How you can tell one Hallmark Christmas movie from another (levity)

What’s the deal? Is there an actual formula to make a Hallmark Christmas movie? Seriously, every time one comes on, I’m like, haven’t I seen this before? Oh wait… that was the other one.

NOTE: This post is heavy on sarcasm. If you are a big fan of Hallmark, proceed with caution. <wink>

I’m under the impression that in order for a Christmas made-for-TV movie to be accepted into the world of Hallmark, the story must fall under one of the following conditions:

There must be a prince in it.

Because what woman wouldn’t want a prince to fall madly in love with her, sweep her off her feet and whisk her away to the magical land of “happily ever after?”

Me: Dear Hallmark, do I look like Meaghan Markle to you? Why would I want to leave my life (and freedom) behind for some guy only to have to conform to his family’s restrictive rules and way of life? Pssst… hey Cinderella, how do you like your happily ever after now? That prince is starting to look more like a frog, huh?

Also Me: Speaking of land… notice every made-up name of the country (kingdom?) the prince is from sounds like one straight out of the Baltic region – yet the prince has an English accent. Go figure. It’s the same theme in every Hallmark Christmas movie with a prince in it. Every. Single. One.

Keyword “Christmas” or “Bride” or “Snow” or “Santa” or “Prince” must be part of the title.

Because we, the viewers, aren’t experts on the obvious.

Me: Hmm… I wonder if the poster with a Christmas tree in the background is about Christmas. Oh, look! A guy wearing a Santa suit. This movie must have Santa Claus in it.

The leading male character must show a vulnerable, sensitive side, like a widower with small children or a lover of dogs (preferably a rescue).

Because we women are suckers for that sort of thing.

Me: If this does happen in real life, it’s very rare. I mean, it’s not the first thing that comes to mind when a woman meets a man she’s attracted to. Usually, it’s “Does he stink?” “Does he often look like he just rolled out of bed?” “Is he married?” “Does he have a job?” “Is he an ex-convict?” Hallmark seems to bypass the background check part to focus on the awe-inspiring side of the leading man.

The leading characters don’t like each other. Well, not at first.

The tension build-up between them keeps us, the viewers hooked as if we don’t already know how the story is going to end.

Me: A love-hate romantic comedy is the perfect recipe… to get a couple of schmucks like me and you to subscribe to the Hallmark channel. Guilty as charged.

Two very attractive characters who can’t stand one another end up getting engaged for the sake of pleasing their parents.

Because, apparently, that still happens in this day and age, except, in a Hallmark movie, one is actually secretly in love with the other. And vice versa.

Me: I don’t know where the writer is from but in America, no one ever forces you into marrying anyone. We are fully capable of doing that to ourselves. <wink, wink>

Flirting must include baking cookies together after midnight.

Because… we all do that.

Me: I’m going out on a limb here. No one ever says, “Hey, I totally like this girl. I think I’ll ask her out to go baking with me.” Personally, baking cookies in the middle of the night is not my idea of a good time. Waking me up just to bake-flirt is a major deal-breaker.

The leading man always has at least one good friend, co-worker, or sibling who eventually guides him on the right path.

Because what guy doesn’t need a wingman?

Me: Hmph. Having a wingman (or wingwoman?) is good, that is, as long as they are rooting for the girl – the main character in the story.

Did you also notice that the female lead is often her dad’s favorite?

One of the leading characters has a jealous and manipulative “ex” who’s vying for their affections.

You can spot the ex (or significant partner) based on how much of a jerk he or she is. You can’t miss it. Their villainous behavior is always over the top.

Me: Two words. Restraining order.

An engagement ring, one that’s the biggest and the brightest, followed by a wedding, of course.

Because apparently women feel incomplete without them.

Me: Correct me if I’m wrong but shouldn’t we go out on a date first?

To sum it up, it seems Hallmark likes to tell the same story over and over again in many of their Christmas movies, in many different ways. The only thing that changes is the title. Well. Sort of.

I must’ve come across to you as a critic who finds Hallmark Christmas movies to be annoying, unrealistic, and absurd. But no one could’ve been able to observe so many of their idiosyncrasies in such great deal… unless they enjoy watching them, too. 🙂

So… yes. As cheezy as they are, I admit I do watch them. It’s been a Christmas tradition of mine for many years. In fact, there hasn’t been one Christmas when I didn’t watch at least 10 of them. Ha! I even own some! I’m not kidding!

There’s a reason these movies are so popular and appear year after year at Christmastime: They set the mood for the season. Many women who love Christmas tend to love Hallmark Christmas movies, too – more than we care to admit – because they’re very good at reaching the child within to reawaken the spirit of Christmas in us.

Published by Micaela Christina

A gen-xer who knows a thing or two about the hard knocks of life.

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