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10 Incredible stories to read this December on the build up to Christmas

December will always be the month of Christmas time, so we’re celebrating the occasion early with a list of ten incredible Christmas stories you need to read to get you in the mood.

1. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

Christmas Carol is the most famous, heart-warming and chilling festive story of them all. In these pages we meet Ebenezer Scrooge, whose name is synonymous with greed and parsimony: ‘Every idiot who goes about with “Merry Christmas” on his lips, should be boiled with his own pudding, and buried with a stake of holly through his heart’.

This attitude is soon challenged when the ghost of his old partner, Jacob Marley, returns from the grave to haunt him on Christmas Eve. Scrooge is then visited in turn by three spirits of Christmas Past, Present and Future, each one revealing the error of his ways and gradually melting the frozen heart of this old miser, leading him towards his redemption. On the journey we take with Scrooge we encounter a rich array of Dickensian characters including the poor Cratchit family with the ailing Tiny Tim and the generous and jolly Fezziwig.

When Charles Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol in 1843 he fashioned an enduring gift to the world, capturing the essence of the love, kindness and generosity of the Christmas season. It is a timeless classic and the story’s uplifting magic remains as potent today as when it was first published.

2. The Wish by Nicholas Sparks

Maggie hasn’t told this story in years. More than two decades ago, she fell in love. She was sixteen and far from home, waiting to give her baby up for adoption. Bryce showed Maggie how to take photographs and he didn’t judge her for the way her belly swelled under her jumper. They had the perfect first kiss. Theirs was a once-in-a-lifetime kind of love.

Now, as Maggie sits by the Christmas tree in her gallery telling her story, surrounded by the photographs that made her famous – the photographs Bryce never saw – her new gallery assistant asks her a question. If she had one wish, what would she wish for this Christmas?

Maggie always thought she knew the answer to that question. But before she can say ‘I’d go back to that winter with Bryce’, she stops herself. It is all she has ever wanted but suddenly here, on this dark night under the twinkling stars, there is something else she wants. She wants to find her baby.

A heart-wrenching and uplifting story about discovery and loss, The Wish is a reminder that time with those precious to us is the greatest gift of all.

3. The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg

All aboard the Polar Express to the North Pole! Follow one boy’s journey to recieve a very special gift from Santa himself: a bell that only true believers in Father Christmas can hear ring. Discover the beloved Christmas classic that inspired the blockbuster family favourite movie starring Tom Hanks.

4. Letters from Father Christmas by J.R.R. Tolkien

Every December an envelope bearing a stamp from the North Pole would arrive for J.R.R.Tolkien’s children. Inside would be a letter in strange spidery handwriting and a beautiful coloured drawing or some sketches. The letters were from Father Christmas.

They told wonderful tales of life at the North Pole: how all the reindeer got loose and scattered presents all over the place; how the accident-prone Polar Bear climbed the North Pole and fell through the roof of Father Christmas’s house into the dining-room; how he broke the Moon into four pieces and made the Man in it fall into the back garden; how there were wars with the troublesome horde of goblins who lived in the caves beneath the house!

Sometimes the Polar Bear would scrawl a note, and sometimes Ilbereth the Elf would write in his elegant flowing script, adding yet more life and humour to the stories. No reader, young or old, can fail to be charmed by the inventiveness and ‘authenticity’ of Tolkien’s Letters from Father Christmas.

5. It Must Have Been the Mistletoe by Judy Astley

Thea’s parents decide to host a big family Christmas in a house by the sea… even though they are, in fact, about to split up. Thea herself is newly single – her sister and brother are both settled, with children, homes and a future. But Thea’s boyfriend has ditched her in favour of his pedigree dogs, and Thea can’t decide whether or not she minds.

There will be copious food and drink, holly and mistletoe, lots of bracing walks and a wintry barbecue on the beach. If it seems an odd way to celebrate the final break-up of a marriage and the Moving On to new partners, no- one is saying so. But then no-one had anticipated that the new partners might actually turn up to complicate the sleeping arrangements.

As Cornwall experiences the biggest snowstorm in living memory, the festive atmosphere comes under some strain. Will Thea manage to find some happiness for herself? Will the mistletoe work its magic on them all?

6. Starry Night by Debbie Macomber

Carrie Slayton, a big-city society-page columnist, longs to write more serious news stories. So her editor hands her a challenge first: Carrie must score the paper an interview with Finn Dalton, the notoriously reclusive author.

Living in Alaskan wilderness, Finn has written a bestselling book about surviving in the wild. But he stubbornly declines to speak to anyone, and no one even knows exactly where he lives. With her career at stake, Carrie sacrifices her family celebrations and flies out to snowy Alaska. When she finally finds Finn, she discovers a man both more charismatic and more stubborn than she expected. And soon Carrie is torn between pursuing the story of a lifetime and following her heart.

7. The Gift by Cecelia Ahern

If you could wish for one gift this Christmas, what would it be?

Lou Suffern wishes he could be in two places at once. His constant battle with the clock is a sensitive issue with his wife and family.

Gabe wishes he was somewhere warm. When Lou invites Gabe, a homeless man who sits outside his office, into the building and into his life, Lou’s world is changed beyond all measure…

An enchanting and thoughtful Christmas story that speaks to all of us abut the value of time and what is truly important in life.

8. Christmas on the Island by Jenny Colgan

It’s a time for hunkering down, getting cosy in front of whisky barrel wood fires, and enjoying a dram with the people you love – unless, of course, you’re accidentally pregnant to your ex-boss, and don’t know how to tell him. In what should be the season of peace and goodwill on earth, will Joel think Flora is a bearer of glad tidings?

Meanwhile Saif, the doctor and refugee from war-torn Syria is trying to enjoy his first western Christmas with his sons – but without his missing wife. Can the little family possibly find comfort and joy?

Travel to the beautiful northern edge of the world and join the welcoming community of Mure for an unforgettable Christmas.

9. Let It Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle

It’s Christmas Eve and the worst blizzard for fifty years has blanketed Gracetown. But as well as snowflakes, love is in the air – and appearing in the most unexpected ways . . .

Who’d have thought a freezing hike from a stranded train would end with a delicious kiss from a charming stranger? Or that a trip to the Waffle House through four feet of snow could lead to romance with an old friend? Or that the path to true love begins with a painfully early morning shift at Starbucks?

10. Christmas in London by Anita Hughes

Set during London’s most festive time of year and filled with delicious food, Anita Hughes’s Christmas in London reminds us that love and forgiveness are truly the greatest gifts of all.

It’s a week before Christmas, and Louisa Graham is working twelve hour shifts at a bakery on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. When a young cooking show assistant comes in from the rain and begs to buy all the cinnamon rolls on her tray, she doesn’t know what to do. Louisa is just the baker, and they aren’t hers to sell. But the show burned the rolls they were supposed to film that day; so she agrees.

The next morning, Louisa finds out that her cinnamon rolls were a hit, but the star of the show was allergic, and the whole crew is supposed to leave for London that afternoon. They want Louisa to step in for their annual Christmas Eve Dinner TV special at Claridge’s. It’s a great opportunity, and Digby Bunting, Louisa’s famous baking idol, will be there. Even if he does seem more interested in her than her food.

And then ther’s Kate, the show’s beautiful producer. On their first day in London she runs into the skinny boy she jilted at St. Andrew’s in Scotland ten years ago. Now he’s a handsome, brilliant mathematician, and newly divorced. Their familiar spark is still there, but so is the scar of how they left things. Kate and Louisa are busy preparing for the show, but old and new flames are complicating their work.

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