It's that time of year again. The stockings are hung, the logs are burning, the trees are trimmed, and, in the background, the Hallmark movies are playing. They're playing in the student stores, in my neighbor's living room, in the apartment of the freshman year hallmate, and probably even on the TVs at the State Department. It's a craze that sweeps the nation at this time of year, and it's just about impossible to escape it.
Perhaps you've guessed what this description is all about, or maybe you're just perceptive enough to read the headline, but we're talking, of course, about Hallmark movies. They're a Christmas institution, one which rivals even the 24 hours of A Christmas Story with which we are all very familiar. Contrary to many of my friends, though, I find that they just don't symbolize Christmas for me. Of course, I love the way that a good Hallmark movie seamlessly ties together the various threads of the characters' lives, and I love the predictable happily ever after outcomes.
But then, that's also precisely my problem with these holiday classics. Before even turning the TV on, you can predict which actress will be in the movie (Danica McKellar or Candace Cameron-Bure?), the cute little New England town or European principality, the 6 carat diamond ring, the horse-drawn carriage, the gorgeous red dress, the cute kids gathered around the tree on Christmas morning... the list goes on and on. All of the actors in the films are perfectly groomed, and there is seldom a flaw beyond a lone tear sliding down a cheek. Basically, these movies depict something of a fantasy.
Now, I will be the first to admit the beauty and particular novelty of a movie which requires minimum thought and maximum Christmas cheer, and I firmly believe that those sorts of movies are good for the Christmas season. I just don't love Hallmark movies, and I guess I would simply rather watch Christmas Vacation or Home Alone for the thousandth time. I'm looking for laughs and inside jokes with my family rather than cheesy romance movies this time of year. My headline is probably a bit aggressive because if somebody else wants to watch a Hallmark movie, it's not as though I'll run screaming. I just don't think that these movies perfectly encapsulate the holiday season and everything that comes with it -- and I think that's okay.
So, this holiday season, if you're ever wondering what I'm watching, chances are that it won't be a Hallmark movie. Unless maybe I'm sitting in the top of Student Stores and trying not to do homework. In which case, bring on the predictability and fluff romance, because that definitely sounds like more fun than another problem set...