I admit, I am a Hallmark Christmas movie junkie.
I am addicted to the happy feeling that I have when a movie is over, even though I shed some tears. I know that the movies are predictable and unrealistic, but that is part of the enjoyment. The movies are so pure and innocent.
My mom and I have a contest to see how quickly we can guess the ending. Who will fall in love with whom? How will it happen? Believe it or not, there are a few new movies that have caught us by surprise.
I have been analyzing these movies for years to figure out exactly what they do to create that happy feeling in me. What can I do to create this happy feeling every day during the holidays?
Here is what I have observed:
Clutter and dirt are stressful. You will not find either in Hallmark towns or homes. Every time the Christmas decoration boxes are brought out, they look like they had been dusted and polished for the past 11 months. The barns that they decorate for their holiday festivities are just as immaculate. I do not think animals or equipment have ever entered their farm buildings. Do these people even know what dirty laundry or stacks of mail or junk even is?
Most times, the Hallmark families do not purchase their real Christmas tree and decorate until the week of Christmas. What about decorating in early November so you can enjoy the colorful beauty for a few weeks? When the decorations are unpacked everything matches so perfectly. Even their “homemade” creations look like they were created by a professional artist.
No one in Hallmark movies watches TV. I do not remember a TV even being in any scene. It is common that the characters reminisce about traditions from their childhood, but never do they share what their favorite holiday movie is. They don’t even mention the Grinch or Rudolph.
Their baking routines do not seem to exhaust them. I need to know how they do this. They make dozens of cookies in one afternoon and do not need a nap before they participate in the night’s activities.
Their outfits always are wrinkle-free and brand new. Whether they are in their pajamas or lumberjack flannel or cooking apron, they look like a model. Even when they bundle up to go out into the cold evening, they look pristine. It makes my mismatched purple headband, pink leg warmers and green ski jacket look a bit out of place.
It always snows at the right time — particularly right before a kiss. I have lived in the Midwest my whole life and have never seen snow fall at the right time. It always comes when I do not want it to. It delays holiday plans and creates a slushy mess.
The people of Hallmark towns are forgiving people. No one is ever angry or has malicious intent, even when a couple breaks up. Everyone understands and supports each other. There are no bad attitudes or grudges.
They are emotionally intelligent. When a tough life decision needs to be made (for example, accepting a job offer), it is done without “love.” What I mean by this is, the new love interest is not consulted. The decision is made because it is the best decision for that person. The love relationship should not affect the life decision, so they do not allow it to.
As I prepare to create my Hallmark Christmas, I am purposely choosing not to adopt some of their habits.
I am not going to stress about the dusty decoration boxes. A little extra cleaning will not hurt me.I am going to proudly display those homemade decorations that my kids made in kindergarten.I will enjoy a few Christmas movies and my favorite Hallmark channel.I look forward to the snow whenever it chooses to arrive.
However, I will focus on the last two observations. I would like to perfect these habits, not only during the holiday season but also all year long.
Emotional intelligence is doing what I know I should do even when I do not want to. It means that I will recognize my emotions and the emotions of others around me, but I will not make a decision only on feelings. I will not react when my passion is at the highest level. I will allow the facts and logic to also guide my decisions.
This might mean that I need to be silent until I am no longer feeling the strength of my emotions. This might mean that I do not ever respond with some of my thoughts. These emotional management tools will save me from embarrassment and frustration. They will help me create my realistic Hallmark Christmas.
Kathie Rotz is a leadership consultant and John Maxwell Certified Speaker, Trainer and Coach with Unity Consulting in Dubuque.