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Handmade Holidays

(Little Village)

4.30  ·  Rating details ·  100 ratings  ·  44 reviews
At nineteen, Nick is alone for the holidays and facing reality: this is how it will be from now on. Refusing to give up completely, Nick buys a Christmas tree, and then realizes he has no ornaments. A bare tree and an empty apartment aren’t a great start, but a visit from his friend Haruto is just the ticket to get him through this first, worst, Christmas. A box of candy ...more
ebook, 82 pages
Published November 20th 2017 by NineStar Press
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Mirjana **DTR - Down to Read**
***4 Stars***

"Best Christmas ever."

"Nah," Nick said. "Just the best so far."

I love stories about chosen families, and add in the holidays and a novella that spans 15 years...and I'M SOLD!!

First off, the dedication alone got me all kinds of misty eyed, so I knew right off the bat the characters were gonna grab me.

For all my fellow Misfit Toys, and all the trees we filled.

The story spans 15 years, with each chapter giving us a glimpse of that year's holiday season and what's going on
Nathan Burgoine
Oct 28, 2017 added it  ·  (Review from the author)
Shelves: glbt, my-writing
Edit: November 29th, 2019: NineStar Press is having a Black Friday/Cyber Monday sale through to Monday. Get 40% off your entire cart by using code BLACKCYBER. This includes Handmade Holidays.


I often post flash fiction pieces on my blog, and that included one of the "missing" Christmases, Third Christmas. Warning: May Contain Rainbow Unicorn Kitten. The rest of the flash fiction pieces that involve characters from Handmade Holidays you can find here.


Hello! It's me, the author, being all
K.J. Charles
Delightful Christmas novella (yes I know it's April shut up) covering the evolution of a relationship and a friend group over a dozen and more Christmases. Warm, inclusive, diverse, happy-making, and beautifully written in an understated way. A seasonal delight even in the wrong season.
Xan West
4.5 stars

I loved this queer Christmas story! It's got a romance element, but just as central is the chosen family aspect, and the creation of family traditions in queer chosen families. It gave me so many feels, of all different sorts. This story visits the same queer chosen family at Christmas time over the course of 15 years, starting when the MC is 19 and having his first Christmas after his family kicked him out. It's got lovely holiday moments, especially around tree decorating, and is
Nov 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Bumping this to 4.5 stars

Lovely! Heart-warming and a bit nostalgic. Holidays are about what you make them - setting up your own traditions and sharing love/happiness/woes with people who you love and who love you back.

Oh, this was so lovely, a bit nostalgic a lot of hopeful, just the perfect holiday read for me.

I loved the concept of following a group of queer friends through their Christmases spent together over 15 years. This is a story about life and love and friendship and the meaning of the
Dec 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
2018 Re-read:

The thing about holiday stories is that you so frequently have to accept that two people fall in love in a very short period of time. Not that I have a problem with that. I don't demand realism in my escapism. But this amazing story manages to give us 14 years worth of love and friendship and character development and beautiful writing in only 80 pages. It's amazing.

Original 2017 Review:

My favorite holiday story of the year.
Shira Glassman
Dec 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: folks looking for affirming queer lit w/o on the page sex, or with "found family"
Shelves: men-with-men
Ohhhhh, soooo goooood. Fifteen Christmases in the life of one gay man, centering around a celebration of LGBT chosen family. By visiting Nick for only a day at a time with a year or two in between each interlude, author Nathan Burgoine gets to focus on important touchpoints or representative samples of Nick's life. I didn't at all miss getting to see in person all the filled-in stuff in the months between, because it's always alluded-to seamlessly in a way that felt very neat and tidy and ...more
Nov 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
4.25 stars

Sweet feel-good story (with a touch of romance) following a group of close friends who become family over a span of 15 Christmases.
Len Evans Jr
Nov 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was not sure the format of this novella was going to work for me. I thought the idea of having each chapter a Christmas apart would make it hard to get to know and care about the people in the story. Turns out I was wrong... the format worked quite well. The author managed to do an awesome job telling this story. Each chapter was an enlightening window on Nick and the others lives. I really loved the idea of a Misfit Toys party... it is awesome. The idea of party for those who are no longer ...more
4.25 stars

Talk about slow-burn -- Nick and Haruto didn't get together until 14 Christmas later, but I thought it was worth everything, despite the missed-opportunities, Haruto moving away from the city to take care of his father, and relationship failure in their lives. The thing that is constant is their friendship and the Christmas tradition.

I love that this is practically a 'family-of-choice' theme as well. I am very much in love with Nick, Haruto, and their 'misfit' friends. It's also
Even with my own natural impatience, given that this was the slowest of slow burns, it was also pretty damn close to perfection. <3 Nathan Burgoine continues to impress, with everything I read from him!
Nov 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved this one. It's just a perfect package wrapped in a gorgeous bow, a little bit scuffed and faded at the edges because someone has carefully folded it year on year.

This is everything I love about Christmas, it's about family being who you choose to spend time with because of love, whether they be bound by blood or not. It's about recognising the best gifts aren't those with the vast price tag, but the ones carefully picked out to bring joy and happiness (and okay sometimes they
Serena Yates
Nov 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: gay, holiday, read-2017
While this is a fairly short novella, it manages to include a lot of emotion, character growth, and the span of fifteen years in two men’s lives before they manage to discover that they belong together. Going from friends to lovers is rarely this protracted or painful, and I wanted to “nudge them along” more than once. But while I could clearly see, almost from the beginning, what was what, Nick and Haruto take their sweet time figuring it all out.

Please find my full review on Rainbow Book
This is a slow burn friends to lover romance set over many Christmas. I liked both both the heroes a great deal and friends to lovers is a favorite of mine but we skipped over the transition and then just got to the HEA and that bummed me out.
Nov 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Handmade Holidays was a lovely story of found family and hope. Every chapter details a Christmas--from the first one where Nick is on his own and struggling to reclaim the holiday, to one a decade and a half later, with all the ups and downs of life in between. I loved the snapshots of Nick's life, centred around the new Christmas traditions he makes with his found family, and how their chosen bonds get stronger and stronger, through trials and love.

This was an uplifting story, and one full of
Nov 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a little bittersweet because of all the wasted years. Nick has been disowned by his family and at 19 he is on his own for Christmas. The moment when he realizes that despite having a tree, because he is making his own Christmas, he has nothing to put on it made me want to cry for him. But since Nick didn’t, “He would not cry again over those people”, I didn’t. His best friend, Haruto, is there and a paper crane with Haruto’s gift make the day better.

The book goes from Christmas to
Terri Jones
Feb 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book was supposed to serve as lighter reading breaks from the several more intense novels I'm currently reading, but what it did was take over until I reached that perfect last line.

So. You've been warned. Hopping through Christmases is very compelling. Who knew?
5 stars

Synopsis: Nick has been kicked out by his parents for being gay, and it is his first Christmas since that happened. He saved up the money that he made and bought an artificial Christmas tree, only to realize that he didn't buy any decorations. His friend Haruto, though, makes him an ornament, and Nick realizes that he isn't as alone as he thought he was. When next Christmas rolls around, Nick realizes that he isn't the only person who was abandoned by his family, and invites those people
Gillian Kevern
This is my first holiday read of the season, and I don’t feel precipitate in saying that it’s my favourite. It has so many elements that I love—friends to lovers, slow burn, ensemble cast, people taking on the responsibilities of jobs and families, found families… And they’re put together in a way that is not hit you over the head sappy, but genuine. I was not at all surprised that the author drew on his own experiences in writing it. The story, for the most part, feels true.

To be honest,
Joyfully Jay
Nov 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: camille
A Joyfully Jay review.

4.25 stars

This was an excellent short read for the holidays! First of all, it’s super holiday-ish. Each chapter is actually set a year apart; each centers on the end-of-the-year traditions Nick cultivates along with a group of friends that seems to grow by the year. This necessarily means that these are more like vignettes, but at the same time, Burgoine does an admirable job establishing the main and side characters while peppering in new ones every so often. At first, I
Elizabeth Lister
Before I begin, I want to give a huge shout-out to NineStar Press for the beautiful cover they had designed for their holiday shorts this year. For me, the beauty of winter is about the blue and white of the sky and snow on a winter's day or at night lit by street lamps, so I think this is just lovely!

Now to the story. I've only read 'Nathan's paranormal stories (which is a bit of a departure for me) so I was eager to read a good old-fashioned contemporary short by my friend and fellow-author.
Rhiannon Tucker
Nov 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
"Christmas for the Misfit Toys."


(Also, one of these days I'm gonna find that long-awaited Hermey/Yukon Cornelius smutty fanfiction...or a suitable "homage" book version.) (Don't judge, you already knew I was a perv.)
Nov 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was a fun read. I was impressed how much of the lives of the characters were put in the single-day-chapters, without it feeling like an infodump.
Having friends with the same hobby/profession as the main character made this even more fun to read, very relatable.
Dec 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Love this holiday novella so much. The concept, the characters, Nathan always brings a smile and a tear to my eye.
Nov 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Honestly, Christmas stories aren't my thing at all and I expected not to like this book as much as I did. Instead I found it DELIGHTFUL with just the right amount of cheesiness sprinkled on top. I'm not saying it's because it's full of queer people but the fact that there were maybe 2 cishet characters in it DID help a lot.
Becky Condit
Nov 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I loved this sweet Christmas story, told in segments of Christmases over a period of fifteen holiday seasons. This is a unique timeline for a romance and it works perfectly here.
Nick is the central character who on the “First Christmas” drags home his first Christmas tree, although he has forgotten he might want ornaments. His friend Haruto arrives bearing a gift of a box of candy canes, which become the first ornaments on the new tree, plus an origami swan that Haruto makes from the wrapping
Pam Faste aka Peejakers
Really warm & lovely story told in vignettes dominated by a series of holiday gatherings over a period of years & centralizing love, not just in terms of romance but in terms of deep friendships, created traditions & found family.
Nov 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Years pass in a beautiful blur as 'Nathan Burgoine shares the growth of Nick and Haruto's relationship from friendship to something more in Handmade Holidays. I could not have loved being a part of their lives more if I tried. Every Christmas felt genuine in the messy way only real life can feel -where no one is doing exactly what they expected last year and not every year allows for everyone to gather together because Life Happens- while maintaining a positive air even in the worst of times.

Nov 18, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: low-angst, arc, gbr, mm, christmas
2.5 stars

I was really missing some romance here. I was pretty bored with reading 14 Christmases with Nick spending it with his friends, who I absolutely did not connect with, and one Christmas with his love.

Every chapter is one Christmas, so I felt as if Nick’s life mostly happened off page, since we constantly skipped an entire year.

We get to read about Nick and how he tries to celebrate Christmas since his 19th, when his family kicks him out. He has a small group of friends and we get to read
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'Nathan Burgoine grew up a reader and studied literature in university while making a living as a bookseller. His first published short story was "Heart" in the collection Fool for Love: New Gay Fiction. Since then, he has had dozens of short stories published, including in This is How You Die (the second Machine of Death anthology), and has released his first collection, Of Echoes Born (Bold ...more

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