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The Clarinet Means They're Falling in Love
They've locked eyes across the Christmas party and then you hear it: the hum of the clarinet, likely playing upbeat notes or slow, solemn versions of Christmas classics. You'll also hear piano plucking and sleigh bells off in the distance, signaling obvious soulmate status.
See: All of them. Literally, every single one.
Things aren't always jolly, y'all. For every protagonist on a path to Christmas joy, there are often antagonists waiting in the wings to try and derail things. Maybe it's a former classmate with a chip on their shoulder, or an ex seeing their chances of reconciliation squashed by the introduction of a charming stranger. In time, they'll get theirs, either by being defeated or realizing the error of their ways.
See: A Rose For Christmas, Looks Like Christmas, Ice Sculpture Christmas
The Corporate Takedown/Going Out of Business
A small-town establishment (probably a toy store) is being bullied by a corporation that wants to put them out of business. Or, the beloved shop can't make ends meet. If they want to survive, they must rally the locals' support. Oh, and Santa is probably there, too.
See: Christmas Cookies, Sleigh Bells Ring, Christmas Incorporated
Apparently, it's a bummer to just say, "Hey, relationships are hard and sometimes they don't work out." Instead, it's surprisingly less of a bummer to have a death lead the widow with a golden heart to find the next love of her life.
See: The Christmas Shepherd, The Christmas Note, Magic Stocking
The One with Lacey Chabert
... Which is pretty much all of them. Regina George's sidekick has maintained a solid non-holiday acting and voice acting career while quietly becoming the Queen of Christmas Movies. Other honorable mentions: Candace Cameron-Bure and Dean Cain.
See: A Wish For Christmas, Family For Christmas, A Christmas Melody
Bonus: The Holiday Yule Log
A magic greater than all others, this program is three beautiful hours of a dog and cat lounging together by the fire. This is a thing that exists. It really is the most wonderful season of all.
Editor's note: This post has been updated from its original version, which first appeared in December 2015.