First off let me start by defending myself. I am a self-proclaimed “movie snob.” I minored in film studies in college. I spend an enormous amount of time seeking out and watching critically acclaimed independent films. I usually win every Oscar prediction poll I enter. I love an obscure film festival entry, and I looked forward to all 18 hours of Ken Burns’ “Vietnam” documentary. I consider myself to have “discriminating taste” when it comes to the art of film and film-making.
This year, especially, they can’t get here soon enough.
2017 has been a very tumultuous year for me (and I suspect many others).
My dad passed away, my husband got laid off from his job, and I’ve anxiously and helplessly witnessed from the sidelines the political unrest, divisiveness, and natural disasters that have plagued our country this year.
In this time of uncertainty as to what the next day will bring, it is comforting to know that those movies, filled with C-list stars, cheesy, horrible writing, and mediocre acting, will be there waiting for me like a loyal friend. The predictability of these movies is as comforting to me as a steaming hot cup of cocoa on a crisp, snowy Sunday afternoon (this is an example of the aforementioned cheesy and horrible writing).
I may not know if we are going to go to war tomorrow, but I know for sure when I turn on my Hallmark Holiday movie that the overworked, cynical, corporate lawyer who gets fired from her job will leave her smarmy financial advisor fiancé for the local boy who runs the Christmas tree farm near her parents’ house. I know this. We all do, ten minutes into the film. That’s what’s so wonderful about it.
While I nervously wait for my newly licensed teenager to get home on a Friday night with her friends, I can pass the time with Candance Cameron-Bure and her magical angel ornament that will reunite her with the recently widowed high school sweetheart.
While I am trying to figure out how to cut my holiday shopping list down to save some money this year, I crave the reminder from the Hallmark Holiday movie character who runs the homeless shelter (probably played by Valerie Bertinelli) that the Christmas spirit does not require monetary gifts.
I want to be comforted by mindless saccharine sweet stories that promise a successful conclusion. I need those stories on in the background as I try not to think too hard that my girls won’t be wrapping Star Wars pajamas for their beloved Grampa Terry this year.
As I come to grips that this is the first holiday without my dad, I want a reason to cry because I haven’t really had time to in the past 6 months. Life has been too busy and too scary to let my guard down. Too many people have had tragedy (hurricanes, mass shootings) far worse than mine for me to allow myself to grieve because of my own personal sorrows. But I know that in November when I turn on DirectTV channel 565 I can allow myself some relief, even if it’s only 90 minutes.
And on the good days, the days where my girls are smiling and excited about the holidays, the days where my house smells like cinnamon and ginger from the baking, and there are ribbons and bows, and kitschy Santa decorations all over my house, the days when I am cozied up on my couch with a box of Kleenex, a glass of Moscato, and my loyal golden retriever laying by me, feeling safe, and blessed and so fortunate for all the good things in my life, I can almost picture myself as the star of one of these movie. And that feels really good.
Hallmark Holiday movies are a guilty pleasure and an indulgence. They represent a predictable outcome with a happy ending. You know what you are getting; and what you are getting is pure candy-coated comfort.
I could use that right now. I think we all could.
Find the full Hallmark Holiday movie schedule here. The Countdown to Christmas starts this weekend!