Serenity Woods
Setting the Christmas Mood


Writing holiday romances can be a tough challenge for all writers. Most of us are likely to be writing them at least six months in advance, which means writers in the Northern Hemisphere are trying to get in the holiday mood while they’re wearing shorts and eating ice cream on the beach!

In that sense, it’s easier for writers Down Under. I’m likely to be writing a holiday romance in July and August, which are our coldest months. We often have a Yule party around the winter solstice on June 21st, and we sometimes get out our little Christmas tree and exchange a present or two, so it’s much easier to feel festive, and convey that Christmassy feel in our stories.

However, I do face another challenge in that, while my biggest markets are the US and the UK, the majority of my holiday romances are set in New Zealand, and Christmas has a very different feel Down Under. It’s really a summer festival, and the season is a LOT less commercialized than it is in the US and UK. Shops might have a token piece of tinsel in the window or play Christmas songs for shoppers, but we often spend Christmas Day on the beach or around the pool, and the turkey dinner is just as likely to be barbecued! Because of this, it can be difficult to make a holiday romance set here feel Christmassy for readers. As these stories are set in summer, it’s really important to convey a strong Christmassy mood. The way I do this is by watching all my favorites Christmas movies in the middle of the year!

Love Actually is always my go-to Christmas movie, because it has such an array of amazing relationships to explore. I have to admit that Hugh Grant has been the inspiration of some of my heroes! Equally, I love Bridget Jones, because even though it’s not strictly a holiday movie, it ends with Christmas in the snow, and therefore I always feel Christmassy when I watch it (and who doesn’t love Colin Firth?) And of course I love Bridget, who is such a gorgeous, real heroine. The Holiday is a fun, romantic story too, and Jude Law is just the perfect hero. Of the older movies, I adore It’s a Wonderful Life, because Clarence is gorgeous and the ending never fails to make me cry. The Bishop’s Wife is my all-time favorite Christmas movie, though. Who can resist Cary Grant as an angel?

However you spend your holiday season, I hope you get some time to yourself to relax and read a Christmas romance or two!

About the Contributor

USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romance, writing sexy Kiwi billionaires with a heart. Sign up for Serenity’s newsletter and you’ll be able to download FIVE exclusive stories!

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Angel Payne

Really love this article!! Thank you for sharing!

Belle Aurora
Belle Aurora

I never really thought of the difference between the US and AUS. I was actually surprised by how different the seasons are in December. Another great article :)