The MCL classic books Christmas gift guide

The beautiful Macmillan Collector's Library editions make great gifts for book lovers. Here is a curated gift guide to the best classic books for all your family and friends.

3 minutes to read

Whether your mum is impossible to buy for or you've picked someone you barely know in the office Secret Santa, we have the solution to solve your Christmas shopping panic. At around the £10 mark and with close to two hundred books to choose from, the Macmillan Collector's Library has a classic book for everyone. Here is our edit of the best classic books for each and every person on your Christmas list.

For parents

My Family and Other Animals

by Gerald Durrell

Book cover for 9781909621985

My Family and Other Animals is a modern classic documenting the eccentric Durrell family's life in Corfu. The TV series may have finished but not to fear, the original book is just as heartwarming and hilarious – a perfect gift for parents bringing up a brood.

For siblings

by J. M. Barrie

Book cover for 9781909621633

Transport your siblings back to the days of bedtime games with this gorgeously illustrated edition of Peter Pan. The adventures of Wendy, John and Michael in Neverland is a timeless classic for any brother or sister.

For children

Poems of Childhood

by Various

Book cover for 9781509893782

Full of nursery rhymes, nonsense, mermaids and more, Poems of Childhood is an ideal pocket-sized book for reading aloud to a little one. Give the gift of your favourite childhood poems from ‘The Pied Piper of Hamelin’ to ‘The Tyger’. 

For grandparents

A Christmas Carol

by Charles Dickens

Book cover for 9781509825448

Adapted for film and TV countless times over the years, A Christmas Carol is a festive staple. But how often do we think back to Charles Dickens' original novella? This Christmassy classic is a crowd-pleaser that grandparents are sure to love.

For your partner

Poems for Happiness

by Various

Book cover for 9781509893812

Poems for Happiness is a wonderful gift for someone who brings you joy. Poets such as Walt Whitman, Christina Rossetti, Emily Dickinson and W. B Yeats explore the delights of daily life in this gorgeous anthology. Plus, who can resist the rapturous swimming nuns on the cover?

For your Secret Santa

Poems for Christmas

by Various

Book cover for 9781509893829

No idea what to buy your Secret Santa? Poems for Christmas is a gift for old and young, bookish or not. Containing traditional poems such as ‘Silent Night' and ‘Twelve Days of Christmas' as well as poems from the likes of Susan Coolidge and Rudyard Kipling, there's a poem to please everyone.

Discover our selection of the best Christmas poems here.

For your friend

My Ántonia

by Willa Cather

Book cover for 9781509899784

The characters in My Ántonia are a testament to true, lasting friendship. Jim and Antonia meet as children, go through hardship, part and reunite in the beautiful, rural landscape of Nebraska. A beautiful gift to cuddle up with by the fire, from one friend to another.

For a teacher

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie

by Muriel Spark

Book cover for 9781509843701

Listed as one of the BBC's 100 Novels That Shaped Our World, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie is a witty, passionate portrait of an unconventional but beloved teacher. An ideal gift for the teacher in your life who needs a good laugh.

For the feminist in your family

The Awakening & Other Stories

by Kate Chopin

Book cover for 9781509854127

Kate Chopin is a remarkable early feminist who writes about all aspects of female life, from a guilty self-purchase of silk stockings to awakening from an unhappy family life. The Awakening & Other Stories is a collection of her best stories and an inspiring gift for any feminist.

Be inspired by our edit of the feminist books you should be reading. 

For a joker

The Diary of a Nobody

by George Grossmith

Book cover for 9781509881390

The Diary of a Nobody is a satirical diary written by pompous Mr Pooter about all his middle-class woes. Dip into his awful jokes and embarrassing moments in this perfectly pitched spoof, an ideal present for someone who thinks they're funny.

For a climate change warrior


by Henry David Thoreau

Book cover for 9781509826704

In Walden, Henry David Thoreau imparts his wisdom of living in the woods in a handbuilt cabin, cut off from society and living off the land. His philosophical musings on being immersed in nature are an inspiring gift for those who treasure the environment.

For someone who loves travel

Poems for Travellers

by Various

Book cover for 9781509893799
Read extract

Whether backpacking around the globe or jetting off to luxurious locations, we all have someone in our lives who loves to travel. Give them the gift of Poems for Travellers, the perfect pocket-sized companion to any hand luggage bag.

Discover our favourite poems about travel.

Read extract

For the TV addict

Ross Poldark

by Winston Graham

Book cover for 9781909621510

Poldark has dominated the period drama world since 2015, but Winston Graham's original story has been captivating readers for 60 years prior. His original book, Ross Poldark, is a great way to lure a TV lover to books.

Discover all the Poldark books in order

For a horror movie enthusiast

The Turn of the Screw and Owen Wingrave

by Henry James

Book cover for 9781509850945

The Turn of the Screw is an eerily gothic novella about a governess slowly losing her mind, an ideal gift for fans of psychological thrillers and ghost stories. Keep your eyes peeled for the second series of The Haunting of Hill House which has taken inspiration from this classic tale.

For a theatre-goer

The Phantom of the Opera

by Gaston Leroux

Book cover for 9781509826674

Gaston Leroux's dramatic and disturbing novel follows a mysterious phantom causing trouble backstage at the Paris Opera House. Any lover of theatre is sure to enjoy this gorgeous edition of The Phantom of the Opera.

If you love The Phantom of the Opera, don't miss these other musical based on books.

For an animal lover

The Story of Doctor Dolittle

by Hugh Lofting

Book cover for 9781509868780

Whether they're a cat or dog lover, The Story of Doctor Dolittle is a gift for all animal enthusiasts. With a star-studded new adaptation coming to cinemas in January, Christmas is the perfect time to pick up Hugh Lofting's original book.

For a writer

A Room of One's Own

by Virginia Woolf

Book cover for 9781509843183

Virginia Woolf's declaration that women need their own money and space in order to write has become world-famous. Her A Room of One's Own is a guidebook to all writers and would make an inspiring gift for anyone putting pen to paper this Christmas.