Nerd Processor

What I Learned From Watching 33 Hallmark Christmas Movies

The semi-heartwarming saga of two people and countless tales of holiday schmaltz

Rob Bricken
OneZero
Published in
6 min readNov 1, 2018

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Credit: Holly Anissa Photography/Moment/Getty

OnOn October 27, the Hallmark Channel began its annual “Countdown to Christmas” movie series with Christmas at Pemberly Manor. You read that right: Since 2016, the channel’s traditional slate of original holiday movies has started before Halloween. How else could Hallmark air 37 entirely new Christmas films before the end of the year?

No, that’s not a typo. Hallmark really is releasing more than three dozen entirely new holiday movies for 2018 — and I’m going to watch all of them.

I’ve become a Hallmark original holiday movie nerd. It’s a recent development: My fandom began in the middle of October 2017, when my wife informed me we would watch all 33 of Hallmark’s 2017 Christmas films and do a podcast on them. At that point, all I knew about these movies was that they were cheesy, schmaltzy, and utterly formulaic. But I didn’t hesitate to say yes.

My wife suffers from depression, and 2017 had been an especially rough year for her. There were many reasons, including difficulties at work and the continuing fallout of the new presidential administration — not that the chemicals in her brain need “reasons,” of course. Just as she began to dig herself out, she broke her hip running in September. After the surgery in mid-October, she was effectively trapped in our apartment for weeks. Given her confinement, the ludicrous amount of movies and the time we would need to watch and podcast about them was actually a boon. (That podcast, A Very Hallmark Christmas, can be found here, if you’re curious.)

I was right to worry in the sense that we quickly discovered all of these movies are basically the same.

While I was determined to stick it out, I was genuinely worried that the films would be so formulaic and numerous that I would get bored and need to feign excitement. I was even more worried that she would get bored and give up on the podcast entirely, which might give her more opportunities to fixate on her depression. (I should probably add that this wasn’t my…

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Rob Bricken
OneZero

The former editor of io9.com, Rob Bricken has been a professional nerd since 2001. He also often cries at children's cartoons.