"I think you have a problem," my boyfriend said to me one early November night as I bounced from our bedroom to living room, alternating between wrapping gifts on the bed (away from curious puppy paws!) and watching a Hallmark Channel holiday movie I'd seen at least twice before.
"A problem?" I'd said, distractedly, adjusting the bright red bow I'd just tied atop a festively wrapped gift.
"Yes," he said, half-joking, half-genuinely concerned, "All these Christmas movies! You're obsessed! It might be a problem."
I paused to consider his words. Watching Christmas movies is a problem? Yes, I'd seen 142 of them (a number that's grown a bit...okay, a lot...since last month, with new holiday movies debuting weekly on at least four different channels), but what's wrong with that? Okay, I'll admit it: there might be something a little strange about it. But it's been over the course of 30 years! And I almost always watch them while doing something else, so it's not exactly like I've wasted 284 hours of my life! And, well, if I'm doling out half-ass excuses here, I might as well state the obvious: I like them. I rattled off this reasoning to him and went back to wrapping and watching.
But, being the analytical soul that I am, I couldn't just my boyfriend's comment—however lighthearted—go without giving it some thought. Why did I like those movies so much? The plots are pretty formulaic, the acting is rarely Oscar-worthy, and it's not as if there aren't tons of other films I've yet to see... And, still, every November I'm drawn to them like moth to flame, squealing with excitement at the first commercial announcing their arrival, readying the DVR to handle the holiday-themed hoard.
The more I thought about it, the more it became obvious why I really enjoyed watching these movies: they contain really positive messages. Almost all of the films have an underlying positive theme, a reminder that things do work out the way they're meant to, that people are, deep down, inherently good. And the more I watch them, the more I'm reminded of the goodness in the world—and isn't that what we all want to be reminded of during the hectic holiday season? Isn't that what we want to see when, in real life, holiday cheer can sometimes seem as mythical as flying reindeer?
So, in case you're not holiday-movie obsessed like I am, here is a list of the lessons I've taken away from the films, the little reminders that there really can be magic in the holiday season. When it comes down to it, this list is why I'm obsessed with these movies; it sums up the reasons why, cheesy as they might be at times, these holiday films serve to remind me of the ways people—no matter what their circumstances—can find a way to make their lives, or the lives of others, more positive.
POSITIVE LESSONS FROM HOLIDAY FILMS
❅ A positive attitude always pays off. (Elf)
❅ Happily ever after is possible. (A Princess for Christmas)
❅ You can do a lot with less. (3 Day Christmas)
❅ We all impact the lives of others. (It's a Wonderful Life)
❅ Christmas doesn't come from a store. (The Grinch Who Stole Christmas)
❅ Differences are make us special, not odd. (Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer)
❅ Love can overcome almost any obstacle. (Love, Actually)
❅ Don't wait until it's too late to change a bad attitude. (It's Christmas, Carol!)
❅ Children deserve more credit that most adults give them. (Home Alone)
❅ You're more capable than you think you are. (The Santa Clause)
❅ What's meant to be has a way of working out. (Serendipity)
❅ Deep down, people are still the same people they were as kids. (Just Friends)
❅ Persistance can really pay off. (A Christmas Story)
❅ Working together works better than going it alone. (Window Wonderland)
❅ Sometimes a change of scenery can change your life. (The Holiday)
❅ It's okay to celebrate in your own unique way. (Shrek the Halls)
❅ Use your skills to help those in need. (Christmas Magic)
❅ If at first you don't succeed (in love), try, try again. (A Bride for Christmas)
❅ Never take loved ones for granted. (The Christmas Box)
❅ There's usually more goodness in people than you realize. (Snow Bride)
❅ It's easier to be honest about who you are. (Christmas in Boston)
❅ Always be careful what you wish for. (The Christmas List)
❅ Sometimes bad luck leads to better luck. (Lucky Christmas)
❅ Do your best to be a good brother (or sister). (Fred Claus)
❅ Old flames can be rekindled. (Catch a Christmas Star)
❅ Love can help heal the broken-hearted. (Christmas with Holly)
❅ Nice guys don't always finish last. (Annie Claus is Coming to Town)
❅ Savor every moment of every day. (Last Holiday)
❅ Love triumphs over differences. (Let It Snow)
❅ Where there is love, there is beauty. (A Charlie Brown Christmas)
So, yeah, it might be a little crazy that I'm obsessed with watching Christmas movies, but after thinking about all the films and meaning behind them, I'm pretty sure there are worse things I could be obsessed with. Just look at all of the positive messages! Even if you're not a fan of the holiday film genre, try giving one a shot this year and see if it doesn't, in some small way, brighten your day.