Bah, Humbug! It’s that time of year again, and while most people are carol singing, preparing turkey, and wrapping gifts, there are always a few who just can’t get into the holiday spirit. Maybe it’s a hatred of consumerism, maybe it seems like more stress than it’s worth, maybe the whole thing just seems a little forced… but whatever the reason, it's how some people feel. If you’ve got a holiday humbug in your life, though, we’ve got the perfect books for you to gift them (even if they hate gifts). From the books to warm their hearts to those to get them some much-needed alone time, these are the best reads for anyone who is embracing their inner Scrooge.
How The Grinch Stole Christmas (Dr. Suess)
You aren’t the only one who hates the holidays. The Grinch is sick of them too. In Dr. Suess’s classic (and repeatedly adapted) children’s book, this grinchy green trickster is going to learn a little something about the true meaning of Christmas. Not only is this a wonderful classic that can make even grinches start to feel a little merry, but it puts things into perspective (you may hate the holidays, but do you hate it enough to steal an entire town’s presents?). And, of course, it’s a perfect anti-consumerist take on the season, and a reminder that actually, it’s not just about the presents.
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I Hate Christmas: A Holiday Manifesto For The Modern-Day Scrooge (Daniel Blythe)
This brilliant little British tome is perfect for anyone who wants to have a good chuckle over not being the only one to hate this time of year. With mini-chapters covering everything from consumerism and bad gifts to carol singers and pointless holiday countdowns, I Hate Christmas does exactly what it says in the title. Unfortunately, it is slightly outdated (having been published in 2005), but that doesn’t take away from its charm.
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Confessions of a Sociopath (M. E. Thomas)
This may not be the most festive book at first glance—the memoirs of a real-life, diagnosed, functional sociopath. However, it’s a truly fascinating read, and has a few festive benefits. For one thing, overly cheerful holiday-spirited strangers who see you reading it may think twice about inflicting their holiday cheer…and for another, the author’s descriptions of their charm and manipulation in a social setting might just give you a few pointers for getting through the holiday season.
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The Onion Presents: Christmas Exposed (The Onion)
For anyone in need of a good laugh this Christmas, it’s time to pick up the Onion’s holiday compendium. Following the news-satire style that all fans of The Onion will know and love, this is the perfect way to giggle and snigger your way through the holidays, with shocking and heartwarming stories like "Child Bored with Christmas Puppy" and "Weed Delivery Guy Saves Christmas" to enjoy.
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The Lord Of The Rings (J. R. R. Tolkien)
The Lord of the Rings (or Harry Potter, for that matter) have the distinction of being books that are definitely not about Christmas, but that everyone thinks of around Christmastime. Whether its magic and snow or not, these are the kinds of books that anyone will accept as vital Christmas reading…and the best bit? Not only are they nothing to do with Christmas, allowing you to escape the holiday madness for a while, but they are a serious time commitment—allowing you to avoid talking to people for the entire holiday if you want to!
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The Greatest Gift (Philip Van Doren Stern)
Technically, this is a short story rather than a book, but it counts because it might just be enough to warm the heart of even the Scroogiest of Scrooges. The Greatest Gift became the inspiration for It’s A Wonderful Life, and while there are some big changes between the book and the story, it’s still worth a read—especially for those too humbug-y to want to watch the actual film! Then again, after a little quiet time with a great classic (and maybe a glass of something), even the most avowed holiday-hater might find themselves feeling a little bit more merry…