Are you ready to make the Yuletide gay? Because these new LGBTQ holiday romances are sure to do just that. They bring the holiday cheer and the queer representation we all crave — and just in time for the holidays! I’ve been keeping track of the new LGBTQ holiday romances coming out in 2022 since the beginning of the year because I was shocked — and thrilled! — to see just how many we were getting all at once. I mean, I’d be pleased with a handful, and here we are getting double digits? I guess we all made the nice list this year.
One account I’ve been following all that time is the #holigays22 group comprised of several of the authors on this list, including Alison Cochrun, Timothy Janovsky, Helena Greer, Jake Maia Arlow, and Courtney Kae. It’s always fun to see authors banding together to support each other and their work. I’d say it warms my grinchy heart, but if this isn’t already obvious, there isn’t a grinchy bone in my body. I’m a Buddy the elf to my very core. Still, regardless of your feelings on the holidays or thoughts about what exactly makes the season bright, you’re going to love these new LGBTQ holiday romances full of fluff and cheer.
Kiss Her Once for Me by Alison Cochrun
The author of The Charm Offensive is back with a sapphic Christmas romance, and I couldn’t be more excited. After a failed Christmas Eve romance last year and the loss of her job, Ellie Oliver is just looking for some stability in her life. Now, she’s working at a bookshop, trying to make ends meet. But when the shop’s landlord proposes a desperate, drunken plan to enter into a marriage of convenience to access his inheritance and help alleviate Ellie’s financial problems, she soon finds herself agreeing to spend the holidays with his family to keep up the ruse. There, she finds the last person she ever expected to see again: the woman who broke her heart last Christmas, who happens to be her fake fiancé’s sister. Is a real chance at love worth risking a fake but certain future?
The Holiday Trap by Roan Parrish
This festive romance is a bit like The Holiday if it were queer. It follows two couples finding their happy ending over the holidays. Greta, a lesbian in small town Maine, and Truman, who just discovered his long-term boyfriend had a secret husband and daughter, are both desperately looking for an escape from home. Fortunately, their mutual friend Ramona facilitates a month-long house swap for the two, giving them each a chance to try out a new life and maybe even discover the partner of their dreams. But the holidays don’t last forever, and when you find love so far from home, can it really be happily ever after?
You’re a Mean One Matthew Prince by Timothy Janovsky
Timothy Janovsky made a big splash with his first LGBTQ romance earlier this year, Never Been Kissed, and now he’s back with a holiday romcom for the ages. Matthew Prince is an entitled rich kid with anxiety who’s just been banished to his grandparents’ small town for Christmas. No galas, no ritzy NYC parties, and no credit cards: his parents cut him off. To make matters worse, he won’t be alone. His grandparents have taken in a student whose judgmental attitude instantly sets Matthew on edge. But maybe Hector isn’t the only one being judgmental. And maybe a small town Christmas is exactly what Matthew needs to figure out what he wants and who he wants to be.
Season of Love by Helena Greer
After losing her beloved great-aunt, artist Miriam Blum learns she’s inherited Carrigan’s Christmas tree farm. Miriam has no interest in running a Christmas tree farm, of all things. She plans to sit shiva for her aunt and then head home with Carrigan’s in her rearview mirror. But when she learns the farm is going under, she realizes she won’t be able to leave that easily. And with the grumpy farm manager, Noelle Northwood, being equal parts unhelpful and all too attractive, Miriam is going to have her work cut out for her. But if they’re going to save this Jewish Christmas tree farm, Miriam and Noelle are going to have to work together — which might not be such a bad thing after all.
How to Excavate a Heart by Jake Maia Arlow
In this sapphic Jewish holiday romance, a college freshman’s plans to focus on her paleoichthyology internship and forget about her recent break-up are jeopardized by the cute girl she’s snowed in with on Christmas eve. Is she ready to open up her heart again after her ex-girlfriend dumped her just before winter break? Or is this thing with May just another relationship doomed to fail?
In the Event of Love by Courtney Kae
An event planner returns home after a tabloid scandal blew up her career, but charming though her mountainous hometown may be, she also left it behind for a reason. And that reason is heartbreak. So of course it would be her ex-best friend/crush Rachel Reed who would be the one to rescue her from a muddy fall on her first day back. And Rachel is sporting some serious muscles from working on her family’s Christmas tree farm. When Morgan finds out the Reed’s family farm is struggling and is the one thing standing between Fern Falls and corporate Christmas sell out, she decides to put her event planning experience to good use with a fundraiser. But just because she’s determined to save the farm doesn’t mean the thing between Rachel and her can be saved — right? After all, it would take a Christmas miracle for the two of them to have a chance.
Whiteout by Dhonielle Clayton, Tiffany D. Jackson, Nic Stone, Angie Thomas, Ashley Woodfolk, and Nicola Yoon
This snowy follow up to Blackout is an anthology full of Black joy and cozy Christmas romance. As the city of Atlanta grinds to a halt in a whiteout just before Christmas, 12 teens come together to help one friend pull off an apology of epic proportions. Will the storm stop them in their tracks, or will romance win out in spite of it all?
A Merry Little Meet Cute by Julie Murphy and Sierra Simone
This steamy holiday romance follows two bi actors who fall for each other while filming a Hallmark-esque Christmas movie together. The only problem? One of them is a former boy band member trying to refurbish his image and the other is an adult film star trying to keep her alter ego under wraps. Can the two hide their growing feelings for one another and their not-so-squeaky-clean images from a studio that is looking for a chaste holiday romance?
Make You Mine This Christmas by Lizzie Huxley-Jones
A bit of drunken kissing at a holiday party and suddenly Haf is supposedly in a relationship with Christopher and planning to spend the holidays with his family in Oxlea. Not exactly the outcome to the evening of fun and frivolity she had planned. But to save him from embarrassment, she agrees to play along. One day it’ll be a funny story. But when Haf meets Christopher’s sister, Kit, she realizes that love might’ve been waiting for her in Oxlea all along.
Christmas Mouse by Rachel Spangler
Two Christmas-obsessed women make a bet about which place makes for the better holiday: Ava’s small town Vermont or Bex’s glittering New York City. Now they’re splitting the holiday to see whose version of an ideal Christmas is the real winner. But the more snowy days and starlit nights they spend together, the more they realize that spending Christmas together might be the thing that makes it most special of all.
Felix Navidad by Nathan Burgoine (December 1, 2022)
A last-minute Christmas vacation and a canceled flight seem to spell the end of Felix’s attempts to be more impulsive, but when he runs into the handsome farmer he recently danced with at a friend’s wedding, it might just be a second chance for some holiday spontaneity. And driving to Toronto together might be a great idea, or it might end with the two of them stranded in a too-small cabin for Christmas. But either way, why not enjoy the ride?
Picture-Perfect Christmas by Charlotte Greene (December 13, 2022)
This second chance Christmas romance follows a photographer who thought she’d never look back after moving away from her small home town, but now wants nothing more than to return to Gleenwood Springs. A seasonal job for the town’s new tourism campaign offers her a chance to spend the holidays back home while promoting the town she’s learned to love. There’s just one problem: Quinn, her high school rival and crush, is also working on the project. And Nicole isn’t sure whether their reunion will spell disaster or romance.
Okay, But Where’s the Diversity?
You might have noticed this list is overwhelmingly white (as well as overwhelmingly focusing on Christmas). Disappointing, I know. I’d like to blame it on the fact that I’m covering such a niche topic here, but the fact of the matter is that’s still not a great excuse. If the publishing industry can publish more LGBTQ romances, then they can publish more LGBTQ romances by BIPOC authors. So even though there sadly aren’t many new releases to gush about this year (and trust me, I’ve looked), here are some great queer holiday romances by BIPOC authors from years past to round out your winter reading list:
Mangos & Mistletoe by Adriana Herrera
In this adorable holiday novella, a cooking competition in the UK brings together a single-minded Dominican pastry chef and a home cook trying to reacquaint herself with her love of baking. It’s got all the fun, foodie holiday vibes you could possibly want, as well as a grumpy/sunshine romance. Truly a match made in holiday romance heaven.
Under the Mistletoe by Everly James
Samantha Evans might be a popular lesbian romance author, but she’s got a bad case of writer’s block and a book due by New Year’s Eve. She’s hoping a writer’s retreat might be just what she needs to get her creativity back on track. She’s hoping for quiet, concentration, and a cabin all to herself to finish her book before her NYE deadline. The last thing she needs is eager aspiring author Gia Torres. Gia is hoping to finish her very first novel and break into the publishing world. It seemed like a writing retreat was the perfect way to do both. But she definitely wasn’t expecting for one of her favorite authors to be waiting for her there. And after a disastrous first impression, both women must overcome their misgivings to give into their creativity and their growing feelings for one another.
Keeping the Cookies by Briana Lawrence
After kicking out his cheating boyfriend, Ty needs to take on an extra job to help make ends meet. Unfortunately, that job requires red-and-white tights and a whole lot of holiday cheer that Ty really isn’t feeling as a mall elf. A handsome janitor could be just the thing to sweep Ty off his feet. But with his heart still in pieces over his ex, Ty isn’t sure he’s ready to try on a new Christmas romance just yet.
Her Christmas Cookie by Katrina Jackson
A small town baker, the local fire chief, and the police chief decide to finally let their families into their relationship this Christmas in this steamy holiday romance featuring a M/M/F polyamorous triad. Things are getting serious, and Knox wants to finally introduce Mary and Santos to his family as his partners. But why only meet one family when you can meet three? It’s a holiday road trip just waiting to happen.
Amor Actually edited by Mackenzie Walton
This anthology was one of the best holiday romance gems to come out of 2021, and I cannot recommend it enough. With an incredible team of authors, including Adriana Hererra, Alexis Daria, and Mia Sosa, the interlocking stories come to life, featuring a diverse cast of Latine characters. You’ll fall in love with the characters and the authors before you’re through.
You didn’t think those were the only LGBTQ holiday romances we had to recommend, did you?