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The Real Reason We Are Obsessed With Christmas Rom-Com Movies

Even though they’re super predictable.
Side by side photos of scenes from Love Actually and The Holiday

We already did our research on why people *love* scary TV shows and horror movies: It provides all the thrill without any threat. That rollercoaster of emotions you experience while watching The Call, for example, triggers your fight-or-flight response, which causes a full-body reaction. Your heart starts beating fast. You tense up. You sweat a little. And that's fun for some people.

This time, we’re trying to figure out why we can’t get enough of Christmas movies. I don’t know about you but when December comes along, I’m immediately in the mood for classic rom-coms like Serendipity, The Holiday, and You’ve Got Mail. And we’re sure you’ve even noticed the increase in holiday-themed movies in your Netflix account as early as October.

So why exactly are we so into these type of films?

According to an article by Psychology Today, it all boils down to happiness. Allow us get scientific with you for a minute. There are two kinds of happiness: hedonic and eudaimonic.


Hedonic happiness stems from the sensations and pleasures we feel, which can be as simple as enjoying a bar of chocolate. Eudaimonic happiness, on the other hand, is that sense of meaning or purpose we get out of an experience. The second kind tends to last longer, as I’m sure you’d know. The good news is, cheesy holiday movies give us both.

We’re drawn in when a movie is visually appealing—the setting is gorgeous and the actors are so very attractive, lol. And it’s even better when the script is actually well-written and we find ourselves laughing throughout the movie. But these films—even the predictable ones—also give us a sense of hope and love as well as the promise of a future social connection. This can happen to you, too! Even when the leads are in conflict, there’s that knowledge that it’s all going to work out in the end. (This is also why 500 Days of Summer hurt you so much—you didn’t see that coming.)

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For me, and I think for a lot of people, there’s another layer of nostalgia. I grew up watching these movies with my family, so all my memories of these films are happy. And in a year so full of stress, loss, anxiety, and sadness, we can all use a little more good in our lives—so get your Christmas movie list ready, Cosmo girls.


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