So here’s what this blog is…
A little wisdom. A little whimsy. A little pathos. A little whatever. Nothing necessarily special, although it’s often the nothing necessarily special which is the most interesting part. And all of it scribbled from the point-of-view of a retired person.
What did my wife and I do differently over the holidays? Well, we watched less news. We took more walks. We made cookies, fudge, and candles.
And, we got a “little” addicted to Hallmark Channel movies.
Movies with titles like “A Bramble House Christmas,” “A Rose for Christmas,” “Home for Christmas Day,” “Christmas Next Door,” “Finding Christmas,” “Looks Like Christmas,” “The Christmas Cottage,” and, of course, “Christmas Incorporated.” And many, many more.
Holiday movies are on the Hallmark Channels 24 hours a day, seven days a week during the holiday season. And in those movies, beauty abounds. Beautiful adults, beautiful and well-behaved children, beautiful pets, beautiful settings, beautiful food, beautiful dialogue, beautiful manners and morals, and beautifully free of violence of any kind.
But one thing is not so beautiful. The plots of these movies. Now don’t get me wrong. The stories are wonderful stories of good cheer, found love, and happy endings. You can guarantee that the man and woman who found romantic bliss will kiss each other exactly two minutes before the film ends. You can be sure that the guy who hated all things Christmas will love Christmas by film’s end. And it’s certain that anyone who had a Christmas wish will have that wish granted by a bearded man who may or may not really be Santa Claus.
But…the people who write these movies pay very little attention to detail, to logic, or to time. There is such a thing in film as suspension of disbelief in which the viewer is asked to sacrifice a bit of realism and logic for the sake of enjoyment, but in a Hallmark movie, disbelief is almost completely suspended.
Allow me to make a few specific points.
- Any Hallmark movie plot is filled with coincidences. Need a character to go to an out-of-the-way Christmas lodge and stay there until Christmas. Have her car break down, the part can’t arrive for two days, and a snowstorm is looming. Need a widower with a young child to meet a single woman. Just have him literally bump into her on the street. Or have his mother who runs an inn suddenly have an unexpected guest who loves children and Christmas more than anything else. And surprise, the child loves her and tells dad that she “reminds me of mom.”
- Things happen fast in a Hallmark movie. A character needs to decorate the house. As long as they have what appears to be a large box of decorations and a couple of hours , then the house can look like the Christmas card of your dreams. Lights, wreaths, a fully decorated 10-foot tree, stockings hung by a fireplace with a perfectly built fire and a perfect hearth, every type of candy cane, Christmas candles by the dozen. Every little detail done perfectly in the amount of time it would take to watch one of these movies.
- Need a drink in a Hallmark movie. There’s cider, hot chocolate, water, and a very occasional glass of wine that is always used for celebration and never over frustration.
Distance in a Hallmark movie means very little. A woman and young child walk over to her father’s cabin. It takes five minutes to walk there, yet the father has to drive the woman back and that drive shows a car on a long, long road. And, did I mention that the young child appears to have been left alone at the cabin at night.
- Car problems? Instantly diagnosed. A woman (who hates the holidays) hears an engine noise. Somehow she is on a back road near a town called Christmas or Happy Valley, or Holiday Gulch (no, not that one). She stops at a service station where the young employee is playing the guitar. He listens to the engine noise, diagnoses it instantly as a faulty alternator and informs her it will be at least two or three days to get the part. And he happens to know a great little Christmas lodge she can stay at. And surprise, a room is available. And surprise, the child of the widower son visiting his lodge-owning-parents for the holidays immediately loves the woman. And love begins to blossom.
- And finally there are the sets. The Hallmark set decorators and location scouts are the best in the business. Beauty…perfect beauty in every way…abounds. A person could watch these films without sound and simply be totally satisfied and enthralled by the sights alone.
So, if you see my wife and I on the street these days, we have smiles on our faces, good cheer in our hearts, hot chocolate in our cups, and Hallmark movies playing on our phones.
It’s a perfect world and we’re perfect Hallmark people. Count on it.