There’s nothing more romantic than Christmas time. And along with the festive romance novel comes a delicious set of seasonal tropes working not so undercover to help our two romantic leads find each other and their happy ending. So, cuddle up with a snuggly blanket and a hot chocolate, and let me share with you my top tropes in the festive romance genre.

Author Helen Hawkins Credit Yolanda Colucci

Author Helen Hawkins Credit Yolanda Colucci

First up is the ‘I Hate Christmas Hero’. Just like the classic friends to lovers trope, it’s always a thrill to see someone who’s been misguided for the majority of a novel discover the error of their ways, just in time to find happiness – and love – at Christmas. It doesn’t matter what hideous happening has fuelled their Christmas loathing, whether they’re a workaholic, a grumpy single or someone who’s been hurt during Christmases past; by the end of the best festive romances, the character finds the true meaning of Christmas and falls in love – delicious!

One of my favourite festive romantic tropes is the use of a Christmassy activity to bring the heroes of the story together. What better way to fall in love than to grow close while baking and decorating Christmas cookies or putting up the Christmas tree? The opportunities for a flirty food fight or conversations of the heart against the warm glow of fairy lights are the perfect backdrop for a blossoming romance. Even better if coming together for festive fun is the moment the ‘I hate Christmas hero’ discovers that they don’t, in fact, hate Christmas – or their love interest – at all.

Fake relationships are a favourite trope year round, but at Christmas, the fake relationship is even more fun – especially when the fake relationship takes our heroes home to their families for Christmas. Christmas is, after all, the perfect time to spend quality time with family. In fact, our festive heroes are likely to find that Christmas is an opportunity to meet their romantic interest’s extended family – and usually, they are extremely welcoming and one reason they start to give the love interest their attention. Even better when they find themselves sharing a bed or that delicious moment when an aunty suggests they share a kiss, usually accompanied by feelings that they didn’t know they had.

The cold and snow of the winter season is the perfect opportunity for snuggling up close. The cool temperature and toasty warmth of blankets, pyjamas and hot water bottles are ideal for the Christmas edition of forced proximity. Better still if the cold weather is the reason that our heroes are stuck together in the first place. Imagine the storm raging outside and the crackle of a log fire to accompany our lovers’ first real heart to heart – perfect!

These are just a few of my favourite festive romance tropes. Like the best Christmas cookie recipe, mix any of these festive ingredients together and you’ll get the perfect Christmas romance. Delicious!

Author Bio

Helen Hawkins is a writer, editor and English teacher. Her first novel was shortlisted for Penguin’s Christmas Love Story Competition and highly commended in last year’s I Am In Print Romance Competition.

When she is not writing, Helen can be found editing, singing and dancing with her local operatic society in Oxfordshire.

The Book

A Concert for Christmas is a celebratory journey into the charm of the festive season. The book draws upon Helen’s love of musical theatre, community choirs and her perspetive as a schoolteacher and is set in the fictional Cotswold town of Cranswell.

Schoolteacher Sophie Lawson has fled to the Cotswold countryside after a tragic break-up and is throwing herself into dating and organising Cranswell’s annual Christmas concert.

The festive fun is marred by the arrival of a handsome but surly musical director, tricky pupils and concert preparations falling into disarray.

Disaster strikes, but the show must go on. Will the concert bring Christmas harmony to Cranswell and will Sophie end the year on a high note?

A Concert for Christmas by Helen Hawkins is published in hardback at £19.99 by Allison & Busby on 23rd November 2023.

Our thoughts

What better than the perfect romance at Christmas this touching read will fill you full of seasonal joy

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