I confess that after reading about four of her books, I've pretty much reached my lifetime limit of Debbie Macomber. Well, that's not true. I've identified the mood I need to be in to want to read Debbie Macomber, and that mood does not come around often.
If you like heartwarming, (usually) romantic comedies, pick up a Macomber. She does have a knack for holiday tales.
#9: A Texas Legacy Christmas, Diann Mills
Despite having lived in Texas my entire adult life, I don't really read a lot of Texas-based fiction. Turns out, in this one the setting hardly matters. Sweet holiday family story, part of a series but it stands just fine on its own. (I haven't read the rest of the series.)
#8: Finding Noel, Richard Paul Evans
This is a writer I really have reached my lifetime limit on, but this is one of two of his books I would willingly re-read. And really, if short, uplifting, but slightly sad holiday stories are your thing, head to your library and pick up a stack of Evans to go with your stack of Macomber. A key difference between the two: you're probably okay letting your kids read Evans, although give them a skim first to be sure you're comfortable with all the themes-- this one, for instance, does deal with past child abuse. (I know, in a feel-good holiday story. It's reality for a lot of kids, though, and kudos to Mr. Evans for at least addressing it--awkwardly, but he addresses it.)
#7: A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, Donald Miller
Okay, you got me-- this one is not a holiday book. I just happened to read it for the first time around the holidays one year and that's what stuck in my mind. Great book that's good for all seasons, so if you haven't read it yet, throw it in your to-read stack for the holiday weekend.
#6: The Gift of the Magi, O. Henry
One of theatres in Indianapolis used to (and possibly still does) put on The Gift of the Magi every couple of years, so I saw it as a stage show a few times before I finally read it. When I finally did read the story, I was surprised at how short it is, since it was a two-hour show onstage. Read it!
Incidentally, The Gift of the Magi was my first-ever talkback with professional actors. Not the start of my love of theatre, but it sure didn't hurt.
#5: The Christmas Box, Richard Paul Evans
I first saw this story as the made-for-TV movie with Richard Thomas, and it was beautiful. The book is even better. If you get the chance, you should read and watch.
#4: A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens
If you've never read the original, do yourself a favour and pick it up. (Here's a version that's free on Kindle.) It's a short read and utterly brilliant. Incidentally, my favourite adaptations are Scrooge, with Albert Finney; A Christmas Carol, with Patrick Stewart; and The Muppet Christmas Carol, with the Muppets and Michael Caine. Read it, then watch all of those.
#3: Let It Snow, John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle
A trilogy of intertwined short stories and one of two books on my permanent holiday to-read list. In fact, I should get to the library immediately and check it out.
#2: Hogfather, Terry Pratchett
It's Sir Terry, it's Discworld, it's Susan Death. It's fantastic.
Incidentally, so is the movie adaptation starring Michelle Dockery (sometimes known as Lady Mary on Downton Abbey) as the most perfect Susan and Marc Warren (who's been in many things, including that one episode of Doctor Who) as Teatime. Another "read then watch" recommendation.
#1: Dash and Lily's Book of Dares, Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
My favourite holiday book ever and the other of the must-read pair. I'll be reading this one on Friday.
I've been looking forward to re-reading Dash and Lily ever since I came back from New York. I've finally been to many of the places they mention, including Strand Bookstore, which was on my must-visit list for NYC because of this book. Seriously, don't bother calling me on Christmas; I'll be reading.
There you have it-- my top 10(ish) reads for a happy Christmas. Perhaps for 2016 I'll try a bit harder to read books about other December holidays. What will you be reading this weekend?