Christmas horror books might not be an immediate staple when you think of all things Christmas. But really, who cares? If you want to read the best horror books, then there’s no objection to doing that during the Christmas holidays. It ought to be a good palette cleanser for all the saccharine romance movies shoved down your throat around this time of year. I have selected the best Christmas Horror Books, all depicting some wintry or other theme that ties in with Christmas. We want to keep things in a seasonal perspective here! Read on to find out about the best Christmas horror books.
Top 6 Best Christmas Horror Books
Here are my top six picks for the best Christmas horror books. They’re not in any particular order, but they do all share something in common with Christmas. That could be on the nose, or that could be more divergent from the actual topic of Christmas. Generally, for my Christmas horror books, I’m looking for winter, snow, cold, December, religion or maybe even a Santa corruption. Who knows. My six picks for Christmas horror books:
#1 The Shining by Stephen King
I’ll start off the list with one of the all-time favourite Christmas horror books of many, The Shining by horror legend Stephen King. Even a reread during the holidays is time worth spent.
Jack Torrance starts a new job as the off-season caretaker of a secluded hotel in the dead of winter. It seems perfect, at first, as it gives Jack plenty of time to write and spend time with his family. As time goes on, though, the walls of the hotel seem to encroach on the family and an omnipresent dread works on everyone’s nerves. It’s as if the hotel itself instils the worst feelings on Jack, and on his para-normally gifted son, Danny. Slowly, Jack can feel his mind slipping away from him into insanity.
#2 NOS4R2 by Joe Hill
Victoria McQueen has a special gift but also a special problem. Her gift is that she can teleport herself to lost things. It is handy, and she uses it to significant effect (although keeping it a secret). Her special problem is a serial killer who also has a “gift”. Charles Manx travels the country and murders children. He doesn’t just murder them; he takes them and sends them on their way to “Christmas Land”. Once they complete that journey, they turn into Charles’ children ─ insane killers ready to do his every whim. The only kid that managed to escape his clutches? Right, Victoria! Years later, when Victoria is dealing with mental issues, and Charles escapes from prison, the killer kidnaps Victoria’s son and sends them on their way to Christmas Land. It is not a battle of wits and magic between Victoria and Charles.
This is a door stopper of a book, but never bores and keeps up the pace all throughout.
#3 A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
It’s a true classic among classics for Christmas. Is it indeed horror? Well, it has a ghost who promises the stingy miser Ebenezer Scrooge a short and miserable life if he doesn’t change his ways the day before Christmas. It’s the ghost of Ebenezer’s dead business partner who brings the ill news. The phantom shows Ebenezer various versions of Christmas, from the past, from the present and from the future ─ where Ebenezer is already dead and no one even remembers him. Throughout the story, the old miser softens to the idea of maybe being a little less stingy and accepting others into his life.
A classic masterpiece by Grandmaster Charles Dickens, one which everyone ought to have read once, at least.
#4 Krampus: The Yule Lord by Brom
Before Christmas, the Western cultures celebrated a winter festival called Yule. Krampus, after half a millennium of captivity, is here to bring Yule back. What’s stopping him? Well, Santa Claus, of course! Krampus combines so many Nordic and Saxon mythologies and presents them in such a unique way that I don’t even know where to begin. There is the Nordic Yule, but the character of Krampus (Black Peter) has connections to the Dutch “Black Pete”, as well. And to top it off, you get to see a demon you’re rooting for battle, a longsword-wielding Santa.
Fresh, captivating, and Christmas in a light you’ve probably never seen before!
#5 Christmas Eve on Haunted Hill by Bryan Smith
The Haunting of Hill House meets Splatterpunk in Christmas Eve on Haunted Hill. Luke Herzinger returns to Haunted Hill, where, years before, Silas Herzinger murdered his whole extended family with an axe while wearing a Santa suit, leaving only Luke as the sole survivor. Luke is despondent, depressed and suicidal, and he has come to his home to face the evil that still lurks here.
Despite the gruesomeness, Smith definitely finds time to incorporate plenty of psychological dread into this story.
#6 Self-Plug: Night Demon by Stephen Wolberius
Night Demon plays out in the heart of winter, with much taking place in wintry haunted forests. If you’re looking for a scary story for the Holidays, check out my Night Demon. Here is the synopsis:
Lilian, a thirteen-year-old factory worker in an industrialising town plagued by a serial killer, can see an invisible affliction within other people. When her search for her missing best friend ends with a confrontation with a demon — and learning that the affliction turns humans into demons — another demon named Lucian saves her life and promises answers. Her first clue is that demons are responsible for the many murders. Unfortunately, Lilian’s new lead has problems of his own — Demon Hunters, who claim Lucian is the serial killer and who see Lilian as an accessory.
Can her ability to communicate with these creatures be used to solve the crimes? Or will her connection to the Netherworld prove to be her own undoing…