A number of cable networks start airing Christmas-themed movies in the month of December (and November). Lifetime, ABC Family and the spiritually-themed network UP are some of the usual suspect. The biggest perpetrator, however, is the Hallmark Channel. They have dropped their programming schedule since Halloween for at least two months of holiday movies, including a dozen premieres. Many of these movies have a similar theme.
Of course, there’s Christmas, although it is highly secularized in the made-for-TV holiday movie. People often experience the spirit of Christmas, which has to do with things other than the birth of Christ. The plots also take on a supernatural quality. Still, one thing happens a lot. A single mom discovers love on Christmas. Some women are widowed, more are divorced. They are not always looking for love, but it seems to find them more often than not. What does this have to do with Christmas?
What we have here is the appropriation of the Christmas movie to cater to the female audiences of the channels that carry these movies. Since “Single woman” movies lack the family sense of Christmas, the alternative is to make the single woman a mom. The rom-com is a tried and true form of entertainment, and it is the new model for the Christmas movie.
And that’s why most of them are terrible.