6 Swoon-Worthy Holiday Romances To Read This Season

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Dec. 25 2023, Published 8:10 a.m. ET

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There’s something about the holiday season that makes me want to curl up with a good romance novel that has me squealing and kicking my feet like I don’t have a whole husband. Small towns. Christmas tree farms. Fake dating. Mistletoe kisses. Unique stories with diverse characters. Just give me all of it!

Reading lighthearted romances is one of the best forms of self-care, and there is no shortage of holiday love stories to get you into a warm and festive mood.

Here are six holiday romances to read this season.

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This multi-faith holiday romance takes place 23 years ago, when Christmas, Hanukkah and Ramadan all fell around the same time. That’s three times the chaos and three times the holiday magic. And as a Muslim girlie who doesn’t celebrate any of the mainstream holidays, I feel seen.

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A plane ride gone wrong quite literally lands our main characters, Maryam and Anna, into their own small-town holiday romance. Maryam is an eldest daughter shouldering the weight of family expectations while attempting to reconnect with an old flame who may or may not have overheard an intimate confession. Anna discovers unexpected sparks with someone she meets in town while grappling with the grief from losing her father and the anxiety of not being the perfect match for her current boyfriend.

Through their relationships, both platonic and romantic, the characters find themselves on a journey of self-discovery. It’s a holiday read unlike any other.

This is the ultimate wholesome, small town, friends-to-lovers holiday romance. The main character, Stella, is the owner of a charming Christmas tree farm that is financially failing. In order to gain fate-altering publicity, she enters a contest hosted by a well-known influencer. The only problem? She lied on her application and said she runs the farm with her boyfriend who doesn’t exist.

This book had me blushing like I was the one being wooed. All the characters are so charming you can’t help but root for them. And if you want more, you’re in luck, because there are two more equally wholesome, equally spicy books that focus on Stella’s business partners.

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Margot, the leading character in this read, is a no-nonsense businesswoman who just broke up with her girlfriend and is in dire need of a getaway. She makes a pact with a lonely, single man named Ben to be his “fake girlfriend” and accompany him home for the holidays. As fated for all fake-dating storylines, Margot falls in love, but not with Ben. She’s in love with his sister, Ellie.

There aren’t enough LGBTQ holiday romances, in my opinion, so this one was a breath of fresh air.

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What’s a Christmas drama without healthy competition fueled by the threat of unemployment? In this cozy rivals-to-lovers read, our main character, Gabby, is a quirky bookseller for a store that’s about to go out of business. Her grumpy coworker, Jonathan, refuses to go down with the ship. The two characters strike a deal: whoever sells more books gets to stay on through the new year while the other quits.

This competition coupled with a persistent ex and a mysterious online friend makes for an exciting story. It’s a quick read with autism representation, sweet characters and plenty of holiday cheer.

Our leading woman, Holly, refuses to give up on love despite being left alone at the altar on Christmas Eve. She just needs a little coaching. Enter Kai, our handsome but grumpy restaurant owner. Tired of seeing Holly come in night after night with a different mediocre date, he agrees to help her find her dream man, as long as it means she’ll stop coming to his restaurant. As Holly’s confidence grows and she finds someone who may stick around past the first date, Kai’s helpful attitude turns to jealousy. 

This book contains one jaw-dropping plot twist after the other. It is with giddy joy that readers watch Kai pine over Holly and attempt to step up and shoot his shot at being Holly’s ultimate date.

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This is an unconventional and bizarre holiday read that will have you cackling. It’s a BookTok favorite for a reason.

This book follows a snotty and spoiled woman named Bettie who has just hit rock bottom. Her parents cut her off from their money so she is struggling to survive while trying to present an extravagant image on social media. Enter Hall, a “holiday spirit” who was accidentally summoned by Bettie in the weirdest way possible.

With Hall’s help, Bettie has the opportunity to turn her life around. But will she become a better person or revert to her old selfish ways? And what will happen when Hall? Who is she becoming increasingly attached to but is no longer there to guide her?

Try one of these books during your holiday break, especially since many of us deserve some quiet reading time after a hectic year.

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By: Bareerah Zafar

Bareerah Zafar is a Seattle-based journalist who turned her high school reputation of "angry brown girl" into a career in writing. Her work focuses on intersectional stories covering lifestyle, travel, identity and social justice. When she's not writing, you can find her in a cozy corner snuggling with her cats and a book.

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