Every Hallmark Christmas movie is plagued with a mundane plot, repetitive storyline, and predictable outcome. The cheesy movies with the awful titles seem destined for failure. So, why are they so popular? In 2019, 50 million people tuned in to Hallmark’s Countdown to Christmas to watch 40 new festive movies of the season. Most of the movies contain a cliché storyline about a big city business executive returning home at Christmas, rekindling a relationship with a childhood sweetheart, and rediscovering the true spirit of Christmas. Despite their generic nature, Hallmark Christmas movies are immensely popular because they provide a sense of comfort, put people at ease, and get them in the Christmas spirit.
Although the holiday season is meant to be full of joy and cheer, many individuals experience stress that the Hallmark movies can reduce. Holiday stressors including family conflict and financial issues prevent the enjoyment of Christmas especially as an adult. According to behavioral scientist Pamala Routledge, “The reliable Hallmark holiday movie plot formula takes us on an emotional journey that can be especially beneficial during the stress of the season — which keeps us coming back for more” (Page). Depression and anxiety can be high during the season, and the merry moods of the characters help people form a more optimistic view on the holidays. Because the movies portray life as simple and cheerful, viewers are able to take a break from the chaos caused by Christmas.
Hallmark Christmas movies allow viewers to be submerged into a simple world without politics and social struggles. People experience stories of ideal Christmases where conflict is always resolved. In Hallmark movies, there are no political tensions or even signs of socio-economic differences (Dulle). The movies are simply an escape from reality for those who wish to avoid societal issues. Because of the unity portrayed in the movies, people witness over and over again the Hallmark Christmas utopia.
Hallmark Christmas movies, like other Christmas movies, help people get ready for the holiday. They give us “some visual candy in the realm of decor that speaks to our spirit” (Peart). The festive music, decorations, and lights produce an environment that make the viewers more excited for Christmas. The visuals of the movie appeal to audiences because they are nostalgic and comforting. People are reminded of the Christmas joy and excitement that they experienced in their youth. The movies increase peoples’ Christmas spirit and are addictive to watch.
Hallmark Christmas movies continue to grow in popularity despite their cookie-cutter nature. Whether the next movie takes people to picturesque Christmas Town or predictable Hollyville, Hallmark is sure to please its viewers this season. Even if people do not want to admit to watching Hallmark Christmas movies, millions will certainly be watching every minute of Countdown to Christmas.
Dulle, Colleen. “Yes, Hallmark Christmas Movies Are Cheesy. Here’s Why We Still Love Them.” America Magazine, 14 Dec. 2018, www.americamagazine.org/arts-culture/2018/12/14/yes-hallmark-christmas-movies-are-cheesy-heres-why-we-still-love-them. Accessed 2 December 2020.
Page, Danielle. “Here’s Why It Feels so Good to Watch Those Hallmark Holiday Movies.” NBCNews.com, NBCUniversal News Group, 16 Nov. 2019, www.nbcnews.com/better/lifestyle/here-s-why-it-feels-so-good-watch-those-hallmark-ncna1080841. Accessed 2 December 2020.
Peart, Taniver. “Experts Reveal Why Hallmark Christmas Movies Make Us So Happy.” CafeMom, 24 Oct. 2019, cafemom.com/entertainment/222174-why-hallmark-christmas-movies-make-us-happy. Accessed 2 December 2020.