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Bring on Santa & His Elves
Years ago, I became a closet Hallmark Countdown to Christmas viewer. It was 2020, and between the pandemic and political vitriol, I desperately needed a mental escape. To a pretend place where there is Santa and elves. Snow-covered trees, wooden bridges. Main Street. Christmas decorations throughout. Of course, mistletoe too. And that entire holiday season gave me so much joy. And I’m Jewish & Love Hallmark Christmas movies.
But Wait… You’re Jewish
Yes, I am Jewish. The joy these movies bring inspired me to Hallmark out our Hanukkah decorations. I’m talking about a Hanukkah tree with blue, gold, and silver ornaments. Blue and Gold ribbons. Silver, gold & blue poinsettias. Of course, we also added in Kurt Adler Hanukkah ornaments.
Watching Hallmark Christmas movies does not make me any less Jewish. Nor does having a Hanukkah tree. I will not call it a Hanukkah bush as if that makes it any different. It’s a tree. I am simply giving Hanukkah an upgrade inspired by those that celebrate Christmas.
Why Do I Love Hallmark Channel Christmas Movies
Yes, I know the movies are formulated. So what if we know who will fall in love within the first ten minutes? I still find myself smiling. At a television set. And sometimes falling asleep with dreams of sugar plum fairies. Well, no, not dreams of sugar plum fairies. Maybe dreams of kindness toward everyone. And people helping one another…. You know, the whole it takes a village. And I even appreciate Hallmark’s inclusive content. Being Jewish, some of the first Hanukkah movies they did made me laugh. But it’s Hallmark, and it’s shmaltzy.
What Is Family-Friendly Content
As a Jewish Hallmark Channel fangirl, the online feud between Candace Cameron Bure and JoJo Siwa has my attention. In my Hallmark blog, I talk about the exodus of many of their mainstay actors to Great American Family. Their public position is that this will be a network filled with family-friendly content.
Exactly what is meant by family-friendly content? When Ms. Bure states that the Great American Family network “will keep traditional marriage at the core,” the assumption is the network will not air content addressing untraditional marriage, aka marriage that is not between a man and a woman.
As they say in Yiddish, this is causing much tsuris for Candace Cameron Bure.
Am I Surprised?
The writing was on the wall last year when GAC lured many of Hallmark’s regular cast away. I noticed and welcomed Hallmark Network’s attempt to be more inclusive. Inclusive about same-sex marriage. And interracial couples. Interfaith couples too. Hallmark was, so it appeared, acknowledging that they had an audience that included LGBTQ+, Jewish, and minorities. And that should not take away from Christmas, Hanukkah, or even Kwanza religious values.
Why Is It Offensive?
Am I surprised there are Christians who, like Candace Cameron Bure, are offended by the inclusive content? Nope, not at all. Do I care that many of the well-known Hallmark Channel stars jumped ship? Not at all. Do I find their definition of family-friendly content narrow-minded? A little bit.
I certainly believe that everyone should be able to worship how they feel. But I do not believe we should sit in judgment of others or question their religious beliefs. It’s how I feel about being questioned about having a Hanukkah tree. It does not make me less of a Jew or spiritual person.
A Complicated Issue
This issue is complicated because we live in a society filled with antisemitism, homophobia, bigotry, and racism. We all have the right to follow our own beliefs. But when a public figure outwardly states that they “will keep traditional marriage at the core,” staying silent is complicity.
In his recent Steady newsletter, Steady, Dan Rather addresses the issue of combating hate. I am not suggesting that Candace Cameron Bure hates those in non-traditional marriages. But by publicly stating her views on not airing non-traditional marriages, she is stoking the flames of homophobia. Because the implication is she does not believe in or support non-traditional marriages.
And that’s what bothers me the most. Because we can do better. And she should do better because comments such as these do nothing to advance our society. I worry more about mentally unwell people that act on insidious statements. Of course, I do not hold Ms. Bure responsible for those that act on their homophobic views. But I believe she would do better to be more accepting of others no matter their choices. Because, in the end, her statement could have gone unsaid.
Note: Since I wrote this blog, I have been pleased to see that actor Neal Bledsoe cut ties with Great American Family network after Candace Cameron Bure’s ‘traditional marriage’ comment.
It’s The Ha- Happiest Time of The Year
I do not expect Hallmark to move away from their bread-and-butter Christmas movies, either. I imagine their transition to airing more inclusive content did not come easily. But I am happy to see them at least attempting to recognize that an entire audience supports the Hallmark brand – LGBTQ fans and, yes, even Jewish fans.
So thank you, Hallmark, for recognizing that change is good. After all, it is the Happiest Time of Year for everyone.
Happy Holidays! 🎄🎅🏻🕎