There's nothing like a good Christmas story to stick with us and become part of our holiday tradition. My daughter and I watch WHITE CHRISTMAS like it's our job over the holiday. The boys are big fans CHRISTMAS STORY. And the whole family loves HOME ALONE.
How does a story get to be good enough to worm its way into our traditions? Well, for one, the story usually has heart. It appeals to something in us that wants everyone to be happy...especially the little girl or abandoned heroine or baby having her first Christmas or family losing their home or uncle suddenly saddled with raising his niece or nephew.
It hooks us "into" the holiday by being wrapped in tinsel, with twinkling lights everywhere, billowing snow and air so cold the characters' breath mists.
It reminds us of the best parts of our childhood...sleigh rides, the scent of warm sugar cookies, painting cookies with icing with our mom or gram, snuggling under the covers dreaming of gifts.
But most of all it reminds us to love. In a romance it's easy for us to get love in through the hero and heroine overcoming their struggles...but it helps if your H and H are bringing love back to a dying town, or giving love to a suffering child, or rescuing dogs no one else wants.
Because love -- especially love in the Christmas season -- isn't just about romance. It's about the big picture. It's about saving someone else at your own expense, sacrificing, giving with no hope of receiving.
In final analysis, that's what Christmas is all about...and if you want to write a Christmas story...THAT's what you gotta get in there.