Over the last year, I have been reading more Romance than I have previously. It was a genre I very much liked when I was younger, but it’s not one I had a proper chance to return to until this year. I’m loving the variety of different Romance books I’ve been reading, and absolutely love how much the genre has to offer. Another thing I like about Romance is the way authors will use particular tropes, putting their own ‘spin’ on them and using them to draw readers in. Reading more, you discover the tropes you really like, and the ones you could do without.
With that said, I actually was able to dig into some Christmas Romances this year, and there’s one trope that, the couple of times I encountered it, I absolutely fell in love with. Appropriate, when reading a Romance.
It’s probably common in Christmas books, but out of the ones I read the ones I enjoyed the most had some element of this trope. It’s the whole idea of one person being absolutely, bloody fed up with Christmas, not wanting anything to do with it, usually tied in with some element of their past, or the fact there’s so many expectations, or they have to do specific things for that specific day. Whatever it is, one character either hates or is indifferent to the festive season.
And of course, another characters loves (or at least really enjoys Christmas), usually the love interest, and encourages the other to see the beauty and warmth in Christmas. To see the positives of it, in whatever way they need. I love this trope because there’s so much variety to it. And it’s relatable – once you’re over a certain age, Christmas does kind of lose its magic, and your attitude towards it might shift depending on your own experiences. Maybe it’s just been a rubbish year. Maybe Christmas is a constant reminder of something, or maybe it’s just too exhausting with visiting family and getting presents wrapped and all the expectation.
What I love about this is the Christmas-loving character doesn’t push. They encourage, but in a way they know the other person will be receptive to. And it goes a long way towards healing them. People often brush over when someone says, “I don’t like Christmas.” Sometimes, this is met with a hostile response, the attitude of there must be something wrong with you, when actually, people have valid reasons for disliking the season.
The end of the book doesn’t always end up with Scrooge converted into someone excited with a renewed love for Christmas, but there’s often hope – a sense that Christmas might, one day, feel as magical as it did as a kid, and that hope is increased by the partner who helped them look at Christmas in a new light. It’s a lovely trope, and part of that is because it’s relatable and realistic, and often used to show hurt and traumatised characters heading towards healing.