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The best Christmas romance books of all time, in my opinion, are the sweet, light, and fluffy ones that feel like a warm hug and a cup of cocoa!
I love to read (and watch!) all the holiday rom-coms during those cold winter months. There’s something so warm and cozy about snuggling up with a sweet romantic comedy around Christmas.
Sure, famous Christmas books and classics are wonderful to read around the holidays. But for me, holiday rom-coms that don’t take themselves too seriously are the best Christmas books.
They restore some of the magic of Christmastime—if you’re a romantic like I am, I’m sure you’d agree!
Here are the best Christmas books for adults that fall exclusively in the holiday rom-com category.
Swoon-Worthy Holiday Romance Books for 2023
In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren
We love a time loop! This is probably the romance book most people think of when they think Christmas rom-com books—and it deserves the hype, IMO! Christina Lauren (two authors!) have some of the best characters.
In a Holidaze has the warm Christmas setting, all the adorable holiday traditions, and just a really sweet premise. I enjoyed the groundhog day trope, but I know some readers didn’t. If you tend to need a lot of explanation for time travel, you might be bothered by it.
In general though, this book has all the warm, fuzzy Christmas vibes you search for in a holiday rom-com. It really is Love Actually meets Groundhog Day.
Here’s the synopsis:
One Christmas wish, two brothers, and a lifetime of hope are on the line for hapless Maelyn Jones in In a Holidaze, the quintessential holiday romantic novel by Christina Lauren, the New York Times bestselling author of The Unhoneymooners.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year . . . but not for Maelyn Jones. She’s living with her parents, hates her going-nowhere job, and has just made a romantic error of epic proportions.
But perhaps worst of all, this is the last Christmas Mae will be at her favorite place in the world—the snowy Utah cabin where she and her family have spent every holiday since she was born, along with two other beloved families.
Mentally melting down as she drives away from the cabin for the final time, Mae throws out what she thinks is a simple plea to the universe: Please. Show me what will make me happy.
The next thing she knows, tires screech and metal collides, everything goes black. But when Mae gasps awake . . . she’s on an airplane bound for Utah, where she begins the same holiday all over again.
With one hilarious disaster after another sending her back to the plane, Mae must figure out how to break free of the strange time loop—and finally get her true love under the mistletoe.
Jam-packed with yuletide cheer, an unforgettable cast of characters, and Christina Lauren’s trademark hijinks, this swoon-worthy romantic read will make you believe in the power of wishes and the magic of the holidays.
In a Holidaze was published on October 6, 2020, from Gallery Books.
One Day in December by Josie Silver
Oh, this Christmas romance book! One Day in December is another memorable Christmas love story for romantic comedy lovers! Josie Silver knows how to write a love story. I haven’t read many romance books that span a decade, but I can’t imagine it’s an easy thing to do well.
If you love stories of fate and serendipity (bonus that it’s around the holidays!), you will love this book. Listen, insta-love is pretty cheesy to me, but I bought in to this love story.
That said, this is another one that isn’t for **everyone.** Some readers did not buy the insta-love. Maybe I’m a mushy gushy reader, but I thought it was so cute.
I still think this is one of the best Christmas books for book club.
Here’s the synopsis:
Two people. Ten chances. One unforgettable love story.
Laurie is pretty sure love at first sight doesn’t exist anywhere but the movies. But then, through a misted-up bus window one snowy December day, she sees a man who she knows instantly is the one. Their eyes meet, there’s a moment of pure magic . . . and then her bus drives away.
Certain they’re fated to find each other again, Laurie spends a year scanning every bus stop and cafe in London for him. But she doesn’t find him, not when it matters anyway.
Instead they “reunite” at a Christmas party, when her best friend Sarah giddily introduces her new boyfriend to Laurie. It’s Jack, the man from the bus. It would be.
What follows for Laurie, Sarah and Jack is ten years of friendship, heartbreak, missed opportunities, roads not taken, and destinies reconsidered.
One Day in December is a joyous, heartwarming and immensely moving love story to escape into and a reminder that fate takes inexplicable turns along the route to happiness.
One Day in December was published on October 16, 2018, from Ballantine Books.
My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories by contributing authors
I read this Christmas anthology several years ago, but I still think about it around the holidays!
My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories features stories by some of the most popular young adult writers, at least from 2010 to 2014! Gayle Forman, Stephanie Perkins, David Levithan, Rainbow Rowell, Laini Taylor, and more.
I enjoyed some stories more than others, for sure, but in general, this is a cozy young adult romance to peruse this holiday season. Stories span Christmas, Hanukkah, Winter Solstice, and New Year’s, so it’s quite inclusive.
Here’s the synopsis:
If you love holiday stories, holiday movies, made-for-TV-holiday specials, holiday episodes of your favorite sitcoms and, especially, if you love holiday anthologies, you’re going to fall in love with My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories by twelve bestselling young adult writers, edited by international bestselling author Stephanie Perkins.
Whether you enjoy celebrating Christmas or Hanukkah, Winter Solstice or New Year’s there’s something here for everyone. So curl up by the fireplace and get cozy.
You have twelve reasons this season to stay indoors and fall in love.
My True Love Gave to Me was published on October 14, 2014, from St. Martin’s Griffin.
The Adults by Caroline Hulse
Thank you to the publisher for this complimentary book! Okay, The Adults is a wild ride. If you like dark humor in your rom-coms, this one might be for you! The premise of two exes vacationing together over the holidays—with their partners and their daughter—is messy. But I was here for it.
The story begins with a phone call to the police, and I definitely tore through this book to find out what happened.
What you will find is a ticking time bomb. It’s honestly kind of stressful at times, pretty hilarious, and just all-around entertaining!
Here’s the synopsis:
Meet The Adults.
Claire and Matt are divorced but decide what’s best for their daughter Scarlett is to have a “normal” family Christmas.
They can’t agree on whose idea it was, or who said they should bring their new partners. But someone did—and it’s too late to pull the plug.
Claire brings her new boyfriend Patrick, a seemingly eligible Iron-Man-in-Waiting. Matt brings the new love of his life Alex, funny, smart, and extremely patient.
Scarlett, their daughter, brings her imaginary friend Posey. He’s a rabbit.
Together the five (or six?) of them grit their teeth over Organized Fun activities, drinking a little too much after bed-time, oversharing classified secrets about their pasts and, before you know it, their holiday is a powder keg that ends—where this story starts—with a tearful, frightened, call to the police. . . .
But what happened? They said they’d all be adults about this. . . .
The Adults was published on August 23, 2018, from Orion.
Wrapped with a Beau by Lillie Vale
Thank you to the publisher for this complimentary book! Wrapped with a Beau is your quintessential Hallmark-movie style book. The small town charm, grinch-y male character inconveniently thrown into the path of a Christmas-loving, small-town-girl-next-door protagonist.
The descriptions of the town and the holiday vibes are perfection. It’s cozy and sweet. If you don’t like the “curmudgeonly, sarcastic guy gets the nice girl” trope, you probably won’t like this story. But I enjoyed it!
And holy guacamole, this is one of the Christmas romance books that is SPICY. All the tension and banter. Like, 5 jalapeños spicy. Very open door, folks, so if that’s not your thing, you may want to skip.
Meet-cutes are everywhere you look. Save a local business, protect a landmark, fall in love with a wholesome small-town girl. Maybe she’s the hot lumberjane daughter of a tree farmer! Kiss under a blanket fort! Break your rule about holiday romance! Do everything different. The opportunities are endless.Lillie Vale, Wrapped with a beau
Here’s the synopsis:
In its heyday, Piney Peaks and its beloved Christmas house were made famous by Sleighbells under Starlight, a romantic holiday movie. Fifty years later, the small town is ready for a new love story.
As a successful film liaison, Elisha Rowe has her heart set on one thing and one thing putting her hometown back on the map.
So, when she gets the chance to secure the long-hoped-for sequel to Sleighbells under Starlight, a beloved holiday movie, she’s willing to do whatever it takes to make sure everything goes smoothly.
Unfortunately, that includes claiming to have already gotten permission to film at the historic Christmas house—permission she was very much denied by the gorgeous new owner.
City boy Ves Hollins is only back in Piney Peaks long enough to sell the house he inherited from his great-aunt.
The holidays have always been tough for Ves, and it’s not any easier when he’s distracted by memories of a Christmas long, long ago, and the irresistible charm of neighbor Elisha.
He has no plans to put down roots or fall in love . . . even if Elisha unravels his hesitations like a bad Christmas sweater.
There’s no question the two are opposites in every way. Ves is undeniably frosty. Elisha is brimming with warmth. He doesn’t do commitment.
She never runs from a challenge. But as the two grow closer, they quickly realize that the growing spark between them may be just what the season calls for.
Wrapped with a Beau was published on September 26, 2023, from G. P. Putnam’s Sons.
The Ex-Mas Holidays by Zoe Allison
Thank you to the publisher for this complimentary book! The Ex-Mas Holidays is another fun Hallmark-movie style book with all the Christmas vibes! Any setting that includes a ski resort over the holidays is a perfect cozy winter read.
This second-chance romance nails the toxic relationships and dysfunctional family dynamics. There were times reading it that I felt like the lack of communication as a plot point was pretty unbelievable.
I always find it a tad annoying when characters’ motives and actions could be easily altered with a quick conversation.
BUT, I tend to suspend belief with my holiday romantic comedies 😂 And there were definitely layers of complication.
Here’s the synopsis:
It’s hard to escape your ex when you’re working together over Christmas in the Scottish Highlands, but being stuck together might be the best possible present in this sparkling new contemporary romance.
Maya Bashir is dreading her drive home for Christmas and having to explain that she’s just left her high-paying job and a long-term relationship, so a brief detour to her friend’s festive party doesn’t seem like such a bad idea.
Until Maya walks in to find the last person she wants to see. Sam, the boy who broke her heart eight years ago. And he’s serving drinks. Naked.
Sam Holland is working an extra job on the sly to help his friend get by. But little did he expect Maya Bashir to come barreling back into his life, learning about his secret side-hustle and taking back her old job alongside him at his daytime role as a ski instructor on the slopes of the Scottish Highlands.
As both Sam and Maya realize that their reason for heartbreak so many years ago wasn’t entirely as it seemed, they must learn to stand up for what they want the most . . . or else miss their second chance at love.
The Ex-Mas Holidays was published on September 26, 2023, from Berkley.
The Christmas Orphans Club by Becca Freeman
Thank you to the publisher for this complimentary book! The Christmas Orphans Club is an incredible Christmas friendmance. I loved this holiday story so much.
The intimacy of the friend group, particularly between the two main characters, Hannah and Finn, felt similar to the friend group in Emily Henry’s Happy Place—even though they are so different.
Maybe it’s because I’m a sucker for found family and NYC Christmas stories, but this book hit all the notes for me. It’s festive, hilarious, and heartwarming.
I’ve never devoured a book about deep platonic love like this one. There’s no doubt about it: The Christmas Orphans Club is a friendmance with a side of romance. It will make your heart ache in the best way.
Here’s the synopsis:
The Christmas Orphans Club is a riotous holiday rom-com about four friends in NYC who hold onto their unconventional Christmas tradition even when their paths diverge—but the changes they fear might be exactly what they need. . . .
Hannah and Finn have spent every Christmas together since college. Neither has anywhere else to go—Hannah’s parents died, and Finn’s disowned him when he came out.
Their tradition of offbeat holiday adventures only grows more outrageous with time.
When the pair starts their adult lives in New York City, they add stylish Priya and mysterious Theo to the group, solidifying a found family and sense of belonging they’ve always craved.
But now, when Finn announces a move to L.A., this Christmas may be their last. Hannah is terrified of losing the family she’s built for herself, even as her boyfriend nudges her toward commitment.
Meanwhile, Finn struggles with the things he’s about to leave behind—namely, his unexpressed feelings for Theo.
Does growing up mean growing apart? This Christmas the changes these friends fear may be exactly what they need. . . .
The Christmas Orphans Club was published on September 26, 2023, from Penguin Books.
A Winter in New York by Josie Silver
Thank you to the publisher for this complimentary book! Josie Silver does it again! A Winter in New York is a fabulous Christmas romance book. It may be my favorite Christmas book of 2023.
A Winter in New York is a charming, heartbreaking-in-a-good-way, evocative, cozy, and festive romance book.
You will find darker, heavier themes in this book, including grief, loss, domestic and emotional abuse, family dysfunction and secrets, and much more.
But in my opinion, Josie Silver hits all the right notes in a holiday romance book.
If you like foodie stories, books centered in NYC, stories of self-discovery and courage, and an endearing mother-daughter focus, you will love this book.
The road ahead is a blaze of color, every house almost obscured by Christmas lights and ornaments. Huge golden snowflakes, life-size snowmen, illuminated Santas climbing down chimneys. This is the America of my childhood movie-spun fantasies, Disney-bold and brashly beautiful.—Josie Silver, A Winter in New York
Here’s the synopsis:
A young chef stumbles on a secret family recipe that might lead her to the love—and life—she’s been looking for in this stunning novel.
When Iris decides to move to New York to restart her life, she realizes she underestimated how big the Big Apple really is—all the nostalgic movies set in New York she’d watched with her mom while eating their special secret-recipe gelato didn’t quite do it justice.
But Bobby, Iris’s best friend, isn’t about to let her hide away. He drags her to a famous autumn street fair in Little Italy, and as they walk through the food stalls, a little family-run gelateria catches her eye—could it be the same shop that’s in an old photo of her mother’s?
Curious, Iris returns the next day and meets the handsome Gio, who tells her that the shop is in danger of closing. His uncle, sole keeper of their family’s gelato recipe, is in a coma, so they can’t make more.
When Iris samples the last remaining batch, she realizes that their gelato and her gelato are one and the same.
But how can she tell them she knows their secret recipe when she’s not sure why Gio’s uncle gave it to her mother in the first place?
Iris offers her services as a chef to help them re-create the flavor and finds herself falling for Gio and his family.
But when Gio’s uncle finally wakes up, all of the secrets Iris has been keeping threaten to ruin the new life—and new love—she’s been building all winter long.
A Winter in New York was published on October 3, 2023, from Delacorte Press.
All I Want for Christmas by Maggie Knox
Thank you to the publisher for this complimentary book! All I Want for Christmas is a fake dating romance with all the fun tropes, including a bit of enemies to lovers, sunshine meets the grump, and a celebrity love interest.
I always love a reality show that showcases the production manipulation. Hello, it’s why I love-hate the Bachelor franchise!
I’m also a sucker for a good musician story. A love story where the chemistry shows up in the music and spills out into messy ways in their personal lives? Oh, yes.
There were times the main characters pissed me off because of their lack of communication that could have easily been solved, so if that’s a pet peeve for you in your reading life, you may want to avoid this one.
Here’s the synopsis:
True love wasn’t on their holiday wish list.
When Sadie and Max are selected as contestants on the famed reality singing show Starmaker, each thinks they’ve finally gotten their big Nashville break. But then they’re paired up for duet week and stun the world with their romantic onstage chemistry.
With fans going wild for #Saxie the network demands that they remain a duo on and offstage, or exit the competition.
Faking a relationship until their final performance in the Starmaker holiday special shouldn’t be too hard, except for one small problem—Sadie and Max can’t stand each other.
But with their dreams just within reach, they agree to the ruse.
Will their fake relationship be exposed before they can win? Or will an unexpected trip to Banff spark real feelings by the Christmas finale?
All I Want for Christmas was published on October 4, 2022, from Viking.
The Holiday Swap by Maggie Knox
Thank you to the publisher for this complimentary book! We love a twin swap! I guess it’s because I’m a twin, but I love a good twin story! Also, there’s something about holiday baking that just makes for the perfect Christmas romantic comedy.
Two twins who bake but have very different futures and baking career paths? Two twins who have their own love stories? Mishaps and mayhem? Yes, yes, and yes!
The Holiday Swap is a sweet romantic comedy with all the festive Christmas vibes, but it is predictable.
If that’s a problem for you in your holiday Hallmark movies or rom-com books, I’d steer clear. Otherwise, give it a shot! It’s endearing!
Here’s the synopsis:
All they want for Christmas is a different life.
When chef Charlie Goodwin gets hit on the head on the L.A. set of her reality baking show, she loses a lot more than consciousness; she also loses her ability to taste and smell—both critical to her success as show judge.
Meanwhile, Charlie’s identical twin, Cass, is frantically trying to hold her own life together back in their quaint mountain hometown while running the family’s bustling bakery and dealing with her ex, who won’t get the memo that they’re over.
With only days until Christmas, a desperate Charlie asks Cass to do something they haven’t done since they were kids: switch places.
Looking for her own escape from reality, Cass agrees.
But temporarily trading lives proves more complicated than they imagined, especially when rugged firefighter Jake Greenman and gorgeous physician’s assistant Miguel Rodriguez are thrown into the mix.
Will the twins’ identity swap be a recipe for disaster, or does it have all the right ingredients for getting their lives back on track?
The Holiday Swap was published on September 30, 2021, from G. P. Putnam’s Sons.
Love, Holly by Emily Stone
Love, Holly is on a lot of people’s lists this holiday season. This Christmas romance book is a tearjerker, so get ready!
Endearing, tender, charming, and bittersweet in all the right ways, Love, Holly is the perfect holiday romance book. It’s a cozy closed-door romance with found family, which is so nice to read around the holidays!
If you’re a sensitive reader, make sure to check the content warnings. It’s a heavier read, so you need to be in the right mindset for this one.
Here’s the synopsis:
A young woman tries to heal a rift in her elderly pen pal’s family in time for Christmas, all while falling in love—and maybe even reuniting with her own family—in this dazzling romance from the author of Always, in December and One Last Gift.
Sometimes it takes a stranger to bring you back to yourself.
Ever since a car accident tore her family apart, Holly has been part of a lonely-hearts holiday letter–writing club.
Each December, she writes to a stranger who is also spending Christmas alone, and receives a letter from another lonely person in return.
Usually, the letters go unanswered. That’s the point—the letters are anonymous, and the senders write whatever is in their heart.
But this year, the letter Holly receives is different; not only is the letter full of a grief she knows all too well, but its writer, Emma, mentions a place that Holly has visited.
When she realizes that she might actually be able to find the letter’s author, Holly becomes determined to reunite Emma with the estranged grandson, Jack, with whom Emma is desperate to reconnect.
When Holly finally tracks him down, she remembers that she’s met Jack once before . . . and the connection was electric.
The spark between the two of them is still there—until a misunderstanding risks their burgeoning romance and his strained relationship with Emma, too.
But Holly is determined; if she can fix Emma’s family, she might also be able to fix her own. Though as it turns out, Holly might have less time to put things right than she thought.
Love, Holly was published on September 26, 2023, from Dell.
So, This is Christmas by Tracy Andreen
So, This Is Christmas is a sweet-but-not-too-sweet, quirky, wholesome, feel-good young adult Christmas book!
It has misadventure, family drama, and a top-notch Christmas atmosphere. This book is part of a sweet duology—the second book is So, This Is Love. I haven’t read the second one (yet!), but I’ve heard good things.
I will say, this felt on the younger side of YA, but I think it works if you like the simplicity of Hallmark Christmas movies. If you prefer steamy holiday romance novels, this one probably won’t be a staple for you.
Here’s the synopsis:
When Finley Brown returned to her hometown of Christmas, Oklahoma, from boarding school, she expected to find it just as she left it.
Christmas hasn’t changed much in her sixteen years.
But instead she returns to find that her best friend is dating her ex-boyfriend, her parents have separated, and her archnemesis got a job working at her grandmother’s inn.
And she certainly didn’t expect to find the boy she may or may not have tricked into believing that Christmas was an idyllic holiday paradise on her grandmother’s doorstep.
It’s up to Finley to make sure he gets the Christmas he was promised. This is Finley’s Christmas.
It’s about home and family and friends and finding her place, and along the way she also finds the best Christmas present of all: love.
So, This Is Christmas was published on October 12, 2021, from Viking Books for Young Readers.
Best Christmas Books 2023
There were so many other holiday rom-com books I could have added to the list, but these felt like the best Christmas books for adults in the romance category.
If you love to read holiday romance books, and I missed one of your favorites, let me know! I’m always looking to add to my best Christmas books to read list.
Looking for another romance book? Search the title and shop at Bookshop.org!