In a world where the Christmas season starts earlier and earlier, few networks truly bring it like Hallmark Channel. As early as Halloween, they start bringing feel-good films into the fold, followed by a full takeover post-Thanksgiving.
They've amassed an impressive stable of straight-to-TV, less-than-50-percent-on-Rotten-Tomatoes movies. Despite their lack of accolades, they have the formula down to an art form. Here are just a few things you'll often find when you jingle all the way through their holiday marathon.
The Busy Executive
They're way too busy to have a life, let alone know that it's Christmas. They're probably holding their employees late on Christmas Eve or bolting out of their child's pageant to take a phone call right before the solo. Later, while looking down at their phone, they'll crash into an attractive stranger who will teach them to slow down and enjoy life.
See: My Christmas Dream, A Heavenly Christmas, Snow Bride
The Santa Swap
"You mean I have to do Santa's job?" Yes, Santa has caught a cold or is so burned out that he's gone to Hawaii right before Christmas Eve. Or perhaps our protagonist has to take a job as a department store Santa. Odds are, this person is a holiday Scrooge, such as Kevin Sorbo's character, pictured above, from The Santa Suit. You heard that right, Kevin Sorbo.
See: The Santa Suit, Christmas at Cartwright's, Santa Switch
Searching for a fresh start (or not even knowing they needed one), our main character stumbles into a situation where they must play along to a group of people, or better yet, a love interest, as someone they're not. Sooner than later, they'll be in too deep and have to 'fess up, only to be forgiven in the spirit of Christmas.
See: A December Bride, A Very Merry Mix-Up, Snow Bride
This person, who gave up believing in Santa at age 4, will most assuredly run into him on the street. It's likely he'll be a nice old man named "Nick" or "Kris" who often alludes to his true identity. "Join you for Christmas Eve dinner? I'm actually pretty ... um ... busy that night."
See: A Wish For Christmas, The Santa Incident, Matchmaker Santa
Stranded in a Small Town
A cancelled flight, broken-down car, or obligation drops them into a tiny town with bad Wi-Fi. They'll be surrounded by small-town love and realize that their big-city life isn't all it's cracked up to be. Their car will be fixed just before Christmas Eve — should they stay or should they go?
See: Love You Like Christmas, Every Christmas Has a Story, Christmas Under Wraps
Read on for more signs (including clarinets!) that you're watching a Hallmark Christmas movie