Watch Out for Hallmark

My daughter adores Hallmark Christmas movies, and has no trouble watching the same one over and over again. Of course, if you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all. The plot goes something like this: girl meets boy, either girl or boy detests Christmas (the other loves it), and by the ringing of midnight on Christmas, they are happily enthralled with one another and the magic of the holiday.

Now, before you label me the Grinch who stole Christmas romance, know that I love the cozy fireside snuggling, “Baby It’s Cold Outside”, and have even been known to hang up some mistletoe. Even so, Hallmark perpetuates the message that love is always romantic and life is full of happy endings and perfect hair. (I digress about the hair, but seriously, everyone has gorgeous locks and looks like they walked out of a Land’s End catalog–even the local handyman bachelor).

Obviously, Hallmark movies are designed for women to pull them into the romance of the season, and, I daresay, get them to a Hallmark store to buy overpriced Christmas ornaments and greeting cards. Do I sound cynical? I’m sorry.

From White Christmas onward, holiday movies were designed to concoct a blend of nostalgia, romance, and good will. During Christmas, we dare to dream a little more and maybe our hopes do seem a little more possible. But all this imagining can pull us away from a contented and realistic perspective.  Immersion in this mentality can create a false idea of love, relationships, and even Christmas. After all, nothing is idyllic, but if we impose those expectations on our lovers or loved ones, we’ve set them up to fail, and we’ll find ourselves disappointed and frustrated.

Lie #1: Follow your feelings. If the guy you were previously dating didn’t quite stir your blood, than you had better find a complete stranger who can. Good grief. Love doesn’t equate fluttering fondness. Love goes deeper into will power: staying through the hard times (excuse me, but little struggle exists in these movies), persevering when kids rebel, finances run out, health diminishes, and disaster hits.

Lie #2: Christmas is a type of religion (despite the fact that Jesus is never mentioned), and coming back to “the faith” of the holiday restores all that’s wrong in the world. My husband pegged this little nugget. The characters usually discuss what Christmas was like for them as a child and when they started loving it (or pulling away). They discuss the beauty and why it’s so significant to them–how it gets them through life and motivates them onward. Really? No God? And all that from a bag of traditions? Hmm….

Lie #3: The worst that life can hand you involves choosing between two jobs (or places to live), letting go of the rat race to live a small-town dream, or baking a turkey to perfection (I truly kid you not). These “struggles” are laughable at best, but for the unsuspecting (aka: my daughter), life really can be a neat little snow globe with a fairy-tale ending. The valleys of life become minor dips quickly overcome by good cheer. But sometimes our problems and pain aren’t alleviated by hot cocoa or decorating a tree. We can’t always fix everything by wishing for it to be true. And a perfectly handsome bachelor doesn’t just show up on our doorstep with a wreath in hand.

By now, you might be screaming, “Kristin, it’s a romance movie! It’s Hallmark. It’s Christmas! Really? Just relax and enjoy it.” Maybe I should; sometimes I can (if I don’t think too much). When I watch my daughter’s eyes dance with the characters and later reenact a scene, I wonder…is it just a movie?

Watcher beware: view with your own filter of reality. 😉

Okay, here’s a few laughs and “yep” moments for ya:

Everyone deserves a second chance. 
And by that, I don’t mean in the movie, I mean I watched a lot of Hallmark movies featuring my favorite actors from shows like Full HouseFriday Night Lights, and everything else you can think of. Mostly when I say “favorite actors,” I mean Candace Cameron Bure and Lori Loughlin.

Weddings are NBD.
After two people agree to get married, the wedding is immediate. I’m not even mad about this because wedding planning sounds like a nightmare. I’m down for a two-day turnaround.

Hallmark, I love you. Where would we be without you during the holidays?

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