How to Make the Perfect Christmas Movie


 If New Year’s Eve is our time to turn over a new leaf, it must be the job of Christmas, or at least Christmas movies, to submerge all who celebrate into a vat of stunningly blasé, peppermint-flavored monotony. 

   Calling Christmas rom-coms a genre of their own is like classifying all of Hollywood’s Chrises (Evans, Pratt, Pine, Hemsworth—the list goes on) as their own race. Sure, we don’t need all of them, but somehow we’ve looped ourselves into an alternate universe where there’s a particular market for movies with identical plots and gaunt-looking white men with beards in their thirties.

   It’s a bit of a c(h)risis.

   Still, there’s a certain comfort in watching what might as well be the same movie over and over again. If you didn’t like the edgy, misogynist humor of “Groundhog Day,” maybe you’ll like vanilla Millennial humor cinnamon-wrapped à la Hallmark and Netflix Originals.

   Watch as a competent, career-driven businesswoman learns that the Wall Street sphere just isn’t for her. See as she ends up in her hometown (Surprise!) for Christmas and falls for her middle-school boyfriend (Ew! We know), who, for all the strategically warm mood lighting and royalty-free Christmas jingles that play whenever he’s around, is little more than a glorified, Fred-from-Scooby-Doo-esque lumberjack.

   Or see in awe as an American tourist books a last-minute trip across the pond to a tiny country that doesn’t exist and bumps into a boy with killer table etiquette and a secret to hide. He’s actually the Prince and is hiding his whirlwind romance with a foreigner from his traditionalist parents and a disapproving public? Who would have guessed?

   But we’ve broken down the Christmas rom-com tropes to a T. This year, you can create your own cheesy cinematic rom-com universe in spirit of the holiday season with The Paw Print’s Official Guide:


The Setting

  • The big city 

It’s always New York because they have snow. Can’t LA get some love? Why don’t we just have a “sand blizzard” instead?

  • A random, podunk town in the Midwest

Oh no! A snowstorm! What’s this? A charming little town in the middle of nowhere that just happens to be obsessed with Christmas? A random bearded local that might just be the love of your life? The unexplainable desire to stay forever even though you have other places to be and dreams to tend to? 

  • A royal palace

You’ve taken the scenic route: you’re spending Christmas in a totally real European country. It’s a charming trope, especially in the “Princess Diaries” films, but once you have a million countries with names like “Aldovia” or “Cordinia” running around, you have to worry a little. Where is Europe mysteriously getting all this real estate? Are they going to wage a third World War? 

The Characters

  • The Business Executive

They’ve got places to be, or so they think. They’ve probably got several scenes talking on the phone while juggling a coffee and file folders just to hammer home the idea that they’re busy. Despite all of that, they give up their career at the end to be with someone they just met. 

  • The Tragic Past

Whether they’ve got a rough family history or a nonexistent social life, the vulnerable, “I’ve never had anything in life” protagonist creates the perfect opportunity for the love interest to show her the true meaning of Christmas. Which is, apparently, cheesy montages of ice skating and awkward “‘I just met you” gift exchanges. But hey, they always end up a happy couple, so who are we to judge?

  • The Lumberjack

He’s got no discernible personality save for “nice,” but he probably dresses up in a Santa suit for the annual Christmas extravaganza. He owns a wardrobe of exclusively Fair Isle sweaters and flannels. He also seems perfectly fine with living out his days in the middle-of-nowhere town where he was raised, which is more than a little unsettling. But for the sake of the Christmastime cheer, he’s perfect husband material. 

  • The ‘Villain’

It’s as if the disgruntled business partner or ex-friend is always standing in the wings, waiting for their moment to show the world just how envious they are of the happy couple. They probably have very little to do with the actual plot but are just dying to sprinkle coal in everyone’s stockings. In summary, this character is only there to be scowling in the background and will most likely fail in whatever ‘evil’ scheme they are plotting.