It’s a Wonderful Holiday Season to Read ๐ŸŽ„

Although I don’t celebrate any holiday as a person of faith, I am prone to saying, “Merry Christmas!” in a Santa-Clause, buying-presents, gawking-at-lawn-decorations kind of way. Everyone wants to get into the holiday spirit, even if that feeling is tied more to a season than a holiday. This got me thinking: what is my favorite winter-season novel?

The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen is one of the most wintry books I’ve ever read. It opens with Josey thankful that it’s getting frosty outside. And, the protagonist’s house reeks of peppermint year-round, as her mother puts it on the windowsills. Granted, the smell is a superstitious way to keep out “unwanteds,” but still. Minty.

Josey has a lucky red sweater — how seasonal! I imagine a cute green hat, or maybe some green corduroy pants, too, to compliment the lucky top. Josey is a wealthy girl whose now-deceased father made their North Carolina town prosperous by setting up a ski resort, so you get winter activities. Hooray!

She can also sense when the mail carrier is coming, a man named Adam whom Josey has loved (the book says loved, not crushed on) for three years. One of those wonderful wintry novels that aren’t sappy — perfect for the season as you feel like whipping up so hot cocoa and diving under the knitted blankets.

….But what if you’re feeling ho-ho-horrible?

Why, then, some good old-fashioned Christmas-themed horror will cheer you up! You know little Elf on the Shelf people are so wild about? Well, what if it came alive and murdered your children? Santa’s Little Helper by H.D. Gordon has all the makings of a festive novel: the trees are trimmed, the gifts are wrapped, the snow is cold, and the children are hiding in their beds.

Wait, what?

When Gordon imitated the sounds of an elf dollโ€™s plastic feet heading toward a child in the dark (Click. Tink! Click. Tink! Clicktink! clicktink!), she scared me! Like a cross between Chucky walkin’ in a winter wonderland and Freddy Kruger decking the halls, these kids are having a blue (blue blue blue) Christmas.

You thought this was just going to be a cheery post, didn’t you. Well, if you’ve got a penchant for horror in the middle of December, check out Santa’s Little Helper.

What is your favorite seasonal read & why?

12 comments

  1. I don’t read horror in any season. But if I were to nominate a favourite winter themed novel it would be Ursula Le Guin’s Left Hand of Darkness, set on the planet Winter and involving a very long walk in the snow. After that, I guess Jack London and White Fang (which I may not have read for 50 something years).

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  2. I do try to read at least one sort of Christmas-y book in December each year. A Christmas Carol is a favorite, of course. I still need to read the one you’re reading with your husband, the Winterson short story collection. Maybe next year!

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    • It’s lovely and inventive. She plays with gender expectations and fun rhyme schemes and some stories are full of alliteration, so you almost feel like you’re reading a Christmas poem. Plus, you can read one story each night leading up to Christmas, if that is your kind of thing! Like an advent book.

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  3. I’ve wondered about The Sugar Queen for years but have never read it. For the first time in ages I’ve read one Christmas book already (but then got too attached to the sequels to fit in the other light novel Christmas reads I’d put aside) and I have a book of Christmas stories to read on the afternoon of the day itself. Happy Holidays!

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  4. Iโ€™m rereading the Anne of Green Gables books over the Christmas period. I managed to time it so that I reached Matthew Insists on Puffed Sleeves on Christmas morning! And all the Anne books seem Christmassy to me because their winters are generally snowy, which is not the case here.

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    • Sometimes it gets so snowy in the story you’re convinced everyone is going to catch a chill and be laid up in bed for weeks! As much as I love Anne, I think her daughter, Rilla, and the 8th book, was my favorite.

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