60-plus Hours of Wasted Time Compressed into One Simple Article

I OD’ed over the weekend. But not on the usual pharmaceutical or distilled devices. And not on eggnog, or marshmallow Santa’s or snowman cookies—yet. No, I overdosed on Hallmark Christmas movies. This wasn’t an accidental overdose; I planned it, with weeks of pre-recording maneuvers.

I watched approximately 30 movies, good, bad, ugly and uglier. For comparison I threw in a few Hallmark-wannabes on Lifetime. But Hallmark has the secret formula for success, which I am about to bore you with. Here it is…

*Every female wears bright red lipstick and is underfed. They also have large, very white teeth--think Men In Black.

*Often featured are two college sweethearts who were madly in love until one decided to leave town for a career opportunity and promised to come back in six months to a year but never did. The end. This promise is always made in the airport with TSA officers nowhere in sight. One of them could scream BOMB and they would still be able to board.

*Ten Years Later—that’s usually when they meet up again, past their prime and bitter, and feigning indifference when they—surprise!—reunite over a project they are forced to work on together. There’s a lot of stuttering and huffing followed by long-glances.

*Nobody seems able to clear up a simple misunderstanding immediately. They all go mute, unless one is leaving and the plane is just about to take off, then they won’t shut up.

*They can’t sleep and make cookies at 2am.

*Unemployment must be unusually high in Hallmarkland. People are always heading for job interviews when they run into, literally, a stranger who spills hot cocoa on them. There is a connection between stained clothing and love.

*Speaking of hot cocoa, everyone drinks it with homemade marshmallows and whipped cream, stirred with a candy cane in their favorite Christmas mug that their father/mother/Aunt Mary gave them moments before they died. They probably choked on a marshmallow. I can’t figure out why they are so picky about their hot cocoa—these are the same people who eat takeout Thai for Christmas dinner because their dog died on Christmas Day 28 years earlier and they are still pissed at the world.

*They are always ambushing each other with snowball fights. It’s a little unnerving.

*Sometimes they are single parents. They use their children as an emotional shield. “I’m just worried about little Tommy getting hurt.” If there’s a sidekick nearby, they will respond, “Just little Tommy…?” Fade to commercial.

*All children with single parents are ticklish. This has a bit of a sadistic feel to it, like the snowball fights.

*Grown men don’t seem to mind playing Twister or making gingerbread houses with an 8-year-old they met just two days earlier after running into mom and spilling hot cocoa on her white blouse while she was on her way to a job interview.

*Snowflakes are miracles, magical and an excuse to kiss. But… the kiss is always interrupted by the 8-year-old kid. The only thing that interrupts the moment more than a kid is a cellphone. Turn the damn thing off!

*Every woman is named Holly, Merry, Laurel, Ginger or Poppy. Evidently there was a blackout nine months before they were all born in December.

*There is Mistletoe everywhere but the bathroom.

*The women are clumsy. They fall off ladders a lot while placing their grandmother’s angel on top of the Christmas tree they hated half an hour earlier. The ex who ran off 10 years ago catches them, under the mistletoe, and the cell phone rings. Then they drink hot cocoa.

*The special 108-year-old Christmas ornament Grandpa saved from the Nazis always gets broken. This too seems to spark romance.
And there you have 60-plus hours of wasted time compressed into one simple article. Now that I have fulfilled my Hallmark Christmas movie binge, I am going to detox with Law & Order.