A few years ago I discovered the perfect balm for holiday stress: The Hallmark Channel’s Countdown to Christmas.
Turns out I’m not the only one. Last year alone, Hallmark’s Christmas programming drew more than 70 million total viewers — so while some of you might not want to admit it, I know that, like me, you too started watching these uplifting romances (twenty-one new ones this year!) back in late October, when Hallmark kicked off the 2017 season.
There’s something comforting about the formulaic sameness of these servings of holiday cheer, which typically go something like this:
A woman, always single/divorced/engaged to the wrong guy, is sent as part of her job to a town named something Christmasy, like Holiday Town or Angel Falls. She may also have a Christmasy name, like Holly or Noelle.
In order to keep her job she must do something she knows is wrong and will forever ruin the town and all the wonderful people she has come to love. The person who stands in her way turns out to be a single/divorced/engaged-to-the-wrong-gal guy deeply in touch with his feminine side. He’ll pose no threat whatsoever to the woman and also passionately supports a woman’s right to be a career gal if that’s what she truly wants.
The woman and man are of course attracted to each other but because of a total misunderstanding/being on opposite sides/a shameful past they aren’t able to admit it. Eventually, a wise older person/child/family member helps them overcome the obstacle, save the town and its people, and finally share several chaste kisses.
In our (okay, my) defense, these mindless, uplifting, love-conquers-all sweet treats are the Christmas gifts that keep on giving. These folks live in pretend worlds, where everyone is nice and kind, and they all get their happily ever after. These days, that seems like something we can all wish for.
Plus, where else can you find not one, but two movies about a gal’s passion for ice sculpting?