The Iconic Hallmark Holiday

Molly Evans, Staff Writer

It’s the season–a season known for cookies, giving back, and the ridiculously repetitive Christmas movies. Many people find themselves scrolling through an endless catalog of holiday specials. Most would turn on Freeform’s “25 days of Christmas,” others might choose to watch bakers compete to make the best gingerbread house. These are the people that will unanimously agree to rapidly click past the Hallmark Channel, and anything remotely similar. Why? People think they’re too similar to one another, or that they’re annoyingly cheerful. But what if the same qualities that deem these movies “bad,” are actually what makes them good?

People want to hate the way that these movies repeat themselves over, and over, and over again. The same cast members, recycled plot lines, and the trope where the most obvious townsperson ends up being Santa Claus. However, it’s this predictability that actually makes them cinematic masterpieces. Some critics even compare these movies to films like “The Wizard of Oz,” or “The Godfather.” While people love the thrill that comes with an intricate plot twist, there’s still a large audience who enjoy the comfort of a predictable plot. It’s the same with rollercoasters; some people like the adrenaline rush that comes with the steep drop after slowly climbing to the top, but there’s also a large number of people that would much rather stay on the safe and predictable merry-go-round. Knowing that a movie character you’ve grown to be attached to for two hours will get their happily-ever-after is a soothing feeling. Viewers can find relief in knowing that everything will be okay in the end.

It’s also the predictability that creates a simplistic plot. There’s no content in it that will keep you awake at night or anything you’ll need to spend the next two weeks juggling in your mind. The oversimplified plots require no critical thinking to watch and are easily digested by their audience. You don’t even need to devote your full attention to the movie in fear of missing a crucial plot point; in fact, most of the time you can jump in halfway and know exactly what’s happening at that point in the movie. At the same time, if you want to watch the full film from start to finish, there’s no doubt you’ll stay engaged the entire time–whether it’s because you’re laughing at the cliche love scenes or really following along.

One of the positives that coincide with the expected endings is the constant streamline of happy feelings. Although there are typically a few ups and downs within the movies, nothing that tragic ever happens. No one ever dies, no one ever falls terminally ill, and the worst thing that happens might be the parents announcing their retirement from their toy store that’s been in the family for generations. When the tone of the movie never changes, it results in an overwhelmingly joyous feeling. This is the type of feeling that people crave during the holiday season. Therefore, these seemingly “annoying” movies that install happiness into your mind are getting you in that joyful, festive feeling.

What’s the key to creating a holiday feel? Decorations. Traditions. Baking. Every single one of these components can be found in maximum quantities within the first ten minutes of every Hallmark movie. If each genre of movie in the entire cinematic universe represented its own Christmas cookie, Hallmark movies would be the sugar cookies. You know what you’re going to get every time, but at least it’s decorated to holiday perfection and will get you in the Christmas spirit. If you take a moment to look at the background, there’s an overwhelming amount of white and colorful lights. There’s also red and green in every square inch of the main character’s house. The writers don’t skip the opportunity to throw in a scene where the love interests sit by the fire, snow falling outside a nearby window, and share their most intimate pieces of family history. There’s also always a baking scene; it’s about halfway through the movie, where the two main love interests are really starting to click. They’ll talk, they’ll laugh, and most likely dust each other’s sweaters in baking flour, instigating a festive food fight. The writers’ attempts to add in Christmas-y themes are never subtle.

You can love them, you can hate them, but you must admit that these movies have several qualities which make them worthwhile. If all you want is to watch an oversimplified, festive movie, then stop by the Hallmark Channel.