I'm just going to be completely honest: Hallmark channel has been on my TV about 24/7. I've switched over for Elf a few times or some other Christmas special, but for the most part, I've been seeing a lot of Hallmark Christmas movies. Through all the different movies - new and old - I've realized how extremely similar they all are. Don't get me wrong - I love them! But let's just say that I feel like I could easily write one of these babies because there are a few key ingredients in every one of them:
1. You've got to have a couple.
And 9 times out of 10 (actually more like 10 times out of 10) the couple isn't officially in existence until the very end. They may start out at the beginning of the movie hating each other or not knowing the other exists, but then the whole plot revolves around them getting together. There's always a dramatic scene at the end where they're kissing. If they're outside, it starts to snow. If they're inside, there's a huge tree in the background. I'm not kidding. Watch a couple and you'll see it's all the same.
2. You've got to have a current loser boyfriend.
The girl always has some boyfriend that's a CEO somewhere who only cares about money and taking trips on a private jet. The girl seems to think he's the one for her, but then Mr. Small-Town-Christmas-Spirit-Good-with-Kids-and-the-Elderly comes along and complicates her decision. Loser boyfriend always ends up getting the boot.
3. There's a conflict between big city and small town living.
Hallmark movies are always set in either a large city or a small town. Most of the time, people living in the big city realize that small town living is so much better. Loser boyfriend is always part of big city life, and his girlfriend is pulled between the fast-paced life he leads and the friendly, small-town life she and her family knows. Small-town living always wins out.
4. There's always, ALWAYS some misunderstanding.
Even though you can tell that a couple getting together is inevitable from the first 2 seconds of the movie, there's always a huge bump - or multiple bumps - along the way. Many times the misunderstanding is that one of the members of the eventual couple is already dating someone else. Guy sees girl hug the brother he didn't know she had, and thinks he's her boyfriend. Guy becomes distant. Girl thinks he's uninterested. It eventually gets resolved, but for about half an hour, the movie watcher has balled-up fists ready to punch the main characters for being so quick to jump to conclusions. "THAT'S HER BROTHER! NOT HER BOYFRIEND! JUST ASK HER AND YOU'LL KNOW!!!!!!"
5. There's always some wise old person.
This wise, grandpa or grandma figure sees the spark between the two main characters and tries to get things moving. Gotta love them for putting up with the characters when they're dragging their feet and are scared to make a move. They are always very patient and give good advice.
6. If there are kids in the movie, they connect with the potential girlfriend/boyfriend first.
If one of the main characters has a child or two, those children will be the ones to introduce or make their parent fall in love with the other main character. The parent sees how good the other person is with their children and they see how much their kids love them, and soon they start to fall in love.
7. Lately, the female characters always are pastry chefs or event planners.
Don't know why, but these occupations are suddenly all the rage. Lacy Chabert has literally been a pastry chef in like 3 different movies. If the female characters don't have these specific jobs, they always have some unique job like writing responses to kids' Santa letters or painting.
8. Christmas spirit is a must.
If a character doesn't decorate their yard for Christmas, they automatically are the villain of the movie. Christmas spirit is a necessity. You obviously have had something very tragic happen in your life if you refuse to wear an ugly Christmas sweater to work. It's then up to one of the other characters to intervene in your life until you realize the error of your ways. If there is a Christmas carol being sung, you best be singing at the top of your lungs or else. (Never has there been any violence in a Hallmark movie, though... haha!)
9. Somehow every single person in any given scene is completely excited about Christmas.
I'm talking about the extras in a Hallmark movie: everyone's decorating cookies without hesitation, everyone's caroling, everyone's smiling. When announcements are made, everyone is extremely excited, with elderly men awkwardly pumping their fists and teenagers hugging their parents. It's unnatural in most cases. But hey! We can dream. And I think that's what Hallmark movies are all about: dreaming and hoping. They bring joy, where most other channels bring traumatic news, filthy shows, and depressing stories.