Christmas may be the most wonderful time of the year, but there is something unbearable about every single Hallmark Christmas movie being warm and fuzzy and how every storyline always converges into the same plot. With that said, my loyalty to Hallmark should not be questioned since I am the youngest “old chap” in Ottawa’s Bytown Tree Trimmers Christmas club, so I get a pass to critique some Christmassy things. One such occasion occurred during one of Hallmark’s live discussions that featured two of the lead actors involved with making the movie, A Heidelberg Holiday (2023), where I decided to channel my inner “Quentin Tarantino” combined with my “John McClane” tendencies to propose some Christmas-themed plots. These plots can only be described as plots that were likely to propel Hallmark to their first ever Academy Awards nomination and Grammy Award.
“Lock the chat feature, IMMEADATELY!” – The guys and gals at Hallmark
At the start of the discussion, the actors were having a loose conversation about their colleagues, and I realized that as the perfect moment to attempt to identify the cast members with the most similarities with the Grinch. All those communication psychology books that I had been reading were starting to pay off, finally. After a few minutes had passed without a response, I decided to re-word my question in a manner that would not single out anyone. So, I wrote that Hallmark needed more Grinch-like or Scrouge-like movies to help prevent frozen hearts from thawing. Not long after that, the Twitter side-chat feature froze and stopped working, but not the in-video chat feature. And as a Hallmark zealot, I continued pitching block buster Christmas plot after block buster Christmas plot.
The suggestions started with a Hallmark Christmas movie where the “lovey” aspect deals with a love for stealing ornaments. Then, a Hallmark Christmas movie where all of a town’s Santa outfits are heat-washed and shrink. A Hallmark Christmas movie where a town’s Christmas Parade results in all the gifts being stolen and listed on eBay. A Scrouge-like Hallmark Christmas movie where a town’s electricity is cut, so there are no Christmas lights. A Hallmark Christmas movie where traditional Christmas drinks like eggnog have ingredients swapped out and everyone gets upset stomachs. A Hallmark Christmas movie where an entire town sings Christmas carols on Christmas Eve and the next day everybody has lost their voice. A Hallmark Christmas movie where a Scrooge character cuts a town’s access to Christmas TV shows.
Trust me when I say, these plots would rival the great Christmas movies of the 60s, and advertisers would rip open their wallets and throw money at us just to be allowed to be a part of these history-making scenes!
The baddest Santa, the baddest Grinch, and the baddest Scrouge all come to town.
Maybe I overdid it a little when I decided to slide into Hallmark’s DMs to casually let them know that if they ever wanted to add some spice and hot sauce to any future Hallmark Christmas movies and were looking for a bad Santa, a bad Grinch, or a bad Scrouge, then I was their guy. My qualifications included that I dressed like a retired golfer or vintage-era croquet player, so I could walk into a home and steal all a family’s ornaments and even return to steal their Christmas tree, all without ever getting caught or becoming a person-of-interest. Seriously, one example of being so convincing was on display this past Fall when I visited a skateboard shop, dressed like a retired golfer and armed with two cell phones, to see if they could get me a vintage DGK skate deck. Upon seeing me and hearing my request, the store owner asked me if I even knew what the acronym “DGK” stood for. When I answered yes, he asked me to tell him, so I awkwardly responded, “Dirty. Ghetto. Kids.”.
If anything, Hallmark needs to be bolder with their Christmas movies. What is the worst that could happen by following through on the suggested movie plots and making Bad Santa (2003) look like it should have been rated PG-13? If it turns out to not be the best idea and people decide to stage those social media trends “cancel or boycott” Hallmark, just remember that after people went haywire with Bud Light the beer brand decided to become a major sponsor of the UFC and the angriest of voices have gone back to double fisting cans of Bud Light. Until Hallmark decides to do Christmas different, it might be worth taking a trip down memory lane to highlight some of the best moments in Christmas film and television history.
The most wholesome Christmassy moment in cartoon television history.
Maybe the most wholesome Christmassy moment in cartoon history is found in the Hey Arnold! episode where viewers are told about Mr. Hyunh’s background and how his daughter was born during a war and how he gave her to a U.S. soldier on a helicopter to take her away from the war experience so she could grow up and have a better life. Mr. Hyunh goes on to explain that the only word he heard from the soldier was the name of a city, and that is why Mr. Hyunh moved to that city. When Arnold hears this, he manages to find Mr. Hyunh’s daughter and reunites them together for the first time since Mr. Hyunh had to give his daughter away, on Christmas Day!
There’s just something about vintage Christmas movies that hits different.
There is just something different about the stop motion and grainy cartoon-styled films of the 1960s. It started with Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964), then How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966), my personal favorite The Little Drummer Boy (1968), and Frosty the Snowman (1969). Beyond the vintage-y feeling of watching them on the now defunct YTV, the voiceover actors speak English with the slightest and tangiest of accents, which are indigenous to the decades of past and which are no longer heard. Perhaps the most wholesome moment in all of Christmas film and television history is the ending in the Little Drummer Boy (1968), but I will not spoil that ending or what happens in in the sequel.
Are Christmas assemblies still a thing?
My oldest memory of a big-time elementary school assembly dates back to the mid-90s at Charles H. Hulse public school, and it was an after-school assembly. It was a time when a bunch of newcomers and early-generation Canadians had moved into the Heron Gate area, and I remember just how packed that gym was and how the principal, Mr. Plato, kicked off the show. I even remember the walk back home down the pebble path that led to Minto’s two buildings and indoor pool, with us living on the side in the mini-townhomes.
Sadly, what made special moments like those possible was that everyone was just happy to have left behind the chaos oceans over, and that these kinds of child-age school events were a new thing for us all. To us, the only thing that mattered was having fun. And I just do not see that ambience ever being replicated, because of “new thinking” shifts and the fact that the internet has ruined the hope children had for Santa. But there are new and different ways to have fun with celebrations like Christmas that bring people together, different and alike, to enjoy the moment. Merry Christmas!