The holidays, above all else, are a time for tradition. And what says tradition more than a Hallmark Christmas movie. None perhaps are quite as grotesque or self indulgent as the Hallmark made-for-tv Christmas movies. They are a perfect cringe-worthy guilty pleasure in the form of Christmas love, and more often than not, their vision for holiday romance is the stuff of nightmares.
This might sound crazy, but being trapped in my hometown because of a horrible ice storm resulting in being reunited with my high school crush for one magical night, effectively ending my actual relationship in the actual city I live in, sounds absolutely horrible. This is a scenario I just made up, but it might also be the plot of one (or more) of the seemingly thousands of original Hallmark Christmas movies.
Whether it be constant negging from the love interest, or a confusing appearance by an actual Santa with magic powers, below are 11 Hallmark Christmas movie romances that would actually be super horrible in real life.
Best Christmas Party Ever (2014)
The female lead is an uptight event planner who can’t find it in her schedule, or heart, to love (a weirdly common caricature in the Hallmark movies), until she is taught how to open up by a man (Important note: this is Steve Lund’s first of many Hallmark Movie appearances. A star is born.) who spends the entire movie telling her how to do her job.
What’s more, everyone agrees with him and then, at the end when they fall in love, they are more or less supposed to be considered equals in the field she has spent her whole life doing, despite the fact that he started only a few months ago. Nothing screams authentic romance like “all your problems can be fixed by meeting the right guy, as long as you can accept that he is perfect and you are always wrong and inferior.”
The Christmas Cottage (2017)
The female lead is an uptight interior designer who can’t find it in her schedule, or heart, to love (told you). She ends up trapped in a cottage with her best friend’s brother — whom she used to date — for a night. He eventually admits to her that he still has feelings for her, which she respectfully dismisses by citing her boyfriend and job in another city. The rest of the movie is just 40 minutes of her being made to feel guilty by everyone from her closest friend to her ex-boyfriend’s mom for not abandoning everything in her life to be with this man who she has already unsuccessfully tried to date.
Eventually, after the best friend's brother who has feelings for her threatens to move to another country because he’s so sad, she agrees to leave her current relationship and job to be with him. Everyone knows the best relationships are founded on threats and guilt from the people that love you most.
A Boyfriend for Christmas (2004)
As the title states, this movie is about receiving a boyfriend as a gift for Christmas, which is a weird gift to receive as is. This particular movie, however, specifically involves an honest-to-goodness real life Santa granting a little girl’s wish for a boyfriend, 20 years after the request was made.
The female lead, played by mediocre TV veteran Kelli Williams (Army Wives, Lie to Me, a million other random things) You shouldn’t need to know anything else to understand how creepy this is. It’s like a mail-order bride for eight year olds, but with the addition of “Christmas Magic”.
A Very Merry Mix-Up (2013)
A woman travels to her fiancé's hometown alone to meet her future in-laws for the first time. Upon her arrival at the airport, she meets the brother of her fiancé who actually turns out to not be his brother at all, just someone with the same last name (I am not making this up).
She, obviously, falls in love with her fake-future-brother-in-law and then, after finding out she wasn’t committing emotional incest, ends up leaving her fiancé for him. This is, I would guess, not a fun story to tell your friends as the reason you canceled your wedding.
Fir Crazy (2013)
The male love interest, who has got to be the most sharply dressed public school teacher in all of New York City, is also a world class creep.
He: (1) Buys three different Christmas trees from the female lead’s family tree lot in an attempt to meet her so he can ask her out on a date. (2) Admits to walking by regularly so he can see her, despite never actually having a conversation with her. (3) Flirts with her while he is dressed as Santa. (4) Continues to ask her out, even after she tells him she’s not interested. (5) Gets mad at her for having an innocent conversation with her ex boyfriend, a thing that is completely fine and normal and does not need any amount of explanation.
He is easily a bigger villain than the actual villain of the movie, played by Canadian sweetheart Colin Mochrie. This lunatic behavior, of course, leads to romance.
The Most Wonderful Time of the Year (2008)
The female lead’s uncle, played by Henry Winkler (!), briefly meets a man at the airport and, naturally, thinks he could be a perfect romantic match for his niece, even though she definitely already has a boyfriend, so he invites the stranger to come stay with them. They aren’t into each other at all, and the male lead tries to leave but is derailed when the matchmaking uncle steals his passport.
She gets engaged to her boyfriend, which should really end things, but of course it doesn’t. After being convinced that everyone knows what’s best for her, she ends her engagement to pursue the airport stranger. This movie is proof that gaslighting can work in lots of scenarios, not just when our government does it!
Finding Christmas (2013)
In what is basically a direct ripoff of 2006’s The Holiday, a bizarre house swap between two men leads (predictably) to romance, including one of the men falling in love with the sister of the man whose house he is staying in.
Imagine how upsetting it would be falling in love with someone and then realizing that while you were away, the guy who was sleeping in your home was shacking up with your sister, probably in your bed. This is the opposite of a Christmas miracle.
A Christmas Detour (2015)
At a certain point, you just have to know that if someone at the beginning of a Hallmark movie is engaged, they will (spoiler alert) almost definitely not be engaged by the end of the movie.
After a snowstorm forces the bride-to-be, played by Television and Hallmark Movie Royalty Candace Cameron Bure, to spend some time with an emotionally damaged stranger, she realizes that her best course of action is to abandon the life she has planned in favor of running away with a self-identifying anti-romantic she met only a few days prior. What could possibly go wrong?
Single Santa Seeks Mrs. Claus (2004) & Meet the Santas (2005)
These are basically a pair of horror films. In the first one, a sad sack little kid writes a letter to Santa asking for a new dad after his mom tells him to not believe in fantasies. As luck should have it, Santa’s son (Steve “Most Famous Person on this list” Guttenberg) needs to find a Mrs. Claus before he can take up the mantle.
In the sequel, which is basically a play on Meet the Parents, the primary conflict comes from the fact that he is literally Santa. It’s unclear who these movies are for, but falling in love with a mythical creature, being forced to move to isolation in the Arctic and then trying to explain all of this to your parents sounds like absolute hell.
Ice Sculpture Christmas (2015)
One of the primary plot points of Ice Sculpture Christmas is that the two leads can’t be together because they come from different socioeconomic backgrounds. Hallmark presents some very confused (see: wrong) opinions on social class inequalities. The leading lady is a “poor” woman who works at a country club and casually competes in ice sculpting competitions.
Her love interest is a member of said country club, and attended Princeton; we know this because he finds a way to mention it several times throughout the movie. He thinks that, although his family is very wealthy and he attended Princeton, that he hasn’t had any special privileges in life. He points out that nobody got those good grades for him, while smartly avoiding the fact that his family was able to afford tuition at an Ivy League school in addition to all of the other benefits one receives from being a straight white male in from a super-rich family.
These two manage to defy the odds (extreme eye roll emoji) and end up together to form the most obnoxiously uninformed couple you’ve ever met. This one is less of a nightmare for them, and more for anyone that has the misfortune of coming in contact with them.
This Christmas, while you are huddled around the fire with your family and loved ones watching high quality made-for-tv content, remember that things are not always as great as they seem, and in reality you wouldn’t wish most of these romances on your worst enemy.