I suppose I should really title this 10 Steps to a Perfect Christmas Romance, brought to you by your snarky neighborhood romance author. Let’s face it – romance in general tends to employ a lot of cliches, but Christmas romance hits a special high note. As someone who has recently been spending quality time writing romance of the Christmas variety, I’ve discovered that I’m an authority on the subject. I’d like to say I’ve always been an expert, but instead I’ll chalk it up to to the recent influx of holiday movies. After all, if one watches enough Hallmark stories, eventually she will deduce the secret formula. I’ve progressed all the way to expert status.
Without further ado, here are your foolproof instructions for having a Hallmark-worthy holiday love story.
Number One: Christmas Town.
Move back home to a town with a holiday name. Begrudgingly travel to a holiday town for your job. Have car trouble in a holiday town. How you get there is not as important as the fact that you do. North Pole, Alaska. Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Christmas, Florida. Bonus points if you find one where it’s always snowing.
Number Two: The Boyfriend
Already have a boyfriend/fiancé or a man who thinks he is in that role. Must work a desk job, preferably where he has to wear a suit and tie to work each day. Perfectly combed hair is a must, as he always cares about appearances. Bonus points if he is self-absorbed, carries on a relationship with his phone, and thinks following your dream is a waste of time. *In extreme cases where a boyfriend/fiancé is not available, an overbearing parent will work in a pinch.
Number Three: The Big Guns
Arrange a chance encounter with Santa Claus or an angel. I know what you’re thinking—how can I make that happen? Clue number one: Santa Claus is usually disguised as your friendly neighborhood guy ringing a bell by a red kettle. If he says anything ridiculous to you, take it to heart. Clue number two: The angel could look like anyone you meet on the street. Probably an old guy dressed like he’s in a 1940’s movie or a woman who seems very grandmotherly. Whoever they are, you’ll recognize them because they pop up at the oddest times when you happen to need a pep talk or need someone to watch your dog.
Number Four: The Dream
Have a long-unattained life goal, the more difficult to make successful the better. Want to open your own bakery? One point. Want to start an online shop where you sell hand-crafted glittery Christmas ornaments all year long? Ten points. Want to start your own magazine where you take pictures of cats in evening wear? Fifty points.
Number Five: The List
Pull out your list of qualities you want in a guy. They could be the wrong qualities or the right qualities, it doesn’t really matter. Either you’ll meet your list or throw it out, one way or the other. Extra special bonus points if the list you dust off is from when you were ten.
Number Six: The Irresistible Guy
Manage a chance meeting with the town hunk. How to differentiate new guy from the old guy? This one will be kind of ruggedly unkempt. Probably wears flannel. There’s a good chance he works with his hands, but it’s also possible that he is a lawyer or a doctor. If so, he does a lot of work on the side where he accepts payment in pies and meddling townsfolk trying to set him up on a date. Should be easy to recognize him as he will be the one urging you to pursue the long-unattained life goal mentioned above. He’ll also be the recipient of better lighting as bestowed by the romantic universe. Super extra bonus points if he’s taking care of a kid who isn’t his.
Number Seven: Mandatory Bestie Time
Arrange time to make delicious Christmas cookies. Try to make it coincide with a visit from your best friend so she can give you sage and timely advice about holiday town and hunky dude. Don’t worry about possible conflicts with friend’s work schedule or day to day activities—for the time being her life revolves around your needs.
Number Eight: Setting Backdrop
Find a sleigh, a horse-drawn carriage, or the tallest Christmas tree in town. This bit is essential. It will be part of the photo op when your big moment happens.
Number Nine: Screw It Up
Do something really dumb. Or let the town hunk do something really dumb. Either way, someone has to do something really dumb that makes the other one question everything. It might seem that this is counter-intuitive, but trust me. Totally necessary for the aforementioned big moment with the sleigh or the horse-drawn carriage.
Number Ten: The Payoff
Don’t be home at the big moment when the hunk comes to find you. It’s imperative that one or both of you is running to the scene of the big moment right before it happens. Finally, enjoy the chaste two-second kiss while your scene fades into Christmas music. Wasn’t that fun? If you succeeded, you can try the whole thing again in a new Christmas town next year with a new town hunk.
There you have it! Your entire Hallmark-inspired romance Christmas checklist. We’ll see if any of these items end up on the Christmas romance I’m currently writing. 😉 Feel free to add any requirements I missed in the comments.
*all photos from deposit photos