How do you know when it’s officially the holiday season?

Is it the rows upon rows of ornaments and light-up Santas that shout “ho, ho, ho!” when you walk by in Target?

Is it that first time Mariah Carey’s voice belts out that all she wants for Christmas is you?

Or is it that moment your child hands you draft number one of their wishlist? 

Well yeah, any of these signs could mean that it’s time to be merry and get your jingle on, but the truth is, it’s not really Christmas time until one thing happens: Hallmark rolls out their Christmas move lineup. 

You know this is true. Until a small-town girl who tried to make it in the big city  returns home to find her long-lost love… who wears a red blazer… or is secretly a prince who ice skates… only THEN is it time to drag out your stockings and unwrap all those ornaments of your kids’ tiny hand-prints that make you cry every year.

And in case you’re wondering if that time has come, we’re here to share the joyous news—it has. And so is Saturday Night Live.

In a spot-on spoof of Hallmark Christmas movies, actor James Franco plays that small-town guy who steals the city girl’s heart (in a red blazer) and, in true Hallmark fashion, that SAME actor plays the prince in another Hallmark movie that will probably air the next night. 

It’s okay because, as SNL points out, the storylines are soooo different! One has a girl falling in love with him by her Christmas tree, whereas the other has sparks flying on an ice-skating rink.

So yes, ’tis the season for watching movies that make you ask, “Wait, how do I know that actor?” and realizing that yes, Hallmark recycles the same actors from Party of Five and Desperate Housewives over and over.

You know you love these completely unpredictable love stories though, so you really don’t care. Or, you realize the acting is terrible and the storylines are all literally the same, but it makes you happy to see the girl who hated big-city life leave her jerk fiance and his fancy Mercedes behind, only to reconnect with her high school boyfriend who wears plaid and makes cabinets. 

After all, “It’s quantity over quality, people, and we are just blasting you with these,” SNL actress Cecily Strong says in her narration. 

Whatever, Hallmark. Just give it to us. Because after a long day of negotiating with tiny people who can PUT ON THEIR BOOTS ALL BY THEMSELVES and who hate bananas love bananas hate bananas love bananas, putting our feet up in warm fuzzy socks, drinking a glass of wine or a hot cup of tea, and watching Sarah recover from amnesia and find love again might help us forget about our kids pooping through their clothes at church that morning.

Or maybe it’s because we like to imagine ourselves in these fantasy stories. Like, if I walk into a pole tomorrow because I’m exhausted and stressed and dragging toddlers who don’t believe in coats even though it’s 14 degrees out, will I get amnesia and wake up as a princess? 

Because sign me up.

The hilarious SNL skit also pokes fun at the redundancy of set designs (hint: there’s a gazebo in every single one), the likelihood that they are “all filmed during one month in Ottawa” and that three of the titles are Yes, Santa, Winter Santa, and Princess Santa while another three are called Holiday Wedding, Wedding Christmas, and then, simply just Wedding

But the reason this skit is so perfect is we know all this. Yet we love them anyway. Because, as Cecily Strong says in her closing narration, “Hallmark—this is our Super Bowl.”

So put the kids to bed, cozy up under a warm blanket, and let’s get our Hallmark on, folks. (I hear tonight’s movie might have Winnie from Wonder Years! I mean, it’s either her or DJ Tanner. Guaranteed, right?)

P.S. I’m wrapping this Hallmark Christmas DVD set up with a pair of fuzzy socks for our annual family While Elephant party this year. 

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Karen Johnson

Karen Johnson is a freelance writer who is known on social media as The 21st Century SAHM. She is an assistant editor at Sammiches and Psych Meds, staff writer and social media manager for Scary Mommy, and is the author of I Brushed My Hair Today, A Mom Journal for Mostly Together Moms. Follow Karen on Facebook, Twitter , and Instagram