Crews were in Summerland from Oct. 13 to 15 to film The Angel Tree, a Hallmark movie. Crews set up portions of Victoria Road North as well as the lot behind 10124 Main Street for outdoor scenes. Holiday decorations and artificial snow were used to create the setting. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)

Crews were in Summerland from Oct. 13 to 15 to film The Angel Tree, a Hallmark movie. Crews set up portions of Victoria Road North as well as the lot behind 10124 Main Street for outdoor scenes. Holiday decorations and artificial snow were used to create the setting. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)

COLUMN: Adding diversity to light holiday movies

Movie makers are becoming more inclusive with their festive season offerings

It’s the festive season, and that means it’s time to curl up with a mug of hot chocolate and enjoy some of the many heart-warming seasonal movies on television at this time of year.

There’s no shortage of these movies, with more than 90 filmed in 2019 alone. Many are filmed in small towns around British Columbia. Just this year, two were filmed in Summerland.

These made-for-television movies provide a couple of hours of diversion from the busyness of the season, with light, bright holiday romance stories.

And yet, too often these movies have left me disappointed.

They’re beautifully filmed, with immaculate homes, stunning small businesses and scenic parks and downtown streets. The scenes are designed to elicit warm, happy memories from a bygone era.

READ ALSO: COLUMN: Light holiday movies, filmed here in B.C.

READ ALSO: QUIZ: Test your knowledge of holiday movies and television specials

In these movies, each small town had huge holiday celebrations, and each movie included at least one scene of the two main characters picking out a tree, decorating the tree, making holiday cookies or wearing ugly sweaters to a holiday party.

And on Christmas Eve, the man and woman fall in love, resulting in a happy Christmas they will cherish forever.

But until recently, the diversity I see around me was missing from these holiday movies.

Casts were predominantly white and there were no references to customs and traditions other than Christmas.

Our communities in Canada are far from homogeneous.

This is most noticeable in the larger cities across the country, but it can also be seen in small towns as well.

Nearly one-quarter of people living in Canada are visible minorities, and in British Columbia, the figure is closer to 30 per cent.

Some of us have big Christmas celebrations, some celebrate Hanukkah, some observe Kwanzaa and others have their big celebrations on New Year’s Day.

Even among those who celebrate Christmas, there are plenty of differences. Canada is made up of many ethnicities and cultural backgrounds, and many religious faiths or world views.

And there are other ways our diversity shows itself. Some families include a mother and father with their children, others are single parent families. There are childless couples and there are same-sex couples.

Each of these differences will all affect the ways we celebrate the season.

We are not all the same. Chances are good that each of us has friends, neighbours, coworkers or acquaintances who represent demographics other than our own.

At least some of the diversity we already experience around us should also show itself in our stories and entertainment. Characters in our stories should not be limited to successful, attractive white people at the exclusion of all others.

A change is now starting to happen.

Over the past few years, holiday movies are beginning to reflect our changing demographics.

Not all actors are white, and in some instances, the lead roles are going to actors who represent visible minorities.

Some of the recent holiday movies have included references to traditions surrounding the Jewish celebration of Hanukkah.

And this year, for the first time, Hallmark has featured a same-sex couple in one of its movies.

The Christmas House, which first aired in late November, represents new territory in the world of Hallmark’s holiday movies.

These changes represent an important positive step forward.

Recognizing and reflecting the diversity among us will result in stories accessible to all people, not just to one segment of the population.

And showing a variety of people and a variety of holiday traditions may help to foster a more inclusive mindset, which benefits everyone.

The festive season – including its holiday movies – deserves to be festive for all.

John Arendt is the editor of the Summerland Review.

To report a typo, email:
news@summerlandreview.com
.



news@summerlandreview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Arts and EntertainmentColumnistMovies and TV

Just Posted

The spectacular Okanagan Rail Trail from Coldstream. (Linda Busch photo)
Get Outdoors! And explore North Okanagan trails

But, remember to uphold good trail etiquette

A Vernon councillor is facing potential legal action from a former city councillor. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Diversity debate leaves Vernon politician threatened with legal action

Coun. Dalvir Nahal alleged to have defamed a former politician, who is seeking concessions

District of Coldstream municipal offices. (Morning Star file photo)
Coldstream staff recommend cutting outdated, conflicting policies

A staff report also calls for Kal Lak access protections in the next Official Community Plan

Doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine are seen being prepared on Wednesday, May 12, 2021, in Decatur, Ga. Hundreds of children, ages 12 to 15, received the Pfizer vaccine at the DeKalb Pediatric Center, just days after it was approved for use within their age group. (AP Photo/Ron Harris)
One death, 60 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

The death is connected to the outbreak at Spring Valley long-term care in Kelowna

The. B.C. Court of Appeal granted a retrial to former Vernon man William Schneider, convicted of second-degree murder in the 2016 death of Japanese exchange student Natsumi Kogawa. The trial is set to begin May 24, 2022. (Vancouver Police Department photo)
Retrial date set for former Vernon man’s murder conviction

William Schneider’s trial, connected to the death of Natsumi Kogawa, is set for May 2022

Prince Rupert was one of the first B.C. communities targeted for mass vaccination after a steep rise in infections. Grey area marks community-wide vaccine distribution. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. tracks big drop in COVID-19 infections after vaccination

Prince Rupert, Indigenous communities show improvement

The bodies of Carlo and Erick Fryer were discovered by a local couple walking on a remote forest road in Naramata on May 10. (Submitted)
Kamloops brothers identified as pair found dead near Penticton

The bodies of Carlo and Erick Fryer were discovered by a local couple walking

Municipal governments around B.C. have emergency authority to conduct meetings online, use mail voting and spend reserve funds on operation expenses. (Penticton Western News)
Online council meetings, mail-in voting option to be extended in B.C.

Proposed law makes municipal COVID-19 exceptions permanent

A nurse prepares a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in Kelowna on Tuesday, March 16. (Phil McLachlan/Black Press)
British Columbians aged 20+ can book for vaccine Saturday, those 18+ on Sunday

‘We are also actively working to to incorporate the ages 12 to 17 into our immunization program’

The AstraZeneca-Oxford University vaccine. (AP/Eranga Jayawardena)
2nd person in B.C. diagnosed with rare blood clotting after AstraZeneca vaccine

The man, in his 40s, is currently receiving care at a hospital in the Fraser Health region

Brian Peach rescues ducklings from a storm drain in Smithers May 12. (Lauren L’Orsa video screen shot)
VIDEO: Smithers neighbours rescue ducklings from storm drain

Momma and babies made it safely back to the creek that runs behind Turner Way

Signage for ICBC, the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia, is shown in Victoria, B.C., on February 6, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
$150 refunds issued to eligible customers following ICBC’s switch to ‘enhanced care’

Savings amassed from the insurance policy change will lead to one-time rebates for close to 4 million customers

Police investigate a fatal 2011 shooting in a strip mall across from Central City Shopping Centre, which was deemed a gang hit. The Mayor’s Gang Task Force zeroed in on ways to reduce gang involvement and activity. (File photo)
COVID-19 could be a cause in public nature of B.C. gang violence: expert

Martin Bouchard says the pandemic has changed people’s routines and they aren’t getting out of their homes often, which could play a role in the brazen nature of shootings

Tinder, an online dating application that allows users to anonymously swipe to like or dislike other’s profiles. (Black Press Media files)
B.C. man granted paternity test to see if Tinder match-up led to a ‘beautiful baby’

The plaintiff is seeking contact with the married woman’s infant who he believes is his child

Most Read