The best queer romance books that capture the magic of the holidays

Who am I?

I’ve adored holiday love stories ever since I was a kid watching Hallmark movies. There’s something about the magic of the holidays that makes two people falling in love even more special. That’s why I chose a contemporary holiday romance for my debut. And we see so much straight romance on TV and in bookstores, but I want to contribute to the queer community with my writing. I write a mix of sexualities; Make the Yuletide Gay features two lesbian women. All that to say, I just love queer holiday romances!


I wrote...

Make the Yuletide Gay

By Ivy L. James,

Book cover of Make the Yuletide Gay

What is my book about?

Make the Yuletide Gay is a steamy contemporary lesbian holiday romance novella about two women who get snowed in at a small B&B on their way to a conference. Tropes include grump/sunshine, age gap, workplace romance, and only one bed.

The books I picked & why

Shepherd is reader supported. We may earn an affiliate commission when you buy through links on our website. This is how we fund this project for readers and authors (learn more).

Don't Stop Believing

By Gwen Hayes,

Book cover of Don't Stop Believing

Why this book?

I learned about the existence of Don’t Stop Believing through Gwen Hayes’ writing craft book Romancing the Beat. She used it as her example outline. It was the first thing I read to pick out story beats, and I meant to focus on writing craft while reading, but I fell in love with the characters. Both leads are precious! It gets me in the holiday mood but I reread this one all year round. Snowed in at Christmastime when they both secretly like the other already? Gimme gimme gimme (this book after midnight). It’s just so festive and cute.

Don't Stop Believing

By Gwen Hayes,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Don't Stop Believing as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Ogre from the HillSimon Powell, the town recluse, only comes to town to deliver firewood and get supplies. Two days before Christmas, he sees the new librarian’s car in a ditch and knows he can’t leave him on the road, but it’s too late to take him back to town. He’ll have something he’s never had in his cabin in the ten years that’s he’s lived there…company. The Book Nerd from the CityAdam Parker moved to the small community to make big changes in his life, but being snowbound with the bearded lumberjack in his rustic cabin was something…


Champagne Kisses

By M.J. Duncan,

Book cover of Champagne Kisses

Why this book?

This one is technically New Year’s holidays, not Christmas specifically, but it swept me away with the meet cute and resulting fake dating. The main couple is adorable, and so is the side couple whose wedding they’re attending. Beau? Charms my pants off. The kisses (and more) steam up my glasses. I also appreciate the nonbinary representation; Alex is hilarious. It’s funny and cute and ugh, I just love it so much.

Champagne Kisses

By M.J. Duncan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Champagne Kisses as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Flying solo at a wedding is the absolute last way Aubrey Gill wants to ring in the new year, so when she rolls into Whistler for the event, it’s with one goal in mind—survive the weekend. The Fates have other plans for her, however, as Beau Demers crashes into her life the moment she arrives. Young, gorgeous, and irresistibly charming, Beau quickly slips past her defenses, and Aubrey finds herself with a “date” for the weekend after all. It’s all for show, of course, except for the part where it’s the truest thing she’s ever known. And as the festivities…


Mangos and Mistletoe

By Adriana Herrera,

Book cover of Mangos and Mistletoe

Why this book?

This book made me not notice the traffic on the drive to and from my day job. I love how petty Kiskeya is, especially in the first few chapters. Also, both the leads are funny in their narration. It’s great for a li’l tee-hee-hee. I also like how the characters manage to be both similar and different – there’s enough to bond over, but they aren’t duplicates or stereotypes. Plus, who’s gonna turn down a grump/sunshine-baking partners story? Not me. 

Mangos and Mistletoe

By Adriana Herrera,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Mangos and Mistletoe as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"I had so much fun reading Mangos and Mistletoe and now I want everyone else to read it too. This is Adriana Herrera's first f/f romance and I hope it's not her last..." -The Lesbian Review

One is grumpy. One is sunshine. There is only one bed.

Kiskeya Burgos left the tropical beaches of the Dominican Republic with a lot to prove. As a pastry chef on the come up, when she arrives in Scotland, she has one goal in mind: win the Holiday Baking Challenge. Winning would prove to her family, her former boss, and most importantly to herself,…


Mistletoe and Ivy

By Jacqueline Ramsden,

Book cover of Mistletoe and Ivy

Why this book?

I opened this book and immediately felt comfortable with the narrative style: dual POV, third person, with a hint of humor right on the first page. It’s a cute little Christmassy novella. One character is a lesfic author and the other is a huge fan of hers (but doesn’t know it’s her) – I enjoyed the “mystery” of Ivy trying to piece together Kit’s pen name. Kit’s young niece was also very cute. Overall, this story just felt like a safe space. I was able to curl up and know that everything was going to be okay.

Mistletoe and Ivy

By Jacqueline Ramsden,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Mistletoe and Ivy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Ivy Stringer loves Christmas, lesfic, and, secretly, the fact that she shares a first name with her favorite author, Ivy Winters. With every book she reads, she hopes for her own magical holiday love story.

Kit Gunderson is back in Beaumont for the holidays and feeling more at home than she has in a long time, especially when she meets her adorable niece’s teacher, Ms. Stringer. As they bond over the school’s winter production, their distaste of holiday tacos, and Kit learning to ski, everything seems to be falling into place.

The only problem? Ivy’s poked around and figured out…


Under the Mistletoe

By Everly James,

Book cover of Under the Mistletoe

Why this book?

Okay, first of all, one lead starts off hating the other. Sign me up, right? I like how they’re both lesfic writers but the first two chapters immediately juxtapose where they are in their processes – one is a nobody who can’t write fast enough and the other is a big name with writer’s block. They get roomed together at a writing retreat and then snowed in, so double the forced proximity. We love to see it. For me, this book is a lovely balance of Christmassiness (let me have this word, okay?) and writerliness. It helps me remember why I enjoy writing my queer romances – for the love of storytelling, not for money or fame. (But note: I don’t condone most of the writing opinions put forth in this story.)

Under the Mistletoe

By Everly James,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Under the Mistletoe as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Samantha Evans, popular lesbian romance author, has writer’s block and a book due by New Year’s Eve. When she signs up for a writing retreat in an attempt to overcome her lack of creativity, she expects a single-occupancy cabin and plenty of silence for crafting her new book.

What she doesn’t expect is a roommate. A gorgeous, woman roommate.

Gia Torres is an aspiring novelist eager to break into the publishing world and leave her horrible day job as a barista behind. She travels to a Colorado retreat to finish her very first novel, not expecting to find beautiful Samantha…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in queer topics and characters, Christmas, and Scotland?

7,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about queer topics and characters, Christmas, and Scotland.

Queer Topics And Characters Explore 120 books about queer topics and characters
Christmas Explore 161 books about Christmas
Scotland Explore 219 books about Scotland

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like Freshwater, The Left Hand of Darkness, and The Mysterious and Amazing Blue Billings (Black and Blue Series) if you like this list.