Joy to the Christmas-based economy
When I found out Hallmark was showing a Christmas movie marathon during the quarantine, an intense rush of calm and fulfillment filled my body. It was like someone had instantly been hooked me to a machine that delivered wholesome dopamine. Legitimately, I thought, “I’m gonna make it!”
I love made-for-TV Christmas movies, from wherever they emerge. Netflix, Freeform, Hulu, Hallmark, Lifetime, it doesn’t matter as long their studios didn’t intend them for a theatrical release. But to most, Hallmark rules the genre, and they definitely know it. They dropped their announcement softly and waited for people to clamor. Within minutes, multiple people texted me about it because my brand is very strong.
Even if you missed the marathon, you can still find similar TV holiday films on your on-demand feature, Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, and probably Redbox.
I wish I could tell you I reached out to experts about why Hallmark movies hit such a sweet spot for so many of us, but I didn’t because I was busy watching A Christmas Detour. Also, I have no idea if there are experts in Hallmark films, but if not, I volunteer to write a doctoral thesis. I’ve come up with a few very scientific reasons why made-for-TV Christmas movies are ultimately soothing. Behold the earliest incarnation of my thesis.
Almost every town in Hallmark movies has some kind of very important Christmas-based economy. For example, in Merry and Bright Jodie Sweetin has inherited a candy cane factory in the candy cane capital of the world. Of the world! If her candy cane factory flounders, most of the town loses their jobs. While I am sure somewhere out there, someone makes their living from Christmas things, I highly doubt there are many towns running completely on a Christmas-based economy. I know about bullish and bearish markets, but what about reindeerish?
I take great joy in escaping into this magical world where the primary concerns are if they will sell enough candy canes, and if the town’s Christmas Eve party will go off without a hitch.
Intense forays into wackiness
In many TV holiday films, the lead character is a very relatable woman with many relatable traits. She may have kids, she may be single, she might be *gasp* married to her career, she might have a terrible boyfriend, or maybe she wants a dog. There’s really something for most of us in the mix.
TV holiday films also frequently have a side character who is massively unhinged but who everyone tolerates. For example, in The Christmas Consultant, Caroline Rhea is a beleaguered working mom of two who is simply too overloaded at work to plan Christmas for her family. Naturally, her husband and kids couldn’t possibly handle the responsibility, so she hires a Christmas consultant played by David Hasselhoff. A rare example of a one-person Christmas-based economy, Hasselhoff’s character dresses head-to-toe in holiday finery and has more enthusiasm than I personally find comfortable.
But in the world of the TV holiday film (yes FILM), everyone loves and embraces this wacky madcap Christmas-loving man.
Minor snags on the way to a happy ending
Oh no! There’s not a Santa for the town parade! Or, someone doesn’t have enough Christmas spirit, so they need to go to Christmas camp. In one memorable film, Mistletoe and Menorahs, a Jewish man must teach a Christmas-loving woman about Chanukah and she must teach him all her Christmas traditions to impress a potential client and his girlfriend, respectively.
I love the mild tension all these films have because let’s face it, no one will EVER cancel Christmas in one of these movies. However, it’s nice to see our characters come together and gather up all their grit to plan the perfect Christmas ball/dance/parade/wedding and watch it all go perfectly in the last seven to 15 minutes of the movie.
If you think all this sounds good, here are my three favorite Christmas films available for streaming right now (you may need to purchase or rent them): Merry and Bright, 12 Dates of Christmas, Naughty and Nice.
Also, you simply need to know that Christina Milian is in two separate Christmas movies about getting trapped in a holiday snow globe. They aren’t sequels, just two totally different movies in which Christina Milian becomes magically ensconced in a Christmas globe. Right now, that seems like a pretty good fate.