Best books on a white Christmas

Best books on a white Christmas: Author Patricia Nicol recommends novels focused on winter festivities

  • Patricia Nicol shared fascinating books featuring a white Christmas
  • A Prayer For Owen Meany stars a character cast as Jesus in a church Nativity
  • Christmas At Cold Comfort follows a female writer embracing her first solo noël

Every December finds me dreaming of a White Christmas. As I write, my family have not yet set off on our long trek northwards.

However, I can confidently predict a car-packing argument my husband and I will have over my desire to squeeze a two-person toboggan into the boot, ‘just in case’.

Yes, I might feel foolish as we almost inevitably drive 540 miles north, then back again, surveying only dull, dunny-coloured landscapes as far as the eye can see. But what if there was a white-out, or we go snow-seeking?

The webcam at Glenshee, a Scottish ski centre, is showing decent coverage. Better to be prepared!


Patricia Nicol shared a selection of fascinating books featuring a white Christmas, including John Irving’s A Prayer For Owen Meany (pictured left) and Stella Gibbons’s Christmas At Cold Comfort Farm (pictured right)

In my memory, childhood Christmases were often white. Statistically, I know this is not so, yet my heart lurches at Dylan Thomas’s nostalgic descriptions of bandaged towns and ice cream-capped hills in A Child’s Christmas In Wales: ‘It was snowing. It was always snowing at Christmas. December, in my memory, is white as Lapland.’

Christmas 1953 is unforgettable in John Irving’s A Prayer For Owen Meany, though not because of the wind whipping up ‘the dry powder’.

‘If Jesus had to be born on a day like this, I don’t think he’d have lasted long enough to be crucified,’ declaims the tiny, big-voiced title character, cast as an opinionated infant Jesus in a church Nativity, and as a haunted ghost of Christmas Future in A Christmas Carol.

Stella Gibbons’s The Little Christmas Tree, found in the collection Christmas At Cold Comfort Farm, describes a female writer embracing her first solo noël in the countryside.

‘In the night the snow came. She awoke on Christmas morning in the unmistakeable light, coming up from the earth and shining beneath her curtains . . . She felt as happy and excited as though she was going to a feast.’

Later, as she acknowledges she is ‘lonely and bored’, three children arrive begging shelter; followed, later, by a not bad-looking father.

If not white, may your Christmases still be merry and bright.

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