Rebecca – Daphne du Maurier
Simply reading her first sentence, “Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again”, is like diving into a box of my favourite chocolates. Grabbing a sneaky five minutes on the sofa with this book amid all the festive debris from two kids feels like a small victory.
The Jolly Christmas Postman – Allan Ahlberg and Janet Ahlberg
I don’t care if my boys are getting too old for this now, they will have it foisted upon them every Christmas until they are twenty. It is a tradition to go through the book and open up all the letters which have got mixed up, as the brave postie makes his way through the snow.
You Are All Just Jealous of My Jetpack – Tom Gauld
Cartoons, clever ones, have long been a Christmas tradition for me. I grew up reading the annual book of Giles cartoons from the Daily Mail, which my Grandpa bought for us every year, flicking through and probably not understanding half of it. Tom Gauld is a genius and his cartoons make me laugh so hard, it almost counts as exercise, which is great after too much turkey.
Shocking! The Art and Fashion of Elsa Schiaparelli – Dilys E Blum
I adore this coffee table book, which I got for Christmas a few years ago. I get it out and lust after her witty and fabulous designs. Reading it actually makes me feel feverish, so I have to save it for special occasions.
Celestine, Voices from a French Village – Gillian Tindall
There is something magical about this book and the best bit is, it’s all true. A bundle of letters found in a ruined house in deepest France are the starting point for a historical treasure hunt, in which a family’s story down the generations is brought vividly to life. The characters she unearths bring to mind those of Balzac. Perfect fireside reading for Francophiles.