“My Hallmark Holiday Movies Addiction,” by Keith Manos

Dec 21st, 2022 | By | Category: Nonfiction, Prose

I’m addicted to the Hallmark Channel Christmas movies. I’m not kidding. One weekend, I watched six of them in a row. That’s 12 hours, including commercials, if you’re doing the math. I’ve viewed sixteen overall, and their cheesy, predictable plotline is outstanding:

Boy meets girl or girl meets boy—usually a week or two before Christmas (no one ever mentions Hannukah or even Jesus, for that matter). Btw: almost always, they’re both white. So much for Hollywood’s declaration about the importance of diversity.

There’s an immediate attraction, of course. He’s handsome; she’s beautiful (usually blond as in Candace Cameron Bure blond. She’s in about four of these films!). They’re both young and slender; neither has acne. The girl wears skinny jeans, the guy knows how to dance.

The problem? Typically, it’s distance—he lives in Chicago/Boston/New York, Kansas City; she lives in Maine, Connecticut, Vermont, Montana; or vice-versa.

There’s more: the guy and the girl knew each other in high school—he was captain of the football team and she was the lead in the class play. Each went their separate ways to follow their dream only to find out that their dream was always to live in the small town they were raised in and where they now reconnect with each other at Christmas.


The girl/guy first meeting is always awkward, but because the other person is good-looking, they put up with the embarrassment. They might have bad breath but neither complains. In this first meeting, they now must confront the authentic dream they left behind [i.e., living in the small town, which usually has a name like Noel, Vermont—not Scrotum, Illinois].

At least one of them is missing a parent or a sibling who has passed. Expect reminiscing and tears to follow at some point.

When the girl wakes up in bed, she has her makeup on. When the boy wakes up, he’s hungry.

Snow is on the ground in the hometown but no one’s breath mists. All the sidewalks are shoveled. No one complains about the weather or uses lip balm.

Moreover, no one is poor; they can buy whatever they want. If the girl says, “Oh goodness, we need a string quartet for the gala,” her parent says, “Get them.”

Each has an extroverted, quirky, yet encouraging sidekick. The sidekick eventually makes comments like “Follow your heart.”

The parents are in great shape and thin, no wrinkles. When they observe a troubled look on the boy/girl’s face, they make comments like, “Are you okay?” Later, they say, “Follow your heart.”

During the movie, we see panoramic aerial scenes of residential homes, fields, or a city as orchestral music plays in the background.

Eventually, the boy/girl mentally undress each other (you can see it in their eyes!), but their first kiss is interrupted by a car honking, another character, or a dog. Both turn away with sheepish looks, their brains still engulfed by images of the other one naked.


Everyone has jobs but only 4 minutes of a two-hour movie is devoted to seeing them at work. Most of their time is spent hugging, eating, drinking, crying, blabbing on and on about Christmas, more crying, more eating and drinking, hugging other people, shopping (Remember: money is no problem!), surfing the web, sitting by a fire, walking.

In fact, there is a lot of walking. They walk everywhere, typically with Styrofoam cups filled with coffee or cocoa while exchanging flirtatious glances on their way into a knickknack or antique shop with a lot of Christmas items. They talk and reminisce. She recalls mom/dad/brother/sister who has passed; he’s still thinking about seeing her naked.

They stop walking only to sit on a bench—again no breath mists—with their Styrofoam coffee cups. The girl admits to having a crush on him; he admits to nothing, not even how he masturbated the night before thinking about her naked.

Of course, meals are big deals and plentiful in these Hallmark movies. Expect a lot of kitchen scenes—characters holding spatulas, turkeys as big as Volkswagens, kids digging their dirty fingers into cakes, making the adults laugh although what they really want to do is slap the kid’s hand. These people can’t stop eating or drinking; if alcohol is involved, it’s wine. Martha Stewart should feature them in her magazine. And they’re so polite! No one yells, “Jesus, grandma, close the door when you’re using the bathroom.”

A kid—not the obnoxious type like me—who is an adorable, cute type hugs adults and gushes out words like “I missed you.”

Another stumbling block to this growing romance is usually another girl or guy who has a romantic, although self-centered, interest in one of them. The protagonist guy or girl may be scheduled to marry this flashy but something’s-wrong-here other guy or girl, but thank goodness for the quirky sidekick who steps up to reveal their ugly flaws at the right time, saving the day. Count on the sidekick saying, “Follow your heart.”

Another secondary character is always gay, and if there are two of them, they’re a couple. Half way through the movie, they typically hug either the boy or the girl and say, “Follow your heart.”

The girl volunteers at a charity for kids; usually she spends a few minutes wrapping presents with the gay friend or sidekick before taking off to drink some more wine or to find out if the boy got a role in another Hallmark movie. The guy is chopping wood but quits after only splitting two logs.

Expect a snowball fight, despite the fact the girl has a terrible arm. Also, characters sing at least one Christmas carol, and the commercial offering the 800 number to call for additional health insurance coverage beyond Medicare is repeated at every break.

In the final third of the movie, the boy or girl will say, “I’m sorry.” Tears follow.

The words giving, love, miracle, and heart are always in the script as in “You have such a giving heart, Marcie” or after a gift is given, “I love it” even if the gift is a chintzy tree ornament. Don’t expect the sidekick to say, “It’s a miracle I haven’t thrown up eating all those Christmas cookies.”

Near the end, someone makes a speech, using words like Christmas, love, and family, to a crowd at a dance, ball, festival, pageant, or performance; people clap even if it sucks. Some dab at their eyes. Although it may take place at night on Christmas Eve in the town square, no one is wearing gloves. If you look close, you can see the extras in the back sticking fingers down their throats.

The final scene involves the boy and girl kissing—no tongue, though—while a piano plays in the background. The movie ends, and I pull out my phone to call the 800 Medicare number.

I’ve warned you. You can’t watch only one.


Keith Manos’s stories have appeared in both print and online magazines like Chagrin River Review, October Hill Magazine, Wrestling USA, New Reader Magazine, and Attic Door Press, among others. He has also published eleven books to date, including his debut novel My Last Year of Life (in School), which was traditionally published by Black Rose Writing. Keith has been recognized as one of Ohio’s top writing teachers by the Ohio Council of Teachers of English/Language Arts.

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