Take Script, Add Snow

Take Script, Add Snow

The psychology behind America’s obsession with Hallmark Christmas movies.

Still from Christmas in Evergreen.  [Front Street Pictures / The Hallmark Channel / Getty Images / Composite by Katie Kosma]

Still from Christmas in Evergreen. [Front Street Pictures / The Hallmark Channel / Getty Images / Composite by Katie Kosma]

In a big city, a woman lives a fast-paced life until something forces her to visit a small town, just before Christmas. Shortly after arriving, she connects with a charming small-town man. Commence ice-skating, hot chocolate, a tree lot, tree decorating, caroling, gift giving, charity work, big family meals, snow, snowmen, snowballs, snowball fights, red scarves, cookie decorating, a grand old house or country inn, sleigh bells, giddy children, and the soft plucking of stringed instruments whenever a character delivers a joke.

Every made-for-TV Christmas movie tracks the above plot. And yet, the uniformity does not prevent proliferation: This year alone, Hallmark made 38 holiday films across its two channels. Lifetime made 14. “The word is insatiable,” says Meghan Hooper, senior vice president at Lifetime and Lifetime Movie Network. “We don’t seem to be able to do enough to make the audience happy.”

Jane Borden, writing for Longreads, explores why we’re so obsessed with predictable Hallmark Christmas movies.

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