My Hallmark Christmas
by Valerie Nusbaum
Valerie arrived in the quaint little mountain village of Thurmont just three weeks before Christmas. Never one who enjoyed celebrating the holidays, she couldn’t help noticing that the whole town seemed to be decorated. Festive greens adorned with red bows hung everywhere. There were thousands of twinkling lights and all manner of bright, shiny ornaments hung in trees and around doorways.
“I’ll be glad to get this job done and get out of here,” she thought. You see, Valerie worked for a Fortune 500 company, and she’d been sent to Thurmont to oversee the buyout of the business that was the town’s main source of jobs and income: the Mountain Top Candy Company. The local business was shutting down and all operations transferred to a big, fancy factory in New York City.
After checking into the rustic inn, which was beautifully decorated, of course, and smelled of cinnamon and spices, Valerie set out to meet with the manager of the candy company. His name was Randy; he loved Christmas, and there were immediate sparks between the two of them.
Now, if this were really a Hallmark Christmas movie, Valerie and Randy would fall in love, eat cookies, have a falling-out over the business closing, and get back together just in time for Christmas and to save the company and the town. Snow would be falling, and Valerie would begin to love the Christmas season and would decide to give up her fancy job and move to Thurmont to help Randy run the candy factory. There would probably be a dog and some sort of magical stocking, locket, or ornament, and maybe Santa would turn out to be Randy’s uncle.
I’m going to go on record here and tell you that I am not a fan of those Hallmark movies. In fact, I pretty much loathe and detest them. I know this will upset some of you, but I’m okay with that because I need to be honest. Seriously, those movies all have the same plot, there’s nothing realistic about them, and I just don’t see how anyone can watch more than one of them without getting a cavity. I understand that the movies are a way to escape the harsh reality of life. They’re just not my cup of tea. I do love some holiday movies such as A Christmas Story and Elf. I’m not heartless, you know. It’s a Wonderful Life and White Christmas are both classics that I’ve seen more than a few times.
However, if my life were a Hallmark Christmas movie, even though I didn’t want to celebrate Christmas (because of some deep, dark secret like falling down a well on Christmas Eve when I was a child), I’d somehow get coerced into organizing the town’s Favorite Things giveaway.
Speaking of favorite things, Randy and I were driving home from Frederick one day when he said, “I have a question about your friend, Gail.” Then he proceeded to remind me that Gail had mentioned that her family does a “favorite things” gifting at Christmas.
“How does the song tie into that?” Randy asked. He was serious.
“Do you mean that you think Gail gives her family raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens?” I asked him.
He said he knew it wasn’t that literal but still didn’t understand, so I had to launch into the whole explanation about Oprah and her favorite things and how she used to give all those things to her audiences. Randy was visibly upset over this because he is not Oprah’s biggest fan, and he still couldn’t figure out how this translated to Gail giving gifts to her own family.
“So, the giver picks out things that she likes and then she gives those things to her family and friends? Is that how it works?” he asked.
“More or less,” is what I told him.
Randy shook his head and said it still didn’t make sense because that meant that the giver was not taking into consideration the likes and dislikes of the receivers. I tried to explain that the giver tried to choose things that she thought others would like or could use to make life easier. I also pointed out how gifting this way makes life so much easier for the giver, because since everyone on the gift list gets the same gift, it means only going to one store and not stressing over so many different presents. Randy still wasn’t getting it, but I really believe it’s because I said the “O” word and now Favorite Things is forever tainted for him.
In any case, in the Hallmark movie version, Oprah would come to Thurmont for the giveaway and I’d get a car, he’d get a car, and you’d get a car. The snow would fall gently, the lights would twinkle, and music would play in the background, as the whole town would come together in a warm embrace while Oprah beamed upon us.
Randy mentioned more recently that he might like to try doing Favorite Things this year, Oprah notwithstanding. Oh, goody. I can look forward to a subscription to Field & Stream and a beef stick. Or a bag of Utz holiday pretzels. I hate pretzels, but I can always eat those while I’m watching an awful schmaltzy movie.
No matter what you enjoy watching this holiday season, we’re wishing you all the merriest and happiest holidays!