A Hallmark Christmas

So if you’re anything like me and my family, then ever since October 31, you have been indulging in a two-month-long binge of Hallmark Christmas Movies.

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We’ve been DVR-ing them for weeks now, and have a solid 14 or 15 of them saved on our TV.

I know, I know. They’re all the same. Same cheesy predictable love storylines. Same midwestern-looking actors. Every plot has a snowball fight (in fake snow), an overly-heartfelt montage of Christmas baking/ice skating/gift wrapping/etc., a clunky sponsorship shot of a Balsam Hill fake Christmas tree, and of course, a Santa Claus figure – played by a jolly old man that has eaten one too many Christmas cookies.

But you know what — I love every. single. minute of them. And truth be told, I have a cheesy smile on my face throughout the entire thing!

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But I’ve come to realize, as I’ve causally let slip my affinity for all things Hallmark, that these movies have a bit of a cult-like following — albeit highly secretive. Whenever I mention Hallmark movies, people light up, and then express (with embarrassment) how much they love them too, and then sheepishly tell me that they have a number of them saved on their DVR as well.

People love ’em.

And over Thanksgiving, when we were tee-ing up our 3rd consecutive DVR’d Hallmark movie of the day, it made me question why.

Why do people love it so much? Because as a professional actor, I can tell you, it’s not from high cost cinematography, nor grandiose on-location sets, nor storylines that challenge the viewer.

Why? I think the answer lies much deeper than merely a longing for wholesome non-secular Christmas cheer.

I think at the end of the day, we’re all longing for a return to Christian humanity. An existence that isn’t fiercely divided along political party lines, nor cluttered with noise and judgement from a mainstream secular media with the sole agenda to undermine faith, and morality.

Hallmark movies transport you to an idealistic existence where family comes first, faith is not just respected – but expressed, and wholesome, monogamous relationships still exist.

Maybe that’s painting a bleak picture of what our world is like now, but I’m afraid I’m not too far off.

I have yet to see a Hallmark movie that involves a hookup dating app, or the culmination of a love story ending with a more-than-friends-but-unwilling-to-commit cohabitation situation with no ring in sight.

Nope. In Hallmark movies, neighbors love one another. Living for the good of others is the way of life. And families cherish time together.

We all have a deep yearning for that beautiful way of life. And for good reason.

We were created for community. God created us with hearts designed to love one another.

Mark 12:30 “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Want to know the magic of a Hallmark movie? It’s right there. That is the underlying foundation upon which every cheesy storyline is built: Love God, and Love your neighbor.

It’s no wonder that we all are infatuated with these Hallmark gems: they reflect a world that exists as we were created to exist.

My challenge for us today is simple: right now, with all the hustle and bustle of getting everything ready for Christmas, let’s not forget the purpose of that Very First Christmas. Christ came to earth as a baby to love. To love us all the way to the Cross.

So let’s follow His lead. And let’s try to live our lives the Hallmark way: loving one another, and celebrating the true joy of Christmas, fake snowball fights and all. 🙂

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166 thoughts on “A Hallmark Christmas

  1. I love these types of movies and books. Sometimes I just need a break from the world. Also I I’m not sure I’ve met a family who is actually that way. As you said it seems like just an ideal, but I’m not sure it’s healthy to want it of people. At least for me.

    In my parents’ families growing up in the 1960s, there was a really dark history of child abuse and alcoholism. It all looked very nice from the outside. Today I know several families who seemed, when I first met them, to have the sort of idealistic existence you describe. But as I got to know them better, that pedestal kind of crumbled.

    I guess I’m not sure looking for some sort of typical family or friend group is ever going to bring me happiness. It’s fun in books and TV, but it makes me disappointed in the real people I meet, because they never live up to whatever ideals I have for them. Then I can’t like them for who they are.

    I think our ideals are also so different from person to person that there is no one standard we could all meet (at least in the minds of one another) to form the type of community you are describing. Couldn’t that only be achieved by loving people as they exist, in their flawed humanity?

    1. Hey Liz, thank you so much for sharing your heart. You’re right- this is definitely an idealistic world for sure. But you’ve touched on such an important point: loving people as they are. I think the world could use a lot more of that. Hugs and love xox

  2. I agree with most of the things you said about Hallmark movies but with a caveat. They are all lily white or shall I say snow white. A little color of rainbow may be an wishful thinking.

    1. This has always been one of my hang ups ( although my wife and I binge continuously on them ) and I recently shouted for joy when one came out starring Tatyana Ali ! Maybe they are turning a corner ? We can pray !

  3. You are so right! I was just watching one before dinner! My wife and I love Hallmark movies and we have a bunch on the DVR too! So funny and so true what you said! You are spot on! It is a world that just about doesn’t exist anymore, so it is refreshing to watch the wholesome stories. We love the ones with Lacey Chabert. I call her the Hallmark sweetheart. 😊 God bless!

    1. Thanks so much Ryan! Aren’t they so great!! Love that actress! Totally their sweetheart! Hugs and love xox

  4. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Hallmark Christmas movies! And pretty much every other kind of Hallmark movie! A couple of years ago I spent Thanksgiving with my mom in Florida and we spent every evening watching at least one Hallmark Christmas movie! It was wonderful. I completely agree with your assessment of why people like them so much. It’s nice to watch something that is not bogged down in our ills of society. Thanks for posting!

  5. Another awesome post. I love Hallmark Christmas movies. At my age of sixty six, they reflect a time when we could express our faith publicly, without judgement and criticism, embrace a wholesome lifestyle, and focus on family.
    We have also recorded our favorites. And now that we no longer have cable, we also enjoy watching older shows on channels like COZI , and dvds where we can control the content.

    1. Aw thank you so much!! That sounds like an idealistic world for sure! Where can I sign up?! Hugs and love xox

  6. Oh my!! So my mother and daughter are doing this binge as well and pulled me in Sunday under the guise of “family time”. After a very long bit amazing holiday weekend of family and writing (it’s hard for me to call it work because I love it!!), I sat down with them and watched “The Shoe Addict’s Christmas”. After Pastor Steven’s morning message, when I tell you that this move wrecked me… wow!

    I agree with you. It wasn’t the romance or any one element but just the idyllic setting and thought that there is still good and still hope for purity in this world, not just lust. Purity of family. Purity of intent. Purity of relationships in general.

    Great post!!!

    1. Thanks so much! Family time! Haha smart gals!! So glad you found joy in that purity too! I’ll be watching all December!! Hugs and love xox

    1. Thanks Dawn!! Cheesy and addictive and totally the best part of Christmas! Haha Hugs and love xox

  7. I am the “chick flick” kind of guy who watches the Hallmark movies with my wife. There’s my confession. I’m telling my age when I looked at the first pic in your post and said, “There’s Winnie from ‘The Wonder Years'”. One of my girls figured out that the kiss always happens in the last two minutes, and we know that the movie will most likely star Danica McKellar, Candace Cameron Bure, or Lacey Chabert, but these movies do still promote a sense of values that goes against the grain of our culture. I’m glad there is at least some clean programming still available. Thank you for continually bringing us encouragement and light through your posts!

    1. Aw that’s so awesome Matthew. Always the last two minutes. Always an “almost kiss” haha I love Lacey! She’s my favorite. I agree. Three cheers for Hallmark! Hugs and love xox

  8. It’s so funny that you brought this up because I dvr’d one of the movies, Christmas Everlasting, as it’s based on a book written by my friend Marie Bostwick. Her original book is really good, and the movie is sweet.

  9. Despite not sharing any religious affiliation, I love the old school, somewhat romantic sentiment.
    However, I say Bah Humbug to the lot of it and if it wasn’t for my kids, forcing me to cringe my way through the entire festive season, then I would have nothing to do with it.
    Family is important all year round, as is loving and caring for others. The pressure to be ‘christmassy’ let alone come bearing gifts, is archaic and out of touch. Embrace togetherness every damn day and do it for yourselves and others, not because the marketing guru’s have geared up for another round of sales gimmickry at the end of the year.
    Have a good Christmas, me and the kids will be at the beach!

    1. Thanks so much Hoki! I think that’s a great point – family is important ALL year round!! Thanks for this. Hugs and love xox

  10. Love God. Love your neighbor. Be in community. Would it be nice if today’s churches thought this way? Sadly, most churches I have been to recently do the exact opposite. Funny. Those exact same church cannot figure out why people will not come to their church. Hmmmm. Oh well. I can wish a ‘lovely’ weekend to a ‘lovely’ lady.

    P.S. Maybe Hallmark needs to invade some churches.

    1. Amen to that! It really would be SO nice. Haha the Hallmark Church – can you imagine?! Hugs and love xox

  11. I love hallmark christmas movie season, even if starts the end of october! Your post is spot on, yes the plots are simple repetitive, but i have never watched one and not felt happy watching it

    1. Thanks so much – even though they’re repetitive they warm the heart and bring you back for more! Hhb

    1. Thanks so much Elizabeth! I’ve never seen Call the Midwife! Will have to check it out! I agree – love people living out their best selves 🙂 Hugs and love xox

      1. Ok I absolutely will! I’ll start it this weekend! Yay! I’ve been looking for a new show!! 😃

  12. My dear friend

    Saints and holy persons have often emphasized: “The deepest knowledge in experiencing yourself lies in the service to man with unconditional love…” According to Gandhi: “Be the change if you wish to see the change in the world” – means we all can contribute something for allowing Christ-love going around this globe. The more we do for others (helping and sharing), the more we experience the reflection to ourselves…selflessly.

    Have a great time, my friend
    Hugs and love
    Didi

    1. oh wow that is so powerful. yes! Let’s share Christ’s love around the globe with others. thanks friend. hugs x

  13. Nice observation. Unfortunately it appears Disney is going the way of appealing to the baser side to maximize returns so hopefully Hallmark will not be eyeing maximizing their profits too in future as society moral compass heads downward.

  14. Pucker up! Cute pic! Yeah, the older I get, the more I wish I could go back to my childhood when Halloween was just for our block and everyone partied together. I miss Christmas eve services when you had to show up plenty early to avoid having to sit on metal folding chairs in the narthex. A church I went to briefly in Memphis voted several years ago to stop having Christmas Day services. sigh Those good days are gone and not likely to return. Looking forward to the new heaven and new earth foretold!

    1. haha thank you Jeff 🙂 That’s so true – things have definitely changed. My family has commented too about how in the past years the christmas and christmas eve services have dwindled in attendence. Even just 5-7 years ago you had to show up an hour early to get a seat. now it’s only 3/4 full. We’ve got to pray to get butts in seats!! hope you have a beautiful weekend, my dear friend! hugs to you and julie!

  15. GIRL, I couldn’t agree more with what you said about why we all love Hallmark movies!!! My family is exactly the same way, and this post perfectly outlines why! Even though you completely know what to expect from a Hallmark movie, there’s something wonderful in the fact that the moral of every story is to value people and moments shared at Christmas, not things.

    1. Hey there friend! thank you so much!! Right?? Even though you know the story line going into it, it’s still so incredibly enjoyable!!! love it! hugs xo

  16. As you rightly said, we are all yearning for what it should be, how God intended it. And we can achieve that by putting into action your recommendation (or God’s recommendation): Love!

    Thanks, sis.

  17. I also must admit that I too watch Hallmark Christmas movies…and how can anyone not love their cheesiness, warmth and uplifting narratives lol!

  18. So relatable! I love the realism and how many of them are so inspiring. Now I’m off to go find me a Hallmark movie for the day! Thanks for this and lacing it with scripture. I can see your heart, Woman of God.

  19. I didn’t grow up with cable, so I’m not “into” the Hallmark Christmas movies. However, I certainly understand the appeal of it. I liken them to me having watched every single Nicholas Sparks book-to-movie adaptation, plus owning and reading most of his books. This is partly why so many romance novels, etc., exist!

    1. Oh Nicholas Sparks is another one of those feel good entertainment sources!! Love it! Hugs and love xox

  20. You will be unsurprised to hear that I stand in solidarity with my gender in avoiding this particular genre of film. However…I have to admit that you’re right about one thing: it’s better than cable news these days. I so wish we could go back to the days of collegiality and love, if there ever were such days.

    1. Hahah thanks Brandon. I will say this – my DAD is the one who is the biggest fan of them in our family! Haha Hugs and love xox

  21. We’re suckers for these as well. They have a nice ‘homey’ feel to them. Just enough romance without going over the top. And I love what you said about the plot lines. I saw a Facebook meme that said (and I’m paraphrasing) ‘All Hallmark Christmas movies are the same…a young professional woman needs time to find herself so she ends up in a small rural town and falls in love with the hunky guy. In the end they kiss and then it starts snowing. And they’re might be a dog.

    1. Thanks Joe. Homey for sure!! And haha that meme is hysterical. And absolutely spot on. Haha Hugs and love xox

  22. I love this as much as I love Christmas and Hallmark Movies! Great post! Opened my eyes to watch Hallmark Movies from a new perspective; Love God and Love your neighbor as yourself.

  23. I would totally do a fake snowfight with you! Nice post, I think I will check those hallmark movies out

  24. I have loved Hallmark movies for many of the reasons you state here … but honestly, they’ve lost a bit of luster for me. I just wish that they weren’t so colorblind and that more of them reached beyond the idea that Christmas is for falling in love with the right person, because every mid 20’s-30’s woman is obviously with the wrong guy until the Christmas magic happens. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy the wholesome stories and continue to watch them, but I think that Hallmark misses a chance to take the messages you bring up to a lot broader audience. They also need to include a lot more stories about and for families like “A Dog Named Christmas”. Just my thoughts … but this is a great post … and I’m glad there is a large Hallmark following given the other messages that are out there.

    1. Thanks Rashell, that’s a really powerful point. They could do a lot more. Let’s hope next year is different! Hugs and love xox

    1. Thanks so much Cait! It is definitely family friendly entertainment! I love that! Hugs and love xox

  25. I absolutely love hallmark channel and hallmark movies!!! I’m slightly addicted you could say! My older brothers make fun of me that we watch cheesy sappy movies. My dad loves them also that’s the only tv shows he stays awake for

    1. Thanks Talia!! Haha me too – I just love them so much! And my dad’s the same way!! Hallmark movies are all he wants to watch! (Other than football! Haha) Hugs and love xox

  26. I’m a guy and I secretly love Hallmark Christmas movies. I no longer have cable since I pulled the plug (which I don’t regret), but I do miss the Hallmark Christmas movies. Not enough to reconnect my cable though.

    Have a merry Christmas.

      1. Yes. I saved about $150 a month by disconnecting cable, and I have not missed it one single bit. (Except for the Hallmark channel around Christmas time.)

  27. I’ve never really watched any Hallmark movies (I plead the “I’m a guy!” defense) but I really liked this post, Carolyn, because you’re right: We all want and aspire to a better world. It’s why I love the paintings of Norman Rockwell; people might be right when they say that the world he portrayed never existed (I don’t believe that completely fyi) but we can definitely say that its the world that should exist. Same with Hallmark movies, from how you’ve described them.

    1. Thanks so much Nathan – haha” I’m a guy” – that made me chuckle. But you’re so right – those worlds should exist. Absolutely. Hugs and love xox

  28. I love all the Princess movies myself, you know where a princess and a commoner swap lives and end up falling for each other’s boyfriends… that sort of everyday thing!

  29. Hi there Beauty! I love your assessment of the Hallmark movies. I agree with you 100 %. At the end of the day we all want love harmony family friends and I pray God is included in there! We all want someone to love and we want peace. I look forward to these cheesy movies all year long, lol! I’m a hopeless romantic ❤❤🎄🎄🎄🎄

    1. Hey Lane! Thanks so much for this reflection. So true! Those are all so important! Hugs and love xox

  30. Great post! Yes, I’m a closet Hallmark watcher too. LOL I think we also like the simplicity and predictability of Hallmark stories. Our lives are so unpredictable that sometimes we want to know that things are going to end happily. As a parent, it’s also nice to be able to watch something and not have to worry what my child will see when I leave the room. I know they won’t see something inappropriate for their age that I’ll have to spend the next 30 minutes explaining. It’s nice to walk away from a movie with a good feeling. Blessings and enjoy your Hallmark binge!

    1. Thank you so much Lisa!! Haha let’s start a club! 🎅🏼🎅🏼🎅🏼 That’s such a great point too – they’re so family friendly!! Same to you, friend! Hugs and love xox

      1. I’ll let you know when it’s out. Both of my other books are feel good sort of Hallmark stories too, just without the romance factor.

  31. I’m a Hallmark movie aficionado, as well! I love those movies, and there are so many to love! I also think you make an excellent point. So much so, that I think watching a ton of Hallmark movies (at least for me) can often leave me discouraged and dissatisfied with my life. Why? Because we long for that perfect ending, that complete and unconditional love that we don’t see on this side of eternity–aside from in Christ.

    1. Thanks so much! That’s such a profound point. I think you’re absolutely right. We long for that perfect ending! Hugs and love xox

  32. Beautiful reflection! Most movies and TV series now have turned the virtues and values upside down, and people think that’s the norm and what they have to expect from life… but of course deep down we all long for something else, even if a lot of people don’t dare to believe it.

    1. Thank you so much Paola! You’re right- we all have that deep longing. Hugs and love xox

  33. Girl, you are a rare gem. Yes, Hallmark movies can be cheesy. But you are right. I love them as well. ❤❤❤❤💋💋💋💋

    Debra
    stylewisebydebra.net

    1. Oh my gosh Debra, I am so touched by that. Thank you. And yes! Cheesy but so so good! big hugs xo

  34. I love what you have to say here! I too love Hallmark movies and I agree that there is something special in the simplicity of them. It’s honestly amazing how Hallmark repackaged the same plot line and yet still have such a loyal fan base. That is talent😂

    1. Hahah oh my gosh tony you’re too funny! I’ve never seen a claymation movie before! Hugs and love xox

  35. Sooooo, do you know about the Hallmark APP? It lists all the movies for both Hallmark channels with their showtimes AND sends alerts prior to them airing. Best part: you can ‘check them off’ after you’ve viewed one. I no longer wonder if I’ve missed a New Release (because the tittles are all so similar I have a hard time remembering until I’m a few minutes into one. Giggles.). I believe a silent majority of us all have hearts that harken back to a time that was kinder and gentler and focused on a morally enriched drive to live ones life. Hugs and blessings to you for the wonderful reminder we are NOT alone in our thinking.

    1. Whaaaaat?!!!! OH MY GOSH this is amazing! You have just changed my life!!! Haha thanks Dawn! And so true – a kinder and gentler time. Hope you’re having a beautiful week! Hugs and love xox

  36. i love hallmark movies and your right “every cheesy storyline is built: Love God, and Love your neighbor.” mainstream secular media can never understand this. nice read,thankss

  37. Yes. Yes. Yes. I love the Hallmark Christmas movies. I don’t watch a lot of TV and when I was flipping channels I accidentally landed on Hallmark and I haven’t stopped watching since. Yes they are predictable, cheesy, whatever anyone wants to say about them, I love them 🙂

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