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The 12 Books Of Christmas

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Did Black Friday leave you black and blue from fighting for the last gadget du jour at your local Big Box? Are you tempted to punch out the bell-ringer outside your supermarket? Maybe you need a heaping dose of Christmas spirit delivered in book form.

For a writer, capturing that elusive Christmas morning magic can be deeply problematic. When I set out to write a Christmas novella a few years ago, I read a batch of holiday novels, seeking inspiration. The big dilemma with a book like this is tone. Do you succumb to the temptation to write sweet and deliver a candy-cane confection? Do you plumb the depths of your own deeply dysfunctional family drama and write the awful truth? Play it for laughs, or milk the tear-ducts? The only thing I knew for sure was that I did not want to write a story so depressing that my readers would contemplate hanging themselves from a length of tinsel. In the end, I delivered "Blue Christmas," which, like real-life, tended to play both ends of the spectrum. (A holiday bargain also has a way of bringing joy to the world.

Here are a dozen Christmas reads--some children's classics, some adult fare; some new, some as old as the Nativity story--that run the gamut from inspirational to nostalgic, wickedly funny to romantic. Although none can equal the thrill of hearing hooves up on the roof while tucked in for a long winter's nap, at least one of them should help you put the merry back in Christmas.

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