9 Holiday Books For Adults That Skip Over Santa & His Elves

In the midst of holiday stresses, spending a few minutes curled up with a great read is the best way to unwind. And although children’s holiday stories rightfully get a lot of attention, seasonal reading is not just for the little ones. Long after the children are in bed with visions of sugarplums dancing through their heads, you can settle in with one of these great holiday books for adults.

And the wealth of adult holiday stories available is kind of overwhelming. For instance, “Holiday Romance” is a whole genre unto itself with over 10,000 hits on Amazon. Numerous novels, nonfiction reads, and short story collections all provide hopeful and uplifting holiday entertainment.

But if you have a grimmer view of the season, some of these books offer a biting, humorous portrait of holiday traditions. I mean, can you imagine what P.J. O’Rourke has to say about the commercialization of Christmas? And even The Onion has a holiday book that is pretty genius.

To help you navigate the many choices, here is a curated list of excellent holiday reads for every taste. Whether you prefer stories that are sweet and nostalgic — or you need a little humor to help survive the season — there is a perfect read for you. So light a fire, pour some eggnog, and settle in with a great holiday book.


'The 13th Gift'

The 13th Gift by Joanne Huist Smith is the account of a widow and her children and their experience with Christmas kindness. As their family receives mysterious presents in the 12 days leading up to Christmas, Joanne and her children bond and reunite as a family.


'Festivus! The Book'

With Mark R. Nelson's Festivus! The Book, readers can get the specifics of aluminum pole decoration and proper protocol to Air Your Grievances. It's the best guide available to this holiday created by a sitcom.


'Letters to Santa Claus'

Letters to Santa Claus by The Elves presents over 250 actual letters to Santa from children of all walks of life. These missives, some of which date back to the 1930s, offer heartfelt and funny insights into the minds of children.


The Onion Presents: Christmas Exposed

For the finest holiday articles available, The Onion Presents: Christmas Exposed unleashes the crack team of investigative journalists on topics such as the price of coal for stockings and the truth behind Secret Santa. This is a great read to bring a little levity to the holiday season.


'Half A Hanukkah'

Scott Hilton Davis's Half A Hanukkah treats readers to four stories set in Eastern Europe in the early 1900s. Menorah, mice, and the town beggar all bring these charming stories to life.


'The Christmas Virtues'

For a humorous and insightful take on the holiday season, Jonathan V. Last's The Christmas Virtues features pieces by P.J. O'Rourke, Christopher Buckley, Kirstan Powers, and more authors. Whether skewering the commercialization of the holiday or the endless loop of holiday songs, this collection is a refreshing take on holiday traditions.


'Miss Christmas'

Miss Christmas by Gigi Garrett is a fun romance that follows Holly Kuhn as she searches for the perfect spruce to serve as Rockefeller Center's Christmas Tree. Along the way she meets Sam McCary, a farmer who just happens to have a perfect tree on his land. Will it take a miracle for the two of them to work together?


'A Christmas Story'

You've seen the movie a thousand times. But reading humorist Jean Shepherd's original stories in A Christmas Story bring new life to the Parker family's antics. You can experience this classic bit of Americana in its first format.


'The Dogs of Christmas'

The Dogs of Christmas by W. Bruce Cameron follows protagonist Josh Michaels' adventures as he cares for an abandoned dog and her litter of puppies at Christmastime. Can he navigate the frantic task of caring for — and eventually adopting out — these lively puppies?

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