Hallmark’s world domination continues again this year. But how to know if your guilty pleasure is lighthearted fun, or annoyingly sexist? Luckily F-BOM has rustled up a few winners from recent years, so you can binge in peace. Let’s check out what puts these three films ahead of the pack:

A Shoe Addict’s Christmas (2018)

A Shoe Addicts Christmas movie poster

Despite her fame among those who watch Hallmark movies religiously, I’d never seen Cameron Candace Bure in a Christmas romance movie before. This movie is a fun take on A Christmas Carol, where a mysterious, magical figure shows Candace what her life could’ve been like, if she’d made different choices (read: followed her heart).

Pros: The movie focuses equally on her career, her relationship with her father, and her openness with her best friend. Also, the shoes!

Cons: Trope alert: POC best friend with no character development.

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The Nine Lives of Christmas (2014)

Nine Lives of Christmas movie poster

Grad student Marilee has no time for love! Firefighter Zach doesn’t want to repeat the mistakes made by his divorced parents! Luckily, a love of cats brings the two together over and over, until they can’t deny their feelings any longer.

Pros: Zach and Marilee get to know each other in a really authentic way, so the love story feels relatable and grounded. There is a catty girlfriend (pun not intended) in their way for about ten seconds, but otherwise it’s about their insecurities and overcoming them, so the story is more about personal growth than drama.

Cons: POC best friend with no character development.

Get your Xmas movie fix with our reviews of the Netflix series A Christmas Prince here and here.

Christmas at Holly Lodge (2017)

Christmas at Holly Lodge movie poster

Sophie owns a ski resort where everyone says miracles happen. Evan is sent to buy the failing business out for his rich boss. When Sophie figures out why Evan is there, she endeavors to keep him distracted while she works to collect enough money to appease the bank.

Pros: No one has an aggressively Christmas-themed name. The path of this romance is a little goofier than the ones above (Sophie has to crawl out onto the roof to escape detection after spying on Evan), but the obstacles in front of them still feel natural and not dragged out unnecessarily. I also really liked that neither Sophie nor Evan had to give anything up at the end. Evan keeps his job traveling the world, with the idea that Sophie will join on the off-season and he will finally have a permanent place to call home.

Cons: POC best friend with no character development.

You may have noticed a trend in the “cons” section of these stories…yeah, people of color get the short end of the stick in all of these. Christmas at Holly Lodge has the best representation, but it’s hardly on the same level as 30 Christmas movies/year, all featuring a pair of white leads.

This past week, Hallmark showed an ad featuring a lesbian wedding, pulled the ad after backlash, and then re-released the ad after MORE backlash to them pulling it. Clearly, they don’t quite have their footing in the social justice world.

Hopefully Hallmark steps up its game in the future. Until then, enjoy these movies but don’t forget to seek out diversity in other media you consume.

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