Hallmark Channel, we need to talk (a rant)


It’s not me. It’s you.

I LOVE Christmas movies. I love your Christmas movies. Even though the plots are predictable (must everyone be on the verge of getting married, I wonder, there must be more to life than this) and you use boca lights in every emotional shot and apparently, the same ting-a-ling background music in EVERY Christmas movie, I still watch them all. Even though no one looks or acts like me. Everyone’s makeup is perfect. Everyone’s hair is perfect. Everyone’s clothes are perfect. Everyone’s teeth: perfect. Almost everyone is height/weight proportionate, almost no one even wears glasses. Nobody has curly hair, nobody has short hair. All the women have the same, curling iron curls, sleek shoulder-length hair styles. No one has pot bellies or big butts or cankles. Everyone lives in a big house with a new kitchen. Everyone drives a new car. Everyone has a great job.

I forgive all this. But there is one thing, Hallmark Channel, I cannot forgive. And it’s important.

The decorations. The Christmas decorations, Hallmark. I just want to know: who styles your movies? And does this person hate their job?  The Christmas decorations are gosh-awful. And decorations are what make a Christmas movie Christmasy. So this is a fatal flaw. You need to fix this.

Big plastic balls, flecked with artificial snow. Oversized nutcrackers. 80s teddy bears. The ticky tackiest reindeer, snowmen and wreaths you could find. None with any whimsy, beauty or charm. Just the same plastic balls, the same color, the same size, the same finish, scene after scene. Living room: the same balls. Patio tree: the same balls. Ice skating rink: whoops, the same balls, same color and everything.  I’m sorry, but do you rent these decorations? Because they look rented. You see them in every movie.

Each scene is so cluttered with decorations it’s almost distracting. I’m looking at a basement scene and there’s a basement Christmas tree — decorated and lit up. Real people do not put Christmas trees in their unfinished basements, Hallmark Channel, where they store their Christmas ornaments. They do put wreaths on their microwave oven, either. Or centerpieces and lit candles on their piano benches. You take it too far.

And the RANDOMNESS of the placement of the decorations. Like the garishly fake, individual poinsettia blossoms. They are stuck in the middle of walls, on the corners of pictures, on top of doorknobs, thrust into bushes, randomly appearing on sidewalks, on pianos. And if it’s not a big, garish poinsettia blossom, it’s red bows. Listen up Hallmark. I don’t know how you decorate your home, but real people do not tie bows on their lamps, nor do they adhere to them to the middle front of kitchen cabinets or tie them to the pepper grinder. The pepper grinder, Hallmark Channel. That’s borderline certifiable. That’s when I just got mad. Some things should not be. These decorations don’t look festive. They look clumsy, soulless, generic and awkward. No one decorates like this.

Design matters. Design with attention to balance, unity, scale, shape, color, quality and personality.

I want to say this: we, your viewers, deserve really good decorations in your Christmas movies, Hallmark Channel. Decorations that look like real people would use them. Decorations that change from movie to movie. Decorations that look like someone spent money on them and that a real decorator put them up, if that is the look you’re going for, or that look less than perfect, if you are going for realism. We look at these movies, we buy your products, and you give us back these awful, ticky tacky, cheap decorations in your movies. And it’s offensive. Really, it is. You know what that says to me? That says, Hallmark Channel, that you think me and your other viewers like it when you stick a poinsettia flower right in the middle of a wall or throw random plastic balls and trees everywhere. It says to me: Hallmark Channel thinks I am devoid of taste. Hallmark Channel thinks this is what I like about Christmas.

Step up your game, Hallmark Channel. You can make all the mushy Christmas movies you want and I won’t complain (much). But keep throwing these decorations at your viewers and expecting us to feel the magic of Christmas, and you’re going to lose us. Try harder.

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