Collection Spotlight & Giveaway: Penguin Christmas Classics

I was recently asked to showcase Penguin's Christmas Classics that were released on October 7th. I jumped at the chance since so many of my favorites were included in the collection. I was ecstatic when I opened the package containing these beloved works to discover how adorable the new covers were:

How could a Lark not leave these? The birds and the wintery theme are sure to give these a special place on my shelf.  I also plan to use them as part of my holiday decorations. I will be doing some special spotlights and reviews as we get closer to Christmas, but I wanted to give our readers a chance to snag these before the holiday season. Penguin has been kind enough to provide an entire set of the Christmas Classics for one of our lucky readers. Be sure to check out the giveaway details later in this post.

Before I tell you how you can win these awesome books, I want to tell you about each book in the collection.

This is one of my favorite Christmas stories. I can't wait to teach this one to my students in December.
First published on December 19, 1843, A Christmas Carol was an instant classic: Londoners thronged to hear Dickens read it in person and bought out the first printing in days. Its reception was so ecstatic that it is credited with helping to revive interest among the Victorians in Christmas traditions, including caroling and holiday cards, as well as inciting an unexpected wave of charitable giving from Britain’s Industrial Age robber barons. Originally conceived as a pamphlet against exploitative capitalism before taking its current form, it has inspired dozens of theatrical and movie adaptions, and its characters, from Scrooge to Tiny Tim, are forever inscribed in our hearts and minds.

This one is new to me. I'm looking forward to spending some time with these stories.

Christmas at Thompson Hall brings together the best of the Christmas stories of Anthony Trollope, one of the most successful, prolific, and respected English novelists of the nineteenth century. Characterized by insightful, psychologically rich, and sometimes wryly humorous depictions of the middle class and gentry of Victorian England—and inspired occasionally by missives in the “lost letter” box of the provincial post office that Trollope ran—these tales helped to enshrine the traditions of the decorated Christmas tree, the holiday turkey, and the giving of store-bought gifts. Today, they open a window onto a time when carolers filled the streets and each house’s door displayed a wreath of evergreen boughs, a time at once distant and yet startlingly familiar.

I love Louisa May Alcott. Little Women will always be one of my favorites of all time. I am so excited to get to explore more of her work.

A Merry Christmas collects the treasured holiday tales of Louisa May Alcott, from the dearly familiar Yuletide benevolence of Marmee and her “little women” to the timeless “What Love Can Do,” wherein the residents of a boarding house come together to make a lovely Christmas for two poor girls. Wildly popular at the time of their publication—readers deluged Alcott with letters demanding sequels—and drawing on Alcott’s family and experiences in the abolitionist and women’s suffrage movements, these stories have the authentic texture and detail of Christmas in nineteenth-century America, while their emphasis on generosity and charity make them timeless embodiments of the Christmas spirit.

This is not the poem that I grew up with as a child, but rather a holiday folktale from Russia. I'm interested to read something from another culture.

Written in 1831 by the father of Russian literature, this uproarious tale tells of the blacksmith Vakula’s battle with the devil, who has stolen the moon and hidden it in his pocket, allowing him to wreak havoc on the village of Dikanka. Both the devil and Vakula are in love with Oksana, the most beautiful girl in Dikanka. Vakula is determined to win her over; the devil, equally determined, unleashes a snowstorm to thwart Vakula’s efforts. Zany and mischievous, and drawing inspiration from the folk tales of Gogol’s far-flung village in Ukraine, The Night Before Christmas is the basis for many movie and opera adaptations, and is still read aloud to children on Christmas Eve in Ukraine and Russia.

This is perhaps my favorite Christmas story. I have seen the ballet countless times; it is something of a tradition with my husband and I. Sadly, I have never read the story. I'm looking forward to remedying that this holiday season. Bring on the magic!

Written in 1816 by one of the leaders of German Romanticism for his children, nephews, and nieces, The Nutcracker captures better than any other story a child’s wonder at Christmas. The gift of a handsomely decorated nutcracker from a mysterious uncle sets the stage for a Christmas Eve like no other for the little girl Marie. That night, Marie’s extraordinary present comes to life, defends her from the taunting Mouse King, and whisks her off to the Kingdom of Dolls. The inspiration for the classic ballet, E. T. A. Hoffmann’s irresistible tale of magic and childhood adventure continues to captivate readers of all ages. Today, many of the most enchanting symbols of Christmas, from nutcrackers to sugar plums to mistletoe, are still imbued with the power of this story.

Give the gift of literature this Christmas.

Penguin Christmas Classics honor the power of literature to keep on giving through the ages. The five volumes in the series are not only our most beloved Christmas tales, they also have given us much of what we love about the holiday itself. A Christmas Carol revived in Victorian England such Christmas hallmarks as the Christmas tree, holiday cards, and caroling. The Yuletide yarns of Anthony Trollope popularized throughout the British Empire and around the world the trappings of Christmas in London. The holiday tales of Louisa May Alcott shaped the ideal of an American Christmas. The Night Before Christmas brought forth some of our earliest Christmas traditions as passed down through folk tales. AndThe Nutcracker inspired the most famous ballet in history, one seen by millions in the twilight of every year.

Beautifully designed—with foil-stamped jackets, decorative endpapers, and nameplates for personalization—and printed in a small trim size that makes them perfect stocking stuffers, Penguin Christmas Classics embody the spirit of giving that is at the heart of our most time-honored stories about the holiday.

Collect all five Penguin Christmas Classics:

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
Christmas at Thompson Hall: And Other Christmas Stories by Anthony Trollope
A Merry Christmas: And Other Christmas Stories by Louisa May Alcott
The Night Before Christmas by Nikolai Gogol
The Nutcracker by E. T. A. Hoffmann

We have one set of all FIVE of the Christmas Classic to give to one of our lucky readers. We appreciate the generosity of Penguin in providing this opportunity. This giveaway is open to US residents only. You must be 13+ years of age to win. Those under 13 must have parental permission to enter. The prize will be mailed by Penguin; Reading Lark is not responsible for prize delivery.

The giveaway runs from October 20 - November 2. Winner will be notified via email on November 3.


  1. I am most interested in reading The Night Before Christmas. The synopsis sound nothing like the cartoon I used to watch during the holidays.

  2. Such beautiful books. Love Penguin Books.

  3. Great giveaway! Classics that much needed in every person's life and those are the best! Thanks for the post

  4. The Nutcracker is one of my favorite books from the series.

  5. I think I'd enjoy the Russian story The Night Before Christmas a lot. I'm not familiar with the story so it should be fun. Thanks for the chance to win this nice set of books.

  6. What a great collection!
    Wish it was open to Canadians too! ;)

    1. I wish I could open it to Canada, but since its from the publisher, I have to follow their guidelines. Hopefully these will release in Canada at some point.

  7. Great collection! I'm most excited to read The Nutcracker. :) Thanks!

  8. The classics, I want to read them all.

  9. Man that is a hard one! I would read The Nutcracker first! Classic and I just love it. at gmail dot com

  10. the The Nutcracker, i love the story, love are the version, i see al the ballets or movis about the nutcracker

  11. I don't think I've ever read The Nutcracker, only seen it performed. Thanks for the great giveaway!

  12. I'm excited to read The Night Before Christmas!


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