Fa-la-la-la Fail: Hallmark Holiday Movies

Promotional poster for the Hallmark original movie “The Nine Lives of Christmas.”
(Photo credit: hallmarkchannel.com)

By Holly Mercer, Staff Writer

Thanksgiving is almost here—thank goodness. Servo Thanksgiving was fantastic, but I’m definitely looking forward to my grandma’s Thanksgiving feast. My grandma is quite the cook. Following the Thanksgiving Day festivities, my cousin and I will decorate her house for Christmas.

Now, when it comes to decorations, my cousin and I go all out. We have a plethora of 70s decorations to choose from—there are loads of tinsel, string-covered ornaments, and our personal favorite, Strobe- Light-Santa. Strobe-Light Santa is truly one in a million. I discovered him at the bottom of a box and my grandma’s house hasn’t been the same since. Strobe-Light Santa is a window decoration, in which Santa is in the middle of a ring of lights. The lights are supposed to blink, but since the decoration has been around for more than double my lifespan, it just flashes at completely random intervals. It might flash in the window anywhere from once every two days to every three minutes. I think of Strobe-Light Santa as a metaphor for life: he is truly unpredictable.

As we are decorating her house by doing things like hanging ornaments off lampshades, we watch Christmas shows. Now, I love comedy—I really do. So what better holiday-themed movies to watch than Hallmark’s, when I’m up for a good laugh? The sad reality is that Hallmark doesn’t intend to make funny movies.

Each Hallmark tale is full of romance, drama, suspense, and deceit. They are supposed to be serious dramas, but how in the world can I be expected to keep a straight face, when a movie, such as “Nine Lives of Christmas,” is actually playing on TV? The aforementioned movie is about a stray cat that adopts a human. I kid you not. This was the summary on my TV when I saw that it was playing. Unfortunately, I did not watch this movie, as I have other more efficient uses for my time, but I can imagine that it had all the characteristics of a classic

Hallmark movie. Here’s the rundown of the characteristics that every Hallmark movie must feature:

1. All of the characters must have holiday-themed names. No wonder they do not seem to use the name “Holly” in major- motion pictures—Hallmark probably has a monopoly of the use of the name for their movies. In fact, I think this has gotten so out of hand that I have actually asked me if “Holly” is my “Christmas-name.” Yes, a real human asked me that question. To which I responded: “No, my Christmas name is ‘Tannenbaum.’” Actually, I did not respond like that, but I wish I would have. So, thanks to Hallmark for misleading everyone and making my name seem like it can only be used for about two months out of the year. There are all kinds of different Christmas names in these movies, such as Christy, Jesse, Mary, Joseph, Nick, Joy, Carol, and Ivy, amongst many others. They haven’t yet named a character Jesus, Tree, Wreath, or Poinsettia, but they should think about naming a character one of these names to mix it up a little bit.

2. All characters must work in the holiday business. Hallmark tries to get creative with this. Here are some of the major locations for Hallmark movie holiday workers: toy stores, bakeries, Tree farms, Greeting Card stores, gift shops, and Bed and Breakfasts, to name a few. I might suggest adding a new plotline about someone who only sells poinsettias or wreaths. Perhaps they should also feature a character who is a professional Christmas decorator. I would love to have that job actually. They always seem to do their work begrudgingly, too. Well, they hate their work until they meet THE one.

3. The male and female protagonists must fall in love with each other. In the world of Hallmark, people cannot even look at each other without falling in love. So, when the baker is baking cookies for the Christmas tree farmer during his break from chopping down Christmas trees, they will fall in love in an instant.

4. There will be some kind of obstacle that the characters have to overcome. In one of the cheesiest Hallmark movies that I have ever seen, “Matchmaker Santa,” this obstacle blocks the female protagonist (a baker), probably named Carol, from leaving her new love interest’s home. That obstacle comes in the form of a wild bear, which sets up its home at the end of their driveway, so she cannot leave the house, lest she get mauled by a bear. This was actually something that real screenplay writers came up with. I would love to see what some of their alternatives were for this movie. Perhaps they also threw around the idea of a lion or an elephant before realizing that the bear was the way to go.

5. Speaking of animals, there is always an animal that is somehow involved in the Hallmark plot, as well. This animal is usually a dog or a cat that provides companionship for one of the lonely protagonists until they find THE one. In the case of “The Nine Lives of Christmas,” it was a stray cat, which somehow acquired the ability to adopt a human being. I, personally, would love to see the paperwork for that adoption.

6. Every Hallmark movie must also have a happy ending. After facing obstacles, the protagonists will fall in love and it will happen on either Christmas Day or Christmas Eve. There will probably be snow falling upon the town in the evening. Someone will apologize for being afraid to fall in love with the other character. The apology will be accepted and the characters will live happily ever after and will be in love forever. Amen.

Seeing that Hallmark is still in business, they must be doing something right. I will continue to occasionally flip to the Hallmark channel throughout the Christmas season, as will many others. I will do this for a good laugh and Hallmark will not fail to deliver a cheesy movie filled with Christmas joy and ridiculousness.

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Author: Isabel Gibson Penrose

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