While lying on my couch watching a Hallmark holiday movie yesterday, knowing full well that the renovation of the old inn, the connect with the hot lost love, the distance with the parents, and whether or not the grand Christmas show would happen were conflicts that were all going to be resolved in one beautiful shiny package, I wondered why these films are so important to me.
I write crime thrillers. Stories about badass female cops taking on white supremacists. Women who may be living tragically trying to survive. Adults trying to heal what haunts them from their childhood. My multiple tabs of research on my computer include weapons and FBI profiles on the psychology of killers, impact of intergenerational trauma, history of slavery and how Native tribes grieve losses, the impact of extreme alcoholism on the nervous system and death. I also have tabs opened about shoes, Goodreads, the perfect boyfriend cut blue jean, Facebook and holiday cashmere sales. And my Pinterest, of course, which is all beautiful homes of the southwest and inspirational photos of nature, or rocky canyons showing how light plays and dances on horizons.
So, maybe I just answered my own question about why these movies.
Maybe it’s because the grief of the missing parent is slight. Dusted like the powered sugar on the cookies. The lead is a widow with perfect hair but has only one or two moments of near tears about her grief. Or one of her parents is dead but she only remembers him or her by staring at an ornament for a second. Just a second.
Maybe it’s because after the hard work where she’s overlooked or almost betrayed by a co-worker or has a tiny but not crushing or memorable even, aggression from her boss, she always has it worked out so the bad guy gets fired, she gets the accolades, the promotion, and the next big gig.
Maybe it’s because the tiny towns are filled with nice folk who hand out gingerbread cookies and cakes and the trees are decorated so beautifully, I can only sit in awe at the production team, the designers and art department. Maybe it’s because these movies are shot in a bright light so even what could be a shadow is washed out and can’t hurt us.
Maybe it’s because the music is that sweet mix of musak, pop and holiday classics and since it’s past Thanksgiving I can hear it but come December 26th it must all go away.
Maybe it’s because I have a new excuse to eat chocolates because they go perfectly with holiday movies.
Maybe it’s because my childhood Christmases weren’t anything like the trials of the kids whose single parent finds the perfect new step-dad who turns out to be Santa.
Maybe it’s because these films are about belief and God’s plan woven with sparkly threads of hope and maybe we need all that these days. And that’s why I’ve made the commitment to watch at least one a day.