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Book clubs are you ready? It’s time for the holiday reading season!
You can probably tell that I love the holidays! There’s something so special about this time of year. All the activities, the music, the sweets, the lights—it all blends together for a great time full of lasting memories.
Selecting a Christmas book is such a fun way to celebrate the season with your book club! It gets everyone in a festive mood and you can even have holiday snacks and beverages during your meeting as well.
With this Christmas book list, I like to combine new releases as well as previously-released titles. And with each older title, I also include book club questions. And you’re looking for more new holiday reads, be sure to check out my 10 New Holiday Book Picks for 2023 list.
Let’s get to the 5 Christmas book club books!
The Book Club Hotel by Sarah Morgan
A novel about a book club and it’s set during the holiday season? Yes, this promises to be a great selection for book clubs. If you haven’t read a book by Sarah Morgan, you should start now!
Her books are heartwarming and full of depth. I always appreciate the focus on female friendships and families. One of my favorites of hers is The Christmas Sisters (another great choice for book clubs!).
Here’s the synopsis for The Book Club Hotel:
With its historic charm and picture-perfect library, the Maple Sugar Inn is considered the winter destination. As the holidays approach, the inn is fully booked with guests looking for their dream vacation. But widowed far too young, and exhausted from juggling the hotel with being a dedicated single mom, Hattie Coleman dreams only of making it through the festive season.
But when Erica, Claudia and Anna—lifelong friends who seem to have it all—check in for a girlfriends’ book club holiday, it changes everything. Their close friendship and shared love of books have carried them through life’s ups and downs. But Hattie can see they’re also packing some major emotional baggage, and nothing prepares her for how deeply her own story is about to become entwined in theirs.
In the span of a week over the most enchanting time of the year, can these four women come together to improve each other’s lives and make this the start of a whole new chapter?
The Twelve Months of Christmas by Sheila Roberts
Sheila Roberts is the author of holiday fiction novels. Several of her books have been adapted for film by Hallmark, Lifetime, and GAF, including her holiday perennial, On Strike for Christmas, The Nine Lives of Christmas, with a sequel The Nine Kittens of Christmas, and most recently, Christmas on Candy Cane Lane.
Her latest novel, The Twelve Months of Christmas, follows three friends who each have a terrible Christmas. They decide to instead celebrate Christmas year-round. This holiday-do over story sounds incredibly charming. Here’s the synopsis:
Sunny, Arianna and Molly are having three very different but equally terrible Christmases. Sunny is a newlywed with two new stepkids who want nothing to do with her; Arianna is newly divorced and hates having to send her daughter off to spend the holiday with her dad; for Molly, nothing is new, but her job at the post office is getting very, very old.
The whole Christmas season has been a bust all around. But Sunny and Arianna have a wild idea: What if they had a Christmas do-over in January? February? On Saint Patrick’s Day?
Christmas all year long—what could that look like? As these three determined women chase the perfect holiday through twelve months of cooking disasters, over-the-top festivity, and lots of laughter and tears, they’ll discover perfection is way overrated.
A Wish for Christmas by Courtney Cole
Courtney Cole is the author of Christmas romance stories. In her latest, A Wish for Christmas, an unhappily married couple makes a wish on an enchanted snow globe that they had never met, but when they wake up the next day in separate lives, the magic of Christmas helps them to realize that some love is just meant to be.
Here’s the synopsis:
Noel Blake is not in a great place. After several years of marriage, she and her husband Jonah are quietly drifting apart. The only time they really talk at all anymore is when they walk their dog, Elliott. And even then it usually ends in bickering.
When, one snowy day, Elliott manages to slip his leash, they find him blocks away in the care of a mysterious old man who asks them to make a wish on an old snow globe. Eager to get their dog safely home, they agree to his strange request. Neither one realizes that the wish they’re about to make will change the course of their lives… possibly forever.
When Noel and Jonah wake up the next morning, they’re in separate beds, separate apartments, separate lives. But are they any happier? As they live the existences they’d always wished for, both feel that something very important is missing. And when a chance encounter brings the pair back together, they find they have a spark of something very special.
Will they be able to find their way back to each other before it’s too late, or does the Christmas Magic have another fate in store?
Older Titles with Book Club Questions
Comfort and Joy by Kristin Hannah
Without a doubt, one of my favorite holiday stories, is Comfort and Joy by Kristin Hannah. I love Kristin Hannah’s historical fiction but this one holds a special place. I truly feel it has everything you want in a Christmas story—second chances, some magical realism and lots of heart. It does feature quite heavy topics so it’s not a light holiday story.
I think it’s truly a wonderful read with a great ending.
Here’s the synopsis:
Joy Candellaro once loved Christmas more than any other time of the year. Now, as the holiday approaches, she is at a crossroads in her life; recently divorced and alone, she can’t summon the old enthusiasm for celebrating. So without telling anyone, she buys a ticket and boards a plane bound for the beautiful Pacific Northwest. When an unexpected detour takes her deep into the woods of the Olympic rainforest, Joy makes a bold decision to leave her ordinary life behind—to just walk away—and thus begins an adventure unlike any she could have imagined.
In the small town of Rain Valley, six-year-old Bobby O’Shea is facing his first Christmas without a mother. Unable to handle the loss, Bobby has closed himself off from the world, talking only to his invisible best friend. His father Daniel is beside himself, desperate to help his son cope. Yet when the little boy meets Joy, these two unlikely souls form a deep and powerful bond. In helping Bobby and Daniel heal, Joy finds herself again.
But not everything is as it seems in quiet Rain Valley, and in an instant, Joy’s world is ripped apart, and her heart is broken. On a magical Christmas Eve, a night of impossible dreams and unexpected chances, Joy must find the courage to believe in a love—and a family—that can’t possibly exist, and go in search of what she wants . . . and the new life only she can find.
Check out my book club questions here.
Flight by Lynn Stager Strong
If your book club is looking for a novel that features complicated family dynamics set during the holiday season, Flight by Lynn Stager Strong is a good choice. It’s a story about siblings reuniting on their first Christmas after their mother passed.
The novel takes a look at a specific family who is trying to continue their late mother’s holiday traditions while each of them are going through their own struggles. I thought it was good overall—definitely more literary fiction, which I do enjoy quite a lot.
Here’s the synopsis:
It’s December twenty-second and siblings Henry, Kate, and Martin have converged with their spouses on Henry’s house in upstate New York. This is the first Christmas the siblings are without their mother, the first not at their mother’s Florida house. Over the course of the next three days, old resentments and instabilities arise as the siblings, with a gaggle of children afoot, attempt to perform familiar rituals, while also trying to decide what to do with their mother’s house, their sole inheritance. As tensions rise, the whole group is forced to come together unexpectedly when a local mother and daughter need help.
With the urgency and artfulness that cemented her previous novel Want as “a defining novel of our age” (Vulture), Strong once again turns her attention to the structural and systemic failings that are haunting Americans, but also to the ways in which family, friends, and strangers can support each other through the gaps. Flight is a novel of family, ambition, precarity, art, and desire, one that forms a powerful next step from a brilliant chronicler of our time.
Check out my book club questions here.
Happy reading and happy holidays!