Phyllis Beveridge Nissila and Andy Beveridge
My brother Andy and I are, we confess, already watching Hallmark Christmas movies–even though the neighborhood kids are still coming down from their Halloween sugar highs and Thanksgiving turkeys are still in the freezer awaiting the big day.
We take all the ribbing we deserve for this—from each other and other siblings who do not share this (pre)season penchant—and yet, well, we watch, even though the scripts are as predictable as fake snow in L.A. The topic of all-too-predictable plot lines came up between us in a series of back-and-forth e-mails recently that went something like this:
Every Hallmark Channel Christmas Movie Ever
A successful and beautiful female business executive/movie star/spoiled heiress finds herself discontent/misguided/emotionally detached and living in New York City, travels to/finds herself in/has to go against her will to a small mountain town/resort/lodge, in snow country resembling the Midwest.
Her quirky but lovable best friend/assistant/maid convinces her that she needs to stay at the resort lodge/mountain town/for a little R&R and perhaps have a holiday fling with the local lodge owner/resort manager/town mayor, who is invariably tall dark and handsome/emotionally detached/too busy to date because of his insurmountable grief over the loss of his children’s mother.
Always dead, never divorced.
With the help of her quirky, lovable, best friend/assistant/maid and the rustic outgoing townsfolk, she realizes her romance with the local lodge owner/resort manager/town mayor is too strong to make her go back to New York City and resume her monetarily successful yet emotionally bankrupt life.
There is lots and lots of snow and miles of pre-lit garland.
Everyone has a Canadian accent
AND if the men and or women have living parents the parents have been perfectly and sappily in love and married for decades and their homes have all been decorated for the holidays by what’s-her-name Robertson. Or if the parents are deceased, a prescient, elderly aunt/grandma/neighbor fills in. Or perhaps it’s an adorable child who seems to know the fated couple will end up together after the final commercial break.
The little dogs have Christmas sweaters.
Nobody ever has a seasonal head cold, not even a sniffle.
The Christmas cookies, strudel, pies, cakes, turkeys and green beans in cream of mushroom soup with crispy onions on top are all baked to perfection and displayed on every surface not already festooned with bows and candles and bells and other holiday artifacts from Hobby Lobby and/or Home Goods. Maybe Pottery Barn.
The music comes as close to real Christmas carols as possible without copyright infringements.
The old people always know exactly what to say.
The young people are always earnest.
And nobody EVER gets into a bar fight.
A reader reminds us that for plot variation, a kindly, somewhat portly older man with white hair, mustache, whiskers (sometimes clean shaven), and a name like “Nick” shows up and performs yuletide magic.