On October 25th, 2020, my 7-year old daughter and I caved. We were curling up on the couch, trying to choose a Halloween movie from the list we were still working through (“Hocus Pocus” and the new “The Witches” had already been viewed). But as we discussed the merits of “The Haunted Mansion” versus “Return to Halloweentown,” my girl looked at me and said these fateful words:
“Mom? Is it too early to start watching Christmas movies?”
And that, my dear friends, is how I know she is my daughter.
In reply, of course, I informed her that it’s never too early to start Christmas movies. And that is how we ended up streaming “Noelle” on Disney+ as our first holiday viewing of the season. Soon followed by “The Princess Switch” on Netflix and “Holidate” on Netflix for just-mom’s-eyes-only. And that’s just the start.
More Than a Movie
While my holiday film fest may seem a bit intense to you, in my defense, it is winter in Alaska during COVID-19—there’s not a whole lot to do besides sit around and watch TV! But more important, the truth is, I’m feeling more ready than ever before to dive into my long list of cheesy Christmas movies this year. Because it feels like the one tradition that doesn’t stand to be ruined by this dumpster fire of a year.
If anything, binging on holiday movies may just be the most normal thing my daughter and I get to do this holiday season.
“Binging on holiday movies may just be the most normal thing my daughter and I get to do this holiday season."
Thanksgiving with friends? Already cancelled.
Visiting Santa? Totally up in the air.
Big group gingerbread house contest? Probably not happening.
Christmas Eve with all our people? I can’t see how that could possibly be safe.
But Hallmark Christmas movies playing day and night until January? That we can do.
Holiday Cheer, Spreadsheet-Style
I’ve always been a sucker for the cheesy holiday movies. In fact, I keep a spreadsheet with all my favorite must-watch films every season, plus the new ones I’m most excited to check out this year. Yes, really and you know you’re kind of considering doing it too now, aren’t you?
That list is currently 380 cells long. In my defense, it includes the bad ones too—just so I know not to watch them again. Please tell me that makes it better?
Unfortunately, I didn’t grow up with the happiest holiday memories. So these movies have always served as my taste of what an idyllic holiday should be. And I love the magic in them, even though I know none of it is real.
The people who have given up on love, only to find each other on Christmas Eve.
The kids who wish for a mom and a dad—and with just one visit to Santa, somehow that dream comes to be.
The quaint inns. The small towns. The mittens and cookies and scarves and snowmen.
The people being kind to each other just because that’s what people should be. Willing to take care of one another. Ready to come together for the good of everyone.
Maybe it’s not just the picture of an idyllic holiday I swoon over. Maybe it’s also the idyllic version of a society we feel so far away from now.
“Maybe it’s not just the picture of an idyllic holiday I swoon over. Maybe it’s also the idyllic version of a society we feel so far away from now.”
Either way, I love it all. And I’m raising a little girl who does too.
Thankfully, I’m also raising a little girl who has more than her fair share of happy holiday memories. We may not own an inn or bakery, but we get our white Christmases, our spontaneous snowball fights, our nights of hot cocoa sitting in front of the fireplace, our time with our favorite people (most years, at least), and our cheesy holiday movies.
We also have a long list of traditions we’ve built together. And while many of those traditions may not be possible this year, the most important one will be: us, together, no matter what.
So yes, we may have already watched “A Christmas Kiss” (1 and 2) and “The Knight Before Christmas” this year. It’s possible “Christmas With Holly” has been viewed alongside “Dear Santa,” with “Christmas Belle,” next on deck. We may even be anxiously awaiting the releases of sequels to “The Christmas Chronicles” and “The Princess Switch.”
But we’re doing it together. Building memories while watching movies we both love.
Just me, my girl, our couch, some hot cocoa—and one carefully updated spreadsheet, spreading holiday cheer when we need it the most.
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