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9 Books You Need to Read Before Christmas

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Reading during the festive period is a wonderful way to get into the Christmas spirit and enjoy the delights of the holiday season. From endearing short stories, children’s fairy tales and epic historical novels, throughout literature stories have illustrated the magic and excitement surrounding winter. We have compiled a list of international titles that are guaranteed to warm the heart and bring back the thrill of Christmas in preparation of the big day.

1.A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

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A Christmas Carol is a timeless classic and perhaps one of Charles Dickens’ most celebrated literary contributions. Since its publication in 1843, the phrase, “Merry Christmas” has been popularized and the story has graced the bookshelves of many generations. The simple allegory of an old miser portrays a moral transformation, continuing to teach readers to honour Christmas in our hearts and to spread love, joy and charity. Dickens wonderfully relates his own secular vision of Christmas, exposing Victorian traditions and the desperate plight of the poor in the mid 19th century—indeed, he greatly influenced the Christmas of Western culture that we experience today, complete with its seasonal gatherings, traditional food and drink and heart-warming festive spirit. Through engaging characters, poignant depth and fantastic narration, the work still draws in an extensive readership today and has become somewhat synonymous with the sentimental celebration of the season.

2.The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg

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Reading The Polar Expressbefore Christmas continues to be a magical festive tradition for many children. Yet alongside the beautifully illustrated pictures and the relaxed narrative style, the story carries a delicate poignancy and deeper meaning that similarly applies to adults. The novel follows a young boy, who on a snowy Christmas Eve, boards an enchanted train headed for the North Pole. Upon arrival, he meets Santa himself, who offers him any gift he desires. Receiving a bell from a reindeer that only true believers can hear, Chris Van Allsburg’s tale explores the themes of trust and powerful imagination that are intertwined with the magical essence of Christmas.

3.The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis

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The first of seven published novels that comprise The Chronicles of Narnia, The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe is a high fantasy novel set in the deep winter of the fictitious land of Narnia, complete with talking animals and curious mythical creatures. Having been evacuated from London due to the onset of the First World War, the Pevensie children live in an old house in the countryside and accidentally find an entrance to mysterious land through the dusty wardrobe in one of the spare rooms. Stepping through, they embark on a fantastical adventure in a land ruled by the evil White Witch, whose reign ensures that it is “always winter, but not Christmas”. Caught in an endless winter, the novel is a perfect accompaniment to festive reading in the warmth of one’s home and will allow imaginations to be stretched with tales of dwarves, centaurs, fauns and giants—and none other that Father Christmas himself.

4.The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen

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This mysterious tale unfolds in a dream-like sequence and focuses on the struggle between good and evil by two children, Gerda and Kay. When the boy’s grandmother tells the children about the Snow Queen who rules over snowflakes, known as “snow bees”, they begin to see the supernatural being in places where the white specs cluster the most. Alongside wicked goblins, magic mirrors and mischievous demons, the story of the endurance of childhood friendship is embodied in Gerda’s search for her friend Kay, who has been abducted by the icy fairy and brought back to her frozen palace. Brought to life by evocative illustrations of wintry scenes and magical beings, this remains one of the most loved, fairy tales written by Danish Hans Christian Andersen and brings to life both the mysticism and perilousness of the winter season.

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