Holiday Romance Movies: Overrated or Undervalued?

From Hallmark to Netflix, the release of multiple holiday romance movies each holiday season raises the question of whether the world needs another one of them or if there are already too many.


Aaminah Bukhari

The Hallmark Channel’s “Countdown to Christmas” movies are produced by and broadcast on The Hallmark Channel every two hours from the last weekend in October to New Year’s Day. The success of these movies have grown, increasing the holiday programming lineup, with other networks and streaming services eagerly climbing aboard the merry bandwagon.

Good cheers, Christmas miracles, and secret wishes make the holidays a perfect backdrop for romance. Every holiday season, movie streaming platforms, such as Hallmark and Netflix, release countless romantic holiday movies to their audiences. With the wide range of holiday romance movies, you would think that there would always be something for everyone. But with the release of multiple movies each year, at what point do they become overrated? 

They all essentially have the same plot: A young, pretty, big-city woman finds herself in a snowy, small-town for Christmas. There she meets the small-town’s outcast — a grumpy, family man. There is tension between them; he shows her there is more to life than just work and the true meaning of both family and Christmas. Ultimately, the woman falls in love. 

After an almost kiss between the two that somehow always gets interrupted in the strangest way possible, a miscommunication between the two arises but gets quickly resolved. The woman gets offered a grand, new work opportunity back at her big-city life, but decides to pass it up to spend a traditional, small-town Christmas with the grumpy man and his family. From there, they both live happily ever after. 

If you can think of multiple holiday movies with that plot, then you prove my point exactly. So why is it that, every year, audiences watch these movies so frequently? 

Netflix is just one of the many movie streaming platforms that release holiday romantic movies each holiday season. Netflix often hits its peak viewing time for families over the holidays. (Aaminah Bukhari)

To get to the bottom of this, I conducted a survey amongst Bronx Science students asking whether they believe holiday romance movies are overrated. The results were pretty revealing with 45.5% saying yes, 40.9% saying no, and the remaining 13.6% saying maybe. 

“I find holiday movies to be really cliché, and I don’t really understand why they’re so popular. It’s basically like watching the same episode of a show over and over again, but in a slightly different color,’’ said Vanessa Encarnacion ’25. 

Maheen Asaf ’25 agreed saying, “They’re repetitive and follow the same boring plotline every time.” 

Evan Li ’23 explained that “there’s been so many made over the years. Concepts have been used and reused time and time again. Every director who decides to make a holiday romance movie in this decade is throwing their career away.” 

While some students may not like the clichés in holiday movies, other students find them to be entertaining. 

Asuka Koda ’23 said, “Although cliché, the predictability of these repetitive movies promises a great and consistent family bonding experience every year.”

She isn’t wrong. Other viewers believe the predictability of the movie is part of the charm. They offer a sense of certainty in a time of uncertainty with the COVID-19 pandemic. 

These movies also offer happy endings, which appeal to Saara Ahmed ’25 who believes, “It’s funny to have similar plots over and over again and it’s lovely to have happy endings.” 

Others find these holiday movies to be a nice escape from reality. 

“I’m in love with everything involving the holidays. I think holiday movies are cheerful and unrealistic in the best ways. Life can get difficult, so they’re a nice escape,’’ said Daniel Addoquaye ’23. 

With constant negative and disheartening content on the news, TV, and online, many people turn towards these movies as an escape to a calmer place. Their persistent positivity boosts morale, and research has suggested that they can chemically alter our brain’s empathy center to release dopamine and oxytocin

Andrew Morrissey ’23 also believes holiday movies aren’t overrated. “They are consistent with the general atmosphere of the holidays which is to be close to people that you love or have a close connection with.’’

Morrissey has gotten the whole point of holiday movies down; they are repeatedly unusual in their own unique way and are proud to be seen as corny or old-fashioned. The whole message they spread is that everyone deserves a chance to experience true love, even those who may seem like lost causes. 

Farhan Sreejan ’23 agreed, noting “They’re cute for what they are and are fun to watch with people you care about.”  

Yet holiday movies are not reflective of reality. Taybah Alam ’23, who votes yes on holiday movies being overrated, said, “It creates false advertisements of what love really is like. Every holiday season, people become obsessed with the idea of having a significant other during this special time and create many high expectations. It’s important to find value in other things, like family, during the holiday seasons instead of being consumed by a holiday sweetie.”

Alam made a strong point;  the holidays are a time to be close with your loved ones, not a time for unrealistic love stories. Single people get left out every holiday season. Where are their holiday movies? All they get are holiday baking shows, such as the Great British Baking Show Holiday and Nailed It! Holiday! (two shows which I recommend that everyone – single or not – should watch).  

The whole fascination with holiday romantic movies might never end, but for what they’re worth, they are a nice way to pass the time for audiences to either criticize or enjoy. Next time you find yourself hesitant about what to watch, watch a holiday movie and see for yourself whether or not they’re overrated. Maybe they’ll become your new guilty pleasure.

“It’s important to find value in other things, like family, during the holiday seasons instead of being consumed by a holiday sweetie,” said Taybah Alam ’23.