(Photo by Allister Foster)
A Hallmark Holiday – Fake or For Real?
By Alexandria Grace Bowers
Admit it. You’ve been watching Hallmark Christmas movies since July. I bet my *secret* stash of candy canes that Charles English’s commercial narration is playing through your head right now.
Really, it’s okay. Don’t deny it or try to hide it. It’s perfectly fine if your cheeks are as red as Rudolph’s nose. No need to park yourself in the corner wearing a Santa-styled cone of shame. To be upfront and honest, you and I are in the same parade float. Trust me. If binging on cliche and cheery Hallmark holiday movies is a sin, then I am the worst of sinners.
If you struggle with an addiction concerning Hallmark Christmas films, you can’t tell me you haven’t wondered why. What is it that makes us sit, stare at a screen, sip hot cocoa as the clock ticks by absorbed in silly, simple stories? Why do we laze away our Saturdays and Sundays, even our free weekday evenings, captivated by the company of HMM veterans like Candace Cameron Bure, Lacey Chabert, and Danica McKeller?
The first thought that comes to mind for many of us is that Hallmark movies are just plain bad, cheesy, and corny. They make us choke with laughter, especially when they’re not trying to be funny. We pick on and poke playfully at these hour long sequences these same old plots and people. Yet, something deep down tells me that there’s more to the reason behind our teasing. We don’t keep coming back to the Hallmark Channel, after clicking through a thousand others, just to bully. I think that beneath our jesting and joking, we hide a fascination. We’re lured into these small town, boring, and bland adventures.
They’re familiar. Homey. We recognize a fraction of our real lives within and underneath the perfect makeup, the glam wardrobe, and the dialogue that seems both overdone and underdone.
We see pieces of ourselves in the women played by Merritt Patterson, Danielle Panabaker, and Alicia Witt. We’re the bakers trying to save our shops and the business boss ladies attempting to keep our small companies afloat. We’re the aspiring fashion designers who can’t get our big breaks and the under the radar journalists looking for a cold scoop of authentic, snowballed drama.
We get the girls, and the girls get us.
We can wrap up our love for Hallmark movies in a million layers of colorful paper. In the end, it won’t matter. The package of our obsession will be ripped open. There’s no “hush-hush” this holiday season, especially in a year that’s been sleighing us all.
My question is why should we lock our lips? Why do we need to continue to veil our fondness for films that relax us and remind us of so many valuable lessons?
I don’t know about you, but Hallmark Christmas movies have never ceased to center my focus on all that’s bright and beautiful. Camera lenses magnify silver, winter wonderlands, merry with cookie making competitions, decorating galore, rivalries turned romance, and the reconnecting with family members and friends. The twinkling lights on every scene’s street corner highlights themes like the great importance of traditions, how the hustle and bustle can damage relationships at times, and the meaning present in every little moment.
Whether we want to come clean or not, Hallmark movies are relatable. Maybe it’s time we stopped pretending that’s not the case and start embracing it instead.
So what if life is predictable in such unpredictability? What if it’s wholesome and sweet, even when it’s heartbreaking and salty? What’s so horrible about being home for the snowy holidays, *hopefully* stuck with those we adore and seek to annoy? I mean, haven’t we all wanted to be on the silver screen at some point? What if, in some strange way, these movies are tickets to our own livelihoods right here and now? Perhaps we can and should place aside our mocking, just for a while, when these films are possibly a mirror to our own days and nights.
I know that I’ll be allowing myself to watch Hallmark holiday movies unafraid and with joy. I’ve already got my peppermint hot cocoa waiting for me with marshmallows and caramel drizzle on top. Maybe it’s time for you to do the same, friend.