With a mug of steaming hot chocolate, I sit in my recliner and turn on the television. A Christmas movie allows two hours of escape from reality – a momentary dream of how Christmas hope might appear.
The Christmas movies are one reason why I continue to budget for cable TV – holiday movies plus Jayhawk ballgames.
Somehow my holiday season needs the extra joy of watching these movies and looking forward to them each year.
Sure, I know they’re fantasy and often end with sappy plot lines and poor writing. In fact, I prefer the Lifetime movies to the Hallmark channel, because the Lifetime versions seem more like the truth.
Plot lines include more single moms or widows who face real life issues when everything doesn’t always work out happily ever after in just two hours.
Still, my favorites are the movies that take me back to another era, to Victorian homes with handmade stairs, cornice boards, lace curtains and gingerbread cookies baking in the oven.
I remember days such as those and exact houses like the ones where actors flow from parlor to bedroom to the sunroom. For a while, I return to the beauty and simple days of Christmas past.
I choose to forget they had no indoor plumbing and parlors were often shut off to conserve heat. Somehow in the movies, the scenario of running outside to the outhouse in subzero temps rarely happens.
Instead, I want to believe in the happily ever after endings of lifetime loves, merry families and warm homes. I long to escape from a Christmas that includes the refugees of Aleppo, the stress of counting pennies and the questions about what our nation may face in 2017.
For two hours, I forget my reality and slip into the possibility of finding hope within memories. I wish my son could have known one house that always represented home, and I still long for that country lane lined with snow-tipped trees and the jingly bells of a carriage arriving at my large manor filled with the smells and sounds of the season. My pretend place where family and friends gather to sing carols, touch the Nativity scene with wonder and tip their glasses of eggnog toward the star at the top of a sparkly Christmas tree.
Christmases past still lie cached in my soul as the sappy movies stir emotions, sounds and textures that momentarily bring comfort. For a few extra dollars each year, I return to those memories and revel in the coziness of how they make me feel.
And somewhere in the land of hope, I find restored belief that Christmas joy will return for another year.
It’s only 365 days away.
©2016 RJ Thesman, Author of the Reverend G Trilogy and a contributor to Abba’s Promise