Watching Hallmark’s The Holiday Sitter, its first movie with a gay love story front and center, made me realize a lot of things. Personally, I realized that holiday movies like this aren’t for me. They’re too cheesy for me and I’m not in the healing phase of thinking, “I can have this too” as a member of the LGBTQ community. But on a grander scale, one that acknowledges that the normalization of our truths is monumental to positive change, this movie is the right move by Hallmark. Period.
Storywise, as someone who has never watched Hallmark movies, The Holiday Sitter guides you through the love story of Sam (Jonathan Bennett) and Jason (George Krissa) in the cheesiest way possible. Sam is a workaholic who is about to head to Hawaii for Christmas and Jason moved from the city to a small town to be closer to family while trying to build his own. They’re polar opposites, have different priorities, and end up coming together because of babysitting hijinks. Apparently, this is normal in the Hallmark-verse of Christmas movies.
As a community, we’re used to looking from the outside in as heterosexual couples fall in love, go on grand adventures, have kids, etc. in the media we consume. And like it or not, this teaches not only us, but the rest of the world what is normal. So for Hallmark to make a conscious effort to include us in cheesy holiday movies matters. It normalizes that we fall in love, have Christmas traditions, and are worthy of having our stories explored in all facets and genres of media.
And the ripple effect of a movie like The Holiday Sitter can be monumental on so many fronts.
I think about us, who watch these cheesy Christmas movies. Seeing ourselves allows us to explore those bits of ourselves that maybe we’ve been holding back on or never dared explore because we’ve always felt like we were left out of the conversation. But I also think about the people who watch these movies every year and have never had an opportunity to understand our community. This is their chance. The same thing goes for kids who watch these movies with their families. It’ll normalize us to them and even help out a kid who is wondering if they’re LGBTQ themselves.
The Holiday Sitter and the way that it took its time exploring a love between these two men, the challenges they face in this world, while still telling a holiday romance, also makes me think about the haters. You know who I’m talking about; the ones who scream “traditional family values” and go off to another network. To them, I say…look at us now. We’re here, we’re queer, and we are worth every single beautiful holiday romance where the guy gets the guy. And your moving along to another network doesn’t erase us. We’re still here.
And because of Hallmark, we are seeing ourselves in new and deserved spaces. We are seeing the reality that we have been bound for so long by the limitations of our society as to who we can love or marry through the eyes of Sam. And we are seeing that we can break from that and try for love and hope and all that cheesy goodness. We are even seeing the blossoming reality that we can have children, adopt, and have a family just like everyone else through the eyes of Jason. We can see it. We can feel it. And there are not enough words to express how excited I am for what’s to come next for Hallmark.
The Holiday Sitter is just the beginning of LGBTQ movies on Hallmark. Or at least I hope so.
I hope next year we get some lesbians falling in love and another gay movie. Two LGBTQ couples in one holiday season. We can push for that, can’t we? And maybe even throw a little color into the mix. Because if we’re going to really represent all parts of the LGBTQ community, we’re going to have to include the ones where everyone isn’t white. And we can keep going from there until our stories are so normalized that no one even blinks when you talk about your guncles or how you watched this movie where two cute guys fell in love on Hallmark.