(From left to right) Folded sweater, cup of lemon tea and open book with sky blue ribbon book mark between the two pages on wooden window sill in old house. Behind the items is a window which reveals a snowy outside.

Book, cup of tea and sweater on window sill ()

It is cold. Grab your hot cocoa or Glühwein and curl up with one of this month’s selections for the holiday season.

Letters from Father Christmas” by J.R.R. Tolkien and Baillie Tolkien (editor) (1972) (Fantasy) (Memoir/Family)

Imagine the mind of some of the greatest fantasy tales ever written writing letters as Santa Claus. That is exactly what J.R.R. Tolkien, most famous for his “Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit” books, did for his kids. Today, you can read the letters that Tolkien wrote to his children as Father Christmas and his adventures, battles and overall mischief.

Together for Kwanzaa” by Juwanda G. Ford and Shelly Hehenberger (2000) (Fiction) (Children’s)

Kayla’s favorite holiday is Kwanzaa, and she is so excited her brother is coming home to visit for this year’s celebrations. However, a snowstorm threatens to destroy Kayla’s perfect holiday. Will her brother make it in time, or will he miss out? Read this as a family to find out.

The Christmas Murder Game” by Alexandra Benedict (2022) (Fiction) (Mystery) (Thriller)

The Armitage family celebrates the holidays with games every year at their home, Endgame House. However, Lily Armitage is never in the mood to celebrate. 21 years ago, Lily’s mother died, and Lily has never returned to Endgame House. This year’s games have taken a dangerous turn and now people are dead, and Lily must return to help stop the loss of lives before the 12 days of Christmas are over.

Bright Lights, Big Christmas” by Mary Kay Andrews (2023) (Fiction) (Romance)

Pick up one of the most anticipated reads of this year’s holiday season by this popular New York Times bestselling author. Like an inverse Hallmark Christmas movie, instead of helping out on her family’s Christmas tree farm in the mountains of North Carolina, Kerry Tolliver must instead travel the to big city, New York, to help out her grumpy brother and his dog sell trees in Greenwich Village. In New York, she meets a handsome stranger and gets entangled in a missing person’s case. It’s got all you want in a holiday season light-hearted novella.

Last Christmas in Paris” by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb (2017) (Historical Fiction) (WWI) (WWII)

During the four years of World War I, Evie and her brother’s best friend, Thomas, exchanged letters. They shared their hopes and struggles. Evie, a privileged girl on the home front in Britain, wishes to do more and Thomas, on the frontlines, faces the realities of war. The book alternates between the letters they exchanged during the war, and 1968, when Thomas returns to Paris in failing health alone holding the stack of letters.

Three Holidays and a Wedding” by Uza Jalaluddin and Marissa Stapley (2023) (Fiction) (Romance)

You get three holidays in one with this book: Hanukkah, Ramadan and Christmas. Three strangers traveling to Toronto get to know each other very well when sudden plane turbulence has everyone confessing to their biggest hopes and fears. They must face those confessions when an emergency landing puts them all in a small town and staying at the Snow Falls Inn. Love, film-making, and overall holiday mayhem ensue.

The Gift of the Magi” by O. Henry (1905) (Classic) (Short Story) (Fiction) (Romance)

This timeless tale teaches all of us the real reasons for the season. Jim and Della are young, in love and poor. Each wants to gift the other with the best present, but each must sacrifice something of great importance to purchase the gift for the other. I won’t spoil the ending for those who don’t know.

Eight Nights of Flirting” by Hannah Reynolds (2022) (Young Adult) (Fiction) (Romance)

16-year-old Shira Barbanel made herself a promise: By Hanukkah, she will have a boyfriend. This is easier said than done when her former crush is also her nemesis and she has to enlist them to help her snare her new crush, Isaac. Go on the journey with Shira as she learns what it means to fall in love.

Kwanzaa: A Celebration of Family, Community and Culture” by Maulana Karenga (1996) (Non-Fiction)

Learn all about the origins and celebrations of Kwanzaa through a historical and cultural lens as written by Karenga, the creator of Kwanzaa.

author picture
Tamala Malerk is a writer and editor with Stars and Stripes Europe. She has been with SSE since April 2022 writing articles all about travel, lifestyle, community news, military life and more. In May 2022, she earned her Ph.D. in History and promises it is much more relevant to this job than one might think.

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