For the past couple of weeks, my wife Ann and I have been overdosing on “ant” movies.

For the past couple of weeks, my wife Ann and I have been overdosing on “ant” movies. Those are productions made especially for the Christmas season and are shown on “family” channels, most particularly Hallmark.

We call them “ant” movies because they’re so sweet and syrupy that we figure it’s just a matter of time before ants attack our television screen and drag it away. Truth be told, these themed movies are very similar to traditional western movies in that they all have basically the same storylines – with some exceptions of course.

In “ant” movies, the heroes somehow manage to save the Christmas season instead of saving the ranch.

But come to think of it, that’s not always true. I saw one a few nights ago where they saved both the season and the Christmas tree farm, which I guess symbolically can represent “the ranch.”

Both westerns and “ant” movies share the same endings almost without exception. Boy kisses girl or vice versa, depending upon whom was harder to get. Cowboys seem to have marked preferences for “school-marms” for reasons that escape me. There’s no such predictable pattern on Hallmark other than everybody’s pretty.

Anyway, this time of year these super-sweet movies offer stark contrast to the day-to-day coarseness of our “modern” times. And as surprising as it may seem coming from someone as drop-dead coarse and politically incorrect as me, I actually enjoy these mushy movies.

They’re like a brief intermission from normal life when you can push out of your mind who shot who or what bombed what, and enjoy Norman Rockwell moments that are getting fewer and farther between.

I’ve even gone so far to stop watching my nightly diet of news programs since we’ve rolled the dice this election cycle and hit our number, so there’s nothing going on except for whining.

Of course, gnashing of teeth and tearing of hair has been amusing, but it’s not something to capture my long-term interest. So nowadays when I get home I don’t even surf onto Fox News but rather check out the few “syrupy” channels to see what’s coming up and when it’s due to be “up.”

We’ve been watching these things long enough now to be running into repeats. There’s one thing about “ant” movies unlike Josey Wales or Quigley: We definitely won’t be watching them over and over and over.

Well, let me back up on that a little bit. Truth be told, I’ve seen “Christmas Vacation” a dozen times and never get tired of the cat being fried. And “A Christmas Story” is another to repeat. That tale is near and dear to my heart. In fact, a few years ago I got another Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas, as I did way back in “the day.”

Shingo, Sundae and Bug are here and we’ve enjoyed another great Christmas. Bug turns 9 in March and has already put in a wish for next Christmas for a BB gun. You can bet Santa’s farm he’ll get it.

I have no idea why my life is what it is, but I’m honestly thankful. Merry Christmas, folks!

Otis Gardner can be reached at