Looking Beyond the Corniness of Hallmark Christmas Movies

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by Natalie Krenz, MS, LGMFT  

Monday, December 16

December is here, which means so are the Hallmark Christmas movies! These movies are frequently over-the-top, cliché, lack diversity, and can pull us into the same, recycled plots. Further, they are far from reality, in that they make difficult life situations look easily resolvable with just the help of ‘Christmas spirit and romance’. After watching way too many of these oversimplified movies, however, I have learned they do have a few productive takeaways:

1. Use your support system: Holidays can be a difficult time for many people. There are stressors from finances, to holiday commitments, to family issues. It is important that in times of stress you turn to your support system to help you cope. Hallmark characters are often discussing their difficulties with others whether it’s family, a romantic partner, an old friend, or a new, trustworthy person. This offers the ability to vent to an empathetic listener, hear a new perspective, and feel validated and encouraged.

2. Celebrate new traditions, in addition to old: In Hallmark movies, characters are often discovering new traditions that enhance their holiday season. When two people from different backgrounds come together, conflict can occur with which traditions should be celebrated. It is imperative for couples to learn how to integrate traditions from each of their families of origin to create new, shared rituals. This will bring you closer as a couple and create new and intimate moments.

3. Find a work-life balance: Hallmark characters often come to the realization that they have wasted their time in their work life and have been missing out on time with family and romantic partners. Work can often create distance in family relationships, and it is important that partners discuss how best to balance work and quality time. Individuals might not always have the privilege to take time off of work so creating dedicated family time is important. Some ways to do this are by setting up date nights, family game nights, even a family breakfast, if dinner is not possible.

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