The Dark is Rising, by Susan CooperRead about the other books on the list.
This is a classic fantasy story set at Christmas, in a snowy corner of England where the age-old struggle between the forces of Light and Dark collides with the ordinary life of a boy named Will. It is a midwinter day, Will’s eleventh birthday, and he’s looking forward to a white Christmas with all his many older siblings at home when he finds that he has a part to play on the side of the forces of Light. Suddenly the familiar landscape of his home and the snowy woods around it changes into an ancient landscape of magic. And as winter tightens its grip and the cold grows stronger, the Dark comes rising. A time-travel interlude back to a Victorian Christmas house party adds an additional touch of seasonal charm. This is a truly gripping adventure, and the Christmas setting makes it one I like to re-read myself this time of year, with great enjoyment every time around. Although it’s technically the second in the series, it stands alone just fine.