It’s that time of year again. Whether I’m wrapping presents or addressing cards, I’m doing it in front of the tv watching the endless loop of Christmas movies on the Hallmark Channel. I’m telling you this without the slightest hint of embarrassment. Yes, I know they’re cheesy. They’re like the tv movie equivalent of the ugly Christmas sweater. No matter how hokey they are, you drag them out every year and wear them in public without shame. Even better, you love getting new ones. The same is true for Hallmark Christmas movies.
Before Hallmark had it’s own channel, they made tearjerker commercials about their cards. They were like mini-movies and best ones were at Christmastime. We’d fight back tears as the lonely old guy who thinks he has no friends gets a Hallmark card from the kid next door. The hardened professor who’s about to retire gets a card from a former student and our hearts collectively melt as we see the influence the professor had on the world. The senders of these cards “cared enough to send the very best,” we were told. Now these mini-movies are full length and full of lessons. Here’s a few things that I’ve learned…
The holidays can be busy and stressful. With all of the shopping and preparation, there’s little time left to look for love. I’ve learned from Hallmark that your chances of finding love at Christmastime are exponentially greater if your name is holiday related. Names like Holly, Noel, and Eve seem to fare well this time of year. Most often, love will be found with someone she can’t stand, especially if his name is Nick or Chris.
In Hallmark movies, families don’t discuss politics around the dinner table. There’s no Facebook or fake news. No election year craziness. Sure they have money problems, loneliness, and bitterness about the past, but these are problems that can be easily solved if they’d just open their hearts and minds to believe in the magic of Christmas.
They’ve lost the Christmas spirit, but something or someone will come along and remind them of what they’ve lost. Isn’t that why we love these movies? They give us hope that the spirit of Christmas can live on all year.
Santa is real
Another thing I’ve learned is that I believe in Santa Claus. We all lose that somewhere along the way, but it all comes rushing back when I sit down and watch these sappy movies. Hallmark movies teach us that Santa is still watching over us well into adulthood. It’s much harder for us to see it, and a kid will have to convince us, but eventually we believe again.
The characters in these movies have often experienced painful losses. It may have been divorce, loss of a spouse or a parent who abandoned them. They’ve hardened their hearts to avoid feeling that pain, but that’s not how their storied end. From Hallmark, I’ve learned that no matter what life throws at you, the heart heals and can love again.
A few more things
Other Hallmark lessons… It will snow on Christmas. It’s never too cold to go out for a walk. No matter how cold it is, your nose won’t run, you won’t shiver, and you’ll look fantastic. You can have a nice home with beautiful Christmas decorations on the tiny salary you earn at a bakery, or diner, or the front desk at a small town lodge. Being forced into close quarters with someone you don’t like will almost always lead to love, as will broken down cars, cancelled flights and falling on someone at the ice skating rink.
So put on that ugly sweater and join me in front of the television for some hope and love and the spirit of Christmas. May it live all year long.