The Hallmarks of a Hallmark Christmas Movie Heroine
Confession: I LOVE Hallmark Christmas movies. And not in an ironic way. I record each original movie (the channel now airs one on Saturday AND one on Sunday starting in October through New Year's, so don't tell me god doesn't exist!) and then watch them on Sunday after cooking myself dinner, with a Christmas-scented candle lit for that extra ambiance. It's my holiday ritual and I love it. I even wrote a whole feature on it for my day job. (Can you believe I get paid for this?)
The network also started doing year-round seasonal programming in recent years, and I've grown particularly fond of the Fall Harvest line-up (basic b--ch 'til the end, I know), watching each movie with a sarcastic comment at the ready...along with my unabashed affection for an old-fashioned romance. I know how it will end and often predict scenes and lines of dialogue, but I still can't resist 'em, they're my version of comfort food in zero-calories form. The ultimate sucker and a Hallmark exec's dream (especially because I am in that key demo, too).
As a longtime student in the art of a Hallmark Christmas Movie, I've noticed a few (OK, a lot) of repeated themes and trends over the years. Same Candace Cameron Bure, different movie, if you know what I mean.
With 33 (!) original Christmas offerings set to air this season, I figured I'd put together a list of all the necessities one woman must have in order to qualify as a Hallmark heroine. I hope you're taking notes, should you happen to have an icicle knock you unconscious, causing you to lose your memory and fall under the care of a hot widower/doctor who you will fall in love with and eventually marry. (I don't think that's happened in one of these movies yet, so don't steal that idea!)
How to Know If You're a Hallmark Christmas Movie Heroine:
*You either grew up on a Christmas tree farm or in a town obsessed with Christmas, with twinkle lights, garland and carolers in every nook and cranny of the dang place.
*You moved away from your small town to the "big city," but are forced to return for some reason or another, either being awarded some land after a family member passes away (fingers crossed for a cozy inn!) or a work obligation. Though you plan on leaving as fast as possible, you eventually realize the perks of small town living.
*If you never moved away, your ex-boyfriend did, and he has now returned and you feel compelled to reinstate the holiday spirit into his cold, black heart.
*You will run into your ex either at a bakery, the farmer's market or unexpectedly at a work meeting, where you will have to begrudgingly work together. Cue snarky banter and a-sexual tension.
*You are either a baking goddess (gingerbread is preferred) or don't know the different between sugar and flour but will be tasked with creating a Christmas dessert that the entire town's livelihood depends on. No pressure.
*You bonded with your father over ice sculpting.
*You will fall in love with your first love who never left your small town or a workaholic widower (lawyer, doctor or CEO preferred) with 1-2 precocious kids whose mother died, so there's no messy divorce/custody agreements to deal with. (Bonus: you could fall for a secret prince.)
*You will have a seemingly endless supply of knit hats and cozy sweaters. Ditto cute AF decorations for your house.
*You love to hold coffee cups, but not drink from them.
*You are either a party planner, professional baker/chef or serious businesswoman.
*Your parents, if not deceased (RIP!), are hoping you will take over the family business, something you never really wanted to do...until you rediscovered the magic of Christmas. Or they constantly express their hope that you will settle down. They need grandbabies to eat their famous cookies!
*Your best friend lives to ask questions about your love life, to help move the plot along a bit faster. Unsung heroes, those quirky BFFs. (Sometimes they get tossed a bone and fall for your love interest's corny-but-not-really-cute friend.)
*You've never heard of the Bechdel test.
*You probably have never interacted with a person of color, unless they are your assistant. Ditto LGBTQ community members.
*You will NOT kiss the man of your dreams until the last minute of the movie, young lady. And if you do smooch before the final scene, you'll will get married by movie's end. It's the Hallmark law.
*No matter how hard you try, you will never be better than Candace Cameron Bure.