The holidays are a time to celebrate tradition.  I can’t even count how many stories, books, and movies we’ve all grown up with that bring us right back to this festive time of year.  Now I love movies like Elf and the How the Grinch Stole Christmas, but there’s nothing better than using your down time to get out of the snow and curl up with a holiday book.  Here are some classics that have inspired many of the holiday movies and plays that we know and love.

A Christmas Story bookA Christmas Story:
Everyone knows the 1983 movie that had us wondering whether little Ralphie Parker will get his coveted Red Ryder Carbine-Action, Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle.  More importantly, would he, in fact, shoot his eye out?  However, fewer people know that the movie was actually based on a series of semi-autobiographical short stories about the author, Jean Shephard. Five short stories were combined to create one volume, A Christmas Story, which follows how one typical family in Depression-era Indiana spends the holidays. The same knee-slapping story lines we love from the movie are present in the book, so why not sit down with the family and give it a read?







Gift of the Magi coverThe Gift of the Magi:
This short story is about Della and Jim, struggling newlyweds who each make great sacrifices so they can afford to buy Christmas presents for each other. With the sacrifices, each one parts with something the other treasures, but their love is made stronger when each realizes what the other has done.  This touching short story of the couple’s selflessness has been recreated for over one hundred years.  From newspaper print to books to movies, there’s bound to be a version of the story you’ll love.








A Christmas Carol coverA Christmas Carol:
Another classic tale that has been adapted into film, opera, ballet, a Broadway musical, and of course a movie by The Muppets, is A Christmas Carol.  Ebenezer Scrooge’s transformation from cynical bigot to generous employer and friend has warmed the hearts of Dickens readers since 1843. As Scrooge is visited by the spirits of Christmas past, present, and future, this book teaches the value of family and generosity during this season in particular. This is a great story to sit down and read aloud with the whole family.








The Greatest Gfit bookThe Greatest Gift:
Everyone who has fallen in love with It’s a Wonderful Life needs to read the short story that inspired this touching film. Written by Phillip Van Doren Stern, The Greatest Gift follows George Pratt, an unhappy man who is ready to commit suicide. A strange and shabby man shows Geroge what the people in his life would be like if he’d never been born, which turns out to be Geroge’s greatest gift. This short story is definitely worth a read.








Little Women bookLittle Women:
Although not always related to the Christmas season, Louisa May Alcott’s story is one of the most classic American novels to date. The novel begins around the holidays, and the four March sisters are lamenting the fact they’re in poverty and they don’t think there will be presents on Christmas morning. The story continues to follow the sisters through their transition to adulthood. This book would make a lovely gift for any young woman on your gift list.








Take your pick of the bunch because you really can’t go wrong with these timeless classics.  Grab your reading glasses and a blanket and your heart with these classic Christmas reads.

Author bio: Ashley is a senior at Indiana University.  She writes for Affordable Style and gets to show her love for Christmas as a holiday sales lead at Express.