This image is an official promotional art for The Christmas House. According to the official Hallmark Channel website under the article, The Christmas House states that “this rights for this film belong to Crown Media Family Networks” (9). This image is on Hallmark Channel’s official YouTube under the video Jonathan Bennett – “The Christmas House” – Home & Family at 0:11.
The Hallmark Channel is the Home for Holiday Films
What’s the first thing that comes to mind when I say the words, “Hallmark Channel”? More than likely, the first thought that comes to mind is the Hallmark Christmas films. Granted, Hallmark is known for their holiday decorations as well as greeting cards. Which can be found at most stores. However, many individuals know Hallmark because of the Hallmark channel. More specifically, the holiday Hallmark Christmas movies. Every year after Thanksgiving, people gather around the television and watch Hallmark Christmas films. Normally, they’re cheesy and full of romance. Sometimes, there’s a film that stands out from the rest. However, many of the films are the same generic holiday feel good films. Over the years, Hallmark Channel has gotten a lot of backlash from their lack of diversity. Particularly within different races and different types of families. Now, Hallmark has made some changes to be more inclusive.
However, there’s hasn’t been one film representing the LGBTQ+ community. For a while, people assume that the Hallmark channel would never make the step after last year. According to TODAY’S official YouTube page under the video Hallmark Apologizes For Pulling Gay-Themed Wedding Add Under Pressure | TODAY, NBC national correspondent Miguel Almaguer stating that “after backfire from conservative groups, Hallmark pulled a commercial featuring two women kissing” (0:03 – 0:38). The hope of any representation for the LGBTQ+ community was significantly lowered after what Hallmark did. Then on November 22, 2020, a new film made its way onto the Hallmark channel name The Christmas House. Does The Christmas House have the steppingstones for more diversity in Hallmark films? Let’s find out together. In this review, we’re analyzing The Christmas House and how this film could open the door to more Hallmark LBGTQ+ holiday films.
The Christmas House Brings Several Unique Stories
The story of The Christmas House follows a formula yet puts a twist on the types of stories. Essentially, Bill and Phylis ask their boys Brandon and Mike back to create the Christmas House. From there, this film follows three different stories. Which isn’t anything new for a Hallmark film. What makes The Christmas House different is the fact that one of the films follows a gay couple who is married. In fact, this film covers several story themes not otherwise seen before in other Hallmark films. Some of these themes include letting go of the past and divorce. While the film does cover a lot more topics, The Christmas House is the first film on the Hallmark channel to cover anything regarding the LGBTQ+ community. More specifically, this film covers the struggles LGBTQ+ couples endure during the adoption process. This film does a good job with balancing the stories.
As The Christmas House doesn’t alienate its audience. Each story is told incredibly well. There wasn’t one point where either story seems out of place. The only thing I would change about this film is more screen time with Brandon and Jake. Within The Christmas House, the stories are character-driven stories. Brandon and his husband Jake are such relatable characters. Trust me, we’ll get more into details about the characters in this film. Now, I understand why The Christmas House did what they did with the stories. They’re walking a dangerous line by introducing Brandon and Jake. This is because most of the demographic of the Hallmark channel tends to be on the more conservative side. That said, bringing these two characters into a main story line is risky. So, the stories are written in this way so that there’s a balance.
Within The Christmas House, the Word Balance Appears Within the Story and Characters
The word balance essentially describes The Christmas House’s story structure. There’s a mixture of feel good, holiday cheer. While at the same time, making the characters feel human. That’s one of the ways Hallmark films do so well. Most if not all of them are character-driven stories. So then, the audiences feel relatability and a sense of emotion to the characters. While the main focus of the film doesn’t fall on Brandon and Jake, this film shows the potential Hallmark can do in the future. In regards to having more films with LGBTQ+ stories as well as characters. One of the selling points about The Christmas House is the characters. As they too bring a wonderful balance and personality to this film. Each of the characters have their own unique strengths and weaknesses. While at the same time being incredibly human.
One of the main characters Mike is charming but is stuck in the past. On the other hand, Mike’s brother Brandon is stuck in the present trying to move into the future as both him and his husband try to adopt a child. Mike is a well flesh out character. However, where the film really shines is with Brandon and Jake. These two characters don’t play on any stereotypes. Unfortunately, the LGBTQ+ community has a lot of character stereotypes within entertainment. One man being too feminine in a relationship or vice versa. The stereotyping has gotten better as more groups as well as individuals advocate for LGBTQ+ community. However, there are companies that still stick to the stereotypes. Much like any group that has low representation. Yet, Brandon and Jake are not a stereotype couple. In fact, they’re more of a real relationship than Mike and Brandon’s parents.
The Christmas House Doesn’t Show Walking Stereotypes in its Characters and Instead Shows the New Idea of Family
Both Brandon and Mike are not a walking stereotype. Which is astronomically huge for representation. In fact, not one of the characters in this film has a stereotype to them. Each one of the characters within The Christmas House have their own unique trats to them. With that said, this film can be a huge steppingstone for more LGBTQ+ content. Being able to tell holiday and personal stories showing that a family can be a family no matter what they look like. Whether it a single parent, an LGBTQ+ couple, or even a “traditional” couple, a family can be whatever we make it to be. That message in of itself is huge. Which is one of the reasons why I feel like The Christmas House shines the brightest on. The word “family” can be whatever we make it. Which is huge for viewers to be able to see.
Potentially, this film could help someone who is struggling. Regardless of sexual identity, family dynamic, or just being a good person. Therefore, this film resonates so brightly is that factor that family is what we make it. Which shows again that this film can open doors to more Hallmark LGBTQ+ holiday films.
The Christmas House Brings So Much Potential to More LGBTQ+ Holiday Films
In this review, we thoroughly analyze The Christmas House. Firstly, we took a look at the story of this film. While this film follows familiar stories, The Christmas House twists things up with the types of stories. Each one of these stories don’t feel out of place. If anything, the stories of this film don’t alienate their audience. While I wish there was more of some of the characters, The Christmas House does an incredible job balancing the stories. Then, we talk about how the word balance best describes this story as well as characters. The characters of this film bring their own spice. However, the film really shines with Brandon and Jake. Without a doubt, these two characters are the best characters written in this film. With no stereotypes to come by, this film shows the new idea of family.
The idea of family shows itself throughout this film. Regardless if that family has a single parent, traditional couple, or an LGBTQ+ couple. The Christmas House takes audiences on a wonderful ride with a bunch of different story themes. This film can be the steppingstones to more LGBTQ+ holiday films to show that a family can be anything we make it to be.
Open for Discussion
Thank you for reading this review. Now, we want to hear from you guys. Have you seen The Christmas House? Is this a Hallmark film you might be watching sometime soon? Let us know in the comments below.
If you want to learn more about this film, make sure to check out the official The Christmas House’s website. Also, make sure to take a look at Hallmark’s social media accounts. This includes Hallmark’s Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook. Just to stay up to date on other projects Hallmark is coming out with.
Additionally, if you like what you see, make sure to check out this review I did about the Pixar Short, Out. In that review, I discuss in detail about Out changes the typical coming out trope.
Finally, if you want to receive any news regarding pop-culture, create an account today at Geek Street Society. Make sure to check out our shop. We’ve got several new items in our store. If you use the code ‘sparky’, it’ll save you 15% off on anything at our store. Go check it out and get yourself some merch today.
Thank you once again and stay tuned for more news here on Geek Street Society.