Holiday Reality Check | Why Your Relationship Shouldn’t Look Like a Hallmark Christmas Movie

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The holiday season, with its twinkling lights and non-stop Christmas playlists on repeat everywhere you go, also brings with it a deluge of Hallmark Christmas movies. 

We aren’t being dramatic when we say deluge; they are on nonstop. Women lose their minds over these movies, which are universally adored for their heartwarming narratives and predictable happy endings, painting a picture-perfect view of how romance “should” be. 

But hold your reindeer—while we have a feeling you already know this, just in case you don’t, it has to be said, and said emphatically—real relationships are way different from these holiday rom-com romps.

Yes, Hallmark Christmas movies are a fun 90-minute escape from reality, but they shouldn’t be the standard for your relationship. Far from it! Real love is about authenticity, growth, and supporting your perfectly imperfect ride together.


So Many Tropes

Our issue isn’t with Hallmark movies themselves, no matter how cheesy, but with the common themes and tropes that most of these movies have in common. 

Here are a few general examples of types of Hallmark movies and the themes that you should absolutely avoid comparing your romantic relationship to!

hallmark tropes
  • The Small-Town Romance: These films often feature a protagonist from the “big city” falling head over heels in love with a charming local in a picturesque small town. The simplicity and almost-fetishized community life create an unrealistic expectation of what love and life “should” look like.
  • The High School Sweetheart Reunion: Movies that revolve around rekindling romance with a high school sweetheart during a holiday visit romanticize the past and completely ignore the complexities of reuniting after 10 or 20 years of growth and change.
  • The Royal Romance: These fairy-tale-like stories, where an ordinary person falls in love with royalty, set absurd expectations about relationships, grandeur, and lifestyle, which are light years away from real-life experiences.
  • The Overworked Careerists Finding Love: Often, a career-oriented protagonist finds love in unexpected places, suggesting that love is the only missing piece for a fulfilled life. This undervalues personal achievements and any kind of career satisfaction.
  • The Christmas Miracle Romance: These stories typically involve a holiday miracle that leads to love. They can create an unrealistic expectation that the holidays are a magical time where major life changes and romances are destined to happen.

Remember, these movies are meant for entertainment and follow a formulaic script to evoke feelings of warmth and happiness rather than to provide a realistic portrayal of relationships. 

Sure, watch them for fun and a little bit of escapism, but keep a healthy perspective on your own relationship—you know, the one that is actually happening.

In addition to the mostly unrealistic themes and tropes listed above, the following depictions of romance on the Hallmark channel’s Xmas movies are not just only happening in la la land but can make you think your own romantic relationship is unfulfilling in comparison–don’t worry, it’s NOT.


hallmark perfection

The Myth of Perfection

Hallmark movies only depict relationships that are flawless and mostly free of conflict. In reality, even the healthiest relationships have their ups and downs. 

Disagreements and misunderstandings are normal and can actually strengthen a relationship when they are handled openly and constructively. Arguments are normal!


pace of love

The Pace of Love

In these movies, love mostly happens at first sight, leading to a whirlwind romance. 

Real life is not a race to the altar. It’s about really getting to know each other, understanding each other, and building a strong foundation over time—not in the week before Christmas.


hallmark holiday magic

The Holiday Magic

These films tend to revolve around the magic of the holiday season, bringing people together. 

While the holidays can undoubtedly be a special time for couples, it’s important to keep your connection strong throughout the year, in everyday moments, not just during the holiday season!


one dimensional characters

The One-Dimensional Characters

Characters in Hallmark movies are idealized and, not to be mean, lack any depth. 

In contrast, real people are complex beings with strengths and weaknesses. Accepting your partner’s entirety, not just the good parts, is a big part of a realistic and loving romantic relationship.


overshadowing of individuality

The Overshadowing of Individuality

In many of these films, personal ambitions and dreams often take a backseat to the romantic storyline. 

A healthy relationship should always support the individual growth and goals of each partner!


grand gestures

The Ridiculous Grand Gestures

Hallmark movies are known for their grand romantic gestures. There are too many to list, but we know you get what we mean. 

But in real relationships, it’s the small, everyday acts of love and kindness that matter—just because the banker from the big city with the piercing blue eyes didn’t save your dairy farm from bankruptcy on Christmas Eve doesn’t make your love any less strong.


The Danger of Comparison

One of the most subtle yet damaging aspects of immersing oneself in the world of Hallmark Christmas movies is the inadvertent comparison of these fictional romances to your own relationship. This comparison is a slippery slope of unrealistic expectations and possible dissatisfaction.

danger of comparison
  • The Unrealistic Standards: Comparing your relationship to the idyllic portrayals in movies sets an unrealistic standard. Relationships in real life are not scripted and don’t follow a predictable plot. They require work, communication, and compromise, elements entirely glossed over in cinematic portrayals.
  • The Different Journey of Every Couple: Every relationship is unique–just like a snowflake, no two are exactly alike–with its own story, challenges, and triumphs. By comparing, you may overlook the special qualities and moments that make your relationship meaningful. It’s crucial to cherish and celebrate your journey without measuring it against an idealized version.
  • The Impact on Self-Esteem and Relationship Health: Constant comparison can lead to feelings of inadequacy, both personally and in your partnership. It’s important to remember that the strength of a relationship lies in its authenticity, mutual respect, and the ability to navigate life together, not in its resemblance to a fairy-tale narrative.

Takeaways

While it’s fun to lose yourself in the romanticized world of Hallmark movies, don’t get so lost that you miss what’s happening in your own relationship! Ground yourself in the here and now of your romance, and appreciate what you have, which is real. We cannot believe we have to say this, but please resist the urge to measure it against an unrealistic standard–especially that of a Hallmark Christmas movie! 

Recognize your relationship for what it is–a one-of-a-kind story that’s all your own. Leave Lacey Chabert and Candace Cameron Bure’s on-screen

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