It’s the most wonderful time of the year…because Hallmark Christmas movie season is in full swing. Lucky for sappy, holiday romance movie lovers like myself, starting in late October, the Hallmark Channel plays their signature, cheesy Christmas love stories twenty-four hours a day for their Countdown to Christmas. There are significant repetitions over the next two months, but impressively, the network releases a number of new movies each year. Many of my friends and family find it funny that I like Hallmark movies, as they’re not of particularly high cinematic quality nor original. Despite this, I adore Hallmark Christmas movies and treasure the two months that I can watch them at any hour.
On Hallmark movies’ behalf, I offer the following defense:
The movies are feel-good and their shared themes make them easy watches. They’re incredibly cheesy, but there’s some comfort in knowing that the couple will end up together every time. Unlike unreliable rom-coms and sitcoms, there will always be a happily ever after and THAT is the kind of positivity that I need in my life. None of these roller coaster games that sitcoms play where the protagonist has a new love interest every other week and you have to decide whether or not you like him and if he seems shady. Not only do Hallmark movies provide happy endings, but their common threads make them easy to follow and don’t require your full attention (READ: great study complement). These common threads are the main reason that my friends and family give me a hard time for being such a Hallmark junkie. “If you’ve seen one Hallmark movie, you’ve seen them all” is not wholly off-base, but it’s such a feel-good plot arc – how can you resist? Most noticeably is the appearance of the same stars in multiple movies. I’m not sure if Hallmarks signs these actors for multiple films at a time, but Candace Cameron Bure, Lacey Chabert, and Jill Wagner, among others, seem to be the network’s favorites. Moreover, the emphasis on small-town romanticism in contrast to the unwelcoming big city is a Hallmark signature trope. One person is a visitor to the town and the other is a native, embodying the charm of the small town hominess. As the two fall in love, the visitor falls in love with the place and fits right in. The visitor, in the end, always abandons the big city they’d been living in in some way. Further, there’s always some sort of work-life tension intertwined with the idea of the city, be it a demanding boss or a money-hungry significant other. Also highly prevalent is the dramatic misunderstanding where both parties are too proud or too afraid to admit the extent of their feelings for one another. This misunderstanding is cleared up in the conclusion, where both parties reveal their hearts and live happily ever after. In order for this misunderstanding to be cleared up at just the right time, there’s often the messed up plans that necessitate that the visitor to stay for longer than expected. Sometimes, there’s a variation of this ending, where the visitor returns to the city only to be filled with deep sadness and rush back to the small town. Even as I’m recapping these common threads, I realize why people make fun of Hallmark movies. I could tell you the entire plot arc of any Hallmark Christmas movie after watching for five minutes, but because they’re addictingly feel-good, I’ll passively watch until the credits roll.
The common themes and cheesy plots, which garner criticism, are the same reasons why Hallmark movies are awesome.