Opinion

In 2020, Hallmark made 39 new holiday movies during the pandemic. Exactly zero of them mention the pandemic.

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This article was published 10/12/2020 (195 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

In 2020, Hallmark made 39 new holiday movies during the pandemic. Exactly zero of them mention the pandemic.

That makes sense, of course. The whole point of the Hallmark Christmas canon is comfort and escape.

But what if Hallmark did tackle the virus? Here, we imagine what that might look like. (Boilerplate disclaimer: this is satire and none of these movies are realbut we bet you’d watch all of them.)

A Starter Tradition

Julia has always been hopeless in the kitchen until she is gifted an ancient (and possibly magic?) sourdough starter named Mildred at the beginning of the global pandemic. Her perfect loaves of bread become the talk of the town after selling out at the digital holiday market, earning her the attention of star baker — and 20-time Extreme Gingerbread Mansion Master Builder — Jon Bonhomme. But it’s Mildred he’s really after.

Masking Under the Mistletoe

Collette, an epidemiologist who only becomes hot when she takes off her glasses, is sent to a small town near the North Pole where COVID-19 cases are inexplicably exploding. There, she’s beguiled by Nicholas, the town’s silver-fox reindeer herder who has a side hustle as artisanal toy maker and does his own deliveries (swoon). There’s something about the way his blue eyes twinkle above his non-medical mask… it couldn’t be — could it!?

Pivoting to Christmas

Holly, a tiny, high-strung event planner (played by Kristin Chenoweth or someone like Kristin Chenoweth) is devastated when she learns — at the last minute, owing to confusing public health orders — that her signature event, Holly’s Jolly Christmas Funtime Spectacular, must go virtual this year. She enlists the help of Jake, a wily digital marketing co-ordinator who has big conceptual plans for a Virtual Gazebo and starts taking the whole thing over. Will Holly be able to pivot? Or will Holly’s Jolly Christmas Funtime Spectacular just look very different this year?

Christmas in Quarantine

Dave and Trina meet on a flight to New York City from Chicago and, following a potential virus exposure, decide to isolate together over the holidays (don’t think too hard about the logistics of this one, it’s fine). They couldn’t be more different — Dave is an uptight, workaholic executive who has a favourite highlighter; Trina is a free-spirited fitness instructor who hates wearing "hard pants" — but they find common ground, and that common ground is their love of Christmas.

Christmas in Corona

Becky, a small-town bookstore manager, is looking forward to spending a quiet, socially distanced Christmas with Reg, her dashing new boyfriend. But Reg drops a bombshell: he is actually Prince Reginald, heir to the throne of Corona, a small sovereign country with, in this moment in history, a truly unfortunate name. As conspiracy theorists spread misinformation on the internet about his nation being "responsible" for the pandemic, Reg is torn between his duty to the crown and his "commoner" girlfriend.

Christmas On Mute

After being dumped and losing her job two weeks before Christmas, Mallory is spending the holidays alone in lockdown. Because of the pandemic, there are no Christmas parties, no dinners, no possibilities of meeting anyone new — until, that is, she decides to attend a virtual singles holiday mixer over Zoom. In a breakout room, she reconnects with Logan, her high school sweetheart who owns a brewpub that now makes hand sanitizer. After several pleasant "no, sorry, you go ahead" exchanges, the pair decide to get married — on Zoom. (This movie is filmed entirely via Zoom.)

Sleigh All Day: A Viral Christmas

Ashleigh, a 30-something jet-setting Instagram influencer, is forced to move back to small-town Ohio because of the pandemic and discovers her social media arch-nemesis Taylee — a 16-year-old-girl who is very big on TikTok — lives down the street. But when Dolly’s Diner, a beloved town institution run by the town matriarch, can no longer survive on takeout orders and is threatened with permanent shutdown right before Christmas, Ashleigh and Taylee join forces for virtual fundraising campaign to save it. Can they go viral — without contracting the virus?

 

jen.zoratti@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @JenZoratti

Jen Zoratti

Jen Zoratti
Columnist

Jen Zoratti is a Winnipeg Free Press columnist and co-host of the paper's local culture podcast, Bury the Lede.

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