9 of the Best Christmas Novels to Sleigh Your TBR

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CJ Connor


CJ Connor is a cozy mystery and romance writer whose main goal in life is to make their dog proud. They are a Pitch Wars alumnus and an Author Mentor Match R9 mentor. Their debut mystery novel BOARD TO DEATH is forthcoming from Kensington Books. Twitter: @cjconnorwrites |

There are two things I can rely on year after year to get me excited for December: Christmas carols and holiday-themed books. Preferably while listening to one and reading the other. It’s not only relaxing, but it gets me excited for Christmas Eve, when I’ll be able to take time off work and spend it with family. Christmas novels and other themed reads warm my heart so much, I almost don’t mind the chill outside.

As you’re looking for books to get you in the Christmas spirit, keep these nine recent Christmas novels in mind. Interested in romance? You’ll find love stories set amid a struggling Christmas tree farm, local café, and Hallmark-esque small town. What about mysteries? Amateur sleuths investigating crimes connected to framed family and friends and a work Christmas party turned deadly await you. Plus, if you’re interested in romantic suspense or books with just a touch of magic, this list has got you covered.

After you’ve found a few Christmas novels that suit your needs, read this essay by Rioter K.W. Colyard to find out why traditionally, people told ghost stories around Christmastime. It will make you see A Christmas Carol in a new light!

Blackmail and Bibingka cover

Blackmail and Bibingka (Tita Rosie’s Kitchen #3) by Mia P. Manansala

Lila Macapagal and her family and friends who frequent the Brew-ha Café are back for a holiday-themed whodunit! In this installment of the series, Lila’s Christmas plans for the café and her family are made complicated when her estranged cousin Ronnie returns home.

Lila does not trust Ronnie, nor his shady business plans. And when he’s accused of murdering one of his investors, her suspicions appear to be proven right. But for the sake of her family, Lila investigates the crime herself.

In the Event of Love Book Cover

In the Event of Love (Fern Falls #1) by Courtney Kae

While taking time off from her day job, event planner Morgan Ross returns to her hometown. It has been seven years since she’s been to Fern Falls, with her memories making it painful to visit her dad or her best friend and first love, Rachel Reed.

But when Rachel’s family Christmas tree farm is in trouble, Morgan uses her event planning skills to start a fundraiser and save it from corporate greed. The longer Rachel and Morgan spend time together, however, the more old feelings reignite.

cover of The After Party by A.C. Arthur

The After Party by A.C. Arthur

Co-workers Venus McGee, Draya Carter, and Jackie Benson often commiserate about having to work with their boss Rufus Jackson. But on the night of the company Christmas party, their wishes that he would disappear from their lives are answered in an unexpected way: murder.

When they discover the next day that Rufus was killed, the three must team up to find the real killer. Not for Rufus’s sake, but because they were framed.

An Unfortunate Christmas Murder (Dinner Lady Detectives #2) by Hannah Hendy cover

An Unfortunate Christmas Murder (Dinner Lady Detectives #2) by Hannah Hendy

Married couple Margery and Clementine have unexpectedly become known for their amateur sleuthing skills in their small English village. Both would prefer a quiet, comfortable life.

But when a music teacher is murdered right before the upcoming school Christmas concert and drama teacher Mrs. Smith is implicated in the crime (falsely, or so she claims), Margery and Clementine are the only hopes of finding the real killer.

cover of Just Like Magic by Sarah Hogle

Just Like Magic by Sarah Hogle

When struggling celebrity Bettie Hughes accidentally plays a vinyl of Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You” backwards, she summons Hall — a personified spirit of the Christmas season. His goal? To help her find joy and cheer as she reconnects with her estranged family over the holidays.

But when Bettie and Hall’s relationship takes a romantic turn, both can’t help but worry about their future together. Because if Bettie feels joyful enough, Hall’s mission will be fulfilled and he’ll return to the realm of holiday spirits.

Sweet on You book cover

Sweet on You (The Laneways #1) by Carla de Guzman

When baker Gabriel Capras opens a shop next door to her café, Sari Tomas enters a prank war to keep him from stealing her customers. But as Christmas approaches and their banter starts to feel like flirting, Sari realizes she may be falling for Gabriel in this heartwarming, steamy contemporary romance.

Rogue Christmas Operation book cover

Rogue Christmas Operation (Fugitive Heroes: Topaz Unit #1) by Juno Rushdan

To uncover the truth about her sister Faith’s suspicious death, journalist Hope Fisher travels to rural Benediction, Virginia. But after a near-drowning almost takes her life, Hope puts her trust in local Gage Graham as she risks her life to bring her sister’s killer to justice. If you prefer your holiday reads to keep you at the edge of your seat, this romantic suspense is the perfect choice.

cover of You're A Mean One, Matthew Prince by Timothy Janovsky

You’re a Mean One, Matthew Prince by Timothy Janovsky

I’ve heard this one described as a new adult romance with Schitt’s Creek vibes. When Matthew Prince’s wealthy parents cut him off and send him to live with his grandparents in a small town called Wind River, he feels as though his life is over. But after he signs up to help with a charity gala in the hopes of getting back in his family’s good graces, he unexpectedly falls for local college student Hector Martinez.

cover image for The Christmas Murder Game

The Christmas Murder Game by Alexandra Benedict

After her Aunt Liliana passes away, Lily reluctantly returns to Endgame House. Why? Because now, the games begin. As stipulated in her aunt’s will, Lily and her cousins must solve a series of clues over the 12 days of Christmas to compete for the deed to Endgame House. And if Lily’s suspicions are correct, one of these clues might lead her to uncovering who murdered her mother years ago.

Winter is the perfect season for snuggling up with a cozy mystery. For more books to enjoy as the snow falls, look for these Christmas-themed cozy mysteries at your local library or bookstore.