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Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

31 Comments

  1. SB Sarah
    Oct 29, 2008 @ 11:32:20

    J: the poll above is the wrong one, but for the record: I can’t stand them. I know people love them and they sell like hotcakes made of delicious tasty clues, and hey, whatever floats your readerly boat is awesome, but I can’t stand them.

    It might be that I’m not Christian (I used to be, but I converted to Judaism). It might be because Christmas starts DURING Halloween. Srsly. The CVS near me already has the Christmas decorations up. It might be all that forced joviality and faux compassion that dissolves come 2 January when everyone is hungover and cold. It might be that by the time Christmas actually rolls around, it’s anticlimactic. The build up is so awful and over the top that I’m over it by December 15 and ready for it to be over long before it arrives. But whatever the reason, I don’t like Christmas romances. Not my fave.

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  2. Jane
    Oct 29, 2008 @ 11:35:59

    @SB Sarah: Thanks and sorry. As you can see the “Christian” thing is one of the answers I put in the poll. I can’t remember who I was talking to about why there weren’t more ethnic romances (i.e., jewish).

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  3. Jill Myles
    Oct 29, 2008 @ 11:57:41

    I’m not overly religious (I’m what I lovingly refer to as a ‘Bad Catholic’) but I have to admit I do love Christmas-themed stories. Mostly because the sappy-factor is through the roof, and Christmas is the only sort of context in which I appreciate record levels of sappiness. But that being said, it has to be done well by the author. The few Christmas-themed books I’ve read lately mentioned Christmas once or twice, and then never again, and that irritated the snot out of me.

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  4. Michelle
    Oct 29, 2008 @ 12:13:41

    I love them. It’s the only kind of anthology I buy with any regularity, and I’ve already started reading this year’s crop of Christmas historical anthologies. I always get the Harlequin Historical western set of Christmas stories and miss the Signet Regency one a lot. I do tend to buy more of the historical ones than the contemporary ones, but I have also bought a lot of Harlequin Superromance Christmas stories through the years.

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  5. theo
    Oct 29, 2008 @ 12:14:04

    I voted yes, but I have to say, I like them in anthologies. I’m not big on the novel sized ones. A nice little heartwarming, quick read that gives me back a bit of the feel-good perspective when the holiday rush gets too much is a nice thing for me. I can curl up for an hour with a hot chocolate (or a hot toddy depending on the time of day) and lose myself in a short story that gives me an HEA, even if the day hasn’t. They could be about the Fourth of July though, since it’s not the specific holiday but the overall mood in them that I enjoy.

    JMHO though.

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  6. Meljean
    Oct 29, 2008 @ 12:15:58

    I like them, and I don’t even celebrate Christmas.

    It does make me shake my head, though, when I see them coming out in October.

    ETA: Ah, yes. I’m with theo — I only look at the anthologies. I don’t buy any single-titles with a Christmas theme.

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  7. Jessica
    Oct 29, 2008 @ 12:33:23

    I can’t stand them. I never read a holiday themed anthology until I happened upon one for free – and even then I wanted to throw it against the wall. Too sappy, too religious, too apple-pie for me.

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  8. Jill Myles
    Oct 29, 2008 @ 12:52:08

    I haven’t ran into many that are ultra-religious (I might be too picky/sensitive to pick up that vibe) but I think if you are going to write a holiday story, I’d better friggin’ be living the holiday with them. The hero better have a Christmas tree strapped to his back and the heroine had better be adorning herself with candy canes and the dog needs to fart Jingle Bells or something. That’s my biggest beef — when we get the ultra-christmasy cover and then you open up the book and it’s the SOS (same ol’ you-know-what). If you’re selling me Christmas, you’d better give me Christmas.

    I remember last year I bought a book that had a Christmas-y title and I got about 40 pages in and it was about NOTHING that related to Christmas, and it really pissed me off (can’t you tell? lol).

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  9. Noelle
    Oct 29, 2008 @ 13:01:55

    I voted yes because when my paternal grandmother was alive I would always go to the bookstore right after thanksgiving and buy her four or five holiday themed romances to help her kick off her holiday season.

    Both my grandmothers were avid romance readers. It’s werid that I got so much later in life.

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  10. jmc
    Oct 29, 2008 @ 13:04:49

    As a rule, I don’t like them. The only exceptions I’ve found are Carla Kelly’s novellas, which were released in Signet anthologies.

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  11. MsValerie
    Oct 29, 2008 @ 13:17:09

    Ehhhh…I really dislike holiday-themed stories, including not only Christmas, but Valentine’s Day, Halloween, and the rest. It isn’t the stories I dislike necessarily, though I read so few of them that it’s hard to say that. I just think the practice is trite and sappy and…contrived.

    The *only* time I will read a holiday-themed story is when it is by one of my must-buy authors, and those are usually novellas in anthologies, like the recent “Magical Christmas Cat.” I actually enjoyed all four of the stories in that anthology, and will very likely read some other work by Erin McCarthy and Linda Winstead Jones (both new to me). I won’t buy this book, even though Nalini Singh and Lora Leigh are both must-buy authors for me, as I just don’t buy anthologies.

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  12. EssieLou
    Oct 29, 2008 @ 13:19:51

    As an anthology, they’re a lot of fun. I adore Christmas and love doing anything to heighten the season mentally for me. Transiberian Railroad playing while I read Christmas stories of all kinds helps to keep me in the spirit.

    As for CVS having their decorations already up…that’s the commerical side of Christmas and I just ignore it. You gotta make the season work for you, not the other way around. Heck, I don’t finish decorating my tree until Christmas Eve and it stays up until January 7th.

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  13. MoJo
    Oct 29, 2008 @ 13:38:31

    I don’t like them, but I couldn’t tell you why. I just don’t.

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  14. Hilcia
    Oct 29, 2008 @ 14:13:13

    I don’t really like Christmas books. They usually turn out too sugary sweet for my taste. I don’t buy them. That goes for other holiday related books or anthologies as well; Valentine’s, Thanksgiving, etc…. not for me.

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  15. Rebecca
    Oct 29, 2008 @ 14:24:16

    But I would like to read more romances centered around Jewish and Muslim, Shinto and Hindu holidays…

    I think that would be so interesting.

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  16. Shiloh Walker
    Oct 29, 2008 @ 14:56:37

    I like some of them-I love the Christmas season, so the holiday aspects wouldn’t bother me. Just depends on the story.

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  17. (Jān)
    Oct 29, 2008 @ 15:20:28

    I really miss the Signet Regency anthologies. Some of their best authors always wrote in those, and while there was always a dog or two, there were always quality stories as well.

    Plus my mom liked getting them for Christmas. Now with so many around, most of the stories are crap and I no longer buy them for myself or her.

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  18. Sandy (Strlady)
    Oct 29, 2008 @ 15:28:31

    It’s not so much the holiday themed books (books that revolve finding a HEA for Xmas) but I do like to read books that take place during the holiday season.
    Using movies as an example: The Family Stone (w/ Sarah Jessica Parker) vs Bridget Jones Diary.
    Both are excellent movies but one is very focued on the holiday while the other takes place during the holiday season.

    I find that the books that are focused on the holiday lose a bit of substance while having the book take place around the holiday does not make the celebration such a focus.

    Hope that makes sense.

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  19. Lori
    Oct 29, 2008 @ 15:53:42

    I’m Jewish but I love the Christmas anthologies too. I wouldn’t buy a full novel with a holiday theme but anthologies are perfect. I do miss the olden days when the Christmas season started after Thanksgiving instead of September *grrr* but sitting up late with holiday decorations and reading sappy stories with dogs farting jingle bells just makes the season special…

    So do you think there’s a market for a story where the dog farts The Dreidle Song instead? Must ponder…

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  20. Ann Bruce
    Oct 29, 2008 @ 19:14:42

    Being a seasonal Catholic (Easter and Christmas), I enjoy the occasional holiday-themed story, but I find most to be more sugary than the icing on gingerbread houses.

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  21. DS
    Oct 29, 2008 @ 20:01:00

    Nope, don’t buy any type of holiday themed stories. And I used to just fume at the covers on Signet Regency holidays. They had a real late 19th century American christmas look for an early 19th century British setting.

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  22. Kaetrin
    Oct 29, 2008 @ 21:28:45

    I don’t buy a story merely because it is Christmas themed. I tend to buy stories by my favourite authors and if they write a Christmas themed story, then I’m in. Mary Balogh, Jenny Crusie, Suzanne Brockmann have all written Christmas themed books/books set over the holiday period and I have enjoyed them. Robyn Carr has a new book out in the Virgin River series – Presumably it is Christmas themed because it is called “A Virgin River Christmas” (:P) but I’m gonna get it because I LOVE the Virgin River series.

    I didn’t vote in the poll because there wasn’t a “depends on who wrote it” option! :)

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  23. SonomaLass
    Oct 29, 2008 @ 21:32:33

    Mostly they make my teeth hurt. I’m a bit of a Christmas and Valentine’s Day cynic anyway, and most of the holiday romances I’ve read are one or the other of those. They feel forced to me. I don’t mind if a romance plot occurs over a time line that includes a holiday (sometimes the plot device of the extended family getting together is just what’s needed), but the theme ones I rarely enjoy. Even with authors I normally like, I don’t enjoy their holiday stories as much as their other work.

    I have enjoyed some historical novels that have worked in (not info-dumped) holiday traditions of different time periods and countries. I’d enjoy more of those, especially holidays other than Christmas.

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  24. Lisa J
    Oct 30, 2008 @ 08:26:09

    Anthologies get my vote, too. A full holiday themed book is usually too much for me. I admit, I only buy the anthology if it has at least one of my favorite authors in it.

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  25. kerry
    Oct 30, 2008 @ 08:36:13

    I love the anthologies. I have seen a few “Christmas” ones that had stories in them about Hanukkah and Kwanzaa. One of the Halloween ones I bought this year had a pagan/Samhain storyline which was kind of cool (but didn’t influence the story enough, IMO).

    I mostly just like the Halloween/”Christmas” ones, though. For some reason cold weather makes me want to curl up with a book of these. Fourth of July holiday ones, not so much.

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  26. Marianne McA
    Oct 30, 2008 @ 09:52:27

    Yes, there’s a moment on Christmas Eve, when I’ve finished running round like a headless chicken, but can’t go to bed because there will be stockings to fill later, when a Christmas Story is exactly the right thing to read. I’ve already bought this year’s book: it’s a secondhand anthology which includes a story from Carla Kelly that I haven’t ever read.

    We always had a story on Christmas Eve – long after we’d passed the stage of being read to, my mum would still gather us round the fire on that evening, take out her dad’s copy of Dickens ‘A Christmas Carol’ and read it to us.

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  27. Leah
    Oct 30, 2008 @ 12:13:25

    I like Christmas stories and movies, esp. sweet, sappy, and funny–so long as nobody dies. I pretty much like anything with a holiday theme, and would be interested in non-Christian holidays as well. Christmas is a faortie, though, because in books, you can get the Norman Rockwell kind of holiday that doesn’t really happen much in real life–at least, not when extended family is involved.

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  28. cathryn fox
    Oct 30, 2008 @ 13:14:42

    I voted yes. I love them in anthology form.

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  29. karmelrio
    Oct 30, 2008 @ 14:58:30

    No, I don’t like them. The stories tend to be too saccharine for me. And (how to explain this…) I’m a bit of a cynic about the juxtoposition of holidays and leveraging people’s emotional conenction to holidays as a marketing tool. When I pick up a holiday themed book, I feel a lot of them smack of “revenue generating opportunity.”

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  30. theo
    Oct 30, 2008 @ 17:45:13

    I definitely understand the saccharine quality that many dislike. It was one of those saccharine ones that pulled me back into Christmas though after a few years of trying to avoid the holiday completely.

    I quit Christmas for a few years when I buried my mom on Christmas Eve morning and became my devastated and perpetually ill father’s caretaker. A couple years after she passed, I picked up a Christmas anthology because for some reason, the cover just caught my eye.

    Saccharine? Oh, you betcha! And I cried all the way through it. Something I didn’t have time to do after my mother passed and still haven’t really, just from memories of her.

    So every year I buy a new one, curl up in that chair and have my cathartic moments. For me, the $8 is worth every penny.

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  31. Jessica
    Oct 30, 2008 @ 21:07:38

    Christmas stories are fine (Last year I read a nice holiday category –probably recommended by DA as 90% of my book purchases are — in which the hero died in like the second chapter and the heroine got to relive the prior day over.

    Just once I would like to see the hot Hanukkah romance. Since it’s not a particularly important Jewish holiday (It has no biblical basis, but it’s gotten elevated for obvious reasons), you could have a field day with the sexual possibilities presented by spin the dreidel and hot menorah wax, not to mention greasy latkes. Wait. Scratch that last one.

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