If you were under the impression that Valentine’s Day was the most romantic day of the year, you would be sorely mistaken, because apparently that title belongs to Christmas. Now that the Christmas season is officially underway, my Netflix recommended list has been flooded with cheesy Hallmark Holiday rom coms. After watching a few and wanting to poke my eyes out, I started to ask myself, why do these movies get made in bulk every holiday season and how do they manage to get worse every year? Don’t get me wrong, I’m a sucker for Love Actually or The Holiday, it’s these Netflix and Hallmark movies that I question. I think most people can agree that the holiday/ Christmas film genre in general is comforting and a necessity every winter, but it’s specifically the romantic comedy subsection that needs to take a proverbial hike. I am shocked every year by how these films seem to one up themselves in cheesiness. 

I want to make it clear that I am not a hater of romantic comedies as a whole. It’s the decline of a once acceptably cheesy and formulaic, yet endearing, genre that makes me sad. Some of my favourite Christmas rom-coms from the 2000’s are movies like Love Actually, The Holiday, The Family Stone and Elf (it sort-of qualifies). But this is where the list stops. In recent years Netflix has  given a massive budget to subpar Christmas rom coms that insult the intelligence of the viewer. The plot of most of these movies read like a poorly written Wattpad fanfic. The 2000’s brought us good acting, complex yet believable plots, actual chemistry between love interests and locations that do not involve a green screen. Netflix and Hallmark bring us mass production and the same formulaic plot copied and pasted into every script.

The Princess Switch and A Christmas Prince are some of my favorite new age holiday romcoms to hate watch, while wondering who at Netflix thought it was a good idea to give these films multiple sequels. Though apparently I stand corrected, because these films must get millions of views for them to remain relevant. People obviously enjoy the extra cheese and slight insanity that comes with sequels of holiday rom coms.

I will say that not all recent holiday rom coms have been completely awful. Happiest Season, a gay rom com that was surprisingly the perfect combo of a classic cheesy romance with enough substance and plot to keep you entertained. Love Hard, which came out this season, features a classic catfishing case gone wrong at Christmas, taking a new spin on an old trope resulting in an extremely endearing film. But just to hammer home my thesis that holiday rom coms are becoming cheesier and more insane, Holidate with Emma Roberts was a literal dumpster fire that veered very far from the formulaic plot of holiday movies… though not in a good way. Along with Operation Christmas Drop, that was painful to get through and way too cringey for my tastes. 

 My constant question while watching these movies while snuggled up next to the tree is, why? Why am I watching a romance at Christmas? Why is this the official genre of the holiday season? What does Christmas have to do with romance? When I think of the holidays I think of going home to spend it with family and friends, maybe I’m crazy but my first thought is not that I will meet the love of my life while baking cookies with my grandma. Though the more I think about it I do understand that holidays remind people of the fact they may not be in a relationship, with relatives and friends asking about their romantic lives. Making people yearn for a dreamy hunk to have a meet-cute with. 

The holidays can also be stressful and complicated with end of year worries, complicated family dynamics or possibly a reminder that you didn’t have the greatest year. So these rom coms provide a simple and uncomplicated happily ever after for you to fantasize about, they allow all issues and problems to be wrapped up in a cheesy red bow. Maybe people crave that kind of comfort during the holidays, wanting to focus on the good and spread the love, and these crazy rom coms allow that kind of extremely positive and predictable escape. 

We all want to imagine that someone is going to chase us through the airport to proclaim their undying love, or that we’ll conveniently inherit a bed and breakfast in the mountains complete with its own dreamy lumberjack, or take a quick holiday vacation that ends with a royal wedding. Escaping the reality of depressing cold winters to be reminded that the holidays can be a positive time to be kind and see the ones we love, is not such a bad thing. 

These new and decidedly lesser rom coms of Hallmark and Netflix still offer that rush of serotonin that we are all looking for around the holidays, they still provide that cozy up by the fire and watch a series of awkward events lead to an uber romantic finale vibes. Though I still miss the genuineness of the older romcoms; they feel less like a robot’s interpretation of romance, and really pull at your heart strings with their relatable characters and ooey-gooey romantic moments. So I think I’ll forgo some of the new and shiny rom coms and stick to my tried and true favourites this holiday season…while also asking Santa to bring me some rom coms that give me that warm fuzzy feeling next year. 

Header Image Source: USA Today

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