There was a time when I boycotted everything romance. It was just easier that way. I was single at the time so watching sappy romances only made me lonelier for my own prince charming.

There was also a time when I was too busy living out my own happily ever after than to sit and watch make-believe fairy tales. While I was dating my soon-to-be husband and during the first couple years of our marriage, I was far too wrapped up in developing my own love story to have time for Hallmark Channel’s yearly Countdown to Christmas love fest.

Up until a few years ago, I’m not sure I even knew the Hallmark Channel existed, but now, believe it or not, it’s one of the few channels I have memorized. Between their Spring Fever, June Weddings, and Fall Harvest special programming, I’ve become quite the loyal follower. I’m not quite the “I’ve seen every Hallmark movie known to man from the beginning of time as soon as it debuts” follower, but I have no doubt: I’m inching my way closer to that honorary title.

When I first discovered the sweet and sentimental, albeit cliché, love stories told through Hallmark’s made-for-TV movies, I felt slightly guilty and embarrassed. I often wondered if I was only drawn to these cheesy chick flicks because I was no longer in the early stages of my own life romance. The early attraction when just the mention of my man caused my heart to skip a beat and butterfly flurries in my stomach were the norm. The “can’t eat, can’t sleep, you’re all I think about” kind of love.

Until I realized that I genuinely love these sappy, often melodramatic love stories told by some of my favorite recurring actresses like Lacey Chabert, Danica McKellar, and Candace Cameron Bure. It doesn’t matter how many different characters they play and how they find their true love, I’m always enamored with their journey to career fulfillment and marital bliss.

Watching the Hallmark Channel is like coming home for me. It invites me to ponder on and unleash my childhood dreams. Dreams of discovering my giftings, pursuing my passions, and finding true love in the midst of it all. By allowing myself to enjoy these grown-up Cinderella stories, I’m given the gift of reliving the joy and wonder I felt as a child when watching my favorite Disney princess movies.

However, my husband doesn’t quite understand my love for Hallmark. If he sees me watching my favorite channel, he usually rolls his eyes and makes a mad dash for his man cave where he unleashes his own childhood dreams through FIFA video games. On a rare occasion, I’ll catch him eyeing curiously from the kitchen so I’ll coax him into the family room where he proceeds a pattern of watch a little, give me a puzzled look, roll his eyes, watch a little, puzzled look, roll his eyes until I finally kick him out of the room so I can enjoy my guilty pleasure without the constant judgment.

Therefore, as the Countdown to Christmas begins, I predict the following: on any given night, I will likely be watching my favorite Hallmark actresses playing multiple different characters, falling in love multiple times to multiple different bachelors in their 22 all new original movie premieres. And I will enjoy every minute of it!

Afterward, I will likely find my hubby hiding in the basement, playing video games. Most likely, I will roll my eyes because I just don’t understand his love for playing video games. Then I’ll remember that video games to him are like the Hallmark channel to me. The same childlike hope and wonder that I experience from watching Hallmark is the same joy my husband feels when playing video games.

I’ll stay to watch him for a bit, as he strategically dominates in his FIFA World Cup, tell him “good game” as I playfully spank his butt, give him a quick kiss and proceed upstairs.

I’ll likely return to the family room with a bowl of popcorn and a cup of tea. I’ll curl up on the couch with pillows and a blanket and munch on some popcorn, sipping my holiday spice tea. I’ll sit back and enjoy my sweet and sappy, Countdown to Christmas tradition as I ponder on the joy and wonder of my childhood dreams turned into reality.

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Alaina V. Fletcher

Alaina is a Kansas native who lives in Cincinnati with her handsome hubby, toddler son, and senior cat. Her childhood love for reading and writing led her to earning a degree in English. She has an interest in and appreciation for all things visual and performing arts. She’s a dancer, runner, photography-lover, and stay-at-home mom to an amazing little boy. Her life-long purpose is continuing to grow in the Lord while using her talents to bless others and unveil her unique and beautiful story of redemption, love, and grace.

Follow Alaina on her blog livelifelovedbylainy and on Facebook: Live Life Loved