What if the First Christmas was a Hallmark Movie?

What if the First Christmas was a Hallmark Movie? December 14, 2023

What if the first Christmas, the story of the birth of Jesus, was pitched to the executives who make cheesy Hallmark Christmas movies? Well, it might go a little something like this…

Hallmark would sanitize everything about the biblical Christmas story.

Pitch Meeting: The First Christmas

SCENE: Hallmark Christmas Industrial Complex Headquarters Writer’s Room. Three Hallmark Executives are meeting with their newest writer.

Mel: Well, we can’t thank you enough for meeting with us. Belle, Caspar, this is Gabriel, our newest writer.

Belle: (reaching to shake Gabriel’s hand) Belle Tazar, nice to meet you.

Caspar: Caspar Wiseman III, pleased to know you.

Mel: And of course, you know me, Mel Chior. (to Belle and Caspar) Gabriel here has a pitch for us for new Christmas movie, ain’t that right, Gabe?

Gabriel: Yes, sir. I call it First Christmas.

Belle: LOVE that it has “Christmas” in the title.

Gabriel: Um, thanks. It’s about a woman named Mary and her fiancé Joseph who find out—

Belle: Are you sure you want them engaged at the start of the movie? Usually that’s a third-act thing.

Gabriel: Oh, well, they are going to start off engaged. You see, Joseph finds out Mary is pregnant and—

Mel: Whoa, whoa, whoa, let me stop you right there. We don’t *do* pregnant here.

Caspar: Babies are…complicated. They’re on our “no” list.

Belles: Babies are messy.

Gabriel: Well, the baby is kind of the whole p—

Belle: Wait, what if Joseph only *thinks* Mary is pregnant. That could set up our dramatic misunderstanding.

Caspar: You know all of our movies have to have a dramatic misunderstanding. That’s where the drama comes from!

Mel: Oh, great idea, Belle. He could overhear a conversation where he thinks someone just said Mary was pregnant, only he was talking about someone else.

Caspar: Or, even better, hear me out, he can use the bathroom in Mary’s house and find a pregnancy test in her trash can and think its hers but it’s really someone else’s!

Belle: I LOVE it!

Gabriel: Isn’t that kind of an obvious trope, though?

Belle: *Classic* trope. Please go on. So Joseph thinks Mary is pregnant and—

Gabriel: But she really is pregnant.

Mel: Wait a minute, how old are these two? I’m just wondering for casting purposes. Not that it matters, we only have four actors, but I just want to know if this will work for them.

Gabriel doesn’t have a chance with this pitch. Public Domain Image.

Caspar: We have to make sure it is in their range. Which isn’t very big.

Gabriel: They are teenagers.

Caspar: Nope, nope, nope, nope. Nope. You’re going to need to age them up a bit.

Gabriel: But—

Mel: Pregnant teenagers? I mean, what do you think this is, Gabriel, MTV? We don’t do that here. Age them up. They are early 30-somethings.

Gabriel: That kind of ruins the whole story, though.

Belle: And what does Mary do for a living? I’m picturing a high-powered executive in the big city who yearns for a simpler life in a small town.

Gabriel: Well, no, she already lives in a small town, Nazareth.

Caspar: What if she owned a bakery? We haven’t done a bakery in, let’s see here, five movies.

Gabriel: She doesn’t own a bakery!

Caspar: What about Joseph, does he own a bakery?

Gabriel: No!

Caspar: Does anybody in this movie own a bakery?

Gabriel: I don’t think so.

Mel: Well, then what exactly does Joseph do?

Gabriel: He’s a carpenter.

Belle: A custom-home builder.

Gabriel: What?

Belle: He’s a custom-home builder. I’m thinking something of a Chip and Joanna Gaines aesthetic.

Mel: And Mary can think he’s a simple but generically sexy builder but he’s really the owner of the company and super-rich!

Caspar: Now we’re cooking with fire!

Gabriel: No, no, no. They’re both actually quite poor.

Caspar: Oh boy, there we go again. Another word on the “no” list.

Mel: We don’t *do* poor. Too complicated.

Belle: Poverty is too messy.

Caspar: We’re going for simple escapism, here. We don’t want our viewers to have to worry about our main characters’ money problems.

Gabriel: I know, but I thought—

Belle: Don’t think too hard about this. All the movie needs to have are two generically-attractive people who fall in love and a Christmas tree. So what happens next?

Gabriel: They have to travel to Bethlehem so that—

Belle: Ooh, a road trip! I smell hijinks galore!

Mel: I see a fun road trip disaster montage. You know, getting locked out of the car, running out of gas, getting lost, fighting over directions…

Belle: Could be some great comic relief. Where are they going again?

Gabriel: Bethlehem.

Caspar: I’m picturing Bethlehem as a small town with old-fashioned values that has a major Christmas tree lighting every year. Where is it?

Gabriel: Palestine.

Mel: Nope. Make it upstate New York.

Gabriel: But it’s in Palestine.

Belle: Palestine is too political. Politics are messy.

Mel: Way too complicated.

Belle: We don’t want people thinking about the real world.

Gabriel: But–

Belle: What about small-town Vermont? People LOVE Christmas movies set in Vermont.

Caspar: I was thinking something vaguely midwestern. We could get a few jokes about how “Midwest nice” these small-towners are.

Mel: We can figure that out later after we see which of our seven sets are available for filming. OK, Gabe, so what happens in Bethlehem?

Gabriel: Well, they try to find a room at an inn but—

Belle: An INN! You know I love an inn. People LOVE Christmas movies set in an inn.

Gabriel: But there’s no room so they have to stay in a stable.

Mel: In a what?

Gabriel: A stable. You know, a barn.

Belle: I LOVE a barn. Oh, I just love a snow-covered barn at Christmas. And since Joseph is a custom home builder, he can surprise Mary by renovating it and turning it into their first home!

Caspar: An old-style New England barn turned into a Magnolia-style house? Perfection!

Mel: I can hear my wallet filling with cash. What’s next, Gabes?

Gabriel: Well, Mary gives birth and—

Mel: Oh, you are really married to the baby thing, aren’t you?

Gabriel: Yes, the baby is kind of the whole p—

Caspar: Didn’t we decide to do the wrong pregnancy test trope? I specifically remember deciding that.

Mel: Seriously, Gabes, you have two poor, unmarried teens having a baby and you want us to put this on Hallmark? Lifetime wouldn’t even make your movie. *Lifetime*.

Belle: No, I think we should make it so they get engaged once Joseph shows Mary the barn he just renovated into their first house.

Mel: WAIT. What if they got engaged at the town’s annual tree lighting? And then what if they got married at the inn and then moved into their beautifully renovated snow-covered barn-house right after to spend their—wait for it—First Christmas together.

Belle: I think I hear a movie title!

Mel: I think I hear my wallet getting fatter!

Belle: And then Mary can finally live her dream of opening a bakery in small-town Vermont.

Caspar: And to think, Gabe, you wanted to have a baby in this thing. You’ve got a lot to learn about how we do things here.


[Mel, Belle, and Caspar stare at Gabriel in silence]

Mel: (after a beat, to Belle and Caspar) Hey, do you think we could get the girl who played Gretchen Weiners in Mean Girls to play Mary?


Hey thanks for reading. I hope you enjoyed it. If you did, please share it with a friend! My last blog finally answered the question, “Mary, Did You Know?” You should check it out. You can also find me on Facebook

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