I am not sure what’s happening out in the cold, cruel world. But here in my house, the Hallmark Channel’s Countdown to Christmas is upon us.
And for the first time in my life, I am strangely drawn to two-hour, made-for-TV movies about ambitious women with good hair who return to their home towns, only to find arts programs endangered by funding crises, heartless corporate execs who want to modernize their small town bakeries and other similarly tragic situations that only the Hallmark heroines can fix, while also finding true love and not smudging their makeup. Also, there is spontaneous snowfall at the end, signaling it is time to kiss.
I will now take your questions.
Q: Wait. You’ve never watched the Hallmark Channel before?
A: No! And I don’t know why. Honestly, our nation could slash its anxiety medication prescriptions in half if doctors instead prescribed A Gingerbread Romance, a tale involving life-sized gingerbread houses, pastry and romance. Or perhaps Christmas in Love, which is about an aspiring crafter and, well, you know the rest.
Q: How many of these movies are there?
A: This year, Hallmark produced 22 original holiday movies, which is impressive considering they’ve only made 232 holiday movies in the past 17 years.
Q: How can they make so many?
A: I’m not sure. But they’ve got to be benefiting from some economies of scale in Christmas light and jingle bell purchases.
Q: How many have you watched?
A: From start to finish? Just one, “A Shoe Addict’s Christmas.” But it was amazing!
Q: What was so amazing?
A: I won a bet with my husband that the shoe addict’s guardian angel, played by Jean Smart, used to be on Designing Women. Frank was sure she played Samantha on Sex and the City. In his defense, the Internet said the two are often confused. Still, I’m usually wrong about these things. It was amazing.
Q: That’s the only Hallmark holiday movie you’ve seen?
A: My son did fast-forward me through “Christmas at Graceland” in approximately eight minutes. That included playing the final five minutes at regular speed, during which the star, played by former American Idol contestant Kelly Pickler, rediscovered her love of performing, abandoned her high-powered corporate career in Chicago and rekindled her romance with her one true love, all while wearing a sleeveless red dress at an outdoor concert. (She KNEW it was going to snow.)
Q: So do you have any movie ideas?
A: My idea of a feel-good holiday movie would involve a New York businessman who abandons the big city to run the country. Things get complicated when an unassuming special prosecutor foils his plans to sublet the Rose Garden on Christmas Eve.
Q: What would you call it?
A: See the headline on this column.