Yep, it’s that time of the year again. The trees are adorned with colourful, twinkling lights, shoppers are scurrying to find the perfect gifts, children are dreaming of presents under the tree, bakers are baking, drummers are drumming, bells are ringing, and in the air there’s a feeling of Christmas. Which I am sure you know better than I because Christmas has never been on my radar. It’s simply not part of my life. So while I enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of the holiday season, I’ve really never taken part in most of the festivities that mark this special time of year.. But please don’t worry about me. I’ve got plenty to do. Because Hallmark, that purveyor of all things sweetness and light has, for 2018, released twenty-two, brand spanking new, Christmas movies. Which, of course, I watch. Now that may seem like a daunting task to you because this is a busy time of year and you might not have 44 hours of extra time to devote to this rather addictive (you’ve been warned) endeavor. But it’s not a busy time for me and because I have become somewhat of an expert on the aforementioned subject and have likely now peaked your interest, I thought I would take a moment to summarize the flicks for you. I know. You’re wondering how in the heck is the shallow gal going to do this? And why would she take on such an onerous task just to relieve her readers of their FOMO? Well contrary to what you might think it’s not really difficult at all because, you see, Hallmark has really made one movie twenty-two times. Yes they have. So here, in a nutshell, is my recap if it (them).
The Woman: There’s always a woman. Usually a rather successful one who has pretty much dedicated her life to her work leaving little time for outside relationships (more on that later) or holidays. Somewhat incredibly, without exception and in a variety of ways which usually involve transportation and a snow storm, the woman finds herself spending Christmas in a very small but friendly town that has very big plans for Christmas. Sometimes it’s her hometown. Sometimes it’s not. Sometimes she’s a princess. Most often she is not.
The Man: Without too much ado the woman is going to meet a man. Could be a kindred soul stuck in a snow bound airport or the tow truck driver who happens upon her car stuck on a snowy road. Understandably perhaps, due to the stressful situations in which they meet, the initial contact doesn’t go all that well and once the dust settles they go their separate ways, although since there is only one way to go they inevitably end up in the same place. That small but very friendly town. He could be a prince. Most often he isn’t.
The Town: Often with names like “Christmas Creek” or “Evergreen” this is your proverbial small town with a main street that houses the “Mom and Pop” restaurant/coffee shop, independent general/hardware store, local antique emporium and country inn or lodge. More meeting place than commerce, each of these seems to be run for the sole purpose of providing the townsfolk with a venue to get together to discuss plans for the upcoming festivities which include one, some or all of a) snowman building, b) gingerbread house building and c) cookie baking contests, a Christmas choral concert, a tree lighting extravaganza, and the not to be missed Christmas Eve extravaganza dance. Unless of course some scrooge has decided to cancel the whole thing due to heretofore unforeseen circumstances. But maybe that’s giving too much away.
The Kid: There’s always a kid. Once in a while it’s a niece or nephew but more often than not it’s either hers or his. Which brings me to something I neglected to mention. There has regretfully been a divorce (not too recent) or sadly a death (usually even less recent) which has left this child to be raised by a single but very devoted parent who wants to make this the best Christmas ever even if they find themselves stranded in a snowstorm in some small town in the middle of nowhere instead of on their way to Florida where they had planned to spend the holiday basking in the sun trying to forget all of the painful memories of Christmas’ past. Which really wouldn’t have been very Christmas-like at all. The kid is cute, smart and surprisingly adaptable.
The Ex: There will be an “ex”. If there’s a widow rest assured it won’t be his or hers. But everyone else is fair game. The “ex” will likely be a “big city” kind of guy/gal who will eventually show up but, unlike their soon to be “ex” partner (am I giving too much away?) won’t find the small town quite as enchanting as their mate has. The “ex” is usually a jerk.
The kiss (almost): As you can imagine there’s going to be romance. It won’t be easy but somewhere along the way the two main characters will realize that their serendipitous meeting was meant to be and while it took them the better part of the holiday to realize it (they were very busy getting ready for all of the celebrations and contests) they do actually like each other. A lot. Finally they decide to kiss. The problem is, just when the moment is right who should arrive but their (pick one) Mother, child, boss, best friend, ex, an errant snowball, or just some random passerby and the magic is gone. Just like that.
The misunderstanding: We all know that life is not one big bowl of cherries and somewhere along the line you are going to have to deal with the pits. Just when everything seems to be hunky dory and it looks like the population of this town is going to grow by one or maybe two, someone gets something wrong and the whole darn thing is called off. Airports open, tickets are booked back to the big city and with nary a turn of the head or even a pause to pick up the trophy for best gingerbread house, all bets are off and our hero(ine) heads home. It would seem that Hallmark has decided there is nothing more heart wrenching than some unrequited love. Fortunately we are close enough now to the two hour mark to know that it won’t take long to get this train back on its track.
The Kiss: Finally (again). Both of them are miserable after their decision to part. Well really only one decided. The other most often is left bewildered by the quick exit. Fortunately the departee recognizes the folly of the rash decision to leave and he/she quickly heads back to the small town (after all, the kid has already made a new bff), because they always knew it was where they were meant to be. No longer surprising to us, they declare their love for each other and have that kiss…uninterrupted. That’s it. Happily ever after. And all that’s left are the credits.
So there you have it. One story. Twenty-two movies. Now if only I could figure out how to make that formula work for this blog.