Christmas is a very popular trope at this time of year and you'll notice many new Christmas stories gracing the shelves. These stories are filled with the love and joy that surround the holidays, but there is a difference between a Christmas story and a story that only features Christmas. Many stories may pass over Christmas during their timeline, but in a Christmas story, the focus is the holiday. If you can take Christmas out of the story and nothing essentially changes, then it is not a Christmas story. So let's explore what Christmas stories are and some of the best aspects of them.
What Does Christmas Mean To Your Character?
The most important aspect of a Christmas story is to decide what the holiday means to your character. Do they love Christmas? Do they go crazy gift-giving, enjoying the festivities, and are full of merriment? Do they take their time to volunteer? Is it all about the children and maintaining their faith in Santa? Or does your character hate Christmas? Is it the time when they need to go home to the parents they cannot stand? Is family difficult for them to tolerate? Do they spend the holidays alone? Does Christmas remind them of a tragic time?
All of these are very popular in Christmas novels - especially Christmas being a difficult time more than a happy one. Choosing what Christmas means to your character is going to set the theme for your entire novel and establish their character arc.
A Christian Christmas
Do remember, Christmas is a Christian holiday. Is the church going to play a role in your character's life or story? Do they acknowledge this true meaning of Christmas? Are you going to make this acknowledgement in your story with a mention of a the church or a Christmas service? While it's not necessary, it is something to consider when planning your story.
Include Christmas Traditions
There are plenty of festivities around Christmas and to include one or two in your novel is never a bad idea. Some ideas may include:
- Carols by Candlelight
- Christmas markets
- A church festivity - nativity, plays, Christmas concert
- The Nutcracker ballet
- Ice skating (especially in prominent places like Rockefeller Centre)
- Large Christmas events (like Winter Wonderland in London)
- Children's Christmas concerts
- Lighting of the local Christmas tree
- Looking at Christmas lights
- Christmas parades (like when Santa arrives)
Those Final Touches
After you've considered the above, add the final touches. Twinkling lights on Christmas trees in the corner or through windows, the first snow or the heatwave, eggnog or cold beer, scarves, beanies, reindeer ornaments, shopping, plum pudding ... the possibilities are endless to enhance the magic of your Christmas story.
2018 Christmas Novels
While chilling in Big W these past few weeks, I've watched Christmas novels arrive on the shelves with great excitement. Here are just a few Christmas titles that look amazing this year (unfortunately, I haven't yet read them).
Our Country Christmas by Darry Fraser, Penelope Janu, Fiona Lowe, Eva Scott, and Jacquie Underdown - what could be better than five feel good Aussie Christmas stories by some of our best authors? With a few short reads, you can enjoy some happy Christmas reading with this anthology.
One Day in December by Josie Silver - this book sounds incredible as it follows Laurie and Jack through twelve years of heartbreak, love, and friendship. I've been tempted to buy this one ... but considering it takes twelve years for them to (I assume) fall in love, I feel it will greatly frustrate me.
The Christmas Sisters by Sarah Morgan - the cover of this book is incredibly attractive and the story sounds very interesting. I've read the first chapter standing in Big W and it definitely sounds amazing. However, I'm saving money and unfortunately I put the book down ... but will hopefully get to unwrap it on Christmas Day!
My Favourite Christmas Story
Home for Christmas by Nora Roberts
While there are many great Christmas stories and new ones are released every year, this one has always been my favourite. Very short, only 100 pages in my copy, this is a lovely coming home story about Jason returning to his hometown in snowy New Hampshire where he encounters Faith, his high school sweetheart. I read this story every Christmas as it simply contains everything that a man, woman, and little girl could want for Christmas. In a very snowy white Christmas setting.
So, thank you for stopping by on my first Trope Tuesday. Trope Tuesday will officially commence in January 2019. I cannot wait.
Rachel is a writer of romantic fiction who enjoys discussing tropes. This blog thread will focus on identifying different tropes of romance fiction, as well as other crime, thriller, and fantasy tropes. Rachel will share her thoughts on each trope, discuss their vital elements, and discuss books featuring each trope.