This is the magical time of year that Hallmark starts churning out seasonally inspired romantic schmaltz for nominally evangelical, Christian-cultured, true-blue American white women.
Hallmark movies are coming out at a speed that’s only rivaled by cheap romance literature. Which is probably no coincidence since these movies are the exact same thing, just on your TV and with actors you may or may not recognize from something or other or a previous Hallmark movie.
If you think I’m being over the top dramatic, I checked (authoritative) wikipedia for how many Hallmark movies are coming out this year. It’s 47 in total. Which is just less than one movie a week. EXCEPT you must realize, this does NOT count Hallmark MYSTERY specific movies. There are 27 “mystery” movies. These can be holiday movies as well, but are more about the mystery. Most of the grand total 74 films (seriously??) are catering to our unique obsession with holiday inspired love stories (how is that a real thing??).
Since I am 100% in their target demographic range, I don’t mind admitting that I watch these little sugared droplets of mediocre-poor storytelling with rabid enthusiasm. What I love about them:
- I can feel crappy about how poorly I’ve decorated my house by comparison/pick up new better than pinterest ideas for decorating my obvious dirt hovel.
- I can pine away hoping for two attractive men in my own small town who are devastatingly in love with me. Despite my off-putting temper, cold manner, and general shrewish demeanor. I’m sure if I had a chance I could lure them in with an earlier, younger, “better” version of myself, or homemade snacks and Christmas made crap.
- Sure, one of those guys would be a total douchebag, more interested in business and work than a whole full life with a family and kids, but I’d figure out that when I start banter arguing with guy number 2, aka my TRUE Christmas present.
- I can pretend holiday parties are occasions for formal wear instead of the “I was cold and stayed in my sweats but put on real shoes you should be happy, here’s your damn appetizer of chips and salsa” that they actually are.
- I can be grateful I decorated my tree alone and not with someone who took that time to remind me “this is the spirit of Christmas”.
- I can imagine that finding the perfect gifts for all my loved ones is possible. Maybe by divine intervention, or magical intervention, or just some well-placed clues in strategic conversations with the necessary parties. Why don’t more people telegraph the perfect gift for them in my budget range??
- I can briefly live in a world where Christmas season is not “get the stomach virus and vomit everywhere” season but instead the “those kids’ have red cheeks from outdoor excitement and not a fever” season.
- Also, the writing is horrific. And it makes me feel better about myself.
- Also, I make excellent jokes to myself. So hilarious.
Romance and Christmas are tied right together in the Hallmark world. It’s kind of the hallmark of their movies (see what I did?) No one ever wants to talk about how maybe nostalgia and Christmas schmaltz shouldn’t be what you build your new together life around. But it’s what we all want, obviously. We want Christmas to unite unlikely couples. We want Christmas to be so magical that it transforms the whole year into a total love-fest between former childhood chums. We want to be able to say the worst possible lines ever written and have it be the right thing to say to our loved ones.
Hallmark delivers all that and so much more. So in that spirit, here’s a way to utilize some spirits for your Hallmark viewing:
- If our hero has a dog, take a shot
- If our heroine has a kid, take a shot (one shot per child)
- If our heroine has custody of someone else’s kid(s) take more shots.
- If there’s an angsty conversation at a coffee shop, take a shot
- If there’s a montage of holiday scenery, shot
- If our hero chases our heroine, two shots (you’ll need them)
- If there’s a totally arbitrary reason to have a gala in which everyone gets dressed up fancy, drink.
- If our lovers share an angsty dance, drink.
- If our heroine’s best friend is quirky, drink
- If our hero’s best friend is his dog, drink
- If the parents are way too involved in the relationship, tip that bottle back.
- If our hero or heroine gets advice from an enlightened older person, keep drinking.
- Bonus drink if they’re someone random, but frequently spotted throughout the movie.
- Drink if someone explains the meaning of Christmas and gets it totally wrong.
- Drink if our hero is a busy businessman
- Drink if our heroine is in some kind of “decorator” or “interior designer” occupation
- If you’re lucky enough to be watching the Mark Ruffalo one from many many many years ago, stop drinking immediately and savor that unique opportunity.
Merry Christmas and happy holidays, friends!