Holiday Romances: Carols, Cuddles, and Comfy Kisses

We’re talking about holiday romances for this week’s Crazy Book Genre series! Read on for a brief take on the genre and some swoon-worthy recs.

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a christmas wreathe and string of lights on a pale pink background

Welcome back to another Crazy Book Genre article, where we highlight a new niche genre every week. As the seasons have changed and the holidays are upon us, we’re especially looking forward to those cozy, heartwarming, Hallmark-worthy Christmas romances. Let’s dive into the world of sweetheart bliss and happily ever afters surrounding the happiest time of the year.

A Bit About the Genre

Romance has been a genre since Richardson wrote the cringeworthy Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded, in 1740. In the nearly 300 years since it’s seen quite a transformation and attained one of the greatest numbers of subgenres in its arsenal. One of the more wholesome of these subgenres is that of Christmas/Holiday romance. Christmas romances have been around for decades and increased in popularity amid the Hallmark movie network’s seasonal event of the same theme.

There are a number of reasons this genre is hugely popular. It plays on the traditions of much of what one thinks of during the holiday season, from the trills of neighborhood carolers to the loneliness of those without much family finding a place to call their own. As with most genres, this has its own audience expectations regarding nuance, themes, and tropes.

The holiday season is at the forefront of the novel; it’s the catalyst of the protagonists’ angst. Whether that is because of the sudden loss of a beloved family member, the nanny bringing joy and love back to a family who lost their mother, or even the grumpy boss who needs to lose his ba humbug, love reigns when there’s magic in the festive air.

Holiday Romance Recommendations

The Christmas Fix by Lucy Score

Prepare for a badass Boss of an FMC and dirty-talking single dad enemies-to-lovers Christmas romance. Lucy Score does it again with this contemporary romance where reality DIY diva Cat swoops in on a disaster-ridden town to help save the holiday season. The only problem is that the town manager doesn’t like the notoriety or the idea that his town’s trauma is being used for publicity. It might only take one lust-fueled moment to turn the two from feuding nemesis to fondling partners, hopefully just in time to save the town’s Christmas festival.

Lucy Score's  The Christmas Fix book cover
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Only for the Holidays by Abiolo Bello

Christmas Ball. Fake Dating. City Girl. Country Boy. What more could you want in a holiday romance? Abiola Bello slays the genre in this YA Christmas romance where city girl Tia, fresh from a breakup, finds herself in a fake relationship with country beau Quincy. He needs a date to the ball his family’s farm is hosting, and she needs help winning back her ex.

Only for the Holidays by Abiola Bello, book cover.
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Royal Holiday by Jasmine Guillory

New York Times bestselling author Jasmine Guillory brings the palace down with a sweet holiday romance in this adult contemporary romance. A unique addition to the genre, Guillory’s protagonists and love interests are a bit older than we’re used to seeing, and I am here for it. Vivian tags along on her daughter’s work trip to England, and what begins as a sightseeing tour of the British country turns into a steamy fling with the royal secretary. Their affair has a timer, and it’s about to expire with the tolling of the New Year’s bell. For two people of a certain age, they’re fine with the arrangement, or are they?

Royal Holiday by Jasmine Guillory, book cover
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The Mistletoe Motive by Chloe Liese

Bring on the grumpy MMC and festive sunshine FMC in this adorable Christmas romance set in an independent bookstore. This enemies-to-lovers entanglement brings together colleagues who have a healthy dose of loathing for one another in an attempt to save their beloved place of employment. What better way to help save the shop than a holiday time competition of salesmanship coupled with a few personal twists bound to raise the stakes?

the Mistletoe Motive by Chloe Liese book cover
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You’re a Mean One, Matthew Prince by Timothy Janovsky

I absolutely love a romance that brings out the best in the protagonists, especially the spoiled, misunderstood ones. Spoiled rich boy Matthew Prince has been cut off from his family and shipped out to small town nowhere after a particularly bad PR event. Used to being the center of attention and fawn over, he finds it incredibly irritating and loathsome that local Hector Martinez couldn’t be less impressed with him. Undertaking the coordination of the holiday party seems to be just the thing to bring out the best in Matthew and shine a light on just how amazing Hector truly finds him.

You're a Mean One Matthew Prince by Timothy Janovsky book cover
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I love a good Christmas romance novel; they’re usually quick, fun reads with enough emotional pull to make you laugh, cry, and root for the romance to last forever!


Want more Christmas recs? Check out these articles here and here.

Pick up these books and more on our Contemporary Romance bookshelf on Bookshop.org.

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