The Monotony of Hallmark Christmas Movies

Fiona Shepherd, Sentry Reporter

As the holiday season is among us, so are the tragically predictable Hallmark movies.

These romance films have become a staple of the holiday season over the years, and many look forward to the holiday movies that the Hallmark media company produces annually. 

In recent years, however, the patterns and redundancies throughout the various different Christmas movies produced have become increasingly evident. What was once heartwarming and loveable has become monotonous and repetitive as Hallmark struggles to produce new movies without deviating from the traditional style that audiences seem to once have loved. 

Each different film follows the same basic plot line and features virtually indistinguishable characters. The plot of the majority of Hallmark films can be relayed in a short summary that is as follows. 

Upon settling down to watch the movie, the title of which is something along the lines of Christmas and Happy (Honorable mentions include Hearts of Christmas, Hope of Christmas, and Christmas Joy), you are greeted with a poster featuring a variety of Christmas colors, with a White couple at the center. One person is wearing green, and the other is wearing red. They smile happily at the camera or at each other, nauseatingly cheerful as they are surrounded by warm hues of a crackling fire or a soft snowfall that encapsulates the supposed Christmas spirit of the movie.  

Undeterred by the presentation, you begin the movie. Every Hallmark film begins with a successful, working woman who returns to her hometown for the holidays. She is caught up in the flurry of corporate life, and is unappreciative of the spirit of Christmas that her hometown radiates. 

Upon her arrival, this woman is greeted by a handsome, down-to-earth man who works and is respected within the hometown. She is cold to him and reluctant to open up, as she could never be vulnerable due to her ruthless corporate lifestyle that prevents her from possessing all of the important qualities of a woman. 

However, as the holiday season progresses, the woman begins to let go of her cool, uncaring demeanor and becomes more approachable. After all, a woman being successful could never be a part of the true spirit of Christmas. The hometown man shows her the beauty and joy in a quiet life, and she becomes more appreciative of the sense of family and love in her small, predominantly White hometown. 

The movie comes to an end as the woman decides to leave her busy city job in favor of settling down with her perfect family, which somehow always includes a soft snowfall while the camera slowly zooms out. The true spirit of Christmas has been learned.

The plot is not the only thing that is similar among many Hallmark Christmas movies. The same actors appear every year, and some actors have appeared in as many as 18 different Hallmark Christmas movies alone. When the recycling of both plot and actors is taken into consideration, it is no surprise that people are starting to criticize the channel for its lack of originality. 

The Hallmark channel has also come under fire recently for the lack of diversity in its movies, and critics have shown how Hallmark Christmas films repeatedly feature white characters and families, seriously lacking representation. 

However, Hallmark has made efforts in terms of diversification. 2020 was Hallmark’s most diverse year yet when it came to actors, and storylines have begun featuring LGBTQ+ couples. Nevertheless, Hallmark still has a long way to go, as the majority of Christmas movies released every year still contain an alarming lack of diversity.

Part of the reason why Hallmark has been and continues to be so resistant to change is the sheer amount of revenue gained from these movies. A substantial amount of yearly revenue can be attributed to the airing of Christmas films, and the repetitive style of the movies is part of the reason why. Because the plot, characters and setting are all so simple, the budget and production time is often extremely low. This allows for greater revenue, and therefore continues production of movies for the next holiday season. 

Nevertheless, with each yearly onslaught of Hallmark Christmas movies, there is an increase in the amount of audience members questioning the content, or lack thereof, in Hallmark movies. Audience reaction is what feeds the robotic production of these films, and the hope is that audiences will push for real change that affects the nature of Hallmark Christmas movies and holiday media for the better.