Classic Christmas stories to reconnect with this festive season
Every Christmas, we return to our favourite festive reads. Whether that be picking up a worn copy of A Christmas Carol off of a dusty bookshelf, or watching a favourite film adaptation with family, Christmas is a time to reconnect with stories.
We have compiled a list of some classic Christmas stories for you to enjoy this festive season:
A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens
One of the most famous Christmas stories globally, Dickens A Christmas Carol turns 178 years old this year! Published in 1843, the Victorian novel sold six thousand copies by its first Christmas. Exploring themes of greed, poverty, charity, social injustice and redemption, the text remains a staple Christmas story today.
The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, E.T.A. Hoffman
Renowned today for its interpretation as a ballet, The Nutcracker and the Mouse King was written in 1816 by E.T.A. Hoffmann. In 1892, the original story was famously adapted into a two-act ballet by Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, titled The Nutcracker. Today, the ballet continues to be performed each winter across the globe.
The Steadfast Tin Soldier, Hans Christian Anderson
Another story that has been famously adapted into a ballet; The Steadfast Tin Soldier was written by Danish author Hans Christian Anderson in 1838. In 1975, choreographer George Balanchine adapted the story for ballet at the Saratoga Performing Arts Centre in New York. There have also been several film adaptations of the text and it has influenced many forms of popular culture, including music videos and graphic novels.
The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding, Agatha Christie
A bit of a twist on the traditional Christmas story! Agatha Christie’s short story collection The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding (C. 1960) contains stories with both Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple — her two most famous characters. Born in Torquay, Devon, Agatha Christie is one of the most famous writers of the South West. Her selection of Christmas stories has been adapted for television as part of the ITV series Agatha Christie’s Poirot, though using different titles.
The Snowman and Father Christmas, Raymond Briggs
Two famous stories that have been adapted for television and are shown every Christmas, Raymond Brigg’s The Snowman and Father Christmas are festive classics. Father Christmaswas published in 1973 and was adapted into a film by Channel 4 in 1991. The Snowman was published in 1978 and Channel 4 produced an adaptation of the story which premiered in 1982. The Snowmanis especially famous for its musical theme, ‘We’re Walking in the Air’ performed by singer Aled Jones. The song remains a Christmas CD staple today.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, Dr Seuss
The impact of Dr Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! is significant, with the term ‘Grinch’ becoming a global colloquialism. First published in 1957, this Christmas story has become a favourite Christmas read and Christmas film. It has been adapted three times on screen, with the most recent one starring Benedict Cumberbatch, but it has also been adapted on stage. Today, it remains an iconic children’s Christmas story.
Stick Man, Julia Donaldson
Written by former UK Children’s Laureate Julia Donaldson, Stick Man was first published in 2008. An Odyssean narrative, the story follows a wooden stick who is separated from his family before returning to them after his journey with Father Christmas. The book was adapted by the BBC in 2015, with actor Martin Freeman voicing the stick man.
The Polar Express, Chris Van Allsburg
Another story famous for its cinematic adaptation, The Polar Express was published in 1985 and written by American author Chris Van Allsburg. By 1989, it was estimated that a million copies of the book had been sold. In 2004, the book was adapted into a film by Robert Zemeckis which used live action performance capture.
And there are many, many more iconic Christmas stories that we could list! We hope that our list inspires you to return to some old favourites, pick up some new reads and even write your own Christmas tales this festive season.
The Maker Editors