As an aging millennial who has the privilege of living with my parents while I save up to buy a house in this crazy housing market, I’ve noticed something about my parents that I had no clue about, previously: They’re obsessed with Hallmark Christmas movies.
I’ve heard rumbling from my mom the past few years that my dad was obsessed with these movies, but now that my parents are my new roommates, I really had no idea just HOW into them they really are, as are the parents of my fellow millennials.
Over the last few weeks, I’ve seen funny tweets and memes about parents loving these cheesy and arguably bad movies, so I had to figure out why adults love these movies so much.
They’re almost like the Lifetime movies -- except they’re Christmas-themed and they have happy endings instead of sad ones.
I sat down with my dad a few days ago to watch a Hallmark movie and get a sense of what I’m dealing with here.
Not to my surprise, I watched a feel-good Christmas movie with a plot that is so unbelievable you have to suspend your notion of belief to enjoy the film.
A lot of these movies revolve around the same basic plot: An uptight and successful person with a corporate business job has lost their love for Christmas because they’re just too busy with work. Sometimes this person is sent by their boss to a town that loves Christmas, and it’s always for some work-related reason. Sometimes they’re heading home for the holidays, and it’s their first Christmas at home ever since landing their big-city job.
After a few days of being the fish out of water, the protagonist usually ends up falling for someone who is insanely attractive, who they disagree with about everything -- including their love of Christmas. The person (and the townspeople) usually find out the big-city person is solely in town for work, and things go south.
But since these are Christmas movies and we need a happy ending, the uptight big-city workaholic learns to let go of their work-related stress, rekindles their love for Christmas, and everyone lives happily ever after.
There are many variations to the classic Hallmark Christmas movie, but this is usually how things go.
The plots are cheesy and corny, but you usually end up feeling pretty OK after watching, because it’s about Christmas -- and what’s not to love about the holidays, right?
But why are these arguably bad movies so popular, especially among middle-aged people?
It could be that these movies bring back a sense of nostalgia for folks who may not get to see their kids (or grandkids) every year for Christmas. People seem to mostly have good memories associated with Christmas, so perhaps these movies bring back those good feelings?
Or it could be that they know these movies are ridiculously far-fetched, but they’re choosing to ignore that because these make them happy.
As someone who lives and breathes the “Real Housewives” franchises, this is a theory I can get behind.
I know that the drama on “Real Housewives” is fake, staged and would never happen in real life, but I choose to ignore that because I live for the drama and it makes me laugh.
As long as I’m entertained, who cares, right?
The Hallmark Christmas movies have become so predictable that they’re even now getting spoofed.
Just look at Comedy Central’s “A Clüsterfünke Christmas,” which was written by “SNL” vets Rachel Dratch and Ana Gasteyer, or VH1′s “The B---- Who Stole Christmas,” which stars RuPaul and a bunch of drag queens.
In “A Clüsterfünke Christmas,” Dratch and Gasteyer made an entire Christmas movie that feels like a Hallmark Christmas movie, but with a knowing wink to the audience. They’re obviously making fun of the genre, but it’s done so in such a loving way, that it’s almost a tribute more than a spoof.
Whatever it may be, there is no denying that Hallmark Christmas movies have entered the pop culture conversation, and they’re not going anywhere any time soon.
The influence can even be felt in some of Netflix’s most recent Christmas movies. Just watch the “A Christmas Prince” film series and you’ll know what I mean.
Are Hallmark Christmas movies objectively bad?
But at the end of the day, that doesn’t matter. They’re light and silly movies that make people who truly love the holidays love them even more.