What I’ve Learned from Christmas Movies

At this time of the year, I like to unwind by watching a cheesy Christmas movie or two.

These are the sorts of movies that are usually set in a small town in the US with a lot of snow, and a predictable storyline. There may be a prince from a tiny kingdom in Europe coming to find his true love, or a stressed out executive escaping the city for the holidays, or something like that. To top it off, there is always a happy ending.

The movies also feature incredibly good looking people, perfect baking, stunning decorations, and snow that falls at just the right moment.

No matter what the movie is about, it’s predictable, and you don’t have to think too much while you watch it. The perfect way to just unwind at the end of a crazy year.

It may seem strange, but I have learned a lot about writing from watching these movies. Here are a few of the lessons I’ve learned:

  • Formula’s work – it may be tempting to reinvent the wheel and do something different, however, there are times when a formula works. In these movies, it’s girl meets boy (usually, there are girl meets girl & boy meets boy movies too, but these are in the minority at the moment), there are a series of challenges, they fall in love, something happens to drive them apart, then they get back together again for a happy ending. You can mix it up with the setting, characters, and so on, but the formula works.
  • Original ideas – I know there are times I think there are no new ideas under the sun and that I need to be careful not to write a story someone else has done. When it comes to these Christmas movies, they are quite similar, even if they have their own spin on them. I’ve seen two lately called A Prince for Christmas or something similar… this tells me that we can overthink things by wanting to come up with a completely original idea. Even if you think someone else has written your story, you can put your own spin on it to make it your own.
  • People enjoy these – as I said at the start, these movies are cheesy, they aren’t likely to win any awards, but people watch them. I’m in a couple of Facebook groups where these movies are discussed a lot. There’s also a few people I follow on Twitter who have a thread to summarise the movies. People enjoy these movies, so remember that you don’t have to focus on writing a work of great literary merit, unless that’s what you really want to do, just write the story you want to write.
  • Have fun – I have fun watching these movies. I hope those making them had fun too. Whatever you’re writing, enjoy the process, and this will come through to the reader.

These are just a few of the lessons I’ve learned from watching Christmas movies. With all the various streaming services, there are plenty of cheesy Christmas movies to watch. My kids roll their eyes when I watch them… but I don’t care. They are the perfect thing to unwind after a long day at work, and after a long year.

Do you like Christmas movies? What movies have you watched this year, are there any I should add to my list?

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About Melissa

Melissa Gijsbers started writing when she was in High School during the 1990s, even winning some awards for a short story and a script. For many years, life got in the way of creative writing, however she did start blogging around 2006.

She currently lives in Melbourne, Australia with her two sons and a pet blue tongue lizard.

Melissa Gijsbers, Author, Speaker & Booklover
Melissa Gijsbers - Author, Speaker & Booklover
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