Life Isn’t a Hallmark Movie

This is one of my favorite times of the year.  The celebration of Christmas.  I love the fact we celebrate the birth of Jesus.  I love the Christmas trees and lights.  I love the idea of a white Christmas (although in MS it rarely snows on Christmas).  I love the music that get stuck in my head up until at least February, so it’s no surprise I love the Christmas movies that come on Hallmark and ABC Family and even Lifetime.

But, life isn’t ANYTHING like the Christmas movies.  I’ve yet to find Mr. Perfect by searching for the hottest guy to be the “new” Santa.  I have yet to live in a Snow Globe, and I haven’t been a Scrooge my whole life and suddenly become aware of the true meaning of Christmas.  Nor have I met the “REAL” Santa and thrown him in jail for “assaulting” someone or had an accident and met my guardian angel who showed me what life would be like without me.  And I don’t have a crazy cousin Eddie (although Christmas Vacation is probably the Christmas movie that comes closest to depicting my real life. 😉 )

I swear I have a point.  Bear with me, please.

Yet, year after year, I watch these movies over and over again on repeat.  Why?  Because it’s an escape from my mundane life.

Okay.  That’s with EVERY movie and TV show I watch and every book I read, but I got to thinking about the Christmas movies I complain about.  “Real life is NOTHING like that.”  I say that continuously.

Why do I complain?  I know it’s fiction.  I’m fully aware of that when I turn the channel to one of those Christmas movies I love.  I don’t know my reasoning, but it doesn’t diminish the fact that I LOVE them!

So, here’s the point!  Good fiction may drive you crazy because it’s not “realistic” enough, but it will keep you coming back for more.  There.  I said it.

So what if it’s not “realistic” enough?  It’s fiction.  It’s not supposed to be real life.  (I have to remind myself of this every time I watch a Lifetime movie or an ABC Family movie.)

Fiction is supposed to take the mundane and make it more exciting.  We don’t want to read a story or watch a movie that is like our lives.  If that was the case, no one would ever read or watch movies.  Then the job of a writer would be over (and we don’t want that!).  There would be no need for us.

I realize that the stories we write have to be realistic to some degree.  We don’t want a character who doesn’t seem real to us.  We need to take these characters and make them real people.  We also have to make sure that the world we put our characters in seems real, and yet at the same time, we have to make it almost unrealistic in nature because we don’t want people to be bored.  (If you’re a reader, you see why writers are driven to drink?  😉  We have to bring reality and fiction together to make it believable which seems like quite a contradiction in terms if you ask me.)

Real life is nothing like a Hallmark movie, but who really wants to re-live reality?  If you ask me, the best part about being a reader is that I get to live life through another person.  My goal as a writer has always been to help people escape their lives for a little while.  Hence the title Dreaming Awake that I’ve become so fond of.

So, the next time I start complaining about movies being so “unrealistic,” I’m going to remind myself that I’m crazy because who wants to watch “reality.”  (If you can’t tell, I rarely watch “reality TV” except for Sister Wives which I’m addicted to.)

What do you think about reality and fiction mingling?


13 thoughts on “Life Isn’t a Hallmark Movie

  1. Awesome post & point!
    I watch movies (and read books for the matter) to escape into another world. I enjoy the experience of watching a good movie even if I know it is not possible.

    With that said I can fully admit I loathe the Hallmark Channel 😛


    1. Thank you! I was hoping I wasn’t the only one who thought this. 😉 The sad part about all of this is that I don’t loathe the Hallmark Channel per se. I actually still watch some of the movies. They just annoy me sometimes. 😉

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting!


  2. I agree completely. I write murder mysteries. Would I want to be in the middle of an actual murder investigation? Absolutely not, even if a very well dressed amateur detective was going to come in and explain it all at the end.

    But, as you say, that’s one thing fiction does; it takes us out of our lives and shows us somehing else. Which is really cool.

    In fact, sometimes I avoid movies if they’re about things I’ve lived through myself. If I’m going to pay money, I want to see somethig I don’t know, something I’ve never seen for myself.


    1. “…even if a very well dressed amateur detective was going to come in and explain it all at the end.” This quote cracked me up!

      It is really cool to have something transform us from this reality to a completely fictional one.

      I agree about the movies. Some movies I don’t watch because they are so close to something I’ve lived through. That’s why I like movies in the fantasy genre. Chances are that will NEVER happen in real life. 😉

      As always, thanks for stopping by!


  3. Great post! I agree with you. I love the escape of a good book or movie and as a writer I like to give the reader that escape as well. I know what you mean about the christmas movies though.Sometimes the sappy ones are like chocolate, you know you should limit your intake but sometimes they are hard to resist 🙂


  4. I agree with you, but I think the mix of reality and fiction doesn’t have to quite so equal. What has to be real is the emotion. As long as I believe what the characters feel, I’m willing to accept any world. 🙂


  5. Pingback: “Specials” « Ever On Word

  6. Fiction has to be realistic enough to be believable. Take the tv show, Buffy the Vampire Slayer based on a teenage girl with superhuman strength who battles vampires and demons on a daily basis. This premise on its own is so far removed from reality that I doubt it would have attracted such a huge following but placing it in realistic settings, a highschool with all the usual teen problems in a small American town made it relatable to people. We have to mingle our fiction with some degree of reality in order for people to buy it.
    PS: All I Want for Christmas with Ethan Embry and Thora Birch is a great, feel-good Christmas movie!


    1. That is certainly true! Don’t you think it’s funny that fiction has to be realistic? I love the contradiction of that! 😉

      i don’t think I’ve ever seen that movie. I will definitely have to look into it!


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