Shopping·9 min read

15 Holiday Reads To Gift, Curl Up With, Or Both

holiday reads
Design: theSkimm | Photos: Penguin Books, Ten Speed Press, Knopf
December 5, 2023

Products you buy through our links may earn us a commission. Oh, and if something's out of stock, oops, it was there (and all prices were accurate) at time of publication.

‘Tis the season for finally having some time to read. With that in mind, we rounded up some fiction, nonfiction, and kids’ books that do double duty as great gifts for loved ones AND great gifts for yourself. Festive bookmarks sold separately.


Atria Books

“The Christmas Appeal” by Janice Hallett

Call us crazy, but we think this is the perfect season for a good mystery. Bestselling mystery author Janice Hallett agrees — and she’s back, this time with a cozy Christmas theme. Her latest follows the Fairway Players, a theater group whose Christmas production is interrupted by a dead body on stage. With a  bit of comedy sprinkled into the mix, this quirky, immersive tale is perfect for the person in your life who loves Agatha Christie.

Buy it at AmazonBuy it at Bookshop
Puffin Books

Jane Austen’s “Puffin in Bloom” collection

Whether your giftee is a forever Austen fan or they’re itching to finally read the author’s classics about smart, spunky women and their love interests, this beautiful collection of covers are *chef’s kiss.* Pick from “Emma,” “Pride and Prejudice,” or “Sense and Sensibility,” or buy all three for a full set. The best part? They’re designed by Rifle Paper Co.’s Anna Rifle Bond. PS: These are pre-orders that will be released in February.

Buy it at Amazon
Penguin Books

“The Christmas Orphans Club” by Becca Freeman

This cozy Christmas read, by “Bad On Paper” podcast host Becca Freeman, is the ultimate feel-good tale. Hannah, Priya, Finn, and Theo have been spending Christmas together as a chosen family throughout their 20s. So when Finn’s upcoming move to LA threatens a change to their yearly traditions, the friend group decides to make their last Christmas together in New York City their best one yet. We love that this one is a love story about friendship, which deeply gets how hard it is when everyone starts to grow up and split off.

Buy it at AmazonBuy it at Bookshop
Bloomsbury Publishing

“A Court of Frost and Starlight” by Sarah J. Maas

If you’re a resident of the Maasverse, the holiday season means one thing: It’s time for your annual reread of “A Court of Frost and Starlight.” The novella wedged between books three and five of the ACOTAR series (that’s “A Court of Wings and Ruin” and “A Court of Silver Flames,” respectively) sees the Inner Circle decking the Velaris townhouse in Yule decorations, exchanging gifts, getting drunk off Rhysand’s expensive wine, and generally engaging in magically tinged goodwill. It also sets us up for Nesta and Cassian’s absolute rollercoaster of a journey in book five…which means you’ll need to clear your post-holiday schedule for an ACOSF reread, too.

Buy it at AmazonBuy it at Bookshop
Back Bay Books

“The Snow Child” by Eowyn Ivey

For those who’d like a literary reprieve from all the saccharine holiday cheer. Eowyn Ivey’s lauded debut novel centers on Jack and Mabel, a pair of Alaskan homesteaders in the 1920s. The couple’s hardscrabble existence is made harder by their desperate wish for a child. After the season’s first snowfall, they build a child made of snow — which, in a magical-realist turn of events, animates into an ethereal little girl who emerges from the woods. As elegant and subdued as the hush after a snowstorm.

Buy it at AmazonBuy it at Bookshop

“The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse” by Charlie Mackesy

Holidays, graduation, new baby, you name it, we’ve given this book for it. It’s the inspirational story of how a boy, a mole, a fox, and a horse become unlikely friends and face life together. It has lessons that apply to everyday life and beautiful illustrations…and people who’ve received this book from us say they’ve gone back to read it over and over.

Buy it at AmazonBuy it at Bookshop
G.P. Putnam’s Sons

“Three Holidays and a Wedding” by Uzma Jalaluddin and Marissa Stapley

If you’re looking for a Hallmark movie in book form that you can read curled up in a blanket while sipping cocoa, this is extremely for you. It has everything: plane seatmates-turned friends; Christmas, Eid, and Hanukkah happening to fall at the same time; lifelong crushes; and even a winter wedding. Gift it to anyone in your life who just loves love — or enjoy it yourself while sparkly snow piles up outside your window ❄️.

Buy it at AmazonBuy it at Bookshop
Penguin Classics

“The Penguin Book of Christmas Stories” edited by Jessica Harrison

There’s just something about a book of stories by legendary authors with a beautiful cover that screams “thoughtful hostess gift.” But we wouldn’t judge you for picking this up for yourself and spending your holiday break all wrapped up in it. This oh-so-wintery collection includes Christmas tales from around the world, by writers ranging from Shirley Jackson to Chekhov. Pairs well with a roaring fire, twinkle lights, and children nestled all snug in their beds.

Buy it at Amazon



“Remember Love” by Cleo Wade

Cleo Wade, will you be our best friend? The poet, who’s been deemed “Millennial Oprah,” is back with a third book, this time about how to love yourself in times when you feel lost. The chapters are short, and the balance of prose and poetry feel like heartwarming affirmations. We read this in one sitting, but it’s also perfect for reading slowly — and if you read a chapter or two every morning, it’ll feel like starting your day with a literary hug.

Buy it at AmazonBuy it at Bookshop
Ten Speed Press

“Behind the Scenes: My Life in Rhinestones” by Dolly Parton

Did someone ask for the ultimate coffee table book? This is a razzle-dazzle, sparkly-as-the-woman-herself look at Dolly’s life through her fashion. It starts with her childhood and continues through her ascent to fame, with text running alongside full-color images of the star and her wardrobe. It’s the perfect gift for any Dolly lover, any fashion lover, or anyone who needs a little inspiration to look, dress, and be exactly what they feel like.

Buy it at AmazonBuy it at Bookshop


Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books

“A Tony Morrison Treasury” by Toni and Slade Morrison

Introducing the perfect book to build out the library of a little reader in your life. This keepsake collection features eight children’s stories written by award winning novelist Toni Morrison and her son, Slade. From “The Tortoise or the Hare?” to “Peeny Butter Fudge,” they’ll be introduced to tales that will become their new bedtime favorites. Each is illustrated by one of five artists and they’re all bound together in one hardcover. There’s even a foreword from Oprah herself.

Buy it at AmazonBuy it at Bookshop

“Mama's Sleeping Scarf” by Chimimanda Ngozi Adichie

Every night, Mama puts her scarf on her head to sleep. But when she goes to work in the morning, her scarf is free — and Chino takes it with her on adventures. This is the first children’s book from the beloved author of “Americanah” and “We Should All Be Feminists,” and it’s a delightful, colorful story of a big, warm family, and the joy that Chino gets from playing with something so important to her Mama. Gift it to every little in your life.

Buy it at AmazonBuy it at Bookshop

“The Snowman” by Raymond Briggs

This timeless board book by Raymond Briggs is a must-have gift for kids year after year (case in point: our editors have fond memories of the story from their childhood). The best way to describe it? It’s just cozy. That’s it. It follows a boy who builds a fluffy, giant snowman that comes to life, and the pair fly around together on a Christmas Eve adventure. Read the book, then pair the experience with a viewing of the silent short film version.

Buy it at AmazonBuy it at Bookshop
Clarion Books

“The Little Prince” by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

There’s no right or wrong time to revisit this classic, but we love the idea of reading this to our little ones during family gatherings over the holidays. The hardcover belongs on every child’s bookshelf…and a special edition — like this beautiful clothbound version or one in the original French — would make for an extra-thoughtful gift for the kid in your life.

Buy it at AmazonBuy it at Bookshop
Picture Puffin Books

“The Snowy Day” by Ezra Jack Keats

This one is a classic for a reason (and it is a classic; in fact, it’s the most checked out book of all time in the New York Public Library system). It follows a young boy, Peter, who spends a day having adventures in the snow. And when he gets home, he “thought, and thought, and thought about them.” Originally published in 1962, this book was revolutionary for featuring a Black protagonist, having an ordinary day. And all these years later, it’s still the perfect day for children to observe, absorb, and wish for.

Buy it at AmazonBuy it at Bookshop

Live Smarter

Sign up for the Daily Skimm email newsletter. Delivered to your inbox every morning and prepares you for your day in minutes.