Tis the season: A guide to the Hallmark Channel's new Christmas movies
Christmas has come early – really, really, really, really, ridiculously early – as the Hallmark Channel's brand new holiday movies fired up even before the jack-o'-lanterns were lit for Halloween. The first film premiered on Saturday, Oct. 27, meaning we're now well into Hallmark holiday heaven (or hell).
And if you're rolling your eyes at that information, well, you probably roll your eyes at Hallmark movies too, so you're probably not even reading this article. But for the people who actually are reading this piece, and who are Hallmark Christmas film superfans, merry early Christmas – and enjoy this new batch of relentlessly sweet Christmas specials for you to watch and know every single plot beat before the opening credits finish.
"Christmas at Grand Valley"
Premieres: Thursday, Nov. 22
Who plays the soon-to-be couple: Brennan Elliott (Graham from "UnREAL") and Danica McKellar, once Winnie Cooper, now a Hallmark regular and forever a legitimate published mathematician.
Cutesy romantic kerfuffle/Christmas conundrum: What's this normal small town name doing in my Hallmark Christmas movie?! Shouldn't you be called "Christmas at Jingle Valley" or something festive like that? At least everything else sounds appropriately Hallmark: A swamped big city art gallery owner looks for some holiday rejuvenation in her small hometown, in the process meeting a handsome dad also visiting town for business. Wait, he's not a Charming Handsome Local? WHAT KIND OF HALLMARK MOVIE IS THIS!?
"Pride, Prejudice and Mistletoe"
Premieres: Friday, Nov. 23
Who plays the soon-to-be couple: Don't fret, everyone; we found Lacey Chabert. It took a while but we finally got our requisite Lacey Chabert Hallmark Christmas movie. She'll be falling in love with Brendan Penny.
Cutesy romantic kerfuffle/Christmas conundrum: Apparently Jane Austen was on the Hallmark staff book club's reading list this past year. In this second Austen-inspired story, independent-minded Darcy returns to her small-town home where she falls in love with an old rival and rekindles her love for working alongside her father.
Premieres: Saturday, Nov. 24
Who plays the soon-to-be couple: Tatyana Ali (Ashley Banks of "Fresh Prince of Bel Air") and Dontre Whitfield ("Queen Sugar"), plus appearances by diva extraordinaire Patti LaBelle and the deep vocal tones of Allstate pitchman Dennis Haysbert. So clearly we're in good hands.
Cutesy romantic kerfuffle/Christmas conundrum: The plot of "Christmas Everlasting" sounds pretty standard: A big city businesswoman on the brink of a workplace breakthrough has to go back home to her small-town origins to attend a funeral, to claim her family's house and to fall in love. But it's a Hallmark Hall of Fame pick, so it must be special. AND the small town is in Wisconsin! A fake small town in Wisconsin, but hey, WISCONSIN!
"Welcome to Christmas"
Premieres: Sunday, Nov. 25, on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries
Who plays the soon-to-be couple: "Bold and the Beautiful" star Jennifer Finnigan and Eric Mabius of Hallmark's "Signed, Sealed, Delivered" – which I'm sad to admit I knew off the top of my head.
Cutesy romantic kerfuffle/Christmas conundrum: A resort developer's plans to put a new location in Mountain Peak, Colorado take a wild detour when she literally crashes into Christmas, Colorado and finds herself charmed by the small town traditions and spirit. Oh, and also by the Charming Handsome Local who helps drive her around while her car's on the mend.
"A Shoe Addict's Christmas"
Premieres: Sunday, Nov. 25
Who plays the soon-to-be couple: It only took half the movies, but we finally got to a "Full House" star in a Hallmark Christmas movie. And not just anyone, but Candace Cameron Bure, the ultimate "Full House" to Hallmark graduate. She'll be falling in love with Luke Macfarlane ("Killjoys").
Cutesy romantic kerfuffle/Christmas conundrum: In this painfully realistic depiction of addiction hahahaha no, of course not. Instead, a department store worker gets locked in after hours on Christmas Eve, where she's visited by her guardian angel who shows her Christmas past, present and future. Or maybe she's hallucinating from a lack of food. Anyways, at some point, she must get freed from her department store prison because she also winds up preparing the annual Christmas Charity Gala with a handsome firefighter. As if there's any other kind of firefighter in a Hallmark movie.
"Christmas in Evergreen: Letters to Santa"
Premieres: Saturday, Dec. 1
Who plays the soon-to-be couple: Former "Wipeout" co-host Jill Wagner (I miss that show) and Mark Deklin
Cutesy romantic kerfuffle/Christmas conundrum: Hold on a gall dang second, didn't I already watch a Hallmark movie called "Christmas in Evergreen"?! Is this some kind of Hallmark Movie Cinematic Universe thing? Anyways, this chapter in the HMCU follows a retail designer who comes to Evergreen and decides to resuscitate the beloved but shuttered general store. Along the way, they find a 25-year-old letter to Santa that never reached its destination. Expect a scathing expose on the U.S. Postal Service's shortcomings.
"A Majestic Christmas"
Premieres: Sunday, Dec. 2
Who plays the soon-to-be couple: Jerrika Hinton, who played one of the few doctors to survive Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital during her time as Dr. Edwards on "Grey's Anatomy," and Christian Vincent, who was the behind-the-scenes dance instructor on the Oscar-winning "The Shape of Water." Huh!
Cutesy romantic kerfuffle/Christmas conundrum: An architect returns home, but with bad news: She's been sent to renovate its classic movie theater – the home to the town's Christmas celebrations – into a modern, soulless multiplex. But surely the theater's owner, the Charming Handsome Local, can change her mind – and win over her heart.
"Northern Lights of Christmas"
Premieres: Sunday, Dec. 2, on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries
Who plays the soon-to-be couple: Extremely smiley (even by this channel's standards) Hallmark regular Ashley Williams and Corey Sevier.
Cutesy romantic kerfuffle/Christmas conundrum: Zoey was this close to finally achieving her dream of becoming a pilot. Instead she inherited a reindeer farm. Hate it when that happens. With the help of the Christmas spirit – and the farm's Charming Handsome Local – hopefully she learns to love her life's new direction. OR maybe she learns how to combine her flying skills with the reindeer farm, and BECOMES SANTA CLAUS!
Premieres: Saturday, Dec. 8
Who plays the soon-to-be couple: Another week, another "Full House" star – in this case, Lori Laughlin. The big Hallmark names are coming out, so we must be getting close to Christmas.
Cutesy romantic kerfuffle/Christmas conundrum: Looking for perspective, a big-city CEO resigns from her company and heads home to relax ... but instead finds herself helping organize the local high school's dance with an annoying old flame from her past. I sure hope she finds love and a new sense of purpose; otherwise this whole "resigning from a very powerful and assumably very well-paying position" plan will have been for naught!
"Memories of Christmas"
Premieres: Saturday, Dec. 8, on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries
Who plays the soon-to-be couple: Former pop star Christina Milian, whose bank account must've dipped too low, and Mark Taylor
Cutesy romantic kerfuffle/Christmas conundrum: When Noelle takes over her late mother's Christmas-crazed house, her first task is to ditch the guy who would help decorate it for her. Eventually, however, she has a change of heart – both toward the holiday decor and the Charming Handsome Local literally decking the halls.
"Once Upon a Christmas Miracle"
Premieres: Sunday, Dec. 9, on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries
Who plays the soon-to-be couple: It's a mystery! Heck, YOU may be in this Hallmark Christmas movie! WHO KNOWS?!
Cutesy romantic kerfuffle/Christmas conundrum: Based on a true story, a woman in desperate need for a kidney finds a miracle – and eventually love – in a stranger who matches her needs and is willing to donate.
Premieres: Sunday, Dec. 9
Who plays the soon-to-be couple: Former Disney star Emily Osment
Cutesy romantic kerfuffle/Christmas conundrum: An art gallery owner finds herself split between her big-city life and her rekindled passion for painting discovered in her small hometown while helping her former high school crush organize the Christmas dance. If only she put it all together, then she'd get the best of both worlds. (Hello, my name is Matt, and I'm a grownup making "Hannah Montana" jokes.)
"A Gingerbread Romance"
Premieres: Saturday, Dec. 15
Who plays the soon-to-be couple: "NCIS" star Duane Henry and Tia Mowry-Hardrict. But no Tamera? I feel cheated if I'm not getting both parts of the "Sister, Sister" duo.
Cutesy romantic kerfuffle/Christmas conundrum: After butting heads with a renowned chef to the point of going separate ways, an architect must team up with a humble small-town baker in order to create a life-sized gingerbread house for an important work competition. I repeat: LIFE-SIZED GINGERBREAD HOUSE.
"Time for Me to Come Home for Christmas"
Premieres: Saturday, Dec. 15, on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries
Who plays the soon-to-be couple: Again, we have no idea yet, so place your bets now! I put $20 on daytime television star Alison Sweeney and ... I don't know, some random guy who once had a five-episode run on "Mad Men."
Cutesy romantic kerfuffle/Christmas conundrum: Real talk: This movie's title is a mess. I know it's based on a Blake Shelton song, but it's too wordy and cumbersome. BAH HUMBUG TO THIS TITLE! Hopefully the movie fares better, following two strangers – a small-town businesswoman and a country star stuck in writer's block – stranded together at the airport who decide to take to the road to Tulsa, in the process helping each other with their woes. And falling in love. Always with the falling in love.
"Reunited at Christmas"
Premieres: Sunday, Dec. 16, on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries
Who plays the soon-to-be couple: Nikki Deloach, who starred in over 80 episodes of MTV's "Awkward," and Mike Faiola, who starred in over 50 episodes of ... MTV's "Awkward." Awww, it's like a little reunion! Where you at, Jenna Hamilton!?
Cutesy romantic kerfuffle/Christmas conundrum: In the midst of a battle with writer's block, an author heads home with her boyfriend in tow to visit her family and visit her late grandmother's house. I can't imagine any Christmas spirit gets rekindled in the process, no sir!
Premieres: Sunday, Dec. 16
Who plays the soon-to-be couple: Hit play on "Everywhere You Look," because we've now got our "Full House" trifecta with Jodie Sweetin starring in this Christmas flick.
Cutesy romantic kerfuffle/Christmas conundrum: In the hopes of proving herself worthy to take the reins of her famous mother's homemaking brand, Kara takes a job helping create the perfect welcome home for a young girl's father. Meanwhile, the girl's uncle is also a reporter looking for a new story. Can't think of anything ethically dubious about reporting hard news on your own family!
"Jingle Around the Clock"
Premieres: Saturday, Dec. 22
Who plays the soon-to-be couple: Nobody knows.
Cutesy romantic kerfuffle/Christmas conundrum: NOBODY KNOWS! There's no stars, no publicity photos and not even a plot synopsis for this Hallmark movie. Just a title – which tells me that they're simply greenlighting Christmas carol lyrics over at Hallmark HQ and just seeing where the film goes from there.
"Small Town Christmas"
Premieres: Saturday, Dec. 22, on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries
Who plays the soon-to-be couple: TBD
Cutesy romantic kerfuffle/Christmas conundrum: Hallmark, you can leave "Small Town" out of the title. All Hallmark Christmases are small town Christmases. And as you'd expect, this one is no different as an author ends her book tour in a small town. Not just any small town, however, but the home of her former copy editor flame who skipped town on their dinner plans many years ago. DO NOT FALL BACK IN LOVE WITH THIS MAN, AUTHOR LADY; HE IS NOT TO BE TRUSTED!
"Christmas Made to Order"
Premieres: Sunday, Dec. 23
Who plays the soon-to-be couple: Finally a movie with a cast! Or at least one person in it! In this case, it's former Spy Kid and current Hallmark regular Alexa PenaVega.
Cutesy romantic kerfuffle/Christmas conundrum: When he suddenly finds himself tasked with hosting his family for Christmas, an architect does what any rational human being would do: hire a "holiday coordinator," which is apparently a job a person can have. Together, they bring the festivities – and a newly kindled romance – to life.
"Christmas Bells are Ringing"
Premieres: Sunday, Dec. 23, on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries
Who plays the soon-to-be couple: TBD, who I thought was absolutely delightful in "Small Town Christmas."
Cutesy romantic kerfuffle/Christmas conundrum: While returning home to Cape Cod for her father's wedding, a freelance photographer also takes a tour around the small town looking for shots for her fast-approaching Christmas spread deadline with a childhood friend turned Charming Handsome Local. One assumes Christmas bells will also ring at some point. Otherwise FALSE ADVERTISING!
"When Calls the Heart Christmas"
Premieres: Tuesday, Dec. 25
Who plays the soon-to-be couple: All the stars of the show – so Erin Krakow, Lori Laughlin, Jack Wagner and the rest of the company.
Cutesy romantic kerfuffle/Christmas conundrum: "When Calls the Heart" is basically the Hallmark Channel's "Game of Thrones" (minus ... all the "Game of Thrones" stuff). What I'm trying to say is that it's very popular, so naturally they'd bust out a movie with the show's characters during the channel's biggest time of year – this particular story about saving an orphanage in jeopardy.
"Focus on Love"
Premieres: Saturday, Dec. 29
Who plays the soon-to-be couple: We already got the Vega part of the PenaVega couple, so it makes sense we'd get the Pena part too: Carlos PenaVega (formerly Carlos Pena back in his Big Time Rush days).
Cutesy romantic kerfuffle/Christmas conundrum: A family of party planners takes on a massive New Year's Eve party for an important tech entrepreneur, but when her brother breaks his leg and her parents go on vacation, Lisa is stuck taking care of the whole thing. Lisa, I'm starting to think your family hates you. But hey, at least you've got the help of a charming family friend who you'll certainly kiss in the movie's final two minutes!
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