My Guilty Pleasure: Hallmark Christmas Movies

I can’t possibly be the only one who grew up watching ABC Family’s (now Freeform’s) “25 Days of Christmas”. Each day in December, I’d come home from school, turn on the TV, and binge watch every one of the Rankin and Bass animated Christmas specials—I’m talking classics like The Year Without a Santa Claus, Nestor, the Long-eared Christmas Donkey, and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. There was a glaring problem with the “25 Days of Christmas” schedule, though, and that was the inexplicable inclusion of decidedly non-holiday related films such as Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and Toy Story 3. Before anyone tracks me down to deliver a glitter bomb to my door, I’m not suggesting that these movies aren’t worth watching, merely that they do not belong in a Christmas countdown line-up. Not even if one scene in the film includes snow or some wintery activity like sledding. It doesn't work that way.If, like me, you refuse to compromise your Christmas spirit with such deviations from the delightful corniness of holiday specials, might I suggest you turn on the Hallmark Channel. During the whole of November and December (and sometimes more than half of January), the family-friendly channel boasts that it’s the hub for non-stop holiday mushiness. And I whole-heartedly agree; after all, it’s known as “The Heart of Christmas” for a reason. Not only does Hallmark feature a “Countdown to Christmas,” but they also air Christmas movies leading up to the countdown. You got that right—a countdown to the countdown, and don’t worry it’s still going on as I type. It began on October 27 th , and there’ll be approximately 1,100-plus hours of holiday entertainment, “more than any other network,” for you to binge on. What’s more, each season the network releases more than a dozen brand new original movies, all of the romantic variety, sprinkled throughout the month of December. (And a bonus to that bonus, Hallmark overloads viewers in the best way imaginable by also screening their holiday marathons on their second channel, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries).

If you’ve gotten this far, congratulations. You’ve reached the persuasive portion of the article. Here, I’ll argue that Hallmark Christmas movies are so insanely cheesy and bad that they’re addictively good. There are so many reasons to love the “Countdown to Christmas,” whether it be for the comfortable predictability of the schedule, the unending rotation of the same actors in slightly different romantic entanglements (Lacey Chabert, a.k.a. Gretchen Wieners from Mean Girls, has been in several Hallmark TV movies, like Matchmaker Santa, A Christmas Melody, A Royal Christmas, and A Wish for Christmas, to name a few), or the hilariously awful names of the movies. Sure, sometimes, if not most times, the acting feels wooden and the dialogue sounds so sappy you’ll cringe; however, the redeeming qualities of movies such as A Bride for Christmas, Let it Snow, Snow Bride, One Starry Christmas, and 12 Gifts of Christmas come in the form of hot dudes, tear-jerker endings, and the perfect background noise for wrapping and baking. Yes, I admit it, I freaking love these movies. They don’t stress me out with high-speed chase scenes, don’t leave me wondering whether the two leads will kiss by the end (they always, always will), and don’t force me to perfectly time an escape from the living room during a semi-nude love scene while watching with my grandparents. Oh, also, they never cuss, good guys always win, and Santa Claus sometimes makes an appearance and is usually some super sweet old man just offering his sage advice and giving some magical wink. It’s great.

And so, if you’re looking for something to watch during Christmas break, why not give the Hallmark Channel a try? You might find a new guilty pleasure this holiday season.