Christmas is near and that can mean only one thing – there isn’t long left to curl up with a festive book, and for me, nothing is better to get me in the holiday spirit.
Whether you’re looking for a light-hearted romcom, a bit of poetry, short stories, or a murder mystery, these LGBTQIA+ books are all best read wrapped in a cosy blanket, with a mug of hot chocolate and some Christmas music to really set the mood.
Make You Mine This Christmas by Lizzie Huxley-Jones
Ever since I picked up Make You Mine This Christmas back in July, it’s been taunting me from my bookshelf. In November, I finally couldn’t hold off any longer and I am happy to say that I was not disappointed.
Written by Lizzie Huxley-Jones (they/them), Make You Mine This Christmas is the perfect cheesy festive romcom. Haf and Christopher meet at a party and get caught kissing under the mistletoe. Rumours fly and soon Haf finds herself heading home with Christopher for Christmas while playing the role of his new girlfriend. The plan is going perfectly until Haf starts developing feelings for Christopher’s sister Kit….
This is the perfect feel-good Christmas read, and I devoured it in only a couple of days. While the plot is eye-rollingly silly, the characters have such charm that you can’t help getting caught up in the plot and rooting for everything to work out in the end. This is definitely a book I will be coming back to for many Christmases to come.
Christmas Poems by Carol Ann Duffy
During her ten years as Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy released a different Christmas poem every year, all of which have been compiled into the one collection Christmas Poems. This is a tradition which Duffy has continued beyond her tenure as Poet Laureate. This year’s poem being titled Christmas Eve at the Moon Under Water, which is also the perfect stocking-filler for the poetry lover in your life.
Not only is each poem beautifully illustrated, but the poetry itself is also wonderfully crafted. Duffy transports the reader to Christmases of times gone by using her powerful and vivid voice. Each Christmas I look forward to reading what she has written next.
Stay Another Day by Juno Dawson
Juno Dawson is a well-known LGBT+ author and activist, though I rarely see anyone talking about her Christmas book Stay Another Day, which has become a staple of the holiday period for me.
This Christmas tale certainly delivers on Christmas-fuelled family drama. Set in Edinburgh, three siblings – Rowan, Fern and Willow – are reunited at home for Christmas, but secrets threaten to ruin their perfect holiday.
This book has all the classic cheese of a good festive read, with enough grit and drama to keep you turning the page. I always end up finishing this book in half the time I expect, as I become so enthralled by their characters and their stories.
Christmas Days by Jeannette Winterson
Jeanette Winterson’s Christmas Days is a unique collection of 12 Christmas stories, interspersed with 12 Christmas recipes from Winterson herself, as well as her friends and family.
In this collection, you can really feel Winterson’s love for Christmas, for all its traditions, and for all that has changed over the years. The stories are a good mix of cosy, spooky, and heartwarming. Even if, like me, you aren’t a cook, the recipes are still worth a read as they are filled with charming personal anecdotes. There genuinely isn’t a story in this collection I can say I didn’t thoroughly enjoy; they are truly a wonderful treat for the Christmas season.
A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote
A Christmas Memory is another collection of festive short stories. From Truman Capote, the author of Breakfast at Tiffany’s, these stories vary from childhood nostalgia, to more critical perspectives on the ‘season to be jolly’.
The titular tale A Christmas Memory is semi-autobiographical and follows young Buddy and his relationship with his elderly cousin during his childhood in Alabama. Considered a holiday classic, this tale is filled with child-like wonder and nostalgia for times gone by. If you only read one short story this Christmas – make it this one.
Christmas is Murder by Val McDermid
My final recommendation is for those with slightly darker tastes at Christmas time. Val McDermid is a Scottish crime writer and this collection of short stories, as the title suggests, has a far more sinister tone than the books recommended thus far.
This collection has murder, betrayal, and blackmail in abundance. From murder on Bonfire Night, to Sherlock Holmes mystery, to betrayal in the Scottish Highlands, these stories are perfect for those looking for tales to read on an eerie, cold winter evening.
Niamh volunteers as an ambassador for Just Like Us, the LGBT+ young people’s charity. LGBT+ and aged 18 to 25? Sign up here!