It’s December 12 as I write this, and according to the calendar on my kitchen wall, it’s the second full day of Hanukkah 2020. This is the eight-day period where those of the Jewish faith commemorate a revolt against Hellenising Greek forces; the miracle of how one day’s worth of lamp oil lasted for eight days; and the purifying and rededicating of a holy temple that was the center of Judaism.
That’s right, I said “crap” in the title! And, yes, I’m gonna do some ranting. Let’s face it, “crap” is what Hallmark Channel gives us every holiday season with their Countdown to Christmas series, and it’s the type of crap that has been ripe for parody. Need proof? Well, let me present you as “Exhibit A” this skit from last night’s (December 14) Saturday Night Live featuring guest host Scarlett Johansson.
Two days ago, I took a stab at writing, or at least sketching out, my own Hallmark Channel Christmas movie. Yes, they’re the kind of movies that feature the same things and themes every time out: Cute girl (played by a “Hey, I know her from somewhere” actress) falls head over heels for handsome man (played by a “Hey, I know him from somewhere” actor). They find that magical Christmas spirit together. And they’re films that are all shot on the same Canadian studio lot that doubles for Anytown, U.S.A. and feature ample amounts of saccharin-sweet goodness.
As you may have judged from my own attempt, Hallmark Channel’s long, long list of identical/interchangeable Christmas movies are ripe for the parody… preferably not by this amateur but by skilled people who can do effective satirical parodies on a routine basis. Well, lo and behold, the people at Saturday Night Live took that ball and ran with it on Thursday. Or, to be more precise, a couple of weeks ago.
I don’t need to remind you that this is the holiday season, though I should remind you that it’s only 5 days until Christmas Day as I write this (better get that shopping done très rapide). This is the season chock full of traditions that normal people never get tired of: There’s the tree. The ornaments. The decorations. The greeting cards to send out. The shopping for presents. The carols and carolers. The ugly sweaters. And candy canes, sugar plums, and other similar stuff loaded with too much sugar.
Speaking of things loaded with too much sugar, the holiday season also has its share of TV specials and movies that are run on an annual basis and become oh so addictive to the eyes and brain. This post is about the holiday movies, specifically those that are found on the cable network Hallmark Channel. For those who don’t have cable, Hallmark Channel’s stock in trade is programming that makes the hearts of its audience, primarily families and older adults, go “Awww…” when they watch it. You know, just like a Hallmark greeting card. (Yes, Hallmark Channel is owned by the Hallmark greeting card company.) The last two months of each year, Hallmark Channel goes all out in the Christmas spirit by offering wall-to-wall airings of movies and specials — but mostly, if not exclusively, movies — billed as Countdown to Christmas.
Just thought I’d dedicate this post to some random holiday-related thoughts on this, 7 days after the American Thanksgiving Day. First, a very-late question for my fellow Americans: How was your Thanksgiving Day? Mine was spent with my immediate family (mother, stepfather, sisters, their families) at Mom’s place. Or to describe it more precisely, the combination lounge/kitchen on the first floor of Mom’s senior apartment building. Since our extended family is too big for Mom’s modestly-sized apartment, Mom reserved the lounge for our Thanksgiving shindig. On the good side, the lounge is pretty spacious and was perfect for our big family. However, the newness of the first all-family Thanksgiving at Mom’s apartment building didn’t give the day that “at home” feeling I always felt whenever Mom at her old house or Sis at hers hosted whatever holiday shindig we would have.