What I've Learned from Hallmark's Christmas Movies

If you've been reading for a while, you know that I am majorly addicted to Hallmark's Christmas movies. They are everything you'd expect from made-for-TV, Christmas movies, and yet, they are not without their lessons. As absurd as some of the plots are, there are moments when I find myself relating to a character or feeling like a scene is hitting close to home, which got me thinking about what these movies teach us. Ok teach me, and maybe someone else out there? I can't be the only one with a DVR that's usually doing triple duty recording both Hallmark channels while I watch a previously recorded movie. Here are six things I've learned.

 Even though they shrink the sidewalks, I love the Christmas tree stands. They make the streets smell so good.

Even though they shrink the sidewalks, I love the Christmas tree stands. They make the streets smell so good.

1. The holidays are stressful for everyone. It doesn't matter if you're religious, have never celebrated, or fall somewhere in between. December is full of obligations, stirs up emotions, and no matter who you are, what you have, or what you do, your stress levels are going to be elevated. The exception here seems to be Santa Claus. No matter the challenge or predicament he gets himself into, the big guy is always cool as a cucumber. 

2. No one has a perfect family. Every family has their quirks, their black sheep, and their wacky traditions. We may not all see eye-to-eye, and we may not hang out all the time, but when the chips are down, family will always be there. You can't change your family, but you can change how you interact with them. Who knows, you may find that the very habits that have long-irked you, are actually not so bad, maybe you'll even change some of your own behavior.

3. Traditions are good, but so is flexibility. Things aren't always going to go as planned. From a snowstorm to a burned turkey, the universe isn't always on our side. Be flexible. Decorate your tree on a different day. Try a new recipe (or *gasp* get a pizza if you have to). You may have a new family member or guests who wants to share some of their family traditions. Let them! You'll likely have a lot of fun and if nothing else, it will make for a memorable holiday.

 34th street is only marginally less crowded than Times Square but then you walk by Macy's and it's Christmas magic (going in, however, is an entirely different story lol).

34th street is only marginally less crowded than Times Square but then you walk by Macy's and it's Christmas magic (going in, however, is an entirely different story lol).

4. We all have things we want to change about ourselves. No one has it all figured out and none of us is flawless. The holidays tend to inspire a lot of soul-searching, we reflect on what is and long for what could be. Even the most seemingly-successful people want to change things about themselves or wish they could be/have/do X. Take note of what your heart is telling you and adjust accordingly. You don't have to stay on the path you're on just because you're already there. 

5. Never lose your sense of wonder. Do you remember what it felt like to wake up to snow? How about when you opened that present you were dying for? The first time you sat on Santa's lap? Too many of us have lost that excitement and rarely, if ever, feel such pure joy. Rather than seeing the magic of the holidays, we see crowds, overpriced gifts, and traffic jams. This isn't to say that any of those aren't annoying, they are, but rather that they don't deserve the attention we give them. Instead, be present in your holiday celebrations and really experience them, think about how special it must be for everyone you pass to also be seeing the tree or holiday windows you're looking at. Once you shift your mindset, you'll feel so much lighter and happier, I promise. For what it's worth, Hallmark characters have a lot of success getting someone out of their own way with a snowball ambush.

6. Hot chocolate and cookies will fix anything. Ok not anything, but many things. Sometimes you need to take a break, relax, and indulge. This is best done with loved ones, but it will work solo too.

Do you love Christmas movies? Any holiday truths you've learned?