top of page
  • Writer's pictureStacy Curry

Writing Christmas: The tropes we love and love to hate

We all love a little bit of a festive theme, right? Whether that’s in the form of film, television, books or something else, everyone has their Christmas guilty pleasure. What comes hand-in-hand with that is the unavoidable: Christmas tropes. Here are my thoughts on five of the most common.

The [insert hero / scrooge] that saved Christmas

Let’s start with one of the big ones: saving Christmas. There is an abundance of both books and films that focus on saving Christmas. It might be a child, it might be grandma or it might even be the neighbour’s dog, but someone will be saving it! We all know that these will be a total cheese fest, but we watch them anyway. I’m pretty sure rescuing the festive season from the clutches of evil is a million-dollar industry by now, but you know what? I love it. I’m an absolute sucker for the trope. There’s just something comforting about knowing exactly what to expect because, lets face it, Christmas is never not getting saved. This one’s a keeper.

Secret Santa, yes. Secret boyfriend, not so much

Another classic is the heroine’s boyfriend being a secret prince / millionaire / celebrity / something else rich and random. I won’t lie, I used to live for a secret prince style novel when I was a teenager and, throw in a bit of Christmas cheer? Heaven. These days, it’s on my hit list. I find the concept so unbelievable and cringey (this coming from someone who loves a good fantasy novel!). However, if a masquerading man is the one for you, I can at least understand the appeal, but sadly, I've long since ended things with that particular trope.

It's a wonderful employment... until it's not

If you’re watching a Christmas film or reading a Christmas novel, you just know someone is going to lose their job. It’ll be the classic, just weeks or maybe even days before Christmas, one of the main characters will be sat down and the dreaded “we’re letting you go” conversation will happen. It’s a brutal trope and I have to say, I can’t quite understand how sacking someone and Santa Claus go together but somehow, it’s a common feature in just about every piece of Christmas entertainment. I won’t say it’s the worst one ever, but we all know where the plot goes after that. It’s my ‘will watch when I’m in the mood’ theme.

A Christmas miracle

The best trope has to be Christmas miracles. Whether it’s people finding love, a family finally being happy or a child getting the Christmas they deserve? It’s the ultimate, cosy, Christmas theme. Get a hot chocolate, get cosy on the sofa and prepare to sob your eyes out at the sappiest and most heart-warming of all themes. If anyone ever figures out where they sell Christmas miracles, let me know! I want one (or seven).

Did you grow the Christmas tree first?

And finally, the worst trope of them all, the big, bad wolf is... setting up the tree last minute. I mean, you just wouldn’t, would you…?

So, there you have it, five Christmas tropes and what I think of them! Do you agree? Or do you think I have terrible festive taste? Head over to one of our socials to let me know.


This year, we've been taking Christmas tropes and abusing them in the best possible way. Keep your eyes open for our Twistmas series, featuring unconventional Christmas themed short fiction and poetry, coming to the website on December 20th.

In the meantime, connect with us on social media or maybe have a think about subscribing to our mailing list...

Connect with us on social media: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

Imagery by Josh Hild, krakenimages and Scott Webb via Unsplash


bottom of page