Everyone has their own ways of getting in the Christmas spirit, but like many others, I find my comfort in the familiar classics of the silver screen. From the first two “Home Alone” movies to the antics of the Griswold Family in “Christmas Vacation,” I’m always willing to overlook some of the weaker parts of movies like these because they just fill me with that warm holiday feeling. With that being said, when a Christmas movie is bad, it can ruin my spirit immensely – especially if I’m the only one who seems to feel this way. I’m, of course, referring to the endless mountain of garbage that is Hallmark Christmas Movies.
Now what is a Hallmark Christmas Movie? Since the mid-1990s, the Hallmark Channel has been making its own “original” Christmas films in the lead up to Christmas Day. This was a novel idea and not too far off from what most other channels do, and when they first started out it wasn’t anything too notable. Just some romance movies to kill two hours in December. This was also benefited by the fact that during the early years they would only produce maybe three to five movies a year. It seems like a lot, but the films had some variety to them at least. However, as the channel entered the 2010s, something happened. The channel found a formula, and they’ve been riding that formula to the bank ever since. In 2021 alone, they made 30 movies. Let me repeat that, they made 30 movies in the span of a year.
Now allow me to tell the tale of said formula. Here is my rendition of the plot to every Hallmark Christmas Movie ever:
Generically attractive man or woman is a big CEO at either a law firm, bank or tech company who simply has no time for the holidays (or romance) because of business. They have a super important meeting and/or wedding they have to get to when their car breaks down in Small Town, America. They need a place to stay, and they just so happen to find refuge with the other generically attractive man or woman living in this small town. They, of course, don’t like each other at first because they're a big city girl/boy who simply doesn’t understand the other’s country lifestyle. Then, however, through the magic of Christmas, the two slowly start to fall in love.
They usually convey this by having them work together on either an ice sculpting contest, Christmas pageant (90% of the time one of them has a precocious child in said pageant), bake sale, saving some building from being demolished and so on and so forth. However, just as they’re about to fall in love, they have a slight falling out as one must return to their prior engagement, but then they remember all the good times they had in the span of 48 hours and decide to throw their life away and make their return just in time for the aforementioned events. Also, at some point there’s an old man with a white beard who may or may not be Santa Claus. Take deep breaths in text.
Sure, every once in a while they switch some things up by having one of them be an angel, or perhaps a time traveler –heck, you have a whole sub-genre of movies where one of them is a prince or princess. However, the point I’m trying to make here is that Hallmark has been making the same movie for over a decade now, and in those ten years more and more people keep tuning into them. I cannot comprehend how people can tune day after day through the month of December and watch the same movie over and over again. People always argue that the Marvel Cinematic Universe is formulaic, but at least they have the decency to change the locations and characters. I’m not exaggerating, if you were to play these movies in succession, or show clips from different movies I guarantee you I could not tell the difference.
Every December when visiting family, the only thing that is ever on TV is the Hallmark Channel, and every year it drives me to the brink of insanity. Where is the entertainment value in watching the same thing over and over and over and over again? My brain hurts.
Look, I’m not one to tell people what they can and can’t watch, especially if it’s something that makes them happy. And in some greedy part of my mind, I respect the hustle that Hallmark has been pulling each year, but at the same time I simply want people to understand that there’s so many better options out there. I also write this as a warning since streaming services like Netflix and other channels have started to make movies with the Hallmark formula. I’m looking at you, “The Princess Switch.”