• By Alyson Heisler

Festive Feelings: Hallmark movie review

‘Tis the season for predictable holiday movies with paper-thin plots and far too many Christmas trees. These are primarily produced by the Hallmark Channel, which begins their holiday movie season promptly near the end of October. Most of these movies have a similar plot line and festive theming. The main character — usually a woman, but on occasion a man — living in either a kitschy small town or a bustling city is dealing with a seasonal conflict.

These conflicts include, but are not limited to the following: a family business is at risk of closing, their professional job has brought them to the town to study or aid in their festive traditions, a family member is injured (they’ve come to care for them), or the elaborate annual Christmas festival is being planned.

Despite this stereotypical predictability, these movies serve as an outlet for wholesome Christmas joy to prime viewers for the upcoming holiday season. The fuzzy feelings they bring could warm the coldest hearts with their mention

In “On the 12th Date of Christmas,” two game creators are tasked with working together on a project to create a Christmas-themed app. They are polar-opposites — Jennifer is obsessed with Christmas and Aiden is an anti-festive scrooge.

Using festive destinations and activities in the city, they create a holiday scavenger hunt centered around bringing attention to local businesses and Christmas experiences. The scavenger hunt brings people together to celebrate — including Jennifer and Aiden, as they spend the holiday season together.

This one is a quintessential Hallmark Christmas movie and was a wonderful viewing experience. It has all the heart-warming, festive elements with just enough wacky moments to add some humor to the story. The production of the movie is also really good — without weird background music or faux snowy overlays — which adds to the experience.

“On the 12th Date of Christmas” is a recommendation from me, and it makes me wish for the time when real, in-person holiday activities could happen. One day, we will again be able to gather to watch strings of Christmas lights be plugged in with joy.

Honorable mentions include the following films (if you wish to call them that): “The Christmas House,” “Never Kiss a Man in a Christmas Sweater,” and, for the time-travel lovers, “A Timeless Christmas.”

When times are tough and you’re thoroughly done dealing with your own family, watch another person’s seasonal struggles to feel the holiday spirit. Things that pair well with cheesy, predictable Christmas movies include large bowls of popcorn, hot chocolate (or any other beverage, alcoholic or not), and enough judgment to fill approximately two hours of your evening. Happy viewing!

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