Illustration by Arielle Zepeda
Illustration by Arielle Zepeda

A Case For Horrible Hallmark Movies

By Seth Haden

I always find myself looking forward to the holidays as there is much to appreciate about this time of year. Houses are decorated with light and shopping malls compete to see who has the bigger tree. I enjoy almost everything about the holidays, but I will stand my ground when I say Hallmark movies are horrible. It doesn’t help that the Hallmark Channel begins their movie countdown in the middle of November when we haven’t reached Thanksgiving yet. So much anticipation for mediocre movies, as they all consist of the same looking cast, the same boring plot, and the same predictable message. If you have seen one movie then you have seen them all, and still people look forward to watching them every single year.

I’m not saying Christmas movies are bad, because that’s far from the truth. I’m a firm believer that “Die Hard,” is the best Christmas movie with honorable mentions such as “It’s A Wonderful Life” and “Love Actually.” These are the movies that come to mind when people think of Christmas movies, but I’ve never heard someone mention a Hallmark movie and for good reason. Here is every Hallmark movie ever made:

It’s hard to recognize the faces of the cast because you’ve never seen them, as most A-list actors respect themselves too much. The leads are the typical brown-haired, pretty, white man and the blonde-haired, pretty, white woman. Have any doubts? Google “Hallmark christmas movies list” and take a look for yourself. I will admit that the diversity of these casts has improved with more representation of people of color and the LGBTQ+ community, but still most casts are white dominated.

It’s always about a hotshot city guy who is obsessed with his career and too busy for love. After several years of being away, he finally comes back to his small hometown for the holidays. There he rekindles the relationship with his high school love interest with the added tension of ‘will they won’t they,’ but in the end they fall in love and he learns the true meaning of Christmas. Of course, there are bonus details I’m skipping over. The woman is a baker or a struggling writer, a family business is going under and needs to be saved, a precious heirloom is passed down, and to tie it all together there is some sort of wish. There are some variations between movies, but this is the most basic formula for a Hallmark movie. Maybe that’s not a bad thing though, and maybe that’s the point of these movies.

Expectations are set high for the holidays. We are quickly drained from packed schedules of plans with family and friends. We are driven insane trying to find the perfect gift for our loved ones. Each company bombards us with catchy jingles and flashy advertisements trying to convince us they have what we are looking for. Our empty pockets are mocked by the price tag of that Tiffany necklace or that pair of Nike shoes. All of this being shoved down our throats while companies beat us over the head with the meaning of holiday spirit. It’s funny because the holiday season is supposed to be about love and sharing kindness, yet we will trample over strangers for Black Friday sales.

For an hour and thirty minutes we can escape all of these problems. Everyone knows what to expect when they sit down to watch a Hallmark movie. The characters aren’t special, but they’re enough to keep your attention. The snow looks real, even beautiful, although it was probably made from a machine. No matter what happens, despite all of the turmoil and tension, the audience can always expect to see a happy ending. Sometimes that’s what people need the most: to be given hope that there is a happy ending. I don’t care much for Hallmark movies, but I appreciate them for what they can give to an audience. After the movie everyone will go back to the real world, with their real problems once again, but this time they have hope they will find the gift they have been searching for since December 1st.