There are only twelve more days until Christmas and the excitement is real here! We’re not going to talk about the craziness of this year for a while. While I’m still following all of the recommended precautions (and then some) in real life, here in the blogosphere the next twelve days are going to be nothing but merry! And as I have spoken, so it shall be on my blog.
Overkill? Maybe. But I’m determined to make this a fun and celebratory season. Toward that end, today’s post is special for two reasons. First, it’s a special edition of Tackling the TBR: I am going to deviate from my current spot in my overall list and instead go through books I have marked “Christmas-TBR” on Goodreads. There are nearly 30, so this post will be quite a bit longer than a usual Tackling the TBR. Because of this, I will just share the synopsis and my decision whether to keep or remove the book from my list, without any rambling about where I came across the book or why it is on the list. Hopefully this will keep things moving along at a good speed, while sharing as many Christmas books as possible!
Second, this post is my first installment in the 12 Days of Christmas 2020! This linkup/challenge/party is hosted by Faith at Stories by Firefly, and you can find a list of participants for each day on her blog. I’m familiar with a few of the other participating bloggers, but there are also quite a few who are new to me. I’m looking forward to checking out all of the posts, sharing my own (mostly bookish) holiday posts, and hopefully getting to know some new blogs along the way. Also, there is a giveaway associated with this event! Full details and the entry form are below.
My Goodreads Christmas TBR
1. At the Christmas Lodge by Rebekah Morris
When Desirae Richey agrees to go home with some college friends for Christmas, she expects a small family gathering. Instead she is taken to the Christmas Lodge in the snowy mountains of Canada to a noisy, fun-loving, adventurous group of family and friends who welcome her as one of their own. Everything seems to be going as planned until an unexpected snowfall occurs.
2. Carols and Chaos by Cindy Anstey
1817. The happy chaos of the Yuletide season has descended upon the country estate of Shackleford Park in full force, but lady’s maid Kate Darby barely has the time to notice. Between her household duties, caring for her ailing mother, and saving up money to someday own a dress shop, her hands are quite full. Matt Harlow is also rather busy. He’s performing double-duty, acting as valet for both of the Steeple brothers, two of the estate’s holiday guests.
Falling in love would be a disaster for either of them. But staving off their feelings for each other becomes the least of their problems when a devious counterfeiting scheme reaches the gates of Shackleford Park, and Kate and Matt are unwittingly swept up in the intrigue.
3. Coffee Shop Christmas by Ryana Miller
While for some, Christmas is a time of pleasant memories, for others, it is a reminder of past tragedies. Police widow Katherine Shannon is one such person. Since the death of her husband a year ago, she has made ends meet running a coffee shop across from the town police station. But as time goes on, she’s questioning whether she should keep the shop open or if maybe God has something else in mind for her.
Can a cup of coffee really make a difference in this world? Can a coffee shop be used for God’s glory? Can God use burnt cookies and salted caramel lattés to open a door for Christian service? Or an overheard conversation to touch a heart? (Mark 9:41)
Through a series of God orchestrated events, she will find her answer. Come along and join Katherine as she finds God’s will for her life. Once you visit The Coffee Shop, you’ll never be the same.
4. The Twelve Cats of Christmas by Perry Elisabeth Kirkpatrick
“What you need is a cat.”
When her beloved dog passes away just before Christmas, Gloria isn’t sure about her best friend’s advice. Holiday hilarity ensues when a new cat shows up on her doorstep each day. Who’s leaving the cats? And why? Will Gloria’s Christmas go up a poof of pet fur, or will it prove to be the most purrfect holiday ever?
5. Christmas at the Red Door Inn (Prince Edward Island Dreams)
Lifelong islander Brooke Kane doesn’t know what to do with her college degree, her dreams, or her future, but she knows better than to venture far from home when there’s a storm brewing. But a promise to check on Rose’s Red Door Inn prompts Brooke to venture out. By the time she arrives at the inn, the snow is knee-deep and visibility almost non-existent. She settles in to spend a few days alone at the inn until a familiar figure appears at the door.
Father Chuck O’Flannigan has never felt like a bigger fool. So focused on his recent decision to leave Prince Edward Island, he’s caught unaware by the blizzard while on a walk. He can only see the inn’s red door, a promise of safety. But when he discovers that Brooke—the only woman who could tempt him to stay on the island—is also taking refuge there, he knows he’s in trouble.
With Christmas only three days away, Brooke is determined that they’ll celebrate—even if it’s just the two of them. Happy to play Scrooge to her Tiny Tim, Chuck wiles away his hours dreaming of a return to Ireland—praying that God may have plans for him there. After all, God seems to have forgotten him in North Rustico. But as Brooke brings Christmas to life, her joy makes him wonder if God may not have forgotten him. In fact, God may have big plans for both of them—if they can only survive Christmas at the Red Door Inn.
6. Christmas Quilts by Rebekah Morris
Memories. Gifts. And so much more.
When her beloved grandmother suffers a heart attack, Olivia pours her love, fear, and grief into a new quilting project, rekindling the passion they once shared. But only through a very special Christmas does she come to see the true significance of her gifts . . . and the legacy they carry.
7. The Wishing Tree by Zoe Haslie
All cynical and reckless Mia Thorn wants for Christmas is to avoid her biggest fear coming true—turning into the cheating heartbreaker her mom turned to be. This time, however, she might have gone too far. After getting the principal’s son into trouble, she ends up in detention for a whole month. Working on a Christmas charity project. Yuck!
The moment Mia sits next to Tommy Cooper she realizes three things: a. He reeks of good intentions, b. He most definitely doesn’t belong there, and c. If she’s not careful around him, he might jeopardize the image she worked so hard to build. But the more she gets to know him, the more she gets caught off guard. Will Mia be able to keep Tommy at bay or will she risk breaking his heart?
8. Christmas with Cocoa by Cleopatra Margot
Robin McKay is determined to save the struggling Animal Shelter and head her hometown’s local Christmas event. But when plans go awry and Nate Ashford, Robin’s former best friend, are factors at play, will her Christmas wish come true?
Now for the first time, all of Alcott’s known Christmas short stories and novellas have been gathered into a single exquisite collection, which is sure to brighten the holidays for book lovers. Readers of all ages will cherish these fifteen enchanting tales filled with hope, sorrow, faith, joy, redemption, strength, and goodness. Louisa May Alcott’s Christmas Treasury is a wonderful gift for oneself or a loved one.
This book contains the following beautiful Christmas tales:
A Christmas Inspiration – A Christmas Mistake – The Red Room – Aunt Cyrilla’s Christmas Basket – The Josephs’ Christmas – The Osbornes’ Christmas – Bertie’s New Year – Clorinda’s Gifts – Ida’s New Year Cake – The Christmas Surprise at Enderly Road – The Falsoms’ Christmas Dinner – The Unforgotten One – Christmas at Red Butte – Uncle Richard’s New Year’s Dinner
11. The Christmas Remedy (An Amish Christmas Romance #1) by Cindy Woodsmall & Erin Woodsmall
Twenty-four-year-old Holly Zook lives a unique life for a young Amish woman. Years ago, her bishop allowed her to continue her education and become the lead technician for Greene’s Pharmacy, an old-timey drugstore that looks out for the Amish community–a group largely without secure healthcare plans. She knows she can’t marry and hold onto her professional job. She’s Amish, and she can only have one or the other, so she spurns love and works toward addressing treatable diseases–like the one that claimed her father’s life.
As long as Holly continues to avoid Joshua Smucker, the one man who draws her like a warm hearth in winter, she should be fine. When something unexpected threatens Greene’s Pharmacy, Holly and Joshua must work together to unravel what’s happened and find the missing patient before the Board of Pharmacy shuts them down. As the snows of December arrive, with Christmas in the air, will Holly succumb to the generous spirit of the season?
12. A Snowy Little Christmas by Fern Michaels, Tara Sheets, & Kate Clayborn
Starry Night by Fern Michaels: As the host of a radio program for the lovelorn, Jessie Richmond is surprisingly lonely, especially with the holidays approaching. So she decides to make the trek to her uncle’s bookstore in rural New York state and hold a speed dating event–only to find herself snowed in–with one very special single . . .
Mistletoe and Mimosas by Tara Sheets: After years of hard work, real estate agent Layla Gentry has her dream home on Pine Cove Island. She’s perfectly content to be on her own. Until her childhood nemesis, Sebastian, comes to town. When a snowstorm and a stranded kitten bring them together on Christmas Eve, Layla discovers he’s all grown up–and she may have one more dream left . . .
Missing Christmas by Kate Clayborn: It’s all work and no play for two longtime friends-turned-business-partners Kristen and Jasper–until an unexpected kiss turns things personal. Will it mean the end of something, or the beginning? With a major contract in the balance, Christmas around the corner, and a lot of unspoken feelings, it may take an unpredictable blizzard in New England to seal the deal . . .
Remove, except I may try to find Starry Night on its own or see if the library has the book and only read that story.
13. Snowflakes and Sparks (Old Pine Cove #1) Sophie-Leigh Robbins
The best fake snow decorations in L.A.? Done by me. About to get a promotion? Also me. Sent to a sleepy small town right before Christmas to save a bookstore? Unfortunately, me again.
Old Pine Cove was the one place on earth I had sworn I’d never return to. Then my boss asked me to manage one of our bookstores there. I wanted to tell her no way, but that would definitely lower my chances of being promoted once I returned to L.A. So I sucked it up. Besides, it was only supposed to be temporary. What could possibly go wrong?
Gosh, how naïve of me.
Alex Denverton opening the door with that smoldering look of his, that’s what went wrong. It had been ten years since I crashed his truck and made a run for it. And now he was back in my life. How was I supposed to focus on work knowing he was right next door? And why did I ever agree to organize the annual Winter Walk with him? One thing was certain, though. If I wanted to have a magical Christmas, I couldn’t ask Santa to make it happen. It was up to me to decide: go big or go home.
Snowflakes and Sparks is a standalone, small town romcom in the Old Pine Cove series.
14. One Christmas in Winter by Bell Renshaw
Reba Farwell is finally getting a chance to live out her dreams. Sent to Winter, Montana to direct filming for a crucial, on-location shoot, she knows the next two weeks will make or break her career. And she could definitely use a break. As if that isn’t enough, she’s got a secret that none of her crew knows. All she’s asking for is two weeks of small town, Christmas beauty and a little bit of on-camera sizzle.
Five years ago, Hoyt Bradley’s heart and future shattered in one fell swoop that landed him back in Winter. Thankfully, making lemonade—or his father’s famous lemon meringue pie— out of lemons is what he does best. Running Bentley’s Diner has filled the gaps left in the wake of his heartbreak, even if it hasn’t healed him completely. Not wanting to relive memories of his rocky start in the film industry, Hoyt does his best to steer clear of the dreaded film crew, but Winter has a way of bringing people together.
After one fateful delivery and a score of icy bad luck, Reba finds herself in a bind and at the mercy of what Winter can offer. Will she pull the film together in time to salvage her name as a director? Or will the sparks flying off-camera create more of a distraction than she knows how to handle?
15. A Wreath of Snow by Liz Curtis Higgs
All Margaret Campbell wants for Christmas is a safe journey home. When her plans for a festive holiday with her family in Stirling crumble beneath the weight of her brother’s bitterness, the young schoolteacher wants nothing more than to return to the students she loves and the town house she calls home.
Then an unexpected detour places her in the path of Gordon Shaw, a handsome newspaperman from Glasgow, who struggles under a burden of remorse and shame. When the secret of their shared history is revealed, will it leave them tangled in a knot of regret? Or might their past hold the threads that will bind their future together?
As warm as a woolen scarf on a cold winter’s eve, A Wreath of Snow is a tender story of love and forgiveness, wrapped in a celebration of all things Scottish, all things Victorian, and, especially, all things Christmas.
Journey along with American settlers who learn that despite where the trail takes them or how primitive their lodgings may be Christmas is all about the heart. Determined to honor Christ’s birth, these pioneers find a way to make Christmas happen in places like a cave, a tipi, and a dugout. Modern readers will enjoy a peek into life before commercialism took over the sacred day, distracting us from the true blessings of faith, hope, and love.
17. Mister Christmas by Kyle R. Bullock
Mister Christmas is the story of how a cynical, down on his fortune man has his life turned around when he is hired by a mysterious stranger who wants to become a real-life Saint Nick. Ryan Conners lost his job, his marriage fell apart, and his spirits are crushed. That’s when he meets Nick, a mysterious stranger from out of town who has set up a toy factory in a rough part of town. Nick wants Ryan for a job – help him manufacture toys for Christmas, despite having no one to sell them to. What happens next is a heart-warming journey of community, mended relationships, and the real meaning of Christmas. Mr. Christmas is a seamless blend of classic Christmas story in a modern setting. This easy to read family story is the perfect book for your Christmas reading collection and is suitable for all ages, backgrounds, and reading levels.
18. Mele Kalikimaka (Tradewinds #2.5) by Taylor Bennett
Mele Kalikimaka might be the thing to say on a bright Hawaiian Christmas Day, but Olive Galloway is feeling less than festive. After all, this is the first year she’s celebrated the holiday without her mom. Even the ringing of silver bells sounds a little blue. When an attempt to make the season bright ends in hurt feelings and a shattered heirloom, Olive’s hopes for a happy holiday are dashed. A surprise visit from a less-than-jolly fellow in red only adds to the turmoil. Olive is convinced that nothing can possibly bring peace to her corner of the earth. As presents pile up beneath the tree and Christmas Day draws near, Olive realizes it will take a Christmas miracle to help her family rediscover the true magic of the holiday season.
19. Home for Christmas by Rebekah Morris
Feeling that life is unfair when her father is killed in the front lines of France and she has to live with her relatives on a western farm, twelve-year-old Susanna Stanson runs away to the city. She decides that all will be well when she reaches her old home, but a severe snowstorm interrupts her trip.
20. The Greatest Gift: Unwrapping the Full Love Story of Christmas by Ann Voskamp
In what is sure to become an instant holiday classic, Voskamp reaches back into the pages of the Old Testament to explore the lineage of Jesus via the advent tradition of “The Jesse Tree.” Beginning with Jesse, the father of David, “The Greatest Gift” retraces the epic pageantry of mankind, from Adam to the Messiah, with each day’s reading pointing to the coming promise of Christ. Sure to become a holiday staple in every Christian home, “The Greatest Gift” is the perfect gift for the holidays and a timeless reminder of the true meaning of Christmas.
Keep – and I wish I had remembered about this book this before December started!
21. The Enchanted Sonata by Heather Dixon Wallwork
Clara Stahlbaum has her future perfectly planned: to marry the handsome pianist, Johann Kahler (ah!) and settle down to a life full of music. But all that changes on Christmas Eve, when Clara receives a mysterious and magical nutcracker.
Whisked away to his world—an enchanted empire of beautiful palaces, fickle fairies, enormous rats, and a prince—Clara must face a magician who uses music as spells…and the future she thought she wanted.
The Enchanted Sonata, a retelling of The Nutcracker Ballet with a dash of The Pied Piper, will captivate readers of all ages.
22. Oliver: The Cat Who Saved Christmas by Sheila Norton
Oliver the cat is a timid little thing, and rarely ventures from his home in the Foresters’ Arms.
Then his life changes dramatically when a fire breaks out in the pub kitchen and he is left homeless and afraid. But, with the kindness of the humans around him, he soon learns to trust again. And, in his own special way, he helps to heal those around him. However, it isn’t until he meets a little girl in desperate need of a friend that he realizes this village needs a Christmas miracle…
A warm and uplifting novel, this is the tale of a little cat with a big heart.
23. Christmas at the Cat Café (Cat Café #2) by Melissa Daley
The Costwolds’ town of Stourton-on-the-Hill has its very own cat café. Resident cat Molly, and her kittens, live here in feline paradise, while owner Debbie serves the locals home-made goodies. But even in the most idyllic surroundings, things don’t always go to plan . . .
When Debbie’s heartbroken sister Linda arrives at the cafe, Debbie insists she move in. But Linda is not alone, and the cats are devastated with the arrival of Linda’s dog, Beau. Sadly, Beau’s arrival is not the only bombshell – now Molly’s home is also under threat when a rival cat moves in on her turf.
With Christmas approaching, Molly is unsettled, barely roused by the promise of tinsel to play with. Fearing for her feline family she hopelessly stares out of the café window searching for an answer. Only a Christmas miracle could bring everyone together . . .
24. Seven Words of Christmas: The Joyful Prophesies that Changed the World by Robert Morris
In Seven Words of Christmas, bestselling author and pastor Robert Morris explains each word of prophecy: an inspired utterance of a prophet, the words of God through man. He illustrates the story of Jesus surrounding the word, and applies the prophecy to our modern lives. Find the words of:
Salvation through Zacharias, Favor through Mary, Blessing through Elizabeth, Guidance through Joseph, Joy through the Shepherds, Redemption through Anna, and Peace through Simeon.
Even now, thousands of years later, the eternal Word of God has numerous applications to modern life. This Christmas, discover salvation, blessings, peace, and more with Pastor Morris.
25. A Match Made at Christmas (Nantucket Love Story) by Courtney Walsh
Hayes McGuire never believed the stories about a famous Nantucket matchmaker until she ropes him into taking over her duties while she’s off the island for Christmas.
So he enlists the help of the one person he can trust with this crazy scheme—his best friend, Prudence. Armed with a series of rules, a book of success stories and the promise of Christmas magic, the pair of old friends sets out to make a Christmas match.
Little do they know that magic doesn’t discriminate, and the pair soon finds their years of friendship deepening into something more. Will Pru and Hayes ignore the electricity in the air between them or will there be more than one match made at Christmas?
26. Mutts & Mistletoe by Natalie Cox
Thirty-one-year-old Charlie isn’t in the mood for Christmas cheer… Her boyfriend has left her for his personal trainer, her mother has absconded with her latest husband for the holidays, and–adding insult to (literal) injury–her London apartment has just been destroyed by a gas leak. Single, mildly concussed and temporarily homeless, Charlie realizes there’s only one place to go: Cozy Canine Cottages, where she’ll spend the season looking after her cousin Jez’s doggy day care center. And if she’s not exactly a dog person, well, no one has to know…
But her plans for a quiet Christmas in a quaint country village are quickly dashed. Peggy the pregnant beagle and Malcolm the anxious Great Dane seem determined to keep her up all night. A strange man has been casing her cousin’s house. And where is Cal, the unbearably patronizing but disturbingly handsome local vet, when she needs him?
As the days tick down to Christmas, Charlie’s life has never felt so out of control–but with some help from her new four-legged friends, she just might learn a thing or two about living in the moment, embracing the unexpected and opening herself up to love…
27. The Greatest Gift by Philip Van Doren Stern
Unable at first to find a publisher for his evocative tale about a man named George Pratt who ponders suicide until he receives an opportunity to see what the world would be like without him, Stern ultimately published the story in a small pamphlet and sent it out as his 1943 Christmas card. One of those 200 cards found its way into the hands of Frank Capra, who shared it with Jimmy Stewart, and the film that resulted became the holiday tradition we cherish today.
28. A Timeless Christmas by Alexis Stanton
Megan Turner is in love with the past. As a tour guide at a beautiful historic mansion, she tells visitors about its original owner, Charles Whitley. An inventor and businessman in the early 1900s, he rose from poverty to wealth…only to disappear without a trace.
Charles was always intrigued by the future. He just never expected to go there. But when he repairs a mysterious clock he bought on his travels, he’s transported to the twenty-first century, with his home decorated for Christmas and overrun by strangers.
Charles is determined to find a way back to his own era, especially when he learns about what happened after he left. But as Megan introduces him to the wonders of smartphones, pizza, and modern holiday traditions, they both feel a once-in-a-lifetime connection. Could it be that, somewhere in time, they belong together?
Just to clarify, this TBR list is part of my never-ending “want to read” list – it is not representative of everything I plan to read this year, and I do not own most of these. For a list of Christmas books I plan to read this year, see my Literary Christmas 2020 TBR post (which is much shorter than this one!).
I hope this gave you some ideas for your own Christmas TBR. Join me tomorrow for more Christmas bookish fun as I create my virtual December Spell the Month in Books stack! I worked hard to make the overlap with books mentioned today minimal, so there will be several new recommendations.
For more Christmasy blogging fun, check up the others linked up at Stories by Firefly!
Until the next chapter,