FREE Classic Christmas Novellas to Read in an Afternoon

If you’ve managed to find yourself with some free time, sit down to read one of these wonderful Christmas classics. They are all in the public domain, so they won’t cost you a cent!

I’ve categorized these as 3 Hour Reads, but most of them won’t take that long.

Note: I put up the links to Amazon for the cover art, but all of these titles are available completely for free, with no log in required AND in multiple formats including html, at Project Gutenberg. If you use a WiFi capable device other than a regular Kindle, you can easily download the books wirelessly to your Kindle. You might be surprised.

The Romance of a Christmas Card by Kate Douglas Wiggin

Many people know Kate Douglas Wiggin’s The Bird’s Christmas Carol (see The Lois Level article on family reads below for that), but I personally enjoy The Romance of a Christmas Card much more: it combines a light romance with themes about the pull of family and taking care of our responsibilities.

Kate Douglas Wiggin isn’t that well known today, but she was a pioneer in education, particularly in the area of early childhood education and special education.

Read The Lois Level on her most well known book, Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm:

If you love “Little Women” and “Anne of Green Gables”, have you read “Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm”?

Grace S. Richmond

On Christmas Day in the Evening is a story many of you will find unusual…it revolves around a community gathering together to make amends after a church split. Yup, that’s right.

I laughed when I looked up Richmond’s biography and found out that her father was a Baptist minister. Oh, I thought, now I get it.

To this day, you can drive around some communities, especially in the South, and see a preponderance of Baptist churches…all with slightly different names. If you wondered why they needed so many Baptist churches, the answer is, they didn’t. They just couldn’t agree on the finer points of their doctrine.

On Christmas Day in the Morning is a more traditional (and very short) story about going home for Christmas…one that will be especially poignant for us during this Christmas of 2020, when many of us will be away from our families.


Denys Picard, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Denys Picard, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Betty Leicester’s Christmas by Sarah Orne Jewett

I probably wouldn’t have picked this book up because it’s one of a series that is meant for teenage girls, but I got curious because I recognized the author, Sarah Orne Jewett. I knew her novella The Country of Pointed Firs, so I got curious.

Betty Leicester’s Christmas is a sequel to Betty Leicester: A Story for Girls. In this novella, Betty Leicester spends Christmas at a house party at an English estate. Jewett is known for her “local color” rather than her plots, and there is plenty of that in this book.

There is also a focus on showing your appreciation for hospitality by being a good guest, most especially by helping the hostess in any way you can. Believe me, the book is not nearly as cheesy as it sounds; Betty has a good time along the way…if you want a pleasant, relaxing read, this is it.

You can also find collections of Jewett’s stories at Project Gutenberg.

For more ideas, check out this list of Christmas books from Good Housekeeping; some are free and some aren’t.

If you want to gather around the Christmas Tree (or a Zoom session), try these: FREE (and Wonderful) Christmas Books and Stories to Read With Your Family.

Note: Kindles make great gifts for elderly family members because the Kindle is easy to handle and can be read without glasses. You can manage it remotely if you have your relative’s Amazon log in; that’s what I do. Or you can put the Kindle on your account and easily share books.