My Top Holiday Romances

This post focuses on fall and winter holidays and includes romances centered around these: Halloween, Samhain, Durga Puja, Chanukah, Winter Solstice, Christmas, Kwanzaa, New Years Eve. (About half are Christmas stories,  there are so many more out there.) It definitely shows my bias towards contemporary romance, but there is a smattering of fantasy and historical romance too.

I read a bunch of holiday romances to get to this list. Most of these are novella length or shorter, which is one of the things I appreciate most about holiday romances–most are shorter, which is often more accessible for me to read. I am grouping them by theme. Most could belong in more than one category. I link to reviews where I have written them; that’s the place to find trigger warnings.

I’m listing rep at the end of my descriptions, which is a new thing for me. If you spot something incorrect, please do feel free to let me know. Also, I am not intending to out anyone; I get author info from the web and the book bio. If an author would like me to remove any info listed, please do let me know. I want to note that I use the word fat as a neutral descriptor when listing rep, and use the word queer when a character or author identify that way or when I am unclear about their identity but know they fall under the LGBTQIA+ umbrella.

For folks looking for sweet romance (romance with no on-the-page sex), I am putting three asterisks*** at the end of the description.

Chosen Family

  • Handmade Holidays by ‘Nathan Burgoine (Christmas, 82 p): This has a friends to lovers romance arc, but the center of this Christmas story is queer chosen family. We revisit a diverse chosen family of queer folks at Christmas over the span of fifteen years. (Rep: gay MC. Gay Japanese American love interest. Trans woman secondary character. Queer man author.)
  • A Little Queermas Carol by Sassafras Lowrey (Christmas, 75 p): A kinky queer retelling of the Dickens classic with a genderqueer Ebe who gives everything to the revolution as a way to manage their grief over losing their BFF, and isn’t sure they can commit to the Daddy/girl couple who want Ebe to be part of their family. Heartwrenching, intense, beautiful story that gave me so many feels. (Rep: Queer genderqueer MC. Queer trans masc love interest. Queer girl love interest. Queer non-binary secondary characters. Queer genderqueer author.) ***

Bringing the Humor

  • Beary Christmas, Baby by Sasha Devlin (Christmas, 64 p): Fun, playful boss/assistant snowed in friends to lovers m/f romance with a polar bear shifter hero and a dragon shifter heroine. (Rep: Black woman author.)
  • A Taste of Blessings by Suleikha Snyder (Durga Puja, ~60 p): Age gap m/f romance centered around Durga Puja. Complex nuanced compelling characterization and conflict, deeply drawn cultural context, great secondary characters, lovely humor, and sizzling heat and chemistry between the MCs; so much UST. (Rep: Bengali heroine. Older Bengali hero. Desi woman author.)
  • Tis the Season by Sommer Marsden (Christmas, 53 p): Cute m/f romance between neighbors. Marsden shines in characterization here, per her usual, with the touch of comic goofiness and smoking hotness that I especially enjoy in her stories.

Bringing the Heat

  • Merry Inkmas by Talia Hibbert (Christmas, 300 p): Geeky guarded heroine meets brooding grumpy tattoo artist hero, both are trauma survivors who struggle to trust each other. So much angst, so much heat in this m/f erotic romance, plus lovely fat rep. (Rep: Fat Black heroine with PTSD. Hero with PTSD. Black queer woman author.)
  • Eitan’s Chord by Shira Glassman (Chanukah, 18 p): This is an f/f/f erotica story where three Chanukah fairies visit a trans man and his queer girlfriend and raise energy to grant their wishes through having sex with each other. (Rep: Queer women Chanukah fairy MCs, one of whom is chubby and butch. Jewish trans man/queer woman secondary couple. Bisexual Jewish woman author.)
  • Callie Unwrapped by Amy Jo Cousins (Christmas, 97 p): This is an m/f/f kinky menage erotica novella centering a heroine seeking a new sexual experience after her divorce, with an ex and his lover. (Rep: Queer women MCs. Korean American MC. Bisexual woman author.)

Geeky Goodness

  • Eight Naughty Nights by Eliza Madison (Chanukah, 133 p) Heroine comes home after her mothers death and proposes a Chanukah no-strings-attached affair to a longtime friend as a way to manage her grief. (She has no idea that he’s been in love with her for years.) Deliciously geeky m/f romance; includes Star Wars marathon. (Rep: Jewish heroine, Jewish hero.)
  • New Game, Start by C.S. Poe (Christmas, 38 p):  Adorable fluffy and very geeky m/m romance between a medieval scholar and a famous gamer who meet online. (Rep: Gay MCs.)
  • Hearts Alight by Elliott Cooper (Chanukah, 56 p): Sweet geeky romance between a gay man and his long time crush, who turns out to be a golem. Loved the scene where they play D&D, and the Chanukah family gathering. (Rep: Jewish bi hero. Older queer love interest. Jewish trans man secondary character. Bi trans man author)***
  • Wrapped Together by Annabeth Albert (Christmas, 127 p): Friends to lovers kinky m/m romance between an introvert grump geeky experienced submissive and a novice dominant extrovert who bets that he can help him find the Christmas spirit again. Long term crush, intertwined families, grief arc. (Rep: Gay MCs.)

Meet Cute

  • The Longest Night by Yasmine Galenorn (Winter Solstice ~60p): Deeply pagan m/f romance centered around the winter solstice; older heroine reclaiming her life, her art, and her spiritual practice after an awful marriage. (Rep: Older MCs.)
  • Trick or Treat by Sydney Blackburn (Halloween, 28 p) A genderfluid pansexual man answers the door for trick or treaters and meets a bi man who is taking his nephew around on Halloween. This leads to a one night stand, and the possibility for more. (Rep: Genderfluid pansexual man MC. Bisexual man LI.)
  • Tow Trucks and New Years Kisses by Lila Leigh Hunter (New Year’s Eve, 34 p): Enemies to lovers m/m meet cute when a pansexual CEO covers for his godson on a snowy New Year’s Eve to help a grumpy man needing a tow. (Rep: Older Pansexual MC. Gay LI. Puerto Rican author.)
  • Home for Christmas by Lina Langley (Christmas, 74p) This is more a whirlwind mystery m/m romance taking place around Christmas than a classic holiday romance. The MCs meet cute when one of them has his hotel room robbed, and the other is a police officer investigating. (Rep: Gay MCs. Queer Latinx enby author.)

Blue Without You (Grief themed stories)

  • Breath on Embers by Anne Calhoun (Christmas, 98 p): A kinky m/f contemporary romance that is very much about sex as a resource for managing grief. It contains a m/f/m menage scene.
  • Lighting the Flames by Sarah Wendell (Chanukah, 158 p) Heartwarming m/f romance between two old Jewish camp buddies, with themes of grief woven in beautifully. (Rep: Jewish MCs. Jewish author.)***
  • Last Call at the Casa Blanca Bar Grille by Erin Finnegan (Christmas, 34 p): This is not exactly a romance, more of a Christmas story about grieving the love of your life, and coming to a turning point where you figure out a way to live with the grief instead of being subsumed by it. Workaholic gay man in politics is in deep mourning for his partner who died, returns to the bar they used to hang out in, and meets a cute younger bartender who helps ease his grief a bit. (Rep: Gay MC. Queer Latinx MC.) ***

Kids and Pets

  • His Perfect Partner by Priscilla Oliveras (Christmas, 330 p): Dance teacher clashes with a student’s father and then they keep running into each other in this beautiful single parent romance. Very much a holiday story, really holds that kind of sweetness and celebration, that centering of family and care. (Rep: Puerto Rican heroine. Mexican American hero. Puerto Rican-Mexican American author.)***
  • Halfway Home by Lilah Suzanne (Christmas, 62 p): Sweet dog-centered f/f holiday romance. I especially appreciated the slow pace that matched Avery’s numbness, and the way it matched pace with her approach to Rudy, the stray dog she finds. (Rep: Lesbian MCs. Bisexual author.) ***
  • Stone and Shell by Lloyd A Meeker (Winter Solstice, 39 p): Told from the POV of a single dad’s 8 year old son, this sweet m/m romance about a kid who really wants his dad to find a new boyfriend warmed my heart. I enjoyed the details about the solstice altar from a child’s perspective. (Gay MC. Gay Asian American love interest. Gay man author.) ***
  • A Perfect Holiday Fling by Farrah Rochon (Christmas, 99p): Small town m/f romance about characters who try a holiday fling and decide they may want more. Plus it has both a kid and a rescue kitten for added cuteness, along with many of the sweet elements you could want from a holiday story. (Rep: Black MCs. Black author.)

Home for the Holidays

  • True North by Pene Henson (Christmas, 48 p): Sweet f/f holiday romance between a Black lesbian WNBA player and the girl she had a crush on when she was a teenager, when she visits home for the holidays. (Rep: Black lesbian MC. Bisexual love interest. Queer woman author.) ***
  • Kiss Me at Kwanzaa by LL Bucknor (Kwanzaa, 36 p): A sweet m/m romance about coworkers with secret crushes on each other. One finally invites the other to his family’s Kwanzaa celebration, and they awkwardly work their way around to acknowledging their feelings, (Gay MC with an Irish-Honduran-Black-Jewish family who we meet in the story–his ethnicity is not clearly marked. Gay love interest.)***
  • A Holiday Ruse by Stephanie Hoyt (Christmas, 43 p): Cute, sweet, friends to lovers, bringing you home for the holidays as my fake girlfriend f/f romance. (Rep: Black bisexual heroine. Latinx lesbian love interest. Black gay secondary character. Bisexual woman author.)***
  • A Family for Christmas by Jay Northcote (Christmas, 136 p): Shy awkward hero with crush on his new coworker invites his standoffish crush with no family home for the holidays. I liked the slow pace of this m/m romance, and the interspersal of sweet family moments, walks in the snow, and an adorable puppy, with the angst and social awkwardness. (Rep: Gay MCs. Trans man secondary character. Trans man author.)

Snowed In

  • The Working Elf Blues by Piper Vaughn (Christmas, 53 p): Magical m/m romance starring an elf who falls hard for a human and runs away from the North Pole to be with him. Wonderful dogs, brooding loner/sweet and cheerful pairing. (Rep: Gay MCs. Latinx bi enby author)
  • Hot Coded Xmas by Nana Malone (Christmas, ~112 p): Second chance geeky snowed in m/f romance centering a heroine who is trying to save her gaming company and a hero who wants to buy it. Wonderful chemistry, so much heat and so much rivalry, and this lovely flashback to play 7 minutes in heaven in high school. (Rep: Black heroine. Black hero. Black author.)
  • Under the Mistletoe by Everly James (Christmas, 188 p): Cute f/f romance between two lesbian romance writers who clash, are forced to share a room, and then get snowed in at a writers retreat. (Rep: Latinx lesbian MC. Black lesbian MC. Non-binary secondary character. )

Kinky Stories

  • Christmas Stockings by Teresa Noelle Roberts (Christmas, 40 p): Nerves before her dominant’s workplace Christmas party spark this BDSM m/f erotic romance novella. I especially appreciated the nuerodivergent submissive character, particularly the way she navigates the party and her POV of the BDSM elements. (Rep: Neurodivergent heroine with synesthesia and dyslexia.)
  • Baxter’s Boy by Xan West (New Year’s Eve, 3 p): Queer femme submissive woman crushed out on an m/m dominant couple (one of whom is trans) shares a surprising new year’s kiss with one of them, then goes home and fantasizes about submitting to them both. (Rep: Queer MCs. Trans man MC. Queer disabled trans masc author.) **Use code BIGLOVE18 thru 1/2/18 to get 30% off the ebook of Show Yourself To Me, the queer kink erotica collection that includes this story**
  • The Ugliest Sweater by Gillian St Kevern (Christmas, 65 p): Meet-cute m/m heartwarming erotic romance that begins with an ugly Christmas sweater. Both of the MCs have a Christmas kink, and the story is all about finding a match you thought was impossible.  (Rep: Gay MCs.)
  • One Hot December by Tiffany Reisz (Christmas and Chanukah, 224 p): Second chance kinky m/f romance novel with a bisexual welder/artist heroine who I adored, family drama, class issues, and smoking hot D/s. (Rep: Bi heroine. Jewish hero. Bi author.)

Please Sir, May I Have Some More? (food themed stories)

  • Wrapped by Rebekah Weatherspoon (Christmas, 119 p): Baker heroine reconnects with sweet hero former coworker to try romance again after divorce. Glorious food details, so much Christmas sentiment; full of heat, heart and humor. (Rep: Fat Black heroine. Black queer author.)
  • The Remaking of Corbin Wale by Roan Parrish (Chanukah, 237 p): This is my favorite holiday story I read this year, a beautiful rather angsty m/m romance with so much baking, a lovely Chanukah feast, and characters that stole my heart and gave me so many feels. I especially appreciated the autistic artist MC, and the kink, and also the dogs. (Rep: Jewish gay MC. Gay autistic MC.)
  • A Little Familiar by R Cooper (Halloween and Samhain, 91 p) Gorgeously written witch/familiar romance complete with long term pining, pagan community, a ghost, and so much cooking it made me ravenous. I fell hard for the genderfluid familiar, and had so many feels for the witch hero who thought he’d always be alone. (Rep: Gay MC. Genderfluid love interest.)
  • A Great Miracle Happened There by Kim Fielding (Chanukah, 62 p) A latke surprise meal for the first night of Chanukah, a baker love interest who is more than a one night stand after all, a m/m romance that was just the kind of sweetness I needed. (Rep: Gay Jewish MCs.)

Free Online Shorts

  • Miss Dominguez’s Christmas Kiss by Lydia San Andres (Christmas): Sweet historical f/f romance short about two women who share a room at a boarding house (and a secret attraction to one another). (Rep: Latinx lesbian MCs. Latinx author.)
  • Elixer Fixer by NG Peltier (Christmas): This is a lovely f/f friends to lovers short set at a Christmas party, centering Gale, a woman who is facing her first Christmas after her mother’s death, who decides to take a magic potion her sister made as a way to deal. It’s a prequel to a romance novel not yet published, so there is no HEA yet. (Trini MCs. Trini/West Indian author.)***
  • Bring out D’Ham by NG Peltier (Christmas): This great m/f short gives you a second taste of one of the secondary characters in Elixer Fixer, Gale’s sister Sky, a witch who has a meet-cute clash with her love interest over the last ham in the supermarket. It’s a prequel to a romance novel not yet published, so there is no HEA yet. (Trini MCs. Trini/West Indian author.)***
  • Solstice Miracle by Alexis Daria (Winter Solstice): Cute m/f short where a librarian heroine who does witch improv as a side gig has two kids grieving their mother show up at her door with their very cute uncle requesting a solstice miracle. (Rep: Latinx hero. Latinx author.)***
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