Hallmark movie mom in the making

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Kym Seabolt's Christmas tree
Kym Seabolt's Christmas tree.

It is no secret that I love Hallmark Christmas movies. I know they are pure mind candy — fluffy, sweet, with no real substance. I don’t care. I have no shame. In fact, I think we need more of that in our entertainment choices these days.

I have, however,  recently had to face the reality that I am too old to be a Hallmark movie heroine. It is important to note that it is always a Hallmark female lead. Hallmark does not appear to film these from the perspective of the male.

I have been married for more than two decades. I’m not the target for a plucky Hallmark single gal at all. It goes without saying that I am far too old to be a Hallmark Christmas orphan.

Movie mom

That leaves me one role: Hallmark movie mom. Unfortunately, I have also come to the realization that I do not make the grade as a Hallmark movie mom. I have never once met a crisis with an offer of hot cocoa or a Christmas concert/festival. In Hallmark land, those two things cure all ill.

Hallmark movie mothers are the middle aged keepers of the Christmas flame. They are generally doting sages of our movie heroine. These Hallmark movie moms dispense cookies and Christmas wisdom in equal measure.

They say deep things like “follow your heart.” They worry that their daughter’s high powered career is keeping her from her real life goal: marrying a man who wears an awful lot of plaid.

Nag

On the flip side, they can also be harping shrews who beseech our Hallmark heroines that they simply must come home for Christmas (no distance too far). More importantly, they better not come home single!

Accordingly, Hallmark heroines will beg, borrow or steal a “faux fiance” just so they don’t brave the utter horror of showing up at the extended family Christmas single. Oh the horror. GirlWonder’s Brawny Boyfriend is a doll and he seems genuine and not at all like he’s been tricked or paid to be here, but in Hallmark land anything goes.

Forced home. Another common trope of the Hallmark genre is that our heroine is “forced” home for Christmas — either through a career assignment or the need to save the family farm/ski lodge/toy factory from the evil developer.

I really hope that any time our children come to visit is because they choose to. Saving the family heritage and/or town should merely be an afterthought. Nice work if you can get it, but don’t let it keep you from caroling around the town square.

Usually, once home, our heroine realizes that they never should have left. Me, I love the idea of the kids always returning for visits, but I also want the kids to be happy. Healthy birds fly.

They didn’t make all this effort on education and career so they could live in our backyard forever. They should at least get out for a bit and see the world. Then, when you’re ready, come back to the hometown if it suits you.

If it comes to it, Mr. Wonderful and I will just have to save the toy factory by ourselves.

I do aim to be a little more like the doting sage Hallmark movie mom. I just don’t think I have enough Santa Claus tea towels and twinkle lights. I definitely do not own a Christmas apron. I also don’t think gallons of hot cocoa are good for anyone. Some of us are lactose intolerant, Hallmark. Does anyone ever just get a glass of water?

We actually live near a bona fide “Hallmark Movie Town.” It won an award, and there is a banner and everything. I also live in a big white farmhouse just made for Christmas greenery and red bows.

I also have a couple of reindeer who magically appear. Okay, those are goats. One of them is brown though, so it’s almost the same thing. They are equally unpredictable as reindeer anyway.

As time marches on, I’m hoping all of this is enough to always lure our offspring home to a farmhouse on a hill near a little Hallmark town. If not I can always make a 55-gallon drum of cocoa, toss up a few thousand strands of Christmas lights, and hope for the best.

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Warm, witty and just a wee bit warped, Kymberly Foster Seabolt is a native of Kent, Ohio, who survived childhood exposure to disco and grew up to marry and move to the country. Her column weaves her special brand of humor with poignant, entertaining, and honest portrayals of parenting, marriage, and real life. She currently lives in northeastern Ohio with her husband, two children, two dogs, two cats, and numerous dust bunnies who wish to remain nameless.

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