Losing and Finding My Hallmark Holiday Movie Joy

Something was wrong in my holiday universe and I’m not talking about the coronavirus. It’s always omnipresent. But COVID-19 aside something felt off. For the first time in two decades, I just wasn’t feeling it in regard to any Hallmark Holiday movies.

It’s hard to explain the feeling of having no desire to watch a Hallmark movie after 20 years spent wallowing in them. Yes, I know their plots are repetitive, sappy and tropey.

Girl meets boy, each finds the other one irritating and yet they join forces to save a Christmas tree farm, reindeer ranch, or a winter carnival and together find true love and their holiday spirit.

Trust me I know I’m not watching cinematic genius but the movies are like wrapping yourself in a blanket that smells like your dog. Not great, but comforting, nevertheless.

Does it matter that the 44-year-old undisputed Hallmark goddess Candace Cameron Bure seems frozen in time usually playing a plucky mid-level executive who appears to be in her late 20s? No, it does not because to enjoy Hallmark movies you must suspend your belief in reality.

When you have plots that veer from time travel to amnesia, fairy godmothers and a gingerbread house contest that can save an entire town you just have to go with the flow and put your brain on autopilot. I like to think of them as a respite for your mind.

But this month as much as I tried to cuddle up with the new offering of Hallmark movies it just wasn’t working. I couldn’t watch a single one for more than 10 minutes. Worse, none were even DVR worthy. This was unprecedented for me. Where was my movie mojo?

I started making a list of reasons why. Could it be because Hallmark uses the same stable of actors year after year I was getting a serial dating vibe with an overlay of commitment issues?

Seriously how many men can the Hallmark mainstay and botox queen Lacey Chabert fall in love with? She should have stopped with the prince from 2014’s “A Royal Christmas.” He was super dreamy with no cringey Prince Charles vibe.

Maybe it’s that Hallmark is churning out too many holiday movies and they’re losing their charm? This year 40 new movies debuted. When there’s a movie titled “Never Kiss a Man In a Christmas Sweater” you might need to institute some quality control.

To see if I was the only suffering from a Hallmark Holiday movie ennui I took to social media and discovered that I was not alone. Julianna Miner, blogger, writer and hardcore Hallmark aficionado runs the Facebook page “Is This Hallmark Movie Good for a Hallmark Movie.” Miner says she too has experienced a Hallmark movie disconnect.

“They’ve stopped feeling magical. It’s more like they’re mass producing a product that is written by algorithm.”

Miner even shared that due to the lackluster quality of movies this holiday her Hallmark page has had to adjust their movie rating system from – “Is it good for a Hallmark movie?” to “Is it good for a 2020 Hallmark movie?”

When I asked,  “Is anyone else not feeling the love with Hallmark holiday movies?” on my Snarky in the Suburbs Facebook page I got more than 130 comments. It seems that I was definitely not alone in thinking that Hallmark wasn’t delivering the holly jolly.

But just as I was ready to abandon Hallmark movies and sashay over to Netflix a holiday miracle occurred. While folding laundry I happened upon “Christmas She Wrote” starring the seasoned Hallmark veteran and math whiz Danica McKellar.

McKellar plays a writer whose column gets dropped by her newspaper. Devastated, she returns to her hometown where her editor, realizing he made a mistake travels 3,000 miles to woo her back.

Of course, you can see how I was intrigued – column, writer. Honestly, they had me at editor wooing. (#NeverGoingToHappen)

For two hours I was totally into the silly, extremely unrealistic story. Even my husband walking into the room and making fun of me for watching something this ridiculous didn’t lessen my enjoyment.

In fact, for a brief moment all felt right with the world.