Monday 13 February 2023

Holiday Romance Novels

 by Sharon Bryant

I love reading romance novels and watching movies about Christmas, as well as those with a holiday theme. Christmas, Thanksgiving, Valentine's Day, Hanukkah, there are so many holiday seasons incorporated within romance novels and films. 

Each Christmas, I look forward to Miranda's special post on this blog site. I download the books she recommends, and spend my spare time in January reading my way through them. So much fun! 

As a Debbie Macomber fan, I was delighted to find her novel "The Christmas Spirit" amongst this year's recommendations. It's a fabulous novel, well worth reading.

I'd also like to recommend a Hanukkah-themed holiday romance novel, "The Matzah Ball". The heroine Rachel Rubenstein-Goldblatt is a nice Jewish girl with a chronic disease who secretly writes best-selling Christmas romance novels. She runs into difficulties when her publisher insists she diversify and write a Hanukkah-themed romance. She has no idea where to start, and decides to attend the Matzah Ball on the last night of Hanukkah, hoping to find her muse. This means working with her archenemy from summer camp days, Jacob Greenberg. 

My favourite Christmas films are the timeless ones like "It's a Wonderful Life", "The Holiday" and "Love Actually". "Sleepless in Seattle" is my favourite film with a Valentine's Day theme.

Do you love Christmas and holiday-themed romance novels and movies as much as I do? Have you ever wondered what makes them so special?

Why Are Christmas Romance Novels So Special?

Nan Reinhardt, romance author and blogger, thinks Christmas romance novels use the romance tropes we enjoy so much, but the holiday themes can make the romance seem much sweeter. 

Hayley Walsh, author, relates the popularity of Christmas romance novels to the way people like to feel - good, hopeful and happy. "Christmas novels are usually full of love, hope, fun, laughter and leave with that warm fuzzy feeling inside." 

Penny Jaeger, author, argues that Christmas novels amplify the universal desire for love because Christmas is "the time of miracles, the time of wishes being fulfilled".

All of these authors link the popularity of Christmas romance novels to the way we feel or would like to feel at Christmas time.

Why do people like to read books and watch movies with a holiday theme?

Associate Professor Brent Rodriguez-Plate argues that holiday movies are popular because they offer their audience a "glimpse into the world as it could be."  Holiday movies offer hope and can provide "solace, reaffirmation and sometimes even courage to continue working through difficult situations", and can serve as a "barometer for how we might wish to live".

The holiday-themed romance novels and films that I love all meet these criteria. I read and watch characters solving difficult problems, and finding ways to live their lives that more closely approach how they would like to live. This is often accompanied by lessons learned, personal growth and recognition that although life is never perfect, it can be good. 

Do you have any favourite holiday-themed romance novels and movies? If yes, please share the details.

Why do you think holiday-themed romance novels and movies are so popular?

I hope you had a good Christmas, an enjoyable holiday season, and wish you a fulfilling 2023. Happy Valentine's Day.

I love to love holiday romance novels and films.

I love to laugh with friends and family.

I love to learn and grow.


  1. Hi Sharon, and thanks for this. Well, as you know I am a Christmas tragic from waaaaay back, and look forward to doing a Christmas blog here every year! I have to say that one of my favourite Christmas movies is The Holiday, pictured above. It just seems more romantic and genuine and heartwarming than others. Although, off the Christmas romance books, it's always good to watch a version of A Christmas Carol - and if you want a light and easy version, The Muppets have done a splendid one. My favourite Christmas romance is probably Comfort & Joy by Kristin Hannah. There's a special little something extra in the book that is absolutely wonderful. I also love Debbie Macomber's Christmas books - I can't pick a favourite, they're all absolutely charming. A few have a grumpy hero and a sunshiny heroine, fun to read. If you love a historical romance, The Christmas Bride by Anne Gracie is terrific. For delicious food and all the trimmings of a Christmas season like decorations, trees, visitors and such, Trisha Ashley's books are winners. Christmas is the season of peace and good will towards others, so when a romance reflects that, I'm always supremely happy.

    1. Thanks for the recommendations, Malvina. I'm adding "Comfort and Joy" to my TBR pile. Christmas really is a special time, isn't it?

  2. Hi Sharon,
    Miranda's list is fabulous and I always end up with more on my TBR pile after I read through her recommendations. I have also written a Christmas romance "The Magic of Christmas" because Christmas is my favourite time of the year and I simply couldn't resist!!
    I love the movie "The Holiday" too!
    Thanks for your blog, it's 14th February, Happy Valentine's Day to all and may you all enjoy a wonderful year of romance!
    Best wishes,
    Alyssa x

    1. Thanks Alison. I love Christmas romance novels. I'll add "The Magic of Christmas" to my TBR pile.

  3. Thanks for these great recommendations, Sharon. I love a good holiday-themed book or movie.

  4. Thanks Marilyn. Holidays are such a special time. It's lovely to read romances with holiday themes.


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