Roku's How To Fall In Love By The Holidays Is Solid Advice For Yuletide Romance

The holiday season is fast approaching, and that means all the seasonal rom-coms our yuletide-loving hearts desire are on their way. The latest is Roku Channel's "How to Fall in Love by the Holidays." 

The film stars Teri Hatcher as Nora Winters, the former writer and now CEO of a lifestyle website. When the site partners with a dating app, Winters is forced to write a column following the app's advice for — you guessed it — falling in love by the holidays. Winters is reluctant to actually go through with the tasks required to write the column, and she'd prefer to fake her way through. With some persuasion, though, she manages to not only write a popular column but also to fall in love — by the holidays, no less.

The movie opens with a voiceover that says, "Did you know that Christmas is the best time to fall in love? It's scientifically proven." There could be truth to this; there's some reason why we all love holiday romantic comedies, after all. Holiday rom-coms tend to be formulaic — all checking off the same list of cliches. "How to Fall in Love by the Holidays" is no exception to this — we've got the enemies-to-lovers trope, the near-miss kiss, and even a family snowman-building montage. 

It's difficult, though, not to wonder if falling in love by the holidays really can be as formulaic and scientific as the film suggests. Could this guide to finding love really work? We think the answer is yes ... kind of.

Take the process to heart

While "How to Fall in Love by the Holidays" may — ironically — not have any particularly unique advice for falling in love by the holidays, what it does have is a step-by-step guide. For some of us, that's the kind of specificity we need in our dating life. And, there may actually be something to these steps for someone who's looking for love. 

The first step is: "Take to heart." For Nora, who's very cynical of the process, taking the task of falling in love "to heart" isn't easy. She'd prefer to write her article without the work of actually looking for romance. For the rest of us, though, taking "to heart" really means committing to all that dating has to offer. And, this is a good first step; cynicism in dating only makes things more difficult.

For the second step, it's time to "meet someone out of your comfort zone." For this one, Nora tries some new activities to meet people. This can also mean giving a shot to someone who might not be your preferred type.

The third step is familiar advice: "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again." This step is a necessary one. It's tough out there in the world of dating. Returning to the dating game when something doesn't work out as you imagined is key. And while the movie itself may not admit this, if your quest to find love by the holidays isn't as successful as Nora's, it's worth trying again in January.

Dating is also about getting to know yourself

Steps four and five are important, no matter which stage of dating you find yourself in. Step four requires that you "allow for some self-reflection." After all, it's easy to lose sight of the fact that dating is often more about your relationship with yourself than it is about your relationships with strangers from even the best dating apps. Recognizing this can help you reap more benefits from the whole process. 

The fifth step is to "have a little fun." This is a step that Nora masters well by the end of her process, and it's one that we often ignore in the pursuit of lasting love. Dating should be fun, and putting too much pressure on yourself and your dates can make things backfire. Try your best to relinquish expectations and enjoy the moment when possible.

Step six asks us to "get vulnerable." This is necessary throughout the dating experience — especially when you've met someone you like. You have to let them in to know that they're right for you, even if it's difficult. Once you've dared to get vulnerable, it's time for step seven: "Introduce them to your world." Making sure that a potential partner meshes well with your life is vital to knowing whether they're actually a good fit for you, and it's something that's easily overlooked. This doesn't mean that you have to bring your new suitor over to a family snowman-building contest like Nora does, but hey — some seasonal fun never hurts.

Stay open to the possibilities

The final three steps come into play once you've selected a seasonal suitor. After welcoming your beau-to-be into your world, it's time for step eight: "Deepen the connection." Really getting to know someone is the only way to determine if it's a good match. 

Once you're confident, it's time for step nine: "Face your feelings." Examine how this person and potential relationship really makes you feel. Take your time with step nine before moving to the final step: "Say it all out loud." Nora is reluctant about the falling-in-love-by-the-holidays process, and expressing her feelings is no exception. Plenty of us can relate to this, but if you've successfully completed steps one through nine, you're ready to take the plunge. After all, as that famous scene in the ultimate holiday rom-com "Love Actually" says, "At Christmas, you tell the truth." When trying to fall in love by the holidays, this mantra is a great one.

At the end of the movie, Nora's column reveals that it was in fact possible to fall in love by the holidays. According to her, "the best part about love" is that "it can surprise you if you stay open to it," and while she follows the step-by-step guide and does — not-so-surprising spoiler alert— find love, it's not because the step-by-step guide worked exactly as planned. For Nora, staying open helped her find love. So, whether you follow the ten steps or not, that's one thing that you can "take to heart."