It’s Beginning to Look Like a Hallmark Christmas

Written By: Dawn - Nov• 20•17

For the record, Christmas season began at the Hallmark Channel back on October 28, with its first new Countdown to Christmas movie of the 2017 season, Merry Me at Christmas. But if you’re like me, you’re resisting Christmas until 12:01 am on Friday, November 24. Then, and only then, can all holly break loose.

Also for the record, I love Hallmark Christmas movies. Love them, LOVE them, love them. I will not pull a Mr. Darcy on you and declare my love with an acknowledgement that such a enjoyment is decidedly beneath me. I know exactly why I like them.

In a word- snow. I am Bay Area raised and now a 25 year Arizona resident. I’ve never had a White Christmas.

Which brings me to another word- fantastical, the adjective, describing “that which exists only in the imagination” but, when applying the word’s Greek roots says “make visible.”

Escapism, in my humble opinion, is a necessary form of self-care. Now more than ever we need breaks from the news, views and vitriol dominating our country right now. The holidays’ inherent optimism and demand for positive fellowship with all is the perfect time to slip away into a break from reality.

For optimum viewing pleasure, I suggest the following-

  1. Download and print the official Countdown to Christmas Programming Guide here. This guide includes the movies you missed because you observed Halloween and Thanksgiving. Don’t fret, the movies replay often enough you have no excuse to miss a single one.
  2. Comfy clothes. Pajamas are preferred, but coordinating loungewear works in a pinch. The whole reason you watch a Hallmark Christmas movie is to feel good. No shape wear!
  3. Speaking of feeling good, comfort or favorite foods are a must. One time last year I had the house to myself and I made cookie dough for my viewing party meal. What you eat when you watch your Hallmark holiday movie is your business. No judgement!
  4. Cheers! The Hallmark Christmas Movie Drinking Game posts are making the rounds again. Gotta love the folks at Country Living magazine. (I’ll expand on drinking games later.)
  5. Lastly, and most important of all, grab a sturdy pair of rose-colored glasses. Hallmark Christmas movies aren’t exactly representative of real life. Most of the women wear sleeveless shift dresses inside the office even when it’s snowing outside for goodness sake!

While I believe in the power of knowing your market audience, the tendency at Hallmark is to make Christmas very White on white. Part of the escapism I enjoy about Hallmark is the absence of profanity and, thankfully, politics. I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest that viewers of color would probably enjoy this type of wholesome fare too. The storylines are so benign, would it matter if the female lead was Black or Hispanic or Asian? If they did that would it be White Christmas washing other experiences?

These are great questions, tough questions, however I’m not here to debate and criticize (much). And I recognize that there are other groups, like the LGBTQ community and plus size folks, I haven’t mentioned, but I think baby steps are a step in the right direction to start with. Hallmark movies, like many aspects of the commercial, tradition and expectation machine that is the holiday season, are as imperfect as the people viewing them.

But there is always room for improvement.

So far for the 2017 lineup, I see The Christmas Train, featuring Danny Glover. Wow, he rarely does TV! The ads for other movies appear to show a person of color in the typical BFF or office side-kick role. Okay. Let’s think ahead to 2018. Call Tyler Perry. Imagine the impact Madea could have on family in Santa Claus, Indiana (zip code 47579) who has lost its holiday spirit. Or how about a Chinese New Year story? Or Bridezilla version of a Quinceanera? (I have more ideas Hallmark Channel and I’d love to work in TV!)

So, if I feel this way, why do I watch? Why not boycott? Well, remember that love thing I mentioned earlier?

I love how ridiculously stupid Hallmark movies can be.

I love how poignant Hallmark movies can be.

I love how they look and feel like a live Christmas snow globe.

I love how relaxed I feel when I watch one.

I love how every season (Hallmark does Valentine, Spring Fling and June Wedding movies- oh my!) there is at least one movie that moves me to tears. And because it’s a Hallmark movie, it’s not an ugly-cry.

And now that Hallmark Christmas movies have a drinking game, we know they’re here to stay, so I’m working with them, not against them.

Speaking of drinking games, I’ve come up with one of my own. It’s waaay cooler than the one from Country Living and it has a diversity awareness  component. It’s also super simple, because the holidays are stressful enough.

All you need is a bottle of Jaegermeister and your listening ears. Every time  a character of color has more than three lines, you take a shot. Trust me, even if you do a DVR marathon, you’ll never get wasted.*

For now.

But there’s always room for improvement. And who knows, perhaps I’ll have some crow to eat by the time I’ve watched them all this year- stay tuned!

Happy Hallmark Holiday movie-ing to all!!!

 

*I’d exercise caution if you play my game during the movie with Danny Glover.

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