on someone’s iPad, or Skype on someone’s laptop, anxiously awaiting the moment when Dad gleefully recites, “That shook when he laughed like a bowl full of jelly,” exactly the same way he does every year.
- A Muppet Christmas Carol: I realize this is based on an incredibly famous and beloved Christmas book, but since I don’t read A Christmas Carol every year, suggesting I do would be disingenuous (and like I said, Santa is watching). However, I do make every effort to watch some movie version of the story, and this one is my favorite. There is Muppet greatness from start to finish: from the talking vegetable shrieking as a street urchin steals it, to those rats singing, “This is my island in the sun, oyoy!” But if Muppets aren’t your thing – I hope you’re getting coal in your stocking! – you can default to another excellent rendition of Dickens’s classic tale: Scrooged!
Merry Christmas, boys and girls. I hope you got everything you wanted. Now put a smile on your face and go back to your family!