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December 20, 2020

5 Feel-Good Books to Read This Holiday Season

by Desiree Villena

In 2020, we can all use a little cheering up, and there’s nothing more serotonin-releasing than the Christmas season. It’s why so many of us put up our trees and stockings even earlier than usual (I know I did!) — because we’ve had just about enough of this naughty year and are more than ready to embrace something nice and wholesome.

But while putting on music, sitting by the light of the tree, and drinking cocoa are all wonderful ways to boost your Christmas spirit, for us bookworms, there really is nothing quite like the perfect, feel-good holiday story. So put on your fuzziest Christmas socks and get ready to curl up by the fire with these snuggly winter reads!

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1. My True Love Gave to Me, edited by Stephanie Perkins

My True Love Gave to Me

Why settle for just one heartwarming story of Christmas cheer when you can have twelve — one for each day of Christmas? In this peppermint-perfect collection, Stephanie Perkins has gathered YA authors at the top of their game to deliver the coziest, toastiest holiday love stories. From Santa’s adopted daughter learning to fit in at the elves’ workshop to a meet-cute between a Christmas tree shopper and a young man who works at the tree farm, these short stories will have you swooning, laughing, and hunting for your own mistletoe at every opportunity.

2. Skipping Christmas by John Grisham

Skipping Christmas

It’s easy to get wrapped up in the trappings of the holiday season. From buying presents to cleaning for parties, the list of obligations can seem never-ending. In Skipping Christmas, accountant Luther Krank has had enough: he adds up his holiday expenses and realizes it would be cheaper for him and his wife to skip the whole thing and take a cruise instead.

But while this story may seem like the tale of a Grinch-like grumpus who eschews the joy of the holidays, instead we get a man who learns an important lesson (indeed, not unlike the Grinch and his eventually extra-large heart). By the end of this story, the Kranks not only discover the value of trying things your own way, but also how nice it can be to embrace familiar trappings and rituals when you want to come together with family and friends.

Buy Skipping Christmas at Amazon

3. Hogfather by Terry Pratchett


For fantasy fans, you can’t go wrong with a little Terry Pratchett. And though a story about the personification of Death taking up the reins for Santa might not be the first thing you think of when you hear “Christmas cheer,” this unique holiday tale pulls it off in the end. In addition to the usual wacky antics and social commentary that make the Discworld series such a delight, Hogfather tells a surprisingly heartwarming tale about helping others, and the power of believing in things you cannot see but still treasure in your heart. What’s more Christmassy than that?

Buy Hogfather at Amazon

4. In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren

In a Holidaze

Christmas rom-coms have become a streaming staple in recent years — but did you know you don’t need to turn to Netflix to get your fill?

In this recent book launch by superstar author-duo Christina Lauren (their combined pen name), Maelyn Jones returns to her family’s snowy winter cabin for Christmas. What she doesn’t expect is for a desperate Christmas wish to send her into a time loop where she relives the same holiday over and over again. That’s right: In a Holidaze isn’t just any old romcom, but a Groundhog Day-esque tale of romantic disasters, holiday hijinks, and a hilarious quest for true love! This frothy delight of a novel is sure to warm your spirits as swiftly as any mug of cocoa.

Buy In a Holidaze at Amazon

5. A Redbird Christmas by Fannie Flagg

A Redbird Christmas

Let’s be honest, sometimes the most satisfying holiday stories are those that put you through the wringer before getting to the Christmas miracle. If that’s what you’re looking for, A Redbird Christmas should be right up your alley.

Set in the one-grocery-store town of Lost River, this heartwarming tale follows Oswald T. Campell — a man who’s come to escape the harsh Chicago winters for what he believes will be his last Christmas. What follows is a delightful tale of the small town’s big-spirited residents, unexpected connections, and the mysterious cardinal who ties each of the characters' lives together. It’s the perfect winter read for when you’re ready to feel the warmth of Christmas.

Buy A Redbird Christmas at Amazon

And there you have it! With these five reads on your bedside table, you’re sure to be dreaming of sugar plums in no time. Merry Christmas!

Desiree Villena is a writer with Reedsy, a marketplace that connects self-publishing authors with the world's best editors, designers, and marketers. In her spare time, Desiree enjoys reading contemporary fiction and writing short stories. She’s very passionate about Amazon self-publishing and hopes to help as many authors as possible achieve their dreams!

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