Many media outlets have declared that the Hallmark family of channels are the most watched channels in November and December because of their plethora of family-friendly holiday movies. While many of the movies offered during those 60-some-odd days are ones that have been recycled from previous years, each year Hallmark debuts 20-30 new movies celebrating the season. Many people (my husband included) denigrate these movies because they are somewhat predictable. Granted, most of the time the plots are pretty similar, but that doesn’t stop people from watching them, myself included. The annual marathon of holiday movies is over now, but the “lessons” these movies offer are worth noting.
Things I have learned watching Hallmark Channel Christmas movies:
- If your name is “Amy,” you are the first wife, AND you died of cancer.
- “North Pole Adjacent” is EITHER a veiled reference to Santa’s workshop OR it is a small town that does Christmas so perfectly that Santa would feel perfectly comfortable hanging out there in his down-time.
- Never try to travel during winter weather if you are single and there is a single, good-looking member of the opposite sex anywhere in the vicinity. You will have car trouble or snow will cancel all the flights.
- If a kid makes a “special Christmas wish,” it will come true before the end of the movie.
- Members of royal families from obscure or fictional countries in Europe will never reveal their family backgrounds unless forced.
- EVERYONE has Christmas traditions that include going caroling, making gingerbread houses, and baking cookies.
- You can’t bake without getting flour everywhere, including the tip of your nose.
- Even if it is Christmas eve, if you don’t have a tree, someone will get one for you and provide you with all the decorations you need.
- Those gifted ornaments will instantly have significant meaning for you for the rest of your life.
- Single moms are single because their horrible ex-husbands abandoned the family just before Christmas. Single dads are single because their wives died tragically. Either way, they have never really gotten over it.
- Stringing popcorn is WAY easier in the movies than it is in real life.
- No one adds alcohol to their eggnog because everyone (including the kids) drinks it at any time of the day.
- Hot cocoa is magical and can cure anything, including a broken heart.
- If there is an annual community celebration, it will be in danger of being cancelled for this or future years because of lack of funding, planning, or interest. Luckily, one or two people will be able to generate enough money and interest to save the town festival for years to come.
- The federal law that allows cancellation of any contract valued over $25 within the first three days of signing does not exist, or terms of the contract have been written such that this law can be ignored.
- Main characters who are angels will be able to become human again if they fall in love during their mission, but only if they are young and beautiful. Angels played by actors who are 40 or older will always be angels.
- If someone is searching for long-lost family, the people helping them search will turn out to be the missing relatives they are looking for.
- That man in town who “looks like” Santa is actually the real Santa. Somehow, he has managed to get time away from the North Pole to visit Vermont or Chicago or Seattle or wherever the story is taking place.
- If you tell Santa your wish, it will come true.
- If a main character starts the movie already in a relationship, that relationship will be with Mr./Miss Wrong. Their true soulmate will be a plot complication they meet in the first 20 minutes.
- Service members who are deployed oversees will always be able to make it back in time for Christmas.
- It will always snow in time for Christmas, even if you are living in a warm-weather place like southern California or Florida.
- The most preposterous things can happen because of Christmas magic or Christmas miracles.
- Even if there is an unexpected blizzard that suddenly hits the area, there is enough food in the refrigerator and pantry to feed a small army, including a whole turkey and gallons of fresh milk. And everyone drinks Folgers.
- If you get a promotion at work within the first 15 minutes, you have the wrong job and will find your true calling soon.
- For every 5 minutes of programming, there are 4 minutes of commercials, and no movie lasts more than 1 hour 30 minutes without commercials.
- If you are stuck somewhere with your ex, it is because you are actually soulmates and this is your second chance to get it right.
- Everyone has a fireplace.
- Impromptu Christmas weddings will go off without a hitch. The couple will be able to secure a dress, a tux, a venue, a minister, a caterer, a florist, a professional photographer, and musicians, all within 48 hours, if necessary.
- The only good Christmas tree is one you cut yourself.
This list could go on and on. The themes of family, togetherness, reflection, and opportunity run strong through Hallmark’s movies. Mistaken identities, true love, and fate will be fodder for Christmas movies as long as there is Christmas, and Hallmark has found a way to capture it all. They have a stable of actors that rivals the classic Hollywood studio system, and those same actors appear in multiple movies and series for Hallmark all year long. They also have a variety of locations that reappear over and over. There is one particular L-shaped, red brick house with a round turret that has been used in countless Larry Levinson movies. If I didn’t know better, I would think it was Levinson’s own house. Regardless, the similarities that run through Hallmark’s movies are consistent from movie to movie. If some people feel that this makes these movies boring and predictable, so be it. Nevertheless, for many of us, the “Countdown to Christmas” is part of our own holiday tradition. So here’s to finding your true love or your true calling and getting everything your heart sincerely desires, even if you don’t realize at first that’s what you really want.
And, if for some reason, you missed this year’s Hallmark Christmas movies, you can always go back and watch some of them on their new streaming service. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!