Have you ever watched the 25 days of Christmas?
I go there reluctantly. And I learn a lesson each year. Not necessarily on FreeForm. We watch Hallmark, Amazon, Hulu, and oh yeah,, the regular network TV.
Three years ago, CoCo convinced me to join her in watching a Christmas movie every day starting December 1.
Year 1: I grimaced with each formulatic, sappy rom-com.
I’m doing this for CoCo. She love the stories. Grin and bear it. It’s a bonding experience with CoCo. Besides, almost every movie has a nice moral to the story: humility wins out over pomposity, generosity trumps selfishness, and family time is more important that almost anything else.
Year 2: CoCo picks one. I pick one.
I pick Bad Santa, Elf, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, It’s a Wonderful Life. CoCo picks the usual made-for-tv romcoms.
I recognize a universal message from CoCo’s movies. Do not be or get engaged at Christmas. Your fiancée will leave you for someone that is or is somehow connected to Santa.
Thanks to my daughter-in-law, I also learn to appreciate all the hats, scarves, and coats that are featured in each movie. My goodness, I should find out how these women pack so much in their tiny rolling suitcases.
Year 3: Members of my book club points out some fun facts about CoCo’s movies:
- They almost always involve a failing business (toy store, Christmas tree, bakery, farm, inn…)
- No bedroom scenes
- Lots of time to bake (no one’s watching a movie)
- One chaste kiss at the end of the movie (CoCo notices the lack of physical contact this year, too, much to her disappointment.)
“Only one kiss in “Finding Father Christmas,” CoCo laments.
“True,” I respond. “But the couple is up to three in “Marrying Father Christmas.”
These are two in a trilogy of what Hallmark bills as romantic mysteries. We also watched Engaging Father Christmas, where, it’s no mystery, the couple gets engaged.
In addition to hats, coats, and scarves, I notice more product placement like cars and jewelry. These movies blur together so seamlessly that midway through Marrying Father Christmas I ask outloud, “What happened to her puppy?” Oh wait, that was A Puppy for Christmas, where Noele adopts a untrained and very destructive puppy without discussing it with her roommate fiancé and wonders why he breaks it off. (Yes, they are living together in his apartment. Still, no kissing or bedroom scenes.)
Loved-One, finds me a 2019 film, A Very Vintage Christmas.
Dodie is a hopeless romantic just like the pieces in her vintage antique shop. When Dodie finds a hidden box full of romantic trinkets, she makes it her mission to deliver it to its rightful owner. Following the address, she manages to persuade the handsome but reluctant new tenant, Edward, to help her with her search.From IMBd
This seems like the formula, right? Almost. Yes, Dodie’s shop is failing. Yes, Edward and Dodie realize they are made for each other. Yes, there is one chaste kiss at the end of the movie. And Yes, Dodie has all kinds of beautiful scarves and hats and coats.
However, there’s an element to this story that I find disconcerting. Something new and perhaps indicative of 2019. Dodie likes to invent the facts. She picks up a piece of vintage clothing and imagines a story connected to it. This turns out to be the key to how Dodie saves her shop.
This shawl could have been on Liberace’s piano, she tells a customer. Really, says the shop’s patron. Sure, Dodie replies. Sale accomplished. And on Dodie goes, creating fiction for each vintage item.
She doesn’t exactly lie. I suppose it could have been on Liberace’s piano. Still, Dodie has no evidence that any of the stories she fabricates are true. She sells fictions with her artifacts to patrons that lap them up with the tiniest bit of skepticism.
Where’s the critical thinking on the part of the customers? Where’s the moral high ground on the part of the main character? No kissing allowed, but blatant misrepresentation is okay as long as it saves the business? Tell me it isn’t so.
I’m watching Krampus next.