During this festive time of year, whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or simply can’t wait for New Year’s Eve, there are so many wonderful books that can put you in the holiday spirit as you enjoy those quiet moments between the hustle and bustle of the season. For me, it’s the timeless Christmas stories that I enjoyed as a child, and those holiday novels that trigger the childhood wonder within us all. Here are just a few of my favorites:

A Christmas Carol 

By Charles Dickens

Who doesn’t love this classic story of Ebenezer Scrooge and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future? While set in Victorian times, the timeless messages of the magical spirit of Christmas still hold true today. Whether you enjoy reading a novel with gilded page edges and a satin ribbon marker, or sharing an illustrated storybook copy with children, there are many published options of this story available to readers of all ages (plum pudding optional!).

The Perfect Love Song: A Holiday Story (Thomas Nelson)

By Patti Callahan Henry

Do the holidays inspire your romantic side? If so, you’ll fall in love with the story of musician Jimmy Sullivan. While living on the road with his brother, Jack, their nomadic band life is filled with music and touring, until they return to their South Carolina hometown and Jimmy falls in love with Charlotte Carrington. She inspires him to write his first love song, which he performs at a holiday concert. The success of the “Perfect Love Song” catapults him into the country music world of fame and fortune. All too soon, the hope that had inspired Jimmy to write the lyrics is overshadowed by what the song can do for his career. Alone in New York City on Christmas Eve, Jimmy finally sees, with the help of a Christmas miracle or two, that his material gains are nothing compared to love, that he is losing all that really matters in his life.

The Night Before Christmas (Penguin Young Readers Group)

By Clement Moore / Illustrated by Jan Brett

As the mother of three, our family has enjoyed countless holiday children’s books — but the title that is always on the top of our list is The Night Before Christmas. Clement Moore’s 1823 poem, paired with and Jan Brett’s beautiful artwork, is my favorite edition. In Brett’s version of the classic Christmas story, two elves stow away in Saint Nicholas’ sleigh, and while Santa works, the elves ride the reindeer and play. Each lavishly drawn page includes gorgeous illuminations featuring animals, ornaments, toys, and other holiday treasures.

Dreaming in Chocolate: A Novel (St. Martin’s Griffin

By Susan Bishop Crispell

Do you enjoy chocolates while reading at home during the holidays? Dreaming in Chocolate is a heartwarming story of love, hot chocolate and one little girl’s wish for her mother. With an endless supply of magical gifts and recipes from the hot chocolate café that Penelope Dalton runs alongside her mother, she is able to give her daughter almost everything she wants. The one sticking point is her daughter Ella’s latest request: She wants to reconnect with her biological father who’s back in town — years after breaking Penelope’s heart. Now, she wonders if she made the right decision to keep the truth of their daughter from him. The other, more practical part part of her, is determined to protect Ella from the same heartbreak. Now, as Christmas nears, Penelope must give in to her fate or face a future of regrets. Read our full review here.

Letters from Father Christmas (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

By J.R.R. Tolkien

Every December, an envelope bearing a stamp from the North Pole would arrive for J.R.R. Tolkien’s children. Inside would be a letter in a strange, spidery handwriting and a beautiful colored drawing or painting. The letters were from Father Christmas and they told wonderful tales of life at the North Pole: how the reindeer got loose and scattered presents all over the place; how the accident-prone North Polar Bear climbed the North Pole and fell through the roof of Father Christmas’s house into the dining room; how he broke the Moon into four pieces and made the Man in it fall into the back garden; how there were wars with the troublesome horde of goblins who lived in the caves beneath the house, and many more.

Last Christmas in Paris (William Morrow

By Heather Webb and Hazel Gaynor

Home for the holidays is always special, but for those of us who are separated from loved ones by distance or military service, it can mean so much more. Last Christmas in Paris takes us to the holidays during WWI. As Evie Elliott watches her brother and his best friend, Thomas Harding, depart for the front, she believes — as everyone does — that it will be over by Christmas, when the trio plan to celebrate the holiday among the romantic cafés of Paris. Frustrated by life as a privileged young lady, Evie longs to play a greater part in the conflict. Meanwhile, as Thomas struggles with the unimaginable realities of war, he also faces personal battles back home with his father’s newspaper business. Through their letters, Evie and Thomas share their greatest hopes and fears — and grow ever fonder from afar. Many years later, during Christmas 1968, an ailing Thomas returns to Paris with a cherished packet of letters in hand, determined to lay to rest the ghosts of his past. But one final letter is waiting for him. Read our full review here.