9 Lessons Learned From Hallmark Christmas Movies

1- People who live in the Big City are successful but lonely.

Big City folk are so good at what they do that they don’t need human contact.
They work long days, then walk the bustling streets, to end the day at a bar or fancy restaurant, surrounded but alone.
The owner/bartender/server knows them, but when they serve their drink then walk away, the solitude is profound.
Big Cities don’t grow deep friendships nor successful relationships.


2- Big City bosses are ruthless and rude.

In the Big City, if you’re the boss, you live by “Eat them before they eat you.” Personal assistants and administrative underlings are especially tasty and tender snacks.
Bosses are not team players. They are a one-person island surrounded by sharks. They go through life running over anyone in their way.
Then they get the letter, or the news, or the unexpected package and a flicker of human kindness shows through the hard shell.
They go to the small town for big city reasons with a chip on their shoulder and condescension in their eyes.


3- A visit to Small Town changes Big City people.

This is most effective when the small town is either home or the place they never wanted to go. Bonus points if it is both.
It is snow covered, picturesque and decorated just shy of Griswold-ian with all things Christmas.
There will be a Christmas tree lot, a darling cafe (or coffee shop or toy store) and twinkling lights on everything that doesn’t move- and some things that do.
The best small town has kindly proprietors in every shop.


4- Every small town has a gazebo.

It is charmingly vintage and the hub of the town.
Someone of importance had something of importance happen to them there.
It may be in need of some repairs but, not to worry, the handsome carpenter will save the day.
He will be able to get supplies and complete the work in 3 days; just in time for the concert, or speech, or tree lighting.


5- Every small town has pitch-perfect carolers in classic 1900 wardrobe.

They are present at every event and every venue, singing the classics, always and only the classics.
They are not likely to break into a contemporary version of, well, anything.
There are no grandmas nor renegade-reindeer trampling lyrics.
They look and sound great, and their candles never get accidentally blown out by a gust of wind.
Sometimes ordinary people in regular clothes contribute their off-key voices to the mix, but for some reason, it is endearing rather than repulsive.


6- Small towns have a wide and varied menu of night-time activities.

The nighttime competitions of bobsledding and ice sculpture are also optional electives at the local college or community center.
These competitions will be just as well attended as the early morning, Christmas cookie queue at the quaint bakery.
Snow will be falling, but no one will seem to be cold.
The men will look handsome and lumberjack-y bundled up in down jackets and beanies.
The women will float just above the surface of the icy sidewalks and roads in their heeled boots and fluffy scarves.


7- Every moment of truth or affection will be interrupted.

Longing looks are never seen by the object of that longing, even with tentative, lip-twitching leans toward the other. Just when it looks like there might be a notice of affection, the other party will suddenly rush off like a rabbit caught at a farmers market.
When the characters finally catch eyes, repeated attempts for a first kiss will be interrupted by a doorbell, a phone call or a well-meaning friend*.
*may substitute boss, child, careening vehicle, or snowball for a friend.


8- Previous love interests don’t change.

Long left loves are exactly like remembered. Perfect. He is helpful and loves his mom. His arrogance has grown into quiet confidence, and he does everything with a heart of service.
Or  they change completely.
When did he get so angry? Maybe it’s because his parents saddled him with the ski lodge and the surrounding 200 acres in the mountains of Montana. Then they had the nerve to update all the ski lifts and cabins without telling him. Don’t they know that he wants to be a vagabond photographer of Amazonian rock fungus!?
Of course, he realizes they mean well, and he loves them and this old run-down-but-just-updated-place deeply, but he says nothing.**
**see #7 above


9- Never voice nor clarify what you mean, need or think.***

It might scare someone- especially you. You must skirt the issues, deny your needs, and bluster away your hurt to survive.
Do not show your weakness or loneliness.
Do not, under any circumstances, ever let them know that you have loved and lost, and it nearly killed you.
Do not admit that the demands of your boss, your child, or your own expectations are overwhelming.
Be mostly polite but never, ever honest.
***if they broke this rule, every movie would be 12 minutes long


Bonus Lesson – Queue is a better word than line.

It just is. Adjust your thinking and vocabulary accordingly.


  1. joy stumbo

    December 20, 2018 1:24 pm

    So, after only watching one, maybe two so far this year, I noticed the huge crowds that they talked about, were usually comprised of 8-10 people, maybe fifteen at the most! Must be a very small town!

  2. Dawnelise Nielsen

    December 20, 2018 3:26 pm

    Hmm, make me long for the quiet small town…

  3. CC

    November 4, 2019 11:49 am

    I’m from a small town and we don’t have a gazebo and don’t have ppl who carol that are dressed in 1900 period clothing.

  4. Swan

    November 5, 2019 6:30 pm

    No. 7 is true only until the last 10 minutes of the movie. Then they will find out that they loved each other all along and get to kiss each other until the credits. LOL!
    But still compulsive viewing!

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