Day 15, 2019

The Hallmark Channel and Movies

Author: Melissa Barber

Happy Fifteenth Day of Thanks Everyone!

Today I give thanks for the Hallmark Channel and the season-themed movies it provides. I blame my friend Wanda for getting me hooked on the Hallmark channel.   Several years ago, as she was working in Harlem and writing her PhD dissertation in Organizational Management, she came to stay with me and Lilah for several months.  During her moments of rest and relaxation, she would always have the television turned to this particular station.  As Wanda and I talked through dissertation ideas and edits, I’d notice that the television was still on that channel and that each two hour movie was always based on a complex, developing love story that had always fit within the frame of a theme (in this case June weddings) and was quite predictable in that the last 5 minutes of the movie always had a signature kiss between the protagonist and her new found love interest. 

Since I wasn’t much of a TV person or into these fantasized love stories that seemed to never relate to my life (I was not taking a vacation somewhere in a quaint town to get away from my real life), Wanda got my fair share of “girl, why in the world are you watching this?” She would explain in her passionate way just how much she loved the Hallmark channels and its movies.  And each day, unconsciously, I was getting sucked into the web of it all.  First, I watched a movie here and there with Wanda. By the time Wanda went back home to Oklahoma, I was ready for the next season of Fall Harvest movies, which would later lead into Winter Wonderland and the Christmas Countdown. (How did that even happen?)

And now, just as I am a devout member of my other sisterhoods, I am a fully-fledged member of the club. Like the millions of middle-aged women around the world, I too watch and am hooked on the Hallmark Movie channel. Interestingly enough, the Hallmark channel and its movies have been a blessing in disguise.  Not only has it provided good wholesome television (I don’t have to watch soft or explicit porn, foul expletives and bloody massacres), it has sparked my imagination and has given me so many ideas for creative crafting projects to do with Delilah.  It’s honed my skills on being a good story teller as I write. (On last year’s thirty days of thanks—you have to get the book when it’s done!—I was blessed with so many comments about my ability to write and tell a good story.) This year’s crafting projects includes making ugly Christmas sweaters (Mine is a charm!) and one is a spinoff of what I saw in one of the Hallmark movies.  I also decided that Lilah and I will also put together our first gingerbread house this year. (I’m currently researching some good keto gingerbread recipes. If I can’t find any, I’ll move on to researching which gingerbread house kit I should buy.) 

I absolutely love Christmas—the decorations, the baking, the hot cocoa, the gingerbread houses, and, most importantly, the representation that a Christ (My Savior) was born to this world.  Each year, Hallmark’s series of movies shows the Christmas spirit and the idea of a Christmas miracle. The movies have all the bells and whistles of decorations on a Douglas fir tree or a Balsam Hill one (my dream is to have one of those trees) and a totally white, winter wonderland Christmas (not the dirty, slushy, grey snow we have here in NYC!).  It absolutely beautiful!   I love being single (for all the reasons Carol mentioned.) But, as I’ve gotten older, I realize I’m starting to entertain the idea of companionship more and trying to be intentional about being open to love and a relationship.  I’m almost sure that the Hallmark movies are weighing in, subconsciously, on this “new” idea of mine as well. If one watches enough love stories on a regular basis, it’s almost inevitable that one will start desiring a love story for one’s self. (I’m totally not expecting the dramaticized versions I see on the Hallmark channel but my own love story would be nice!)  

I also credit the Hallmark channel and its movies for keeping me company and being a great disconnect and a rest from my weary reality. Recently, Lilah had a really bad menstrual cycle and virus at the same time. The first day of her menstrual cycle, she had a seizure in the wee hours in the morning and a few hours later started bleeding heavy.  Although she woke up the next morning totally fine, she got to school and had explosive diarrhea in school. That diarrhea and insomnia lasted into the next morning.  (I had my share of crappy clothes and linen to hand wash as well as rehydrating Lilah to do.) As I kept my eyes on Lilah, praying and simultaneously stroking her head and back while she laid in a fetal position from severe cramps, the Hallmark channel was in the background helping me to stay awake. She finally got to sleep at 7:45 in the morning. By that time, I was exhausted but thanking God that it was Saturday and I could easily cancel all of the day’s activities without any severe repercussions. I did my morning devotion and quickly drifted into LaLa land.  When I woke up, I ran to Aldi’s to do much needed food shopping and the Dollar Tree, while my cousin kept an eye on Lilah.  Upon my return home, I put on my background noise (the Hallmark Channel) to clean the deep freezer and the kitchen.  I begin to prepare and cook all of the meals for the following week. I made all of lilah’s keto food, homemade chicken noodle soup, homemade sancocho, barbecued chicken, ground turkey meat for spaghetti, baked fish.  Since I had a craving for stuffing (and left my helpings in Orlando, Fl), I made my famous homemade stuffing as well. I planned to have a good time eating it for one of my lunch and dinner sides the next day.  It was too late to get to dessert but tomorrow was definitely another day and I knew I’d get to finish baking then.

Today as I give thanks for Hallmark movies and the Hallmark channel and its blessing to me.  I want you to think about that “unconventional” blessing in disguise that allows you to rest from your weary reality, sparks your creative juices and allows you to imagine a future with a great hope. Give real thanks for it! I want to highlight the Theatre Development Fund (TDF; which provides opportunities for high school aged students and families who have loved ones on the Autism Spectrum to have exposure to the arts at reduced cost. Please help this organization to continue with their amazing programming.Lova Ya,
Have A Great Day of Thanks!

Published by: Dream Without Borders

Artist| Scientist| Creative Entrepreneur| Activist: working at intersections of arts, health, healing, and activism, my practice focuses on the performance and performative articulations of vulnerable bodies, exploring and examining expressions of identity and belonging. I hold particular interest in the lives and aspirations of African Diaspora/Black Atlantic bodies in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

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