How Many Christmas Movie Tropes Are In the Fun New Romcom ‘Your Christmas or Mine?’

Cora Kirk as Hayley in "Your Christmas or Mine?"

Christmas movie lovers, rejoice! (Everyone should be rejoicing.) Prime Video has gifted us another entry in the esteemed genre with a movie called Your Christmas or Mine?, starring Asa Butterfield and Cora Kirk. They play James and Hayley, a couple who both try to surprise the other by showing up at their family Christmas before record-breaking snowfall traps them with each other’s family for the holiday, and awkward family dynamics and relationship dramas ensue.

It’s a must watch for anyone who treats December as a month-long movie marathon, but more than that, it’s a genuinely good and surprising Christmas movie. So surprising that it flips a lot of the Christmas movie tropes on their head. In fact, one twist made me scream!

In honour of the first Christmas movie in a long time that made me second guess what I thought was going to happen, here’s every Christmas movie trope in Your Christmas or Mine? and how it subverts the genre. (Spoiler-free, because some of these twists are so good you have to experience them for yourself.)

Someone Returns to Their Hometown

The entire movie hinges on a variation of this trope. James (Butterfield) and Hayley (Kirk) visit each other’s hometown where, instead of introducing each other to their childhood traditions or reconnecting with an old flame, they learn about each other through the harsh lens of their dysfunctional families.

James spends Christmas in Macclesfield with Hayley’s large, loud family. Her loving mum and dad, flirtatious aunt, two younger brothers and two grandparents crowd together in the house, which feels extra crowded thanks to a frankly ludicrous amount of tinsel and fairy lights. They wear shirts emblazoned with “HAYLEY’S MUM” or “HAYLEY’S ‘SEXY’ AUNTY” and immediately welcome James into the chaos.

Meanwhile, Hayley goes to Kemble and discovers James grew up in a countryside manor with a distant father and a kindhearted housekeeper.

Secret Royals

James’ dad Humphrey is the Earl of Gloucestershire, and James is 307th in line for the throne. Usually this trope involves the crown prince or princess microdosing normality by pretending to be a regular person, but James’ adjacency to the royal family doesn’t impact the plot beyond surprising Hayley’s and giving her endless ammunition to lovingly tease him with.

Asa Butterfield as James in "Your Christmas or Mine?"

Someone Hates Christmas

Every Christmas movie needs exactly one character who hates Christmas, usually because it reminds them of their parent or partner’s death, or shows that they’re not family-oriented. In Your Christmas or Mine? it’s Humphrey who hates Christmas because — ding ding ding — it reminds him of his late wife Fiona. He keeps their decorations locked in a box, which is kept locked in a room of the manor that’s closed off to visitors.

He tells Hayley, “We tend not to make a fuss for Christmas in this house,” and obviously disagrees when she counters, “The fuss is the best bit!”. When she goes on a decorating spree, he looks upon his tinselled and bauble-d dining room in shock and horror. Nevertheless, Hayley’s unstoppable festive cheer rekindles Humphrey’s love of Christmas, which happens in tandem to his growing acceptance of James’ unconventional lifestyle. (He attends drama school instead of the military academy.)

The Cute Family Pet Is Someone’s Nemesis

This usually happens when the main character’s new partner is introduced to their pet, and it’s usually a one-sided rivalry: the pet wants to play, which catches the human off guard or insults their delicate city sensibilities. It’s between Hayley and Humphrey’s dog Peanut in Your Christmas or Mine? and Hayley isn’t so much his nemesis as his enabler, accidentally leaving the door open after dragging a Christmas tree inside during her decorating montage.

Peanut runs away and taunts Hayley from the other side of an electric fence. I don’t dare spoil what happens next, but it flips the trope on its head again and again like a stone tumbling down a hill.

Cora Kirk as Hayley in "Your Christmas or Mine?"

Someone Drops the L-Bomb on Christmas

James starts to tell Hayley he loves her, but he’s cut him off mid-sentence when Hayley has to run for her train. Later, we learn they’ve only been dating for two months, which is not much time at all. So was it a whirlwind romance, or is James inspired by the Christmas cheer?

But a Simple Misunderstanding Threatens to Break Up a Couple

Some version of this happens in every Christmas romcom, and this time it’s because Hayley and James accidentally switch places. Again, it’s kind of the core concept of the movie. James is hurt that Hayley hasn’t told her parents about him, and she feels like she’s been lied to because James didn’t tell her that he’s rich and a royal.

It’s more complicated than normal because they’re not together, and especially because Hayley loses her phone, giving them a very limited window to explain their tenuous situations. Everything works out — no matter how hard Your Christmas or Mine? flips these tropes, it’s still a Christmas movie in the end — but there are loads more surprises before the credits roll.

Your Christmas or Mine? is now streaming on Prime Video. Start your free 30-day Prime Video trial today.

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This article was originally published on POPSUGAR Australia.