I'll second The Good Earth
I'll nominate Ethan Frome
by Edith Wharton (1911 Pulitzer). It's a short read set during a winter storm, perfect for December. Available at all the usual public domain places.
Set against the bleak winter landscape of New England, Ethan Frome tells the story of a poor farmer, lonely and downtrodden, his wife Zeena, and her cousin, the enchanting Mattie Silver. In the playing out of this short novel's powerful and engrossing drama, Edith Wharton constructed her least characteristic and most celebrated book. In its unyielding and shocking pessimism, its bleak demonstration of tragic waste, it is a masterpiece of psychological and emotional realism.