I spend a lot of time in my office in November/December. That’s good for you because it means I get more writing done. But I confess, it’s not that I’m somehow more dedicated during those months. It’s because I don’t have access to the TV. 

You see, this is the time of year when I get banished from the living room by the Hallmark Christmas Movie watching members of my immediate and extended family. They are big fans. And they don’t like me watching with them. 

I tend to be overly critical in their eyes and spoil the Hallmark Holiday Cheer. Let me give you an example. 

Me: (Watching with my wife and sister in law. Characters on screen are discussing something dramatic related to romance and/or Christmas. I start laughing.)

Sister in Law: What’s wrong with him?

Wife: Are you mocking our show?

Me: Not the show. The special effects.

Wife: What are you talking about?

Me: You can see snow in the windows behind the characters. In one window the snow is blowing perpendicular to the ground. In the window next to it, the snow going up instead of falling down. 

Sister in Law: How did you even see that?

Wife: You should leave. 

If you haven’t experienced the unrelenting joy of Hallmark Christmas Movie Season, let me summarize. 

  1. A workaholic man or woman must go to a small town to rediscover something about life. 
  2. A woman is forced to choose between career & love. 
  3. Some heartless corporation is going to close down something or tear down something or buy out somebody’s house/business.
  4. Some Christmas party/parade/celebration will take place at the climax and save the town. 
  5. Somebody is secretly in love with somebody.
  6. If children are involved and mom/dad is single, kids will play matchmaker.
  7. An old man in town looks like Santa.

Now, don’t get me wrong, these are mostly harmless feel-good movies that you can actually watch with the kids. Nothing wrong with that. They remind me of a music review I once read of a ZZ Top album. The reviewer said, “every album is like a six-pack of beer. You know it’s going to be the same every time, but it’s still beer.” 

That’s kind of the way I feel about the plots. But I’m not the only one that thinks that. There is an entire industry of downloadable bingo cards for Hallmark Christmas Movies so you can play along with the recurring tropes. Even Hallmark has their own bingo cards, so they’re not trying to pretend their movies aren’t formulaic. And that’s okay. We need safe, predictable happy endings these days. 

I’ve heard people say “why can’t guys be like the men in the Hallmark Movies?” Hallmark movie guys have perfectly decorated Christmas trees, rescue kittens, save their mother’s bakery from foreclosure, and have heart-melting skills like ice sculpture or sweater knitting.

My relatives speculate that most (not all) guys are intimidated by how romantic the male characters are and that we can’t live up to it. 

If you’re a woman and tempted to ask that question of your current dude, be careful what you wish for. He may just ask you to be more like the female lead in your favorite Hallmark Christmas movie! 

You see, the women in these movies are just as unrealistic. They always leave the house with perfect hair and makeup. You never see them with bed head and wearing sweatpants. Doesn’t matter if they’re going to the corner coffee shop or the grocery store, they’re not dressed like life is a 24/7 yoga class. 

They also have perfectly decorated houses and offices which match the perfectly styled holiday dresses that they wear when their perfect guy delivers the perfect kiss on a perfect Christmas Eve and saves the town/business/tree farm/accounting firm. 

Or so I’m told. I usually get sent to my office long before the end. 

Carry on, Citizens!

photo credit: grandmasandy+chuck Christmas Presents under the Tree via photopin (license)