Merry Christmas!

Most likely you have many things to do today, and in the next few days, besides read. However, at some point you may happen to want to curl up with a fluffy robe, a roaring fire, a mug of hot chocolate, and a beautiful spaniel or two (or ten.) Substitute elements of the above with whatever comfortable Christmasy things appeal to you, and then add one Christmas-themed novel suitable for the occasion.

Christmas-themed mysteries are everywhere, and I like them very much. Teresa Romain has a whole set of Christmas-themed Regencies, for example. But Christmas-themed SFF are perhaps a touch harder to come by.

Fortunately, I don’t have to do the heavy lifting.

Here’s a list from B & N: 10 Holiday-Themed Science Fiction & Fantasy Novels. The list features Connie Willis, a Christmas ghost story by Paul Cornell that I just picked up to read because I really do like a themed story or two at this time of year, The Hogfather by Terry Pratchett — not my favorite of Pratchett’s work — and, good heavens, NOS4A2 by Joe Hill, what is that doing here? Well, it is Christmas themed, in a sense. I guess.

This list also includes a Sarah Addison Allen novel, which I don’t believe actually takes place during Christmas, but whatever, it is a lovely novel.

It doesn’t include, strangely, The Dark is Rising by Susan Collins, a classic, I would have thought. I’m sure you’ve all read that one. If not, well, seize your chance this Christmas and give it a try. Just start with The Dark is Rising; the prequel novel Under Sea Over Stone can certainly be put off till later. The entire story builds up to Christmas; the season is infused through everything that happens.

Now that I’ve thought of it, I might reread The Dark Is Rising myself this Christmas season.

Another very suitable fantasy novel for Christmas, but much larger: Winter’s Tale by Mark Helprin. Gorgeous, just gorgeous. Big, epic, beautiful, magical realism. Also, parts of it are kind of like distilled Christmas.

With or without spaniels and Christmas-themed novels, I hope you all have a lovely holiday! If you don’t celebrate Christmas, then I hope you at least find a chance to settle down with a wintry tale and hot chocolate.

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