Yes, I am one who sees the Mighty Holiday Marketing Machine behind 80% of holiday-centric stories. Yes, publishers are among the businesses powering the machine. The calls for Christmas submissions, the profusion of Valentine anthologies; heck, even Halloween and Easter releases make my cynical eye twitch.
I'll admit, being a Scrooge on the topic of using holidays as a plot device is partially due to my utter lack of interest in contemporary books. While I love historicals, I'll avoid the ones in which a notable religious holiday is centric to the plot.
The exception to my disdain? Samhain.
Wha? hypocrisy? Moi? I'll read a contemporary if it has a unique and heavy paranormal element. The holiday many authors of paranormals use as plot device? Samhain. Perhaps Samhain's reference is so pervasive in specific contemporary sub-genres, the publishers don't hold their releases for the actual holiday. Perhaps it is because many authors focus more on the magical/mystical and less on the religion supporting the holy day, that Samhain books aren't driven by the Mighty Holiday Marketing Machine. Perhaps now that Paranormal and Urban Fantasies are no longer the darling sub-genres of publishing (casts a wary eye at "New Adult"); anything referencing the holy day is bound to the sub-genre rather than ascending it.
Perhaps. Perhaps. Perhaps.
Whatever the reason, whichever the holiday, I'd rather read about grumpkins and hobbits. You can keep the candy-hearts and the mistletoe.
What about you, dear reader? Are there holiday-themed books to which you are attracted? Are there holiday-themed books you avoid?