In this series, I recommend five classics each month that remind me of that particular time of the year. For those of us who celebrate Christmas, December is a magical (and somewhat stressful) month of sweet treats and shopping and music and decorating and, ideally, laughter. It’s also obviously the last month of the year, bringing with it bittersweet reflections on the past year and anticipation of the year to come. Today I’d like to share five classics that I think embody these aspects of December.
It would just be wrong of me to not start a December recommendations list with this holiday classic. Whether you go see a performance of the play, watch a movie adaptation, or read the actual book this holiday season, this classic is a must for Christmastime. Few books send as clear a message as this one about reflecting on our actions and thinking about how we can better the lives of others. Plus, who doesn’t love a little bit of Christmas ghost fun?
I was gifted this book a few years ago in a Secret Santa swap and I read it on my flight back home right around Christmastime that year. Not only does this timing always make me association this novel with December, but the hopeful narrative voice of seventeen-year-old Cassandra Mortmain embodies the optimistic spirit of the Christmas season. I would especially recommend this novel for fans of Jane Austen’s works.
This collection of fairy tales compiled and written by Philip Pullman may not be what you would consider a “classic” at a first glance; however, I would absolutely consider these stories based on those by the brothers’ Grimm to be classic literature. These stories are dark and mysterious but also magical and witty, therefore encompassing all the good and the bad that the last month of the year has to offer.
Les Misérables by Victor Hugo
Emotional. Dramatic. Inspirational. Moving. What do these words have in common? They are all often felt at the end of a long year (I can’t speak for you all, but 2019 has certainly been a long year for me). If you can make it through this wildly long, sprawling, emotionally exhausting novel, then you can survive anything that the New Year might throw at you!
What’s more magical at Christmas time than a sweeping romance novel? Especially one with a pivotal scene that takes place at Christmas? Maybe Christmas cookies, but that’s about it. I highly recommend this frustratingly beautiful classic novel by Thomas Hardy.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this classics guide for the month of December!
With books do you associate with the month of December? What do you think of the books I’ve mentioned? Which books would you add? Let me know in the comments section below!