Santa Claus in July

Welcome to Santa Claus in July, my blog that honors our favorite Hallmark movies with plots that are as thin as our favorite elf in summer. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be posting a look at a few of the dumbest set-ups in Hallmark history.

If a global pandemic couldn’t slow the Hallmark Channel’s Countdown to Christmas juggernaut this year, nothing can. Hallmark Channel and its sister station, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, rolled out 40 films in a manner of months, most of which didn’t even start filming until July, after COVID restrictions were lifted in Canada and the United States.

Filled with dry kisses, witty banter and sappy ever afters, Christmas movies have become comfort food for many. Premiers on Hallmark Channel often draw a larger audience than programs on major networks.

Given the volume the channels create every year, along with competition from Lifetime (It’s a Wonderful Lifetime), Netflix and something called UpTV, it’s inevitable that some plots will be a little thin.

Hallmark rarely strays from its formula for success, using the same actors, writers, directors and locations each season as well as recycled plotlines:

  • Feuding co-workers vying for the same promotion find animosity turns into attraction when they open up to each other;
  • Big City girl returns to small town where she grew up, reunites with her old high school flame and abandons the career she spent twenty years building to forge a new life with a guy she hasn’t seen since Senior Prom;
  • Bad Man of Business discovers the fetching woman he just met owns the family diner his faceless corporation plans to destroy to make room for more luxury condos or another upscale shopping center;
  • Two strangers thrown together to solve some sort of mystery find more than they bargained for.

Each movie features a “Meet Cute” moment that propels our hero and heroine on a journey to everlasting love. Along the way they lob snow balls at each other, build gingerbread houses and go ice skating before a completely avoidable misunderstanding temporarily drives them apart, setting up a dramatic reunion and the obligatory dry kiss.

Click the link below for a summary of each movie, along with a bonus prediction on what happened to our star-crossed couple.

For my hot takes on Hallmark Channel movies, follow me on twitter at @tv_xmasmoviefan. I try to live tweet as many as I can.

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