Deck the Halls: Imagining Hallmark Christmas Movies Set in Sioux Falls
Time to make Sioux Falls the Hollywood of the Upper Midwest!
If you have ever fallen victim to a Hallmark Channel Christmas movie marathon, you're not alone. I have a sister in Montana, plus her best friend, and about 50 to 70 million other people who are addicted to Hallmark's Christmas movies.
It takes anywhere from two to three weeks to film one of these holiday moneymakers. Hallmark is very good at making us believe these movies are made in quaint little towns that live for Christmas.
I was thinking, why couldn't they film or at least fake-locate a movie or movies here in Sioux Falls?
They're so formulaic anyone could write one, right? For instance:
Love in a Winter Wonderland - Sandra Claus (because at least one character always has a Christmasy name) is the director of the annual Winter Wonderland event in Sioux Falls. Having just been hired she is new to the ins and outs of Sioux Falls policies and politics and gets frustrated by the process. That is until she meets the handsome, newly single mayor. At first, he does nothing but annoy her, but eventually, sparks fly, and suffice it to say - -it's another Merry Christmas at the Falls - over kisses and hot cocoa!
A Star Falls in South Dakota - Holly Abernathy is Sioux Falls-born and bred, Alex Owens is a hot Hollywood newcomer filming a movie in Sioux Falls. She runs a coffee shop & cafe with the best pie in town. Alex stops in for a half-caf-mocha-choco latte, which Holly doesn't have of course. "We sell coffee, not high-dollar overly sweet, and over-hyped crap!" Alex tries to charm Holly over and over, to no avail, until we finally see a smile and the romance is on. Holly ends up selling the coffee shop to her sister and marries Alex in the highest-profile Christmas wedding Sioux Falls has ever seen!
Christmas Cupcake Controversy - Missy (formal name, Mistletoe) Snow moved to Sioux Falls from Pukwana, to pursue her dream of opening her own cupcakeery. Things have been going very well until a rival bakery opens across the street. Run by the roguishly attractive Sam Ellsworth (see what I did there?). They get involved in one-upping each other with outrageous promotions until at the end of one, really long, day, when they realize (over a Hallmark mug full of cocoa) they have more in common, than not. They put down the cocoa and turn up the heat!
And those are just 3 of my ideas! I've got a million of them!
Hallmark rakes in right around $400 million in commercial revenue every year and a big portion of that comes from their Christmas offerings, which by the way, air year-round.
For actors who become regular members of the Hallmark stable of performers, it's a pretty good gig. The average salary for them is around $250,000 per movie, with the most popular or bigger-name actors (Mandy Moore, Andy Garcia, Andie McDowell, Catherine Bell, etc) making much more.