When I was growing up, Hallmark was the store where you bought the BEST cards, and like the old slogan said, you’d send a Hallmark card when you cared enough to send the very best. When I would hand my mom, a woman who quite frankly prefers cards over gifts, an envelope with the tell-tale gold crown seal, she would smile and say, “Oh, it’s a Hallmark!”
After Cowboy and I got married, Hallmark became known in our house as the purveyor of our favorite Christmas ornaments. He’d get the car, tractor, or airplane series, while I’d get the Winnie the Pooh or whimsical animal characters. When our tree is covered in these memories and reminders of childhood, hobbies, and dreams, it is transformed into my absolute favorite Christmas tradition. Heck, we’ve gathered so many ornaments over the years they even have their own box for storage. (And no, that doesn’t mean we have enough. And yes, I still buy new ones every year.)
Today, Hallmark is best known for TV, Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movies and Mysteries specifically. While they’re most famous for turning out oodles of Christmas movies, they also make movie magic with made-for-TV series, cozy mysteries, and other seasonal flicks. And if you’ve watched even a couple of these movies, you inevitably know how they will turn out. Happily! There seems to be a delightful formula to it all:
- Woman has important city life/job aspirations/family business. Bonus points for chef, writer, professor, flower shop owner, or decorator jobs.
- Woman’s life gets interrupted by family or job opportunity/obligations/loss. Bonus points for family inns, bakeries, and tree farms.
- Woman travels to scenic small town/village/farm to address said challenge. Bonus points if the woman is already there and the opportunity comes to her.
- Woman runs into old flame/new flame, and is rarely thrilled about it at the beginning. Bonus points if woman has existing flame she must extinguish.
- Woman finds her true meaning by following her career passion and also learns to view the guy in a new light and they live happily ever after. Bonus points if children, dogs, or cats come with the package.
I’m sure the writers would tell you that it’s definitely more complicated than that, and I have no doubt that it is. Heaven knows, no one has been able to replicate their special magic, and criticizing someone else’s art and creation is not my jam. But why are we so drawn in when we know how it will end? From the opening scenes of charming downtown shops, cityscapes, and country vistas, we are hooked. We know that two hours later, crisis will be averted, hearts will be happy, and the future will be bright.
That’s the magic. In a world that can feel crazy, sometimes our hearts just want to escape to a place where things will be okay. We’re living in a time that can feel especially vulnerable with quarantined family and friends, stores and restaurants closed, and fear and uncertainty easy to find in large doses. Sitting down with a cozy blanket, a cup of tea, and a Hallmark movie (or 12), could be just what your heart needs.
So hats off to Hallmark this weekend for re-running some of their best-loved Christmas movies, with their We Need a Little Christmas Movie Marathon. Christmas is known as the season of giving, so during what are unprecedented times, let’s make sure that we fill our hearts up with love over fear, check on our neighbors (virtually of course, social distancing rules apply), share what we can, and remember that this too will pass. And most importantly, when it does may we all be better for it. (Oh, and please wash your hands!)
P.S. If you’re like me and love a good list checking app, Hallmark has you covered. Through the Hallmark app you can make lists of what you want to see, get reminders for airings you don’t want to miss, and keep count of how many movies you’ve watched (which trust me, can quickly become A LOT.)
P.P.S. It’s hard to find a Hallmark store these days, but if you can find one, it’s absolutely worth it and you will be delighted. You simply can’t help but smile as you roam the aisles filled with heartfelt and funny cards, colorful home accessories, and unique treasures that make the perfect gifts.
P.P.P.S. This is not an advertisement and no money, gifts, or favors were exchanged in return for this post.