Things in Hallmark Christmas movies that only adults notice

Hallmark Christmas movies seem to make the holiday season start earlier every year. Who doesn't love sitting down to watch the totally bingeworthy, made-for-TV Christmas movies for which the Hallmark Channel has become famous?

On Oct. 24, 2019, the Hallmark Channel aired its tenth-anniversary Countdown to Christmas preview special, in which the network gave viewers a sneak peek at its roster of new delightfully cheesy holiday movies. As noted by Good Housekeeping, Hallmark decided to air a whopping 40 new Christmas movies throughout its 2019 holiday season, beginning with the premiere of A Merry Christmas Match on October 25. 

If you've seen even one Hallmark Christmas movie, it's safe to say you could spot one from a mile away. After all, Hallmark's holiday movies are nothing if not formulaic. Still, while drinking hot cocoa, wearing fuzzy socks, and binge-watching the Christmas flicks as an adult, you're bound to pick up on a thing or two you somehow never noticed while watching Hallmark's signature holiday originals with your family as a kid. Here are things only adults notice in Hallmark Christmas movies. 

A Hallmark Christmas movie fairy tale

Clearly, Hallmark decided to cash in on society's collective obsession with royals by adding a healthy dose of royal romance to another universally beloved occasion — the holidays. Mix those two ingredients together, and you get a steady stream of Hallmark Christmas movies with a fairy-tale twist. 

In A Princess for Christmas, Jules Daly is unexpectedly invited to spend Christmas in the fictional country of Castlebury, and she soon finds herself falling in love with the handsome Prince Ashton. Crown for Christmas is similar to A Princess for Christmas in both title and plot. The made-for-TV movie follows the recently unemployed Allie Evans who accepts a position in yet another fictional country as governess to young Princess Theodora. Of course, by the end of the movie, Allie is in love with Theodora's father, King Maximillian. 

If holiday-themed royal romance flicks are your cup of Earl Grey tea, you'll definitely want to check out titles like A Royal Christmas, Once Upon a Holiday, and A Royal Winter. Sure, their plots are a bit farfetched — but these Hallmark Christmas movies offer a much-needed escape from the holiday season's hustle and bustle.

Hallmark Christmas movies love a small town

If there's one thing Hallmark loves more than a royal romance, it's a small-town romance. Of course, there are exceptions — but if a Hallmark Christmas movie begins in a bustling metropolis, you can pretty much bet your bottom dollar that the main character is going to find themselves learning the true reason for the season in a cute, cozy, tiny town fit for a snow globe. 

In Moonlight & Mistletoe, Holly Crosby — a successful Boston-based businesswoman — spends the holidays in her hometown of Chester, Vt. to help her ailing father tend to his year-round, Christmas-themed amusement park, Santaville. Christmas in Evergreen also takes place in Vermont — this time, as the title implies, in the fictional, tiny town of Evergreen. And — according to Hallmark's website – Christmas in Homestead follows a famous actress as she travels to the small, "Christmas-obsessed" town of Homestead, Iowa to shoot a holiday movie. "As she gets a taste of small-town life, she discovers the true meaning of Christmas," the movie's description reads. 

If you need us, we'll be booking a holiday trip to Tiny Christmas Village Town, USA. 

Tragedy is a Hallmark Christmas movie centerpiece

With their heartfelt cards, commercials, and movies, Hallmark has a history of making people cry. Throughout their many years in business, the company has somehow perfected the science of tapping into our emotions and pulling at all the right heartstrings. Of course, Hallmark's Christmas movies are no different. 

While marathoning Hallmark Christmas movies as an adult, it's impossible to overlook the sheer number of plots centered around a grieving widow or widower. In Christmas Getaway, a travel writer plans a Christmas vacation, only to find herself double-booked with a widower and his young daughter. And, as you can probably guess, the writer and the widower happen to fall head over heels in love. The Christmas Shepherd follows the story of a widow and widower who serendipitously find one another (and fall in love), all thanks to a runaway dog. And in The Christmas Ornament, a charming Christmas tree shop owner singlehandedly restores the joy of the holiday season for a widow still grieving the loss of her husband. 

Holiday romance isn't a cure-all for grief — however, you should definitely add these flicks to your must-watch list the next time you need a cathartic Christmas cry.

It's always a white Christmas in the Hallmark Christmas movie universe

"White Christmas" is arguably one of the world's most well-known holiday tunes. However, for many people, dreaming of a white Christmas is likely the closest to a snowy Christmas they'll ever get. 

Despite what nearly every holiday movie would have you believe, not every city experiences a snowy holiday season — no matter how quaint and Christmasy it might be. According to AccuWeather, the five major U.S. cities with the highest chances for a white Christmas are Minneapolis, Minn., Denver, Colo., Milwaukee, Wis., Detroit, Mich., and Buffalo, N.Y. Interestingly enough, Vermont isn't on the list — despite it being the setting for multiple snowy Hallmark Christmas movies. 

According to Hallmark executive Michelle Vicary, snow is a must-have for every Hallmark Christmas movie. "You have to have snow," she revealed to Business Insider

Luc Benning, a visual effects expert that's worked on Hallmark movies, explained to Business Insider the various ways to create an illusion of snow, including ice shavings, papier-mâché-like Krendl, fire-retardant foam, and crushed limestone. According to Benning, the "snow budget" for a Hallmark Christmas movie might account for $50,000 of production's budget. 

We're still dreaming of an LGBTQ-friendly Hallmark Christmas movie

While no two Hallmark Christmas movies are exactly alike, most of the cozy holiday flicks essentially tell the same story: A down-on-their-luck or otherwise apathetic protagonist learns the true meaning of the holiday season thanks to a little help from a surprising person with whom they fall in love. Romance is a Hallmark Christmas movie staple. And, while we love a nice, heartwarming tale of finding love and getting in touch with the holiday spirit, it's impossible to ignore Hallmark's historic lack of leading LGBTQ characters. 

In 2017, Ruth Schneider, a reporter for Times-Standard, reached out to Crown Media (which owns the Hallmark Channel) to ask why they've seemingly made the decision to exclude the LGBTQ community from their beloved Christmas movies. "We are not an issues-oriented network: our goal is for every viewer who comes to us to feel happier and better because they watched," Crown Media's vice president, Pam Slay, responded. She continued, "We have hired many LGBTQ actors." 

Hopefully, Hallmark will join the rest of society in the 21st century and give their audience an LGBTQ holiday love story sooner rather than later.

Hating the holidays is a criminal offense in Hallmark Christmas movies

Let's face it: The holidays simply aren't for everyone. For every person who puts up their Christmas tree as soon as Halloween is over, another person is undoubtedly rolling their eyes at the sudden explosion of Christmas decorations on store shelves. On a side note: poor Thanksgiving. If holidays were people, Thanksgiving would almost certainly have a bad case of middle child syndrome.

But we digress. The holiday season isn't the happiest time of the year for everyone. However, Hallmark Christmas movies would have you believe that attitude to be a criminal offense. So many of the network's holiday films feature a protagonist who feels, at best, apathetic about Christmas — only to have their outlook completely changed by the end of the movie.  

For example, in Every Christmas Has a Story, a television personality finds herself in hot water when she admits she hates Christmas on-air. According to Hallmark's description of the movie, she's subsequently invited to "the most Christmas-y town in the US to try and repair her image." Only in the Hallmark universe would admitting you hate the holidays land you a PR nightmare. 

Hallmark Christmas movies age with grace

It's no secret that Hollywood has long been critiqued for its ageism — especially in regard to casting. 

"Ageism is perverse in this industry," Jessica Lange told AARP in a 2017 interview. The legendary actress continued, "You don't often see women in their 60s playing romantic leads, yet you will see men in their 60s playing romantic leads with costars who are decades younger."

Perhaps this is part of the reason Hallmark movies are so refreshing for those viewers who have aged out of their late teens and early 20s, as the network routinely casts actresses in leading roles who are over 30 years old. Lacey Chabert — who, in 2019, signed on for her eighth Hallmark Christmas movie (via Entertainment Weekly) — celebrated her 37th birthday in September 2019. Another Hallmark Christmas movie darling, Ashley Williams, turned 40 in November 2018. And, as of this writing, Candace Cameron Bure turned 43 years old in 2019. Considering Bure is one of Hallmark's most successful stars, perhaps Hollywood should be taking a few notes from the network. 

Homewrecking Hallmark Christmas movies

Hallmark's Christmas movie roster is full of titles guaranteed to make you laugh, cry, and go to bed with a warm, fuzzy feeling in your chest. However, if you're anything like us, it won't take you long to pick up on a recurring theme throughout Hallmark's Christmas originals: the homewrecker. 

Okay, homewrecker is probably a harsh term, but Hallmark movies do have a tendency to show a protagonist accidentally falling for a person who is very much not their significant other. In A Christmas Detour, a snowstorm prevents Paige Summerlind from traveling to meet her fiancé and future in-laws — and instead sends her straight into the arms of another man. Travel issues are also the force at the center of A Very Merry Mix-Up, in which missing baggage sends Alice Chapman on a journey that results in her breaking off her engagement for a man she met at the airport. 

While we love a good love story, Hallmark Christmas movies will have you worrying your significant other is going to have their own Hallmark-worthy meet-cute the next time they're at baggage claim. 

Hallmark Christmas movies are your holiday pun destination

While it undoubtedly takes a village to produce the amount of entertaining Christmas content Hallmark airs every holiday season, we'd very much like to meet the dad in charge of coming up with the Hallmark Christmas movie titles. We're mostly joking — however, some of the Christmas-themed puns used for Hallmark's movie titles read as if they were taken straight from a book of classic dad jokes. 

We could fill a Christmas village with Hallmark's punny names for their holiday flicks, but some of our favorites include Christmas Under Wraps, Merry Matrimony, A Very Merry Mix-Up, Window Wonderland, Fir Crazy, Christmas with Holly, A Carol Christmas, and — of course — It's Christmas, Carol!

Considering Hallmark announced a line-up of 40 new holiday movies for its 2019 season, it's safe to say coming up with clever Christmasy titles has become significantly more difficult. That said, the network's 2019 Christmas movie roster included titles like Write Before Christmas, Picture a Perfect Christmas, and Check Inn to Christmas (via USA Today) — which goes to show Hallmark hasn't lost its magic, punny touch. 

The Hallmark Christmas movie business

In 2017, Saturday Night Live poked a bit of fun at Hallmark's many Christmas movie tropes in an (unfortunately) cut-for-time sketch, "Hallmark Channel Christmas Promo." The talents of Saturday Night Live's Kate McKinnon, Heidi Gardner, and Melissa Villaseñor — as well as celebrity host James Franco –  are featured in the pretty spot-on parody, which totally nails one of Hallmark's most overused tropes: the struggling small business. 

Just as McKinnon's character leaves her big-city job to take over her grandmother's Christmas tree farm, Christmas Land tells the story of Jules Cooper — a woman with a successful marketing job in New York City who returns to her hometown upon learning she's inherited her late grandmother's struggling Christmas-themed village and tree farm. Similarly, in Moonlight & Mistletoe, Holly leaves her big-city job for her hometown of Chester, Vt., where she helps save her father's Christmas-themed amusement park, Santaville.

If someone could point us in the direction of a Christmas-themed park that pays a livable wage, we'd be eternally grateful. Until then, you can find us rewatching Saturday Night Live's brilliant Hallmark Christmas movie parody. 

I'll be home for Hallmark Christmas movies

A number of Hallmark Christmas movies center around a protagonist who reluctantly returns to his or her hometown for Christmas, only to realize that's where they should have been all along. In A Joyous Christmas, bestselling author and motivational speaker Rachel Kennedy returns home for the holiday season — despite the negative emotions attached to her hometown due to the death of her parents. However, it doesn't take long for her to fall in love with a charming local, as well as reconnect with her old community.

Another Hallmark Christmas movie, Rocky Mountain Christmas, follows Sarah Davis, a New York City gal who returns to her hometown after a breakup to help tend to her widower uncle's struggling ranch. Of course, a handsome Hollywood star just so happens to be in town at the same time — and in a surprise to absolutely no one — he and Sarah fall head over heels in holiday love. 

The moral of the story? If you're looking for the "true meaning" of Christmas (otherwise known as a love connection), just pack your bags and head to your hometown!

Where do we find one of these Hallmark Christmas movie careers?

Let's be honest: Hallmark Christmas movies are far from a reflection of reality. Sure, we love the holidays as much as the next person. However, if you're anything like us, the "most wonderful time of the year" can often double as the most stressful. Of course, this is why so many people enjoying escaping into the Hallmark Christmas movie universe — because, as unrealistic as the movies might be, they certainly provide a whimsical escape from holiday season stresses.

Perhaps the most unrealistic aspects of Hallmark Christmas movies are the job titles held by the protagonists. For example, in Merry & Bright, Full House's Jodie Sweetin plays Cate — the CEO of the Merry & Bright Candy Cane Company. However, Merry & Bright has nothing on Hats Off to Christmas. According to the Hallmark Christmas movie's description, Hats Off to Christmas features Haylie Duff as Mia, "the loyal and hard-working manager of her small town's Christmas hat shop." 

A Christmas hat shopPerhaps we're out of the loop, but we're pretty sure the Christmas hat industry isn't exactly booming. 

Hallmark Christmas movies suck you inn

Even if you don't fancy yourself a religious person, you've likely heard the Bible story recounting the birth of Jesus. In the biblical tale, Joseph and a very pregnant Mary try to secure shelter so that she can give birth. However, the local inn has no rooms available, and Mary ultimately gives birth to Jesus in a manger.

While there's been debate surrounding the true meaning behind the New Testament's use of the word "inn," this bible story might have provided inspiration to the folks behind a number of Hallmark Christmas movies centered around various inns. As anyone could likely guess by their titles, the Hallmark Christmas flicks Check Inn to Christmas and The Mistletoe Inn both feature inns perfectly suited for a holiday retreat (as well as a holiday romance). 

Considering an "inn" is defined as "an establishment for the lodging and entertaining of travelers," it's safe to say the lodge at the center of Romance at Reindeer Lodge falls under this category, as well. So, if you're looking to fall in love this holiday season, perhaps you should think about booking a room at a cozy inn (or inn-like establishment). 

Hallmark Christmas movies want you to know Santa is real

A number of Hallmark Christmas movies tell tales of finding true love and joy amid the chaos of Christmas, while also weaving magical elements throughout the stories in a way that will make you wonder why you ever stopped believing in Santa Claus. After all, in many Hallmark Christmas movies, Santa isn't just a jolly old guy on a soda can — he's a living, breathing man. 

For example, in A Boyfriend for Christmas, a 30-something single woman is surprised to learn that a wish she'd made to Santa as a young teen has finally been granted — by Santa, of course. The big man in the red suit makes another appearance in Help for the Holidays, a Hallmark movie in which one of Santa's elves ventures into the real world to discover — wait for it — the true meaning of Christmas. 

These movies may technically be for adults, but that obviously isn't going to stop Hallmark from appealing to the childlike wonder inside all of us.