Hallmark decided to make history for the long-running channel by debuting their first-ever Christmas movie starring a romance between two queer men in The Holiday Sitter.
I’m not the biggest fan of holiday-themed movies, but I decided to see what The Holiday Sitter brought to the table because it was the first time Hallmark would focus on telling a Christmas story centered around a queer romance between two men. I enjoyed watching Hallmark’s The Christmas House (2020) and The Christmas House 2: Deck Those Halls (2021). But the queer romance in those films was part of an ensemble. So, did The Holiday Sitter deliver? In my opinion, it sure did.
One of the best things about The Holiday Sitter ended up being how the narrative was handled as any other holiday movie featuring a cishet couple would be. Get ready for handsome leads who are complete opposites of each other, with one of them getting to learn about the importance of family and finding romantic love. And of course, there are cute cheesy moments sprinkled throughout.
The storyline involved businessman Sam (Jonathan Bennett) being asked by his sister Kathleen (Chelsea Hobbs) to come and babysit his nephew and niece because Kathleen and her husband Nate (Matthew James Dowden) had to go out of town to attend the birth of a baby they were adopting. A major problem for Sam was he’s not great with kids and didn’t know how to cook. He’s also uninterested in starting a family of his own because of a well-written reason that I’ll get to in a bit.
Kathleen’s neighbor Jason (George Krissa) served as Sam’s love interest. Jason’s completely into starting a family. He hasn’t had the best of luck with finding love. But that’s okay because he’s ready to adopt on his own. He doesn’t need a husband to start living the life he wants. However, he’s not against finding Mr. Right if it happened. And with Sam asking Jason for help with babysitting, you can tell how this story will progress.
Holiday-themed movies focus a lot on family. So, it didn’t come as a surprise that Hallmark’s first Christmas movie with a gay romance would follow suit. It was obvious that Sam would be into being Jason and starting his own family with him before the credits rolled. Seeing Sam get to that point was enjoyable.
Co-written by Bennett, I liked how the script explained Sam’s hesitation to be in a romantic relationship. He’s the type of character who never made it to the second date because he always ran away. It’s revealed that Sam had grown comfortable living in a bubble he had created for himself while living in the city. I do feel that his struggle will resonate with a lot of queer folks out there. Even though his family was always supportive of his sexuality, the same couldn’t be said about the outside world. Sam didn’t grow up during a time that helped him to fully accept that marriage and children could be a possibility for him.
The fact that the queer community in the USA was recently fighting to maintain the legality of their marriages and the families they have created is insane (the Respect for Marriage Act signing). So, yeah, I could understand where Sam was coming from and why it took him time to go for what he wanted, aka being with Jason and spending more time with his family. I was not expecting a Hallmark movie to go that deep while exploring Sam’s character.
The narrtaive also had another well-written moment where Sam helped his niece Dania (Mila Morgan) realize that having a new baby sibling added to the family didn’t mean that their parents would start loving Dania less.
All in all, The Holiday Sitter ended up being an enjoyable cheesy holiday romance that’s handled similarly to its cishet counterparts. A lesbian relationship is a minor storyline via Sam’s assistant. So, here’s hoping Hallmark ups the game by making holiday-themed movies featuring other diverse members of the LGBTQ+ community.
Other thoughts and questions
- While I liked the chemistry between Sam and Jason, the fact that it took Sam a while to realize that Jason was queer made no sense to me. Like, does Sam not have a gaydar at all?
- The film had a well-placed Mean Girls reference.
- Jonathan Bennett with a mustache!
- The anticipation involving Sam and Jason finally getting to kiss each other… I was so invested!!!
The Holiday Sitter debuted on Hallmark on December 11, 2022.
Did you watch it? What did you think of it?
Let us know.
Farid has a Double Masters in Psychology and Biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Missing in Somerville, and The Game Master of Somerville. He gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.
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