Here’s everything we’ve learned from Hallmark holiday movies
Hallmark movies have been in the press this season and not for their saccharine storylines. They recently pulled four advertisements from wedding planning service Zola, which featured two women kissing. This decision was made after receiving pressure from the conservative group One Million Moms, who called for a boycott of the Hallmark channel.
If this sounds like a bad call for a network that churns out campy holiday movies, you can bet your bottom dollar it was. After much outcry, on Sunday Hallmark reinstated the Zola ads and issued damage control in the form of a statement that they were going to work with GLAAD to create an inclusive channel where LGBTQ+ consumers feel represented:
“Across our brand, we will continue to look for ways to be more inclusive and celebrate our differences.” We’re waiting with baited breath for them to drop their first queer-focused movie next holiday season.
Despite this latest misstep, we’ve got to admit that we’re partial to a bit of that Hallmark holiday storytelling. While the holiday season is in full force, what better time than now to share what we’ve learned from their festive follies.
Tradition matters more than anything else
In a majority of Hallmark movies, the female lead is a hardworking business type who gets so very caught up in the real world that she loses track of Christmas! She has to go home, and part of the fun that helps get her Christmas spirit back (and bond with the handsome lead) is partaking in holiday traditions.
Whether it’s Christmas cookie-making, sledding competitions, or decorating the tree in a certain way, there’s always something that puts our leading lady back in the Christmas spirit. Plus, she usually ends up bonding with her Christmas love and has a heartfelt conversation along the way.
Everything’s better with hot cocoa
Right after our match made in heaven undergo the big misunderstanding that separates the couple and creates the central plot conflict comes that moment when the protagonist is curled up on a couch mourning her lost love. Next to her is mom, sister, or best friend as she spews the story of how she screwed up.
What you might miss is the big mug of steaming hot cocoa in their hands. Half the time, the secondary female character brings over the mug, telling the person that hot cocoa fixes all wounds or something cheesy like that. Over that chocolate drink the lead inevitably figures out how to fix her dream relationship – so maybe there is something magical about hot cocoa.
Your Christmas will most likely not be perfect
All the planning, preparation, and organization in the world can’t stop fate. Sometimes you need to get stuck with a last-minute hole in your holiday plans to allow something better to walk in. How many times have Hallmark holiday movies featured two leads coming together because someone else didn’t show up, giving the opportunity for the new love interest to intervene?
Not to mention your personal Christmas: whether it’s a Christmas cookie fail, not being able to get the perfect present, or that mean ol’ mother-in-law just being herself, life is going to happen. Sometimes you have to take the punches and roll with them. And of course, a new tradition can build-out of what was once a disaster.
Stop and smell the fir trees
Even as you’re prepping for Christmas, you may lose your focus on what the holiday is all about: the people you love. When you’re walking up and down the streets of your tiny town looking for the perfect gift, stop and look at the wonderful decorations your neighbors have put up; listen to the carolers sing.
While you’re hunting down your giant real Christmas tree, watch the other people around you picking out their tree. The joyful smiles on everyone’s faces are the perfect reminder that this holiday is more than just lit-up trees with colorfully wrapped boxes below; it’s about spending time with those you love. And also delicious cookies.
Hallmark really knows how to market Christmas
The fictionalized version of Christmas Hallmark gives us in these movies may be the biggest lesson in marketing anyone can learn. Hallmark has always made a name for itself at Christmas thanks to the exclusive Hallmark ornaments and their greeting cards and wrapping paper.
If you’re into social media marketing strategy or work at a social media agency, you probably get their marketing genius already. But here it is for the layman: since they hopped into the TV world back in 2001, Hallmark has slowly but surely branded itself as the Christmas brand. What’s extremely unique about Hallmark is the way they’ve created a formula so easy to repeat that it still manages to be appealing with every new film.
If you want to read more about Hallmark’s great approach to marketing, the Konnect Agency has written a great piece taking a look at how Hallmark markets their product directly to its core audience.