Merry Movie Christmas Eve to you! As Rachel Barry on Glee said, “No one should be alone on Christmas Eve, Mr. Schue.” But you know what? It’s absolutely okay. I spent an excellent day by myself full of doing stuff that I want to do. That included volunteering for people who are less fortunate than I, a whirlwind shopping tour for myself and catching up on my DVR collection of Christmas movies that were three weeks in the making.
I feel pretty knowledgeable about these movies. I’m not talking so much about the ones that come out in the theater with a Christmas theme. No, I mean the awesomely awful made-for-tv movies on ABC Family, Hallmark Channel and Fa la la la Lifetime. Don’t get me wrong, I love Elf, The Family Stone, Love Actually, Home Alone, the Last Holiday and The Holiday. These certainly put me in the holiday spirit and help to get the cranberries and popcorn production underway.
You know the ones I’m talking about. I kid you not, these are the movies in our DVR now: Deck the Halls, Comfort and Joy, A Walk in My Shoes, The Good Witch’s Gift, Most Wonderful Time of Year, Holiday in Handcuffs, Will You Merry Me, Merry Daughter of the Bride, A Christmas Wedding and A Christmas Proposal (no relation). So, yes, I may get a little carried away.
Remember when I said that if I were to go back to LA and be forced in “the industry” it would be to scout locations for movie sets? I take it back. I want to write holiday movies. I’m completely capable. I’m almost an expert at this point as I’m on my fourth for the day. Well, that’s three whole movies and two half movies that were so terrible. Please, whatever you do, stay away from Christmas Cupid. Seriously, that’s some bad stuff…even I couldn’t tolerate it. Actually, I take that back, I watched the whole thing, but it was more out of pity.
So for you, dear readers, on this Merry Movie Christmas Eve, I would like to share a recipe with you. A recipe for the perfect holiday movie. A choose your own adventure of sorts. Here’s how you make your perfect holiday movie…
Add one female lead. She needs to be two of the following:
- Extremely uptight, including that hair in a bun which will eventually get loosened over time as a man changes her for the better*. Chronic list maker.
- A workaholic who never has time for a man. Just too busy running the world and barking orders.
- A do gooder next door neighbor type. You want to hate her. Usually a blond.
Now, put the female lead in a relationship circumstance:
- A very “content” single woman who just can’t seem to find the right guy. All it takes is the right guy and all her Christmas dreams will come true!! She’s currently “not looking” and is disgusted by any man who comes her way, including the hottie who is willing to do nice things for her like bring her coffee at work or put up her Christmas tree. Yeah, we know what that means. This tends to be the most popular option.
- An engaged woman who is frantically planning for her Christmas wedding. Gag me.
- A married mom who wishes she had chosen a different life without all the hassles. Normally, she’ll come around at the end of the movie and realize that her husband and children are the end all, be all for her. Good for her.
- A single mom. This one is a tear jerker regardless.
Insert one main male lead with a square jaw. Choose from the following:
- A developer. Smug, arrogant, knows better than anyone who crosses his path. If he’s not talking about taking someone’s house with eminent domain or building a ski resort, he won’t fit into this category. Never fear, he has a great heart in there somewhere.
- A lawyer. Works at a big firm but isn’t your typical big firm lawyer. Somehow only works like 15 hours per week.
- A free spirit hippie. The most obvious (and yet most satisfying, apparently) typical foil to uptight woman. Will always have long hair and never makes plans. Laughs at the female lead’s organization skills until he gets her drunk one night and she lets loose and suddenly!, he sees her in a new light. Bam.
Oh, no! Enter the contrasting male lead to stir things up! Pick one that will mix it up with a bit of Christmas jealousy:
- An overbearing boss
- The ex boyfriend that got away years ago
- Mom’s new boyfriend or the town’s ex con or literally, the guy next door.
The setting is a character, too! Pick one of the following for your movie:
- New York City, the center of the universe and all things Christmas and hip. This is usually where movies begin, but within five minutes, they’re in options 2 or 3.
- The middle of nowhere. Usually Alaska, but not the north pole (puh-lease, that’s too cliche!). The purpose here is to maximize all the available rugged single men. Do it.
- Local yocal small town. Usually where the main character grew up. Bonus points for cheezy names such as “Mistletoe” or “Claustown”. About 85% of the movies take place here.
Don’t forget the scenarios for the “plot”:
- He’s a nasty developer or lawyer trying to take homes away from people at Christmas time. What?!? How dare he! Someone’s working overtime to stop him!
- Two cultures clash when she brings the new boyfriend home. What?!? He’s Jewish? What ever will the family do to help him feel welcome and create new holiday traditions?
- The lead goes home. Options:
- Mom and Dad strongly encourage the lead to spend some time with the ex who stayed in town to make good. Aw, the parents are match makers.
- The rich lead reluctantly returns home to take care of the family during an emergency. She realizes how important family really is. Down comes the ponytail!
- The lead returns home with the fiance that nobody has met (how does that happen?). He’s a nice guy, but just not quite right for her. Second male character enters.
- The lead kidnaps a stranger in the diner where she works and passes him off as a boyfriend with the family in the woods over the holidays. Actually, that one has been written (Holiday in Handcuffs) and they barely pulled it off with the help of Melissa Joan Hart and Mario Lopez. But now you can see a creative way to work the “coming home to family” angle.
Something HAS to change! Is it…
- She learns to loosen up! Let go! Learns to love…again! That hottie next door isn’t as terrible as she thought, and now they’re in love!
- Wait, no. That’s the only option. Cue the entire cast realizing that it’s snowing. A Christmas miracle indeed.
What’s your favorite made for tv holiday movie? How did your choose your own adventure movie turn out? Let me know in the comments!! Or describe the musical montage that would happen in your movie. You know you gotta have one!
* Official hair transition: tight bun to tight pony tail to half way down to all the way down (straight) to all the way down, (wavy).
Also, a very special thank you to Corey for helping me write this. He not only lets me fill up the DVR with this ridiculous stuff (erasing valuable posts in the meantime), but also watches with me. We play guess the plot or guess this character and high five when we get it right (which we usually do). Thank you, Corey!