Tis the season: A guide to the Hallmark Channel's new Christmas movies
It's a two weeks before Thanksgiving, so you know what that means: Christmas!
At least that's the case on the Hallmark Channel – and its sister network Hallmark Movies & Mysteries – which began its onslaught of seasonal holly jolly on Friday night with "A Merry Christmas Match," featuring all of the usual beloved cliches. A quaint antique shop? Of course. A return to a small town from the big city? Do you even have to ask? An important holiday shindig? You already know the answer to all of these questions.
And yet that's part of the Christmas charm of Hallmark: soft, saccharine, predictable holiday love stories that are perfect for getting into the holiday spirit ... and even more perfect for drinking games about all of the tropes. It may be hell for some, but it's heaven for growing numbers across the nation – so much so that Netflix and many others have tried to get in on the business of seasonal soft-focus sweetness.
But Hallmark did it first – and arguably best. (Looking at you, "A Christmas Prince"; hire somebody to light and decorate your sets, please!) And for its fans, here's a full guide to the movies coming to Hallmark complete with premiere dates, plot synopses and just a splash of sass.
"Check Inn to Christmas"
Premieres: Thursday, Nov. 28 at 7 p.m.
Who plays the soon-to-be couple: Hallmark regulars Wes Brown and Rachel Boston
Cutesy romantic kerfuffle/Christmas conundrum: Rival families must come together to fight off a hotel developer hoping to build on their land – but that's not important. What is important, though, is the title. This freaking title. I could handle Netflix's "Falling Inn Love" – but no more inn puns, cute holiday shlock filmmakers. "Check In to Christmas" already gets the point across that it's about hotels anyways. It's redundant! You have an addiction! I'm cutting you off; you gotta go back to shoving "Jingle" into every title now.
"Christmas at the Plaza"
Premieres: Friday, Nov. 29 at 7 p.m.
Who plays the soon-to-be couple: Ryan Paevey, star of "General Hospital" with the extremely soap opera name "Nathan West," and "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." star Elizabeth Henstridge.
Cutesy romantic kerfuffle/Christmas conundrum: As with any classic romance, this one starts with the words "an archival historian." Nothing says love like archival history! She'll team up with a Handsome Local Decorator to put together the perfect Christmas for the iconic New York landmark – the Plaza Hotel. Oh, and fall in love – which will come as a massive bummer to her character's boyfriend! Listen, emotional cheating's fine in a Hallmark movie as long as your significant other is too focused on work!
"A Homecoming for the Holidays"
Premieres: Friday, Nov. 29 at 8 p.m., on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries
Who plays the soon-to-be couple: Laura Osnes – most recently seen in FX's musical biopic "Fosse/Vernon" (she was neither of them; she was Shirley MacLaine, a still juicy role) – and Yorkie from "Letterkenny," aka Stephen Huszar.
Cutesy romantic kerfuffle/Christmas conundrum: Another country pop star? Does Hallmark have money invested in country album sales? In fairness, it's a pretty genius way to invest some Americana vibes into movies mostly filmed in Canada. This particular country Christmas carol features a singer teaming up with a war veteran back from overseas to help build a friend a new house – and build a relationship in the process, of course. Osnes has a long Broadway resume too, so expect a song or two – and they might even be good too!
"Christmas in Rome"
Premieres: Saturday, Nov. 30 at 7 p.m.
Who plays the soon-to-be couple: If the Hallmark Channel has the money to blow on shooting in Rome, of course it'll be for a Lacey Chabert-starring Christmas movie. She'll be falling in love with Sam Page, the Whitefish Bay native who played Greg on "Mad Men" and appeared in the Hallmark movie "Royal New Year's Eve," which technically wasn't Netflix's "A Christmas Prince."
Cutesy romantic kerfuffle/Christmas conundrum: Chabert is a tour guide in Rome who gets fired from her job right before Christmas. The official plot summary says that she's "indpendent-minded," so maybe she was fired for saying the Colosseum was actually a giant cheese grater and that the Leaning Tower of Pisa was an alien spaceship. So independent minded! Anyways, she gets hired by a business guy who wants to buy a local ceramics company but needs to learn to love the city first – and probably learn how to love Chabert too. The movie was filmed in Rome, so I look forward to seeing how the film manages to make the ancient city look like a quaint snowy small town in Vermont. Hey, Rome's basically the ultimate antique shop!
Premieres: Sunday, Dec. 1 at 7 p.m.
Who plays the soon-to-be couple: Tim Rozon, aka Mutt Schitt on the growing cult TV sitcom "Schitt's Creek" – but more importantly, it also stars Candace Cameron Bure, who I believe owns the majority share of the Hallmark Channel at this point.
Cutesy romantic kerfuffle/Christmas conundrum: Fleeing from, yes, her big-city life and boyfriend, an elementary school teacher finds her train out of Boston stuck in a small adorable village nicknamed Christmastown. They never end up stuck in a precious and quaint hamlet famous for its love for National Hot Dog Day in Hallmark movies, do they? Anyways, there's also a Handsome Local Handyman, so better get yourself a Bumble profile, big city boyfriend!
"Sense, Sensibility and Snowmen"
Premieres: Thursday, Dec. 5 at 7 p.m.
Who plays the soon-to-be couple: Erin Krakow, who not only stars on "When Calls the Heart" but she's found, engaged and married Father Christmas across three Hallmark holiday movies. She'll fall in love with Luke Macfarlane, the romantic lead of last year's Candace Cameron Bure showcase "A Shoe Addict's Christmas." It also starred Jean Smart. I miss Jean Smart.
Cutesy romantic kerfuffle/Christmas conundrum: Not content to run rampant through "Pride and Prejudice" last winter, Hallmark grabbed another Jane Austen book to "adapt" with this story about a pleasant Christmas party planner crossing paths with a grumpy toy company CEO. I look forward to "Romance at Mansfield Park" or "Emma in a Winter Wonderland" next year.
"Time for You to Come Home for Christmas"
Premieres: Friday, Dec. 6 at 8 p.m., on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries
Who plays the soon-to-be couple: Lucas Bryant and Nikki Chohan – the latter who has a movie called "A New Leash on Life" on her filmography, a movie about a magical talking dog (aww) trying to convince its owner not to put it down. (Uhh...) Good pun, at least.
Cutesy romantic kerfuffle/Christmas conundrum: I like that producer Blake Shelton looked at last year's cumbersomely named "Time for Me to Come Home for Christmas" and thought to himself, "We can fix this. No, don't remove any words; just trade one word out for another." Yes, I know it's based on his song. No, that doesn't make it any less of a clumsy mouthful. Hopefully the movie – about a widow who runs into a handsome stranger on her way home to Virginia and begins to fall in love – is less clunky.
"A Christmas Love Story"
Premieres: Saturday, Dec. 7 at 7 p.m.
Who plays the soon-to-be couple: Scott Wolf from "Party of Five" and Kristin Chenoweth – who if we had done our job as American citizens, wouldn't be here because she's be on season 11 of "Pushing Daisies."
Cutesy romantic kerfuffle/Christmas conundrum: Judging by the title, sounds like we found the point when the Hallmark executives just gave up. I'm also looking forward to the new Marvel movie "A Superhero Action Film." Anyways, Chenoweth is a choir teacher whose new vocal superstar student has a golden voice – and a single dad. I wonder if a love story taking place at Christmas will take place!
"Christmas at Dollywood"
Premieres: Sunday, Dec. 8 at 7 p.m.
Who plays the soon-to-be couple: Danica McKellar – most famous for playing Winnie Cooper and unfortunately nowhere near famous enough for being a published mathematician – and Hallmark regular (and "The Predator" corpse) Naill Matter, but forget all of that because ...
Cutesy romantic kerfuffle/Christmas conundrum: Dolly Parton! Sure, there's a plot about a Broadway producer coming to Dollywood to put on the Smoky Mountain Christmas Festival's 20th anniversary show with the grumpy (but soon-to-be heart-warmed) local entertainment director ... but we're here for Dolly. Expect to spend every moment Dolly Parton's not on screen asking, "Where's Dolly Parton?" (Though McKellar's been a solid Hallmark lead in her past features, so we may not miss Dolly as much I'm predicting.)
"Christmas in Montana"
Premieres: Thursday, Dec. 12 at 8 p.m., on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries
Who plays the soon-to-be couple: Kellie Martin and Colin Ferguson, who probably felt pretty disappointed when they got sent to Montana when Nashville, Dollywood and Rome were all on Hallmark's filming itinerary.
Cutesy romantic kerfuffle/Christmas conundrum: There's no details about this Hallmark Movies & Mysteries flick, but I assume Martin and Ferguson will go hang out and fall in love at Glacier National Park, visit the Montana Vortex and House of Mystery (real thing), hang out at the fried bull testicle festival in Clinton (also a real thing) and tour around the state's longest-running house of prostitution. Romantic!
"Angel Falls: A Novel Holiday"
Premieres: Friday, Dec. 13 at 8 p.m., on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries
Who plays the soon-to-be couple: "Days of Our Lives" regular Jen Lilley and "Chesapeake Shores" co-star Carlo Marks. Also, according to IMDB, Derry Robinson will play Santa Claus ... as he's apparently exclusively throughout his entire career. OK, once he played a homeless man too, so that's depressing.
Cutesy romantic kerfuffle/Christmas conundrum: There's no plot synopsis yet – but I keep accidentally writing Hallmark Movies & Mysteries as Hallmark Murders & Mysteries, so I'm going to nudge this toward that direction. I want a festive murder mystery in which our big city detective and small town author fall in love while solving a brutal bludgeoning with a magical snowglobe. Also: Santa Claus is there.
"Christmas in Evergreen: Tidings of Joy"
Premieres: Saturday, Dec. 14 at 7 p.m.
Who plays the soon-to-be couple: Round three of "Christmas in Evergreen" will feature Maggie Lawson ("Psych," "Santa Clarita Diet") and Paul Greene, a co-star on "When Calls the Heart"
Cutesy romantic kerfuffle/Christmas conundrum: Another chapter in the HMCU (the Hallmark Movie Cinematic Universe) that I never saw coming, "Tidings of Joy" returns to the town of Evergreen to find a rumored Christmas time capsule – and find love, of course. You can also expect to find appearances from past "Christmas in Evergreen" stars Ashley Williams and Jill Wagner. It literally is like a Marvel movie! I hope Candace Cameron Bure with an eyepatch shows up at the end of the credits and recruits everyone here to join her team of super-powered Christmas party planners.
Premieres: Sunday, Dec. 15 at 7 p.m.
Who plays the soon-to-be couple: Brittany Bristow – no relation to Sydney from ABC's "Alias," though that would make a more action-packed-than-usual Hallmark movie! – and "General Hospital" star Matt Cohen
Cutesy romantic kerfuffle/Christmas conundrum: ANOTHER HANAKKUH MOVIE!? So many surprises this year! Anyways, Cohen is an actor who's hired to play a woman's boyfriend for Christmas – but throws a wrench into the trickery when it turns out he's Jewish and has never celebrated the holiday before. What an unexpected premise for a Hallmark movie ... with a very bland title. This should've been called "A Menorah to Remember." I deem it so.
"Christmas On My Mind"
Premieres: Thursday, Dec. 19 at 8 p.m., on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries
Cutesy romantic kerfuffle/Christmas conundrum: Lucy wakes up in a panic, thinking she's late for a big event. This is already the most relatable Hallmark movie ever made. She thinks it's her wedding to her boyfriend ... except she's literally forgotten the last two years of her life, which included breaking up with that boyfriend and getting engaged to somebody new. OK, a little less relatable now.
"A Family Christmas Gift"
Premieres: Friday, Dec. 20 at 8 p.m., on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries
Who plays the soon-to-be couple: Holly Robinson Peete – another repeat Hallmark star this season as she also pops up in "Christmas in Evergreen: Endgame" – Dion Johnstone and the great Patti LaBelle
Cutesy romantic kerfuffle/Christmas conundrum: There's no plot details yet for this Hallmark Movies & Mysteries entry – but honestly, we'll follow just about anywhere Patti LaBelle goes. (*Remembers she was once on an episode of "The Nanny"*) OK, maybe not anywhere.
"It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas"
Premieres: Saturday, Dec. 21 at 7 p.m.
Who plays the soon-to-be couple: Eric Mabius is the featured player here, star of Hallmark's series of "Signed, Sealed, Delivered" movies – which is currently getting to "Land Before Time" levels of sequels.
Cutesy romantic kerfuffle/Christmas conundrum: The GALL for the Hallmark Channel to name a movie "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas" when it's been running Christmas movies for the last two months. My friends, according to you, it was beginning to look a lot like Christmas apparently around Halloween. Silliness. Anyways, there's no plot summary out there for this movie yet, but I got an odd sensation it will involve romance, a small town and an alien invasion. (Taking a big swing on that final prediction.)
"A Cheerful Christmas"
Premieres: Sunday, Dec. 22 at 7 p.m.
Who plays the soon-to-be couple: Erica Deutschman and Chad Connell, who appeared together on an episode of "Shadowhunters" – a television show that existed! What a reunion!
Cutesy romantic kerfuffle/Christmas conundrum: A Christmas coach – a profession that DEFINITELY exists – tries to teach a royal family how to celebrate the holidays, including their business-minded son who's too distracted with a big acquisition to have fun or fall in love or anything human like that. But seriously, where do I apply to have rich people pay me to teach them how to have fun on Christmas? "Today's lesson in Festiveness 101: This is eggnog. We drink it. That's all for today; that'll cost $120,000."
"When Calls the Heart Christmas"
Premieres: Wednesday, Dec. 25 at 7 p.m.
Who plays the soon-to-be couple: All of the stars of the popular Hallmark show: Erin Krakow, Pascale Hutton, Jack Wagner, the whole gang. Well, minus Lori Laughlin because ... well, you know ...
Cutesy romantic kerfuffle/Christmas conundrum: Sorry, still laughing about the star of "Full House" possibly going to prison for trying to pay for her Instagram influencer daughter to get into college. Whatever the plot is of this holiday special, it will be nowhere near as entertaining as that.
"New Year, New Me"
Premieres: Saturday, Dec. 28 at 7 p.m.
Who plays the soon-to-be couple: Aimee Teegarden and ... somebody? But Julie Taylor is definitely falling in love with somebody, I can assure you.
Cutesy romantic kerfuffle/Christmas conundrum: There's no plot summary yet for this Hallmark movie – but I feel pretty comfortable predicting that there will be a quaint town involved, probably a business-minded character clashing with a small-town optimist before the two fall in love, a precious little kid and a very important holiday party. Maybe a cute dog too, if we're lucky.
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