The Best Christmas Books for Adults

If you're like me, holiday reading can be a bit tricky. So many of the most celebrated holiday books are highly religious or extra sappy, neither of which appeal to me all that much. The occasional happily-ever-after is enough for me, so I do enjoy traditional holiday romcoms and romances, but I also want something more from my holiday books. Maybe it's the mood reader in me, but I need variety! Messy family dramas, grief and loss themes, and twisted holiday mysteries are a great way to mix up your holiday reading. So, if you're a picky reader like me then you're in luck! Here are all the best Christmas books for adults I've read and loved the past few years (sorted by themes), plus a few still on my reading list. Happy holiday reading!

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The Best Christmas Books for Adults

Nostalgic Holiday Books

Once Upon a Wardrobe

By far one of the most moving and heartwarming books I've ever read, Once Upon a Wardrobe will have you nostalgic for the magic of Narnia. Read my full review here.

Little Women

Though not a traditional holiday book, Christmas bookends Little Women. Some of the most important scenes of the book take place during the holidays, making it a highly nostalgic holiday book.

Heartfelt Holiday Books

One Day in December

Though technically a romance novel, One Day in December is so much more than that. Moving and poignant, this book will have you in your feels. Tissues required.

One Last Gift

One Last Gift is a gift to anyone experiencing grief around the holiday season. Again, this is a romance novel, but it's full of so much heart and emotion you won't mind.

RomCom Holiday Books

The Christmas Wish

By far one of the funniest books I've ever read, The Christmas Wish is the definition of comedic reading. You'll be LOL'ing for sure.

The Christmas Wager

While it may not have you LOL'ing the whole time, The Christmas Wager is full of antics and silly games all in the name of holiday cheer.

Short Holiday Books

A Christmas Carol

The holiday classic is required reading for all readers. If you're looking for a book to spark Christmas cheer don't forget A Christmas Carol.

The Deal of a Lifetime

The Deal of a Lifetime is a heartfelt and poignant novella that's sure to put the holiday season into perspective.

Holiday Books with Small-town Settings

A December to Remember

This charming sister story is full of drama, humor, and lots of holiday cheer. A December to Remember is my #1 holiday read of 2023.

Christmas by the Book

Christmas by the Book is the type of book that reminds you of the goodness of humankind. Let this charmer do its work when you need a little faith in mankind.

Historical Holiday Books

Mr Dickens and His Carol

Mr. Dickens and His Carol is a fictionalized account of the inspiration behind the famous holiday book that'll whisk you away to the streets of London.

Last Christmas in Paris

Oh my goodness. Last Christmas in Paris is required reading for any historical fiction lover. Keep the tissues handy!

Mystery/Thriller Holiday Books

The Christmas Murder Game

Nothing says Christmas like a locked room mystery, right? The Christmas Murder Game is full of twisted holiday games and lots of family drama. Bonus points for the LGBTQIA representation!

My Darling Girl

Did someone say spooky holiday read? Yes, please! My Darling Girl is a paranormal possession story set during the holiday season.

Family Drama (Lite) Holiday Books

Winter Street

If you're a fan of Bravo programming then you'll love the family drama in Winter Street. Escape to the Cape with Elin Hilderbrand this holiday season.

Christmas in Peachtree Bluff

Witty, charming, and full of holiday cheer, Christmas in Peachtree Bluff is great for lovers of Southern fiction.

Holiday Books For the foodie

Christmas in London

Get caught up in the whirlwind that is Christmas in London, and you'll be left craving all the baked goods and Christmas puddings!

The Holiday Swap

Part rom-com, part sister story, The Holiday Swap is the perfect read for lovers of The Food Network.

Closed-Door romance Holiday books

Meet Me Under the Mistletoe

Enemies to lovers meets found family in Meet Me Under the Mistletoe. Spend your holiday in a UK castle in this charming book (my #1 holiday read in 2022).

Love, Holly

Love, Holly is a slow-burn romance that's full of tropes (instant love, forced proximity, etc), but it's also full of emotion.

Open-Door Romance Holiday books

A Very Merry Bromance

You'll find sugar, spice, and everything nice in A Very Merry Bromance. It's perfect for lovers of Southern fiction.

There's Something About Merry

Charming and full of family, There's Something About Merry is spicy with a twist of Christmas tree farm.

About Carlie

Hi there! I'm a 40-ish book lover, always looking for the next great read, particularly the best historical fiction. I live in Los Angeles with my fella and our fur babies, Fozzy and Polly. Working from home changed my life. Suddenly, I had time in my day to read again. I love sharing my reading journey here on my website and social media. Be sure to follow along for reading recommendations and honest book reviews.

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