Hallmark has our hearts


Photo by Mahathi Sridhar

Karys Gates and Victoria Gillard

Personally, we are big fans of Hallmark movies. These well-thought-out films are the perfect way to spend a Friday night. Cozying up on the couch in Christmas PJ’s with a mug of hot chocolate and “Let it Snow” (a fan favorite) playing is a night well spent. 

Hallmarks are the best solution to cure both boredom and loneliness: a two-for-one. They provide an instant boost of serotonin and can make any bad day 100 times better. In our opinion, Hallmarks blow regular old Christmas movies out of the water. Sure, the annual stream of Elf and Christmas Vacation is permitted as tradition, but Hallmark’s Christmas specials are acceptable all year round… at least at our houses. 

The repeated cast of the same 10 actors and actresses really enhances the character familiarity. The commonly-chosen Lacey Chabert as “Emily,” “Melanie,” “Elizabeth” or some variation of today’s most popular names, a small town girl who moved to New York to follow her dreams, is reused in 90 percent of these films. The varying plot is some version of a spontaneous trip back home to help sell the old dance studio that was considered a second home, but no longer has the funds to stay open. Of course it just so happens that her high school sweetheart took over years ago and became the lead dance instructor for the studio. When she arrives back to the small town of Opal Creek, the lead role and her old flame bicker at first because he’s mad that she left him to follow her dreams. Eventually, however, they have a heart-to-heart, and she decides to move back and run the dance studio with her long lost love… Shocker! 

As the plot line is only slightly tinkered with for each movie, the “dance studio” can be substituted out for a Christmas tree farm, a family-run b & b or everyone’s favorite town diner.  

It also just so happens that the town’s new jolly-old taxi driver with a white beard is coincidentally named Nick, not to be mistaken for Saint Nicholas or Santa Claus, though the resemblance is uncanny. Not one ounce of suspicion runs through the lead role’s brain as Nick shows up everywhere, giving perfectly-fitting advice when needed. Depending on the Hallmark, this is also the same guy that mysteriously shapeshifts into school janitors, construction workers and bus drivers in a matter of seconds. Is it an itch on his nose, or does he magically delay flights just in the Nick of time? Oh, the delight of year-round rom-coms with a Christmas underpinning to keep the spirit alive long before, through and after the holidays; indeed it makes for a perfect Friday night!