So I have a passionate love of Christmas movies. Not just any old Christmas movie, but the truly terrible Hallmark, made-for-tv type affair. Don’t get me wrong, I also adore the slightly more upscale The Holiday, or Love Actually type production, but my secret indulgence each year is the daytime festive films aired on Channel 5 and Movie Mix. I sit down with a Christmas craft project (currently a knitted Christmas stocking for The Girl) and really enjoy it, but I do have stringent requirements for my trashy viewing so I have worked out the following ‘bauble’ chart to rate them on a standardised scale. This started out as a sort of ‘trashy Xmas film bingo’ and has evolved into the sophisticated system you’ll see below.
For each of the following items a film receives a bauble:
1 – struggling single ‘mom’
2 – ‘cute’ kid, usually with buck teeth, a pudding basin haircut or pigtails
3 – an elf-type character who has been transported from the North Pole into the ‘real’ world in order to either learn a lesson or teach one
4 – hot chocolates (cocoa will do at a push, or any kind of excessive focus on hot beverages)
5 – making Christmas ‘cookies’
6 – a sing-along! Preferably to a Christmas carol but I’ll accept any kind of group vocal effort
7 – an excess of fairy lights and exterior decorations (inflatable snowmen, reindeer on the roof etc)
8 – Christmas tree(s) – bonus points if they go out to buy it as a plot point
9 – fun uncle, usually single and ideal to be set up with the exiled elf-type character, but any old uncle will do
10 – lots of mentions of Christmas spirit, Christmas miracles, how Christmas is a time for loving, giving blah blah blah
11 – cheesy Christmas soundtrack
12 – Father Christmas!
13 – charity bell ringer dressed like Father Christmas
14 – Grinch-like character who’s all ‘bah humbug’ but will be transformed by the magic of Christmas, obvs
15 – a Christmas party
16 – token black character. I’ve watched hundreds (well OK, dozens) of these films and not a single one of them has featured a black lead character. There is nearly always a supporting ‘sista’ (or the male equivalent) who gets to be the funny, straight-talking sidekick.
EDIT to add – finally one with a black male lead (Turk from Scrubs, natch) A Snow Globe Christmas, if you’re interested.
17 – SPARKLE!
18 – good clean family fun like sledging, going to church or an old fashioned family dinner
19 – presents: shopping, wrapping, giving, opening.
20 – a good dose of schmaltz
21 – voiceover – either a little kid’s or a nice old lady voice as she reminisces about the Christmases of her childhood
22 – a head injury. You’d be surprised how often this occurs <cough> plot device </cough>, usually leading to a dream sequence where the main character learns some home truths.
23 – a festive-themed name. Currently watching one where the female lead is called ‘Holly’. Also popular are ‘Carol’, ‘Ivy’, ‘Angel/Angela’, ‘Noelle’ etc…
24 – a close-knit community <awww>
25 – SNOW!