When I was younger, I was self-conscious about everything. Was my shirt weird? Was I too old to play with dolls? Was it lame to be interested in historical fiction? Was the music I listened to “cool” enough? Etc. I can’t say that feeling is completely gone. For the most part, though, sometime in the last few years, I stopped caring what people thought about what I liked and my life choices. I’m definitely not perfect. I still have to talk myself through some of my “guilty” pleasures. One of the biggest being my love affair with Hallmark movies.
Quarantined for Thanksgiving
In November of 2013, I was working in a preschool, and I caught all of the kiddo germs. I mean all of them. I went to the doctor, but they didn’t know what I had… and I wouldn’t find out before Thanksgiving. So, I was “quarantined” for the holiday. I was also on heavy codeine cough medicine. KC, the gem that he, is stayed home with me, missing out on all of the family fun and food. I was up at all hours of the morning watching “made for TV” movies, specifically Christmas ones. Before this point in time, Hallmark movies were not on my radar. Ever since? I’m obsessed.
The Plot of A Hallmark Movie
Have you seen a Hallmark movie? I’ll tell you the plot (no it doesn’t matter which one it is).
Noel Evergreen took a job in the city, and has had a successful career as a marketing executive. When her father (a Christmas tree farmer) is injured, she must (begrudgingly) return to her hometown (with all its charms) and help him with the family business. A young man is selling trees from a corporate tree lot right across the street from her father’s. How can she save her family business?! While Noel is back in her hometown, she’ll realize she needs to rally for small business, move back home, and fall in love with the Christmas tree salesman across the lot. (While he’s snarky and stealing her dad’s business, he can be swayed to the light side). They will *finally* kiss in the last minute of the movie.
More or less, all Hallmark movies follow this pattern. If it’s fall, the dad is a pumpkin farmer. If it’s spring, he grows tulips. You get the idea. And yes, the kiss is always in the last minute of the movie. I swear it.
These movies are not great films. They are corny, predictable, and sometimes hard to get through (if I’m being honest). But do I love them anyway? Yes! Are some better than others? Absolutely! Nine Lives of Christmas holds a special place in my heart as my favorite.
The Mental Diet
I used to joke that it was the codeine that drew me to the Hallmark movies, or maybe boredom. Last year, I realized it was really the need for a “mental diet.” It’s not something I had considered until Audrey’s recent blog post, but I’ll tell ya, the light bulb flicked on while reading it! The gist of it is (I’m paraphrasing!): If you watch what you put into your body, it helps you feel physically better. If you watch what you put into your mind, it helps you feel mentally better. We all have our own triggers, things we like and dislike, and when we pay attention to them, we are often happier.
As I read Audrey’s post, I felt like I finally understood why I gravitated toward these predictable movies from Hallmark, and not popular shows like OINB or Breaking Bad. During the holidays, times of political unrest, or stressful family events, I need to see Noel Evergreen fall in love with the snarky corporate guy who changes for the better. I need to see her realize that she loves her small town and her family and that she wants to champion small businesses. I need to smile and watch people on TV be nice to each other. I don’t need to see Mary Louise Parker sell weed to teens. I don’t need to watch the ladies on Sex in the City go through address books of lovers. Those things STRESS ME OUT. Those are (some of) my triggers.
So, thank you Audrey for writing that post. Without it, I’d probably still be describing myself as “a 70-year-old lady” because I enjoy Hallmark movies in all of their predictable glory. What I’m trying to do now is embrace that love. I’m watching them because they make me happy, lighten my load after a hard day, and remind me of both important things in life and nice people. They are good for me, and that’s nothing to be feel “guilty” about.
Noel Evergreen & Snarky Christmas Tree Guy 4EVA <3