Although we’re still in the middle of summer, Christmas in July really has me in the holiday spirit right now. This year especially, there’s something comforting about jamming to Christmas music and watching Elf when it’s 100 degrees outside. And this year, I’ve added Christmas-related books to my summer celebrations. Holiday books are essentially a beach read set in the snow instead of sand. It turns out there’s a scientific reason we love feel-good stories like Hallmark movies, and the same idea applies to books too. I love reading Christmas books for the same reason I’ve been watching Hallmark’s Christmas in July marathon on repeat all week: It’s calming to know that each story has a happy ending.
If you’re in need of a few feel-good reads to help you escape reality for a few hours, check out the novels below and add them to your summer reading list. They’re sure to have you humming Christmas carols no matter how hot it is outside.
‘Christmas in London’ by Anita Hughes
We’re not sure if there’s anything more magical than London covered in Christmas lights and snow. Dive right in to this holiday scene when a week before Christmas, New York baker Louisa Graham finds herself starring in a holiday baking television program in London. Of course, no good Christmas story is complete without a holiday romance—and that’s exactly what Louisa finds on set.
‘Christmas in Bayberry’ by Jennifer Faye
If you love Hallmark movies, this is the holiday novel for you. Released by Hallmark Publishing, this feel-good holiday romance has all the warm fuzzies of a classic Christmas movie. Kate Taylor is trying hard to save her family’s struggling candle business in small-town Vermont. But when a corporate finance employee comes from New York to report on the business, Kate doesn’t expect it to be her childhood crush Wesley. Sparks fly (both literally and figuratively) in this sweet winter romance.
‘Royal Holiday’ by Jasmine Guillory
The fourth in a related series of bestsellers by Jasmine Guillory, Royal Holiday is a heartwarming story of a mother and daughter celebrating Christmas together. When professional stylist Maddie heads across the Atlantic to style a member of the royal family at the holidays, her mother Vivian comes along for the trip—and is instantly smitten with the royal groundskeeper.
‘The Nutcracker and Other Christmas Tales’
While you likely won’t be heading to see The Nutcracker on the main stage this year, you can still channel the holiday nostalgia with this classic novel about a young girl and a nutcracker that comes to life on Christmas Eve. This rendition holds 9 other holiday stories by authors like Louisa May Alcott, L. M. Montgomery, L. Frank Baum, and Charles Dickens.
‘Winter Street’ by Elin Hilderbrand
When Kelley Quinn, the owner of a quaint Nantucket inn and father of four adult children, gathers his family for a holiday celebration that quickly turns into chaos. But much like the big family Christmas in real life, the chaos works itself out in the end. This heartwarming novel will remind you of the importance of family relationships with a hefty dose of Christmas cheer.
‘One Day in December’ by Josie Sliver
I read One Day in December last fall, and it quickly put me in the mood for cold, snowy days and holiday romances. Just before Christmas, Laurie looks out a bus window to see a man standing on the street outside and she’s sure it’s love at first sight. What follows is ten years of surprise encounters and missed connections between Laurie and Jack. But don’t worry—this story has a happy ending.
‘A Christmas Carol’ by Charles Dickens
While this story isn’t as happy-go-lucky as a Hallmark movie, it’s a must-read holiday book. Plus, it does have a sweet ending! Read up on this classic tale of Ebenezer Scrooge, a grumpy old man who isolates himself from the world. When he is visited by the ghosts of his past, present, and future, Scrooge sees the error of his ways and begins to learn to truly appreciate family, friends, and Christmas.