Monday 6 November 2023

Romance and the Magic of Christmas

by Enisa Haines

It's a season many days away yet but everywhere I turn it's looking a lot like Christmas. Streaming services such as Netflix and Hallmark bring an enticing array of Christmas romance movies while publishers spoil us with a plentiful choice of Christmas romance novels. 

What to choose? Our voracious romance reader Miranda will be talking about that in her next post, just in time for a Christmas book binge. What I'm wondering about is this abundance of Christmas romances. 

These stories have lured readers since the time of Victorian England (yes, Christmas romances were popular even then). What is it about them that calls to readers and movie-goers alike? 

Christmas is a time where happiness abounds. Families get together, as do friends and even strangers. Gifts are exchanged, delicious meals served, reminiscences shared. Moments to celebrate, where joy, generosity, a sense of belonging, and love - of family, of friends, neighbours, workmates - is all around.

And it's love that is the highlight of these beloved romances. Though many stories may not focus on the true spiritual meaning of the season, always these romances are set in the days or weeks leading up to Christmas or through the three days of Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day. 

Magic exists at that time. Wishes are made and there's the promise that if you believe what you wish for it will come true. And what are romance novels but stories where readers get the happy-ever-after they crave in fiction. The heroine wishes the life she's experiencing at the beginning of her story will change by the end. The hero, a man beset with problems of his own, also wishes for something better. Circumstances  bring them together but it is love that heals past hurts and shows them that together they have the life they once thought would only ever be a dream.

Whether we immerse ourselves in Christmas stories for the setting and its spiritual meaning, or for the expectation that the hero and heroine will find their 'forever love', it seems to me that it's the happiness that fills us while we're immersed that we seek. And Christmas romances always give us joy.

As lovers of Christmas romances, is it the same for you?

Love to love: Several native plants fondly called Christmas Bush for their gorgeous displays of flowers from October to January are found throughout Australia. My favourite is the NSW native Ceratopetalum gumniferum and now I have one of my own for my balcony. 

Love to laugh: romantic comedies are both a joy to watch and oftentimes you can't help but laugh.

Love to learn: Christmas has so many traditions. Christmas trees, Santa Claus, the hanging of mistletoe, fruit puddings and cakes are ones that spring to mind. Each intrigue me as to their origin and so I have the urge to explore.