The Hallmark Christmas Universe: 20 Rules to Live By

This year the flu has allowed me to binge on Hallmark Christmas movies.  I've come to realize that these movies are set in an alternative universe, or what I call the

Hallmark Christmas Universe.

And in this universe, the rules are different.  If you ever find yourself transported into a Hallmark Christmas movie, here are some rules to live by. 

Rule #1 - If you are a workaholic, make sure your tropical Christmas vacation is refundable. 

As soon as you book your tickets to St. Croix, there is a 100% chance that you are going to end up somewhere that requires a sweater and snow boots.  So make sure you avoid those nonrefundable specials.  

Rule #2 - If you have a quirky executive assistant, she will have an unusual interest in your love life.  

Does your assistant style her hair in messy ponytails?  Is she Asian or Black? Are her clothes brighter and less professional than anyone else's in the office?  Then you can bet she's going to randomly call you during your Christmas vacation to hear updates on how it is going with the stranger/ex-boyfriend/the-one-who-got-away/fake fiance. Don't let her perkiness fool you, she will most likely have some sage words of wisdom for you.  

Rule #3 - Watch what you say around the cute 10-year old who befriends strangers.  

Are you in a small town?  Are you feeling frustrated and like a fish out of water?  Chances are pretty good there is a cute little boy or girl who has no fear of talking to strangers who will say just what you need to make you feel better.  But be warned, chances are good this child has a parent you know.  And chances are really good it's an ex-boyfriend. But take heart... 

Rule #4 - If your ex-boyfriend has a child, he's a widower.  

Did you just find out that the one who got away has a child?  Never fear.  His wife has died.  So no alimony, visitations schedules, or pesky ex-wives to deal with.  Whew! 

Rule #5- All children are accepting of new girlfriends and boyfriends.  

Maybe you are the one with the cute 10-year old.  Well, you're in luck.  In the Hallmark Christmas Universe, all children love seeing their single parent dating someone new and will eagerly accept the new boyfriend into their lives.  In fact, they may even encourage you to date even though you don't feel ready.  

Rule #6 - Be careful who you pick/pay to pose as your fake boyfriend/fiance for the holidays. 

Tired of being the only single person at the Christmas dinner table?  No problem, there should be an eligible bachelor with nothing to do for Christmas within about 20 feet of you.  But be careful who you pick, because there is a 100% chance he will not be fake for long.  

Rule #7 - If he/she seems too good to be true, he/she probably is lying about their identity.

Has the perfect person swooped into your life and is incredibly interested in you?  Does this person seem too perfect?  Run a background check.  Chances are pretty good they aren't who they say they are.  If at any point they say something to the effect of, "I have something I need to tell you..."  DO NOT INTERRUPT THEM let them finish that sentence.  

Rule #8 - It doesn't matter how poor you are, you always have enough money in your budget for lighted Christmas decorations.

Are the bills piling up and you aren't sure how to make rent?  Well, I have some good news for you.  Go ahead and string lights around every inch of your tree, fireplace, window frames, and wreaths on the doors.  And keep those lights plugged in all day, don't let the thought of a high electric bill get you down during the holidays.  

Rule #9 - After trimming the tree, don't forget one last crucial step. 

The highlight of your Christmas will be when you finally decide to decorate the Christmas tree.  Be sure to involve as many people as you can in the process.  Don't worry, no one will get in each other's way or fight over who gets to place the star on top.  Once you have hung all the ornaments on the branches, it's important you do one more thing.  Stand next to the tree arm-in-arm with all the other decorators and then tilt your head to one side.  This will be how you can make sure the tree looks perfect, which of course it will.  

Rule #10 - Easy on the hot chocolate, there's something in it.  

If you are feeling down/lonely/upset you will be offered hot chocolate.  Apparently, this is the cure-all for all mental health issues.  Once you drink a mug all your troubles will melt away.  I suspect that it's actually in the marshmallows because that seems to be what people can't resist.  

Rule #11 - Don't let the small town fool you, the Christmas Ball is an elegant affair.  

Even that cute old lady who offered you the Happy Hot Chocolate is going to pull out the sequins for this affair, so be sure to find an off-the-shoulder, tight-fitting gown that will turn heads when you walk in.  Oh and head straight for the mushroom caps, there's a good chance you won't be able to stay until the end so eat while you can. 

Rule #12 - Christmas pageants/festivals/carnivals have unlimited budgets, so go crazy! 

Have you been asked to help or organize the city's annual Christmas celebration?  Let your imagination go wild, apparently the city charges enough taxes to pay for fireworks, thousands of lights, and multiple 30-foot trees.  

Rule #13 - Christmas wishes are different than birthday wishes 

First of all, Christmas wishes are very important and should be taken seriously.  Secondly, if someone won't tell you their Christmas wish because they are afraid of saying it out loud, call them on it.  This isn't like a birthday wish where you have to keep it to yourself.  Plus, it's best to let other people know your Christmas wish; that way they can make it happen.  

Rule #14 - If someone has an aversion to Christmas, there's a reason why.  

Does someone seem unusually moody around Christmas?  Can't figure out why someone is being such a Scrooge?  You can save yourself about an hour (45 minutes at least) if you just ask them "What horrible thing happened to you around Christmas time?"  Be prepared for a story about the loss of a parent or a divorce.  

Rule #15 - Making sugar cookies and gingerbread houses requires no prep or clean-up.  

Even if kids are helping, no mess!

Unlike the real world, you can squeeze making sugar cookies into an already busy day.  It won't mess up your kitchen, the dough doesn't need to be refrigerated for an hour, and you'll have all the candy and decorating tools you need.  Feeling frisky and want to get in a flour fight?  Go ahead!  It won't create a mess for you to have to clean up later.  

Rule #16 - Beware of women who wear their hair in slick buns.  

Whether it is a boss or your love interest's girlfriend, if she wears her hair slicked back in a bun, she's bad news.  Don't trust anything she says.  If her hair is blonde, she's an all-out villain.  

Rule #17 - Don't freak out when their secret identity is revealed. 

Did you ignore rule #7 and are now surprised to learn that your new love isn't who he/she said he/she was?  You are going to be tempted to say something like, "How could you?  I trusted you!"  And then you'll be tempted to storm away before listening to their side.  Chances are good that you are headed towards the pageant/festival/ball that you have been anticipating for the past couple of weeks.  Your new love is going to follow you there.  Don't create a scene, just hear him/her out.  

Rule #18 - All snowstorms are beautiful.  

Snow always falls at night and never causes accidents or requires shoveling.  If you can see snow falling outside the window, throw on a coat and some boots and enjoy it.  Making a snow angel won't mess up your hair either.  

Rule #19 - Closed-mouth kissing resolves long-distance issues.  

Have you finally come to realize that you are in love but he lives in the small town/big city and you live in the big city/small town?  Don't worry, if you kiss with your mouths closed while the snow starts to fall, you won't have any troubles maintaining a long-distance relationship. 

Rule #20 - Mistletoe nullifies sexual harassment.  

Always be on the lookout for mistletoe.  Within 5 feet of it, men can act however they want.