Christmas Romantic Comedies: The Love and the Hate.


Nishita Mukherjee

Christmas rom-coms have become iconic during the winter holiday traditions.

Nishita Mukherjee, Managing Editor

With the holidays here, there are certain traditions and activities that many people tend to follow in light of Christmas cheer. They may sit on their couch with a hot cocoa nestled between their hands while they spend time with loved ones. During this time, numerous people also turn on their TV and watch holiday movies of all kinds, including Christmas romantic comedies. While some enjoy the movies, others detest them with a passion. Both distinct groups contain legitimate reasonings of their own.  

Christmas rom-coms have developed over the years. There are the original classics including “Love, Actually”, “Serendipity” and even the famous “When Harry met Sally.” Now, however, we have entered an era of millennial and Gen Z rom-coms. The popular movies are made up of series like “A Christmas Prince” and “The Princess Switch.” The films contain classic millennial humor, but still include a magical sense of Christmas. 

Christmas rom-coms are essential to the holiday spirit, no matter which traditions are celebrated in the winter.

With holiday themed clothing, drinks and decorations, holiday movies are a significant part of the celebrations. 

Another reason as to why Christmas rom-coms are so popular is because of the distraction it gives from the reality of our world. So many of our current events and news coverage  spotlight the negativity in our world. A simple, heartfelt, predictable movie is something that many people may need, especially during the busy  holiday season.

For some people, Christmas rom-coms can be just as much of a tradition as other classic holiday customs. On social media and conversation around the wintertime, many display their affection by rating their favorite holiday films or catching up on the new Hallmark movies, which are the main company that releases Christmas and holiday movies. With their popularity, the films tend to catch attention, including the very same classics mentioned before which are annual holiday favorites for many. 

But with the popularity of Christmas rom-coms, there comes a wave of criticism. A common complaint when it comes to most of these films is how repetitive and predictable they are. There tends to be a common storyline that these movies follow. Most of the time, one of the characters goes out of town and meets a stranger who they “mysteriously” end up having to work with. Generally, the two main characters don’t like each other off the bat, but over time they get to know each other on a deeper level. Eventually they end up dating or even getting married to have their happily-ever-after movie ending. 

Since these movies are closely tied to Christmas, there is often a life lesson about loved ones and family as it is what the holidays mean for many. 

Along with their classic tropes, many Christmas rom-coms have not been able to get away from criticism or  connect with the present-day public due to their shortage of inclusivity or rather their attempted approaches to be inclusive. 

In the winter of 2021, Netflix released the Christmas Rom-Com “Love Hard.” The film received extreme criticism for the way it portrayed the Asian love interest as conventionally unattractive in comparison to the conventionally attractive, European passing, love interest. 

Within the film, the main female lead is catfished by the male Asian love interest, who uses photos of the other, more “handsome” love interest. While the female lead was warranted for her behavior towards the Asian love interest, her judgment of his looks were presented in a harmful way. With Asian actors becoming scarce within Western media already, the public deserved a well written Asian character. 

Netflix also released another Christmas movie in 2021 featuring a gay man as the main character in “Single All The Way.” While it was a step in the right direction to have a queer Christmas movie with an interracial couple, there are certainly areas to improve.

Critics mainly addressed the stereotypes of gay people prevalent in the movie. Examples of this include straight characters using terms like “Slay queen” when talking to queer characters and the main character’s father asking the gay love interest how he became a handyman,  surpised because thid was an uncinventional career for his sexuality. 

The examples may not seem outright offensive, but they play into the outdated labeling of how a gay man should behave and what things he should say. While it may have been trying to come off as humorous, it really stood to be an inappropriate display of representation since it displayed the harmful stereotypes created against the LGBTQ+ community. 

When it comes to Christmas romantic comedies, there tends to be a common agreement that they are really just simple movies for the purpose of feeling the holiday joy. While they are not cinematic masterpieces and are lacking in many areas, such as when it comes to representation, they can still be enjoyed. It all boils down to personal choice and preference for what you want to enjoy during the holidays, regardless of the love or hate you might feel for holiday rom-coms.