10 Fascinating Nonfiction Books about Christmas | TheReviewGeek Recommends

The holiday season is the perfect time to cozy up with a good book and immerse yourself in the magic of Christmas. While fiction stories are often associated with this time of year, there are also plenty of nonfiction books about Christmas that explore the traditions, history, and heart-warming tales behind the holiday. Here are some exceptional nonfiction Christmas books that deserve a spot on your reading list.


The Man Who Invented Christmas by Les Standiford

The Man Who Invented Christmas by Les Standiford tells the inspiring story of Charles Dickens and his iconic book, A Christmas Carol. Set in 1843 during a time of financial struggle for Dickens, the book explores how he wrote the novel to avoid his creditors. Despite initial rejection from his publisher, Dickens published the book himself, and it quickly became a sensation, reviving the holiday spirit. Standiford takes readers back to Victorian England, highlighting the historical context and the impact of A Christmas Carol. With warmth and wit, the book explores the birth of the Christmas we know today, offering a captivating read for all.


Nor Doth He Sleep by John M. Simmons

Nor Doth He Sleep, written by John M. Simmons, is a heartwarming and true story about the unbreakable bond between three best friends from a Russian orphanage. The story begins with a visit to Santa Claus, where a five-year-old Sarah asks him heartbreaking questions about the meaning of family. Throughout the short story, the author highlights the unwavering faith of children, the power of miracles, and strong Christian messages for the Christmas season.


The Winter Solstice: The Sacred Traditions of Christmas by John Matthews

The Winter Solstice: The Sacred Traditions of Christmas by John Matthews provides a respite from the commercialization of Christmas. This beautifully illustrated, full-colour book offers a range of resources to help families embrace alternative celebrations aligned with the original spirit of the Winter Solstice festivals. Packed with folklore, stories, recipes, games, activities, decorating ideas, and songs, this book offers a wealth of inspiration to create meaningful holiday traditions. Through exploring traditional tales and customs, readers can rediscover the essence of the season. With its focus on the heartful spirit of the Winter Solstice, this book provides a refreshing perspective on celebrating the Yuletides.


Why Was the Partridge in the Pear Tree?: The History of Christmas Carols by Mark Lawson-Jones

Why Was the Partridge in the Pear Tree?: The History of Christmas Carols by Mark Lawson-Jones uncovers the intriguing stories and hidden facts behind beloved Christmas carols. Readers will explore the origins and meanings of well-known carols, discovering the rich history and mysteries behind them. The book traces their earliest renditions in the Middle Ages, their temporary prohibition under the Puritans, and their role in fostering unity among soldiers on the Western Front during World War I. Through a comprehensive exploration of these carols, readers will gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of this enduring holiday tradition, making it a perfect read for Christmas enthusiasts.


Christmas in the Trenches by John McCutcheon

Christmas in the Trenches by John McCutcheon transports readers to the devastating reality of World War I. Based on a true event known as the Christmas Truce, this haunting story brings forth a moment of profound humanity amidst the horrors of battle. The narrative depicts acts of kindness and compassion as soldiers from opposing sides come together to celebrate Christmas. Adapted by renowned songwriter John McCutcheon, the book showcases his musical talents alongside the storytelling. Through its poignant portrayal of hope and goodwill, Christmas in the Trenches serves as a powerful reminder of the human spirit’s ability to rise above adversity in the darkest of times.


Silent Night: The Remarkable Christmas Truce of 1914 by Stanley Weintraub

Silent Night: The Remarkable Christmas Truce of 1914 by Stanley Weintraub is another recount of the extraordinary and often overlooked true Christmas story known as the Christmas Truce. Set in the harsh and brutal trenches of World War I, this book reveals a powerful moment of peace amidst the chaos of war.

Despite orders and language barriers, soldiers from opposing sides joined together in an impromptu truce. Lighting candles on little Christmas trees, soldiers sang carols, exchanged gifts, and even played soccer. The book highlights the genuine camaraderie that emerged, as enemies transformed into temporary friends. Stanley Weintraub masterfully resurrects this forgotten truce, reminding us that peace can transcend the efforts of politicians and generals.


The Saint Who Would Be Santa Claus: The True Life and Trials of Nicholas of Myra by Adam C. English

The Saint Who Would Be Santa Claus: The True Life and Trials of Nicholas of Myra by Adam C. English is a fascinating portrayal of the true story behind the mythical figure of Santa Claus. As a religious historian, English delves deep into the life of Saint Nicholas, the bishop of Myra, who lived in what is now Turkey in the fourth century. English reveals how Saint Nicholas was a man of great virtue, who generously gave away his possessions to help the poor and was involved in significant events that impacted the Christian church’s history.

He became the patron saint of children, sailors, merchants, and several countries. This book provides an informative and engaging look at the life and legacy of Saint Nicholas, offering readers insight into the formation of Western history and Christian thought.


The Old Magic of Christmas: Yuletide Traditions for the Darkest Days of the Year by Linda Raedisch

The Old Magic of Christmas: Yuletide Traditions for the Darkest Days of the Year by Linda Raedisch delves into the rich and enchanting folklore and traditions surrounding Christmas. In this book, Raedisch explores the darker side of the holiday season, where Yuletide was once associated with ghosts and witches. She provides a Christmas bestiary and a White Witch’s herbal, offering readers a chance to deepen their connection with the unseen. The book also includes practical aspects, such as cookie recipes and ornament making, all while immersing readers in the mystical world of veiled spirits and mischievous elves.

Raedisch brings to life the eerie characters from folklore and introduces readers to the ghostly aspects of the season. From the mystical winter forests to the enchanting halls of the Snow Queen, this book takes readers on a spooky and magical journey through the old and forgotten traditions of Christmas.


Christmas: A Candid History by Bruce David Forbes

Christmas: A Candid History by Bruce David Forbes is a captivating account of the history and evolution of the Christmas celebration. The book takes readers on a concise tour through the history of the holiday, starting from its pre-Christian roots and its spread across Europe into the Americas. Forbes examines how established traditions such as Santa Claus and the Christmas tree originated and delves into the holiday’s transformation through modern consumerism.

With engaging stories based on extensive research, the book explores the historical origins of gift-giving, carols, and movies among other aspects of the holiday. Furthermore, Forbes offers thought-provoking ideas for reclaiming the joy and significance of the season that often gets lost among the pressures of our fast-paced consumer culture. This book is a must-read for those looking for a deeper understanding of the Christmas holiday and its meaning.


Wreck the Halls: Cake Wrecks Gets “Festive” by Jen Yates

Wreck the Halls is a holiday-themed book by Jen Yates, the award-winning blogger behind Cake Wrecks. This follow-up to her New York Times best-seller features over 150 new four-color cake wrecks that will leave you in stitches. Yates has been documenting confectionery calamities on her popular website since 2008, and now she brings us a fresh mix of fan favourites and never-before-seen holiday wreckage. From Thanksgiving turkeys to confusing Christmas creations, and even politically correct cake greetings, Wreck the Halls is a hilarious collection of icing-smeared disasters for every occasion. Get ready for a delightful and laugh-out-loud read this holiday season.


These true story and non-fiction books about Christmas offer something for everyone, whether you’re interested in history, traditions, personal stories, or just looking for a good laugh. So, grab a cup of hot cocoa, snuggle under a warm blanket, and let these nonfiction books transport you to a world of Christmas wonder and discovery.


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