No, what I have now is something of a more 'matured' Christmas mood. I now don the paper hat in the cracker 'ironically'. But one thing that has never changed is my love of a good old Christmassy story. In fact, I rely on them to get me in the mood for Christmas.
I'm not alone, apparently. Whenever people are polled for what they do to get in the spirit of the season, watching a Christmassy movie or reading a Christmassy story is right up there with listening to music. That's high praise indeed, seeing as I ADORE the Tran-Siberian Orchestra.
Moreover, to writers this is great news. Writing Christmas-themed stories have a ton of advantages. First and foremost, we all have very vivid memories when it comes to the season, fired by a healthy amount of imagination. It's a resource that's as rich as Christmas pudding. Even if you don't celebrate Christmas, certain tropes of the season are still relatable, but more on that later.
The second reason is that Christmas is, by nature, a time for casting off cynicism and diving into a big warm bath sentiment and joy. There are things that an author can get away with in a Christmas story that would seem cloying and preachy if it were set at any other nondescript time of year. Can you imagine if 'A Christmas Carol' were set in the summer? You'd end up feeling sorry for poor Scrooge as he's harassed by the ghosts. But with Christmas framing the story and the expectation of what that brings (good will to all men), the ghosts' actions seem justified.
The third reason is that Christmas is the ultimate preset for writing. We all know Christmas is, what it looks like, smells like, feels like. You don't need to describe what Santa Claus looks like, or the sound of jingle bells. The worldbuilding is already done for you, complete with a full set of Christmassy tools to play with, leaving you to just get on with telling a cracking good story within those parameters or delightfully subvert them.
But the most important reason of all is that emotional core: think of all of your favorite Christmas stories. Chances are that in most of them, your protagonist isn't having the best Christmas ever (not at first, anyway). Again, Christmas comes with a pre-packaged expectation. It is almost synonymous with joy, as if everybody deserves to be happy at Christmas. Characters who are having a difficult life at Christmastime are instantly more relatable and easier to sympathize with because a) we've all been there, and b) we are all in agreement: people DO deserve to be happy at Christmas. It doesn't need to be justified any more than that. As mentioned earlier, it doesn't matter if you celebrate Christmas or not, or even if Christmas matters to you or the characters in your story: the emotions are still relatable. Look at Home Alone, for example. That is widely regarded to be a staple Christmas story, but is the physical presence of Christmas essential in that story? Not really. It could've been set at any other time of year. But by setting it at Christmas, it taps into those values of family, togetherness, and being careful what you wish for - something we can all relate to.
I'll be honest: I think we're all aware that there's a campy kitsch to Christmas. There is nothing stylish about it. And quite frankly, that is something to be embraced. After all, sometimes having a look at the old-fashioned values that Christmas represent is a good thing, values which have been around for a long time for a reason. And there's no better ways to do that than with a mince pie, curled up in a chair and reading a book by the light of a crackling fire and glowing fairy lights on the tree.