• Emily Win

8 Alternative Hallmark Storylines For This Christmas Season

About a week ago pop culture media blew up over Hallmark's decision to stop airing a Zola ad featuring two brides. In this simple 30 second commercial, two brides say "I do" to using this wedding planning website to make their dreams an easy reality. Once they exchange the vows, they share a kiss. Zola didn't seem to make a big deal about it, but the rest of the world definitely did.

It is understood that the decision to pull the ads was in response to One Million Moms' -- "a division of the conservative American Family Association"-- rejection of "same-sex couples." After a huge backlash from social media, the Human Rights Campaign, and other LGTBQ allied organizations, Hallmark has come apologizing with their tail between their legs. Just a few days after they pulled the ads, the CEO publicly apologized and reinstated the ads. The wishy washy morale of Hallmark shows their lack of spine in the face of controversy.

While I'm not the first person to remark on the ups and downs of this controversial Hallmark story, it shows us yet another demonstration of the types of power hate groups still possess over major industry influencers. In all honesty, I might be one to join the ranks of people wanting to boycott Hallmark for their lack of queer representation altogether. However, instead of spreading more hate and frustration, I think there is a more jolly and cheerful gesture that would keep us all in the Christmas spirit. After all, Hallmark and Zola alike are all about happy endings and making dreams come true. 

Therefore, I present to you 8 Hallmark-inspired storylines, only queered, so that we all can cozy on up with a mug of hot chocolate and enjoy snow, lights, and holiday magic. 

1. Classic Girl Falls for Best Friend 

We've all been there. Hayley Kiyoko even wrote a banger song about it. In this feature Hallmark 25 Days of Christmas production, our high achieving heroine, Lina, falls for the gal whose been there through all of the breakups, all of the jobs interviews, and all of the one night stands. They realize their love for each other while at a wine and canvas night. Both go to use the same brush, they touch fingers, they lock eyes, and voila! Their wine-soaked hearts beat for one another in a true love's artistic touch. At first, they fear ruining their friendship. But after seeking counsel from their friends and family members, they realize it was meant to be all along.

2. The Tale of the Rustic Farm Christmas 

Out in the middle of nowhere Ohio a girl-next-door meets the cute farmer folk just outside of town. When our lead gal, Stacey, is driving home from a bonfire, she notices the hood of her car smoking. It just so happens that Quinn was outside looking at the moon, so they come over to see if they can help. Quinn uses their vast knowledge of cars to get the engine running. But oh no! A snow storm suddenly hits! So Quinn invites Stacey inside their little farm house. After a few beers and board games, the two share a snuggley kiss and realize they should move in together. 

3. A Princess Falls in Love

Princess Ami, heir to the throne, is under immense pressure to find someone to marry before midnight. Even though she knows the rules are outdated, she still wants a partner to hold her hand and listen to her talk about her feelings. During the annual Christmas Ball, our princess spots Princess Shai from across the room. They lock eyes. Shai asks for a dance, Ami complies. They whole hall stops to witness love at first sight. Upon getting to know one another, they realize that they both have a duty to serve their respective countries. However, the problem is eventually resolved when both crowns decide to merge their borders and become one happy nation, allowing Princess Ami and Princess Shai to become queens in love.

4. The Wedding Fiasco 

What would a month of Christmas movies be without a grand wedding! This weekend special follows two young queers, Jade and Bobbi, as they face the trials and obstacles of their wedding day. From over-the-top dress designers to picky flower girls, it contains all of the family drama of your special day. The little rascal cousins set a table on fire, the venue suddenly backs out, and the vegan pasta has surprise meat in it! It's like any other wedding film you've seen before, only it's totally not straight. Oh, and after our lovebirds finally work through all that the day throws at them, they end up getting married outside under the stars. Because nothing is more important than their love for one another. Instead of a grand reception, they sing Christmas carols with their friends and family around a campfire while they pass out candy cane wedding favors. 

5. Coffee Shop Romance 

Our 20-something Billie opens up the coffee shop of their dreams in their small Pacific Northwest town. Modeled after Luke's Diner, this joint has no internet and encourages its patrons to form face-to-face community through art and dialogue workshops. One day, a charming young person named Lila walks in to get a coffee and work on their painting craft. They get to talking and Billie hires the aspiring artist to lead the art therapy workshops. Before you know it, the two are sledding at the local hill and going on dates to volunteer at the soup kitchen. Conflict brews when the shop's landlord demands wifi, but Lila saves the day by putting on a pet friendly bake sale fundraiser to buy out the whole building. 

6. Honeymoon to Paradise 

Gemma wins the lottery and decides to take her partners, Jaq and Jules, on a two week honeymoon to the Greek island of Santorini. They decide not to have a commitment celebration, but instead celebrate their love through travel adventures. In this feel-good movie, we get supercuts of fine dining, ocean adventures, and beautiful sunsets. Although the vacation seems to be going perfectly, Gemma becomes worried that Jaq and Jules aren't as committed as she thinks and decides to get a plane ticket home early. After the two chase her down in the airport, they realize they were all meant to be. The three decide to commit to one another in an intimate celebration of Christmas on the beach.

7. A Plane Coincidence 

CEO and founder of her successful marketing business, Melinda, works so hard that she has to fly across the country for a work meeting on Christmas! However, the cute and flirtatious flight attendant, Liz, wants to make her feel like she has a home away from home, even if it's just for a few hours. After 5 hours of winks, compliments, and passing notes via drink napkins, the two exchange numbers with the bittersweet feeling that they may never see one another again. But alas! On Melinda's return flight home she runs into Liz, only this time Liz is flying as a regular civilian, not a flight attendant, so they get to spend 5 more hours talking and laughing and cuddling. The closer they get to landing, the more worried they become, since they both have demanding jobs. However, all is resolved when Liz and Melinda both quit their jobs to start a travel business company together and live happily ever after. 

8. Getting The Family Back Together 

Exes Jamie and Al have spent years trying to get co-parenting right. They both love their two little girls, but in the journey through raising kids the two drifted apart. Five years have passed since their clean breakup and things seem to be going well! They are Christmas shopping together, running errands together, even doing laundry together. Both secretly think that maybe they should give it another shot, but are too afraid to ruin the balance they've already achieved. During Christmas Eve preparations, Al makes Jamie breakfast in bed, showing their love for her. Later that day, when they are both decorating the tree, they trip over the dog, fall on one another, and realize they both want to share a kiss. After a long night of discussing if they should get back together, they wake up Christmas morning to tell the kids the family is going to be together for this Christmas and for every Christmas.

Photo by Kira auf der Heide on Unsplash