15 Lessons on Surviving Christmas We Learned From Hallmark Movies

Damarys Ocaña Perez | Dec 16, 2019 Movies
15 Lessons on Surviving Christmas We Learned From Hallmark Movies

kellie martin in the christmas ornament
Crown/Hallmark

For the sake of clarification, Hallmark Christmas movies aren't usually where we look for realism, just sweet, sweet holiday escapism tied up in a big red bow. But it turns out that underneath those quaint, Christmas-loving small towns -- full of infectious holiday cheer, unexpected romance between perfectly coiffed couples, and sublimely trimmed trees -- there are lessons to be learned about (gasp!) actually surviving that biggest and most stressful of all holidays. Although it's true that by the time a Hallmark Christmas movie ends, relationship wrinkles have been ironed and every family issue resolved, it usually takes some work for the protagonists to get there. 

And it happens to us IRL as well.

As moms, we're busy, overextended, and overwhelmed before Christmas rolls around. Sometimes, we kind of just want to pull the covers over our heads until January 1 and skip the whole thing -- including dragging home a tree (or pulling it down from the attic), bargain-hunting for the perfect gifts for the entire family and wrapping them, baking cookies and pies and cakes, attending every one of our kids' Christmas plays and recitals, and cooking a meal for 10 relatives. 

It doesn't have to be that way, and having a wonderful, stress-free holiday doesn't even have to mean that we necessarily turn into a grinch. Our favorite Hallmark characters are here to help see us through. When it comes to having a Christmas that leaves us with an actual joyful feeling (and even a bit of downtime), Hallmark has the formula. Relax, have some mulled wine, and check out this list of 15 enlightening, funny, and unexpected lessons about surviving Christmas that we learned from watching Hallmark movies throughout the years.  

  • Embrace the Chaos

    1

    Got a Christmas binder filled with decoration ideas, activities, and gift lists? Everything scheduled and planned to a T to make the holiday absolutely perfect? That's soooo cute! The holidays have a way of laughing at our plans, so when all the lights on the tree go out after every last ornament has been placed, laugh it off, and fix it later.

  • If the MIL is a B, Don't Sweat It!

    2

    Remember how Queen Isadora made Emily's life a living heck in A Royal Christmas because she didn't think commoner Emily was good enough for her son, the crown prince? Lots of already sketchy MILs tend to be especially witchy during the holidays, so when they criticize the green bean casserole, we're serving her an extra big helping, smiling sweetly, and giving her our best royal wave. 

    Who's the queen now, Linda?

  • An Eggnog a Day Keeps the Grinch Away

    3

    Between decorating the whole house inside and out, running around town getting presents, picking up relatives from the airport, and cooking the big meal from scratch, Christmas can bring on the stress like nothing else. This is what eggnog is for, girl. Our excuse is that we're getting into the holiday spirit (literally). 

    Who's gonna argue with us?

  • Make Life Easy With DIY Gifts!

    4

    Hallmark movies feature plenty of holiday trinkets that are instantly  available on the network's gift store, but a lot of protagonists actually make their own gifts. Take a cue from them and buy a basic sweater, glue on some holiday stickers, and presto -- Christmas gift done!

  • Deal With That Drunk Uncle

    5

    Got a relative who hit the hot buttered rum way too enthusiastically? Don't spend the entire party grimacing at the sloppy sight. Treat him just like an overstimulated toddler at a Hallmark movie holiday parade. Get him dancing, singing -- and bone tired. Ten minutes later, tuck said uncle into the guest bedroom and get back to mingling with the merely buzzed.

  • Tap Into That Christmas Fund for the Holiday Dinner

    6

    In the world according to Hallmark Christmas movies, there isn't a single family issue that can't be fixed by a delicious and perfectly cooked holiday dinner served on a beautifully set table. We've actually achieved this in real life (for two hours, anyway). Ready for the secret? It's called ... catering. Smash that piggy bank in the name of holiday harmony!

  • Don't Let 'Em Grinch Ya!

    7

    Christmas shamers make us want to live in a perfect little Hallmark town year-round. They roll their eyes when front lawns transform into Christmas villages the day after Thanksgiving, and grit their teeth when we sing Christmas carols while waiting for the copier at work. Don't let them win! Fly that Christmas freak flag high, baby!

  • Grin and Bear the Holidays

    8

    We're not saying the constant happiness displayed in Hallmark Christmas movies is fake. We're saying that Kaitlin Doubleday's smile and head bob combo in Christmas at Graceland: Home for the Holidays is pitch perfect for less than happy situations, such as talking to a boring boss at a work holiday party and greeting annoying relatives.

  • Say Sayonara! 

    9

    Hear this, crazy-busy moms who need Christmas down time -- and single moms who share custody during the holidays: It's easy to feel like it's our job to personally make every Christmas minute special for them. We're here to banish the guilt! Let the kids go to the annual fair with a friend's family. 

    They'll be back. We promise.

  • Our Christmas, Our Rules

    10

    We don't mean be an inflexible taskmaster. Instead, we mean be Kristin Chenoweth in A Christmas Love Story. She played a choir director, knew everyone's strengths and limitations -- including her own -- and the music came together beautifully at the Christmas concert. So. The kids don't care to see the Nutcracker every year? Ditch that. Don't feel like participating in the office cookie exchange? Just say no to Karen. Have a rough idea of what kind of Christmas would work for the family, and don't cave in to pressure from anyone else's idea of what the season should be.

  • Eat the Cookie

    11

    This goes for every mom, whether we're pregnant or have a jiggly post-baby belly. Don't be that mom that makes yummy Christmas treats for everyone and then sticks to salad and a slice of turkey breast at Christmas dinner. Moms need a little sugar too!

  • Write the Shortest Annual Family Newsletter Ever

    12

    Let's be real: No one wants to read those elaborate year-end reviews of every highlight that happened in the family that moms always have to be the ones to end up writing. Let's save ourselves the entire weekend it takes to do this and pull a move like Peyton in Holiday Hearts, when she decorated a ballroom in white lights and fake snow-sprayed Christmas trees. Keep it simple. 

    "Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from us!" is pretty much all anyone wants to read.

  • Ditch Perfection

    13

    If a woman in a Hallmark Christmas movie can admit she can't bake to save her life -- as Jodie Sweetin did when she tried to follow in her baking-legend mom's footsteps in Entertaining Christmas -- we can too.

     Let the crooked icing flow!

  • Outsource Christmas Duties

    14

    This year, we're not trying to be that mom who bakes all the cookies, cleans up all the dishes, and ends up wrapping ALL the presents for everyone -- whether we're the ones who bought them or not. (Nope!) Hand over those scissors and tape, and kick back while someone cough, significant other, cough takes a turn. 

    Curl that ribbon, dude!

  • Don't Forget To Enjoy the Season

    15

    We understand that the holiday season can be stressful and exhausting, but don't forget to take time out to truly feel the wonder of the season. Take a step back and notice the thousand tiny miracles that happen when we connect with true spirit of Christmas!

hallmark movies christmas

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