I have a confession to make, I have never seen a Hallmark Christmas movie. Ok maybe one when I was incredibly sick and shuffling between fever dreams and naps I caught some bits and pieces of one, but I cannot recall anything beyond a very handsome soap actor and I truly could have dreamt the whole thing; crippling loneliness and a spiking fever can do that to you. But back to the task at hand; I love Christmas and I love dumb movies, so it should be a no brainer, but…and I can’t believe I’m admitting this, I’m intimidated to jump into the Hallmark world! It feels like trying to jump into a rabid fandom, like starting Game of Thrones in season five or something. I’ve missed hundreds of movies! They even had a con last year! And not for nothing it’s a little white Christian hetero-normative for me (says the straight CIS white Christian woman), lest we forget how people lost their minds last year at a commercial shown during a Hallmark Christmas movie because two brides kissed. Hallmark pulled the ad, faced more backlash, so then reversed their reversal. I know I’m a messy bitch who loves drama, but I don’t know if this is a lot I want to run with. The other side of the coin is the world is a hellscape and I need some God damn holly jolly fun. So, I guess I’m doing this.
I’m not one to throw caution to the wind, randomly turn on the Hallmark Channel and just hope to catch a good movie, I feel like the odds are decidedly not ever in my favor. They’ve made roughly eight million movies in the past decade; this is a risk I’m not willing to take. So, I did some research, I legit spent all Thanksgiving week researching Hallmark Christmas movies, and here are a few that seem to check all the boxes..
The Christmas House
It took way too long, but we finally have a Hallmark Christmas movie featuring a gay couple! Jonathan Bennett, of Mean Girls fame and who also looks sexy with his hair pushed back, plays one of two brothers coming home for the holidays…to dad Treat Williams! A treat indeed, ha. Bennett and his partner are adopting a child, and this casual “normal” representation may not seem groundbreaking, but it’s incredibly important, especially for young kids and teens. The Christmas House already premiered, but it’s replaying December 2 at 8pm and throughout the holiday season.
If I Only Had Christmas
Now I am not a fan of Candace Cameron Bure, but I will give the queen of Hallmark her flowers. CCB has starred in about two dozen Hallmark movies, including her own movie series, Aurora Teagarden Mysteries, and hey at least she’s not Kirk Cameron. In “If I Only Had Christmas” follows a tried and true formula, cynical harried workaholic (but this time it’s the dude) meets a lighthearted person of the opposite sex who they initially clash with, but then they learn the true meaning of Christmas and I think they might fall in love! If I Only Had Christmas already premiered but it’s replaying December 3 at 8pm, December 5 at 6pm, and throughout the holiday season. UPDATE: According to a commercial I just watched while Spell-Checking, there may be a Wizard of Oz thing going on because someone gifts CCB red sequin heels and she says “there’s no place like home”.
Time For Us To Come Home For Christmas
Wow, that’s a mouthful…that’s what she said! Ha ha, what was I talking about? Oh right, right back on track now. TFUTCHFC (I ain’t typing all that out a second time) star Lacey Chabert, who may, upon further research be the real queen of Hallmark, sorry Candace! I spent way too much time trying to figure out who has been in more Hallmark projects and as far I’m concerned, they can co-reign. Chabert is one of five strangers invited to an Inn for Christmas where they discover an event from their pasts may connect them all. Sounds like the plot of a horror movie but I bet someone falls in love! Premieres December 5 at 10pm, replaying December 10 at 4pm and throughout the holiday season.
Christmas She Wrote
Unfortunately, this is not a very special holiday episode of Murder She Wrote, but a gal can dream! Christmas She Wrote may not have Angela Lansbury terrorizing Cabot Cove Maine (have you heard the theory that Jessica Fletcher is a serial killer and she’s actually responsible for all the murders she “solves”?), but it does have the only member of Hallmark Royal Court who is a licensed mathematician, Danica McKellar. McKellar stars as a romance columnist (I’m thinking Carrie Bradshaw but with less golden showers and more Fair Isle sweaters) who gets fired right before Christmas, oh no! She goes home for the holidays to lick her wounds and guess who happens to show up? The guy who fired her! I think they might fall in love! Premieres December 6 at 8pm, replaying December 10 at 10pm and throughout the holiday season.
Love, Lights, Hanukkah!
First the good – Ben Savage and Marilu Henner! Good for you both, especially Mr. Savage. May you rise to the ranks of former teen idols turned Hallmark all-stars. The “should be good” – a Hanukkah movie, come on, religious diversity! The “not so good” – Hallmark’s foray into Hanukkah territory last year did not go so great, to summarize Hallmark was accused of anti-Semitism, less than ideal for a Hanukkah movie. Here’s to second chances! I believe in my bones Corey Matthews and Elaine Nardo would not join an anti-semtic Hanukkah movie. Speaking of movies, in this one a restauranteur discovers her Jewish heritage, a new family, and I think she might fall in love. Premieres December 12 at 8pm, replaying December 13 at 4pm, December 16 at 6pm, and throughout the holiday season.
Like Kleenex to tissues and Xerox to photocopies, “Hallmark Christmas movie” has evolved into a term for really any sappy holiday rom com. Lifetime, Hulu, Netflix, HBO, everyone is doing Hallmark movies now, probably because it’s a $500 million plus industry (yes you read that right). So, lets take a look at a few non-Hallmark Hallmark Christmas movies…
Merry Liddle Christmas Wedding, Lifetime
I see what you did with the title, Lifetime, wordplay! Now first of all it’s my duty as a member of the Bey Hive to support Kelly Rowland whenever I can. This wedding is a follow up to last years Merry Liddle Christmas (Kelly Rowland’s character is Jacque Liddle) where I assume, she fell in love. Do I need to watch one to follow two? I’m not willing to spend a couple Liddle hours lost and confused so I guess I’m watching two Liddle movies. Merry Liddle Christmas Weddling already premiered but it’s replaying December 3 at 10pm, December 4 at 4pm, and throughout the holiday season.
The Princess Switch: Switched Again, Netflix
Ok, let me see if I have this right, The Princess Switch: Switched Again has three Vanessa Hudgenes and is a sequel to The Princess Switch which has two Vanessa Hudgenes and according to a very confusing Netflix Twitter thread may exist in the same universe as A Christmas Prince and The Knight Before Christmas, each with one Vanessa Hudgens. There’s a very good chance I got that all wrong because I am very confused and now I need to lie down…ok I took a nap, came back, read the plots to the aforementioned movies and now I’m even more confused.
Happiest Season, Hulu
Hulu’s Happiest Season feels like a Hallmark Christmas movie’s cool cousin and I’m into it. I’m also into this cast, Kristen Stewart, Clea DuVall, Daniel Levy, Victor Garber, Alison Brie, Aubrey Plaza, Timothy Simons, Ana Gasteyer, and my Book Club queen Mary Steenburgen. Sidebar, what I wouldn’t give to get an invite to a Danson-Steenburgen holiday party. Kristen Stewart plays Abby, who goes home with her girlfriend for Christmas to propose, only to find out her GF isn’t all the way out. I’m assuming heartwarming hijinks ensue.
12 Dates of Christmas, HBO Max
In the interest of full disclosure, I’m not really sure what HBO Max is and how I can access it. I have HBO but where is my Max? Regardless of streaming ineptitude, HBO Max is giving us, or at least those of us who know how to watch HBO Max, a very Hallmarky dating show! 12 Dates of Christmas brings three “leads” (their word, not mine) to the same Austrian estate where the Sound of Music was filmed (yes, really) to go on, wait for it…twelve dates in the hopes of finding love. Fun fact, 12 Dates of Christmas is also the name of a 2011 Hallmarky ABC Family Christmas movie staring Amy Smart and Mark-Paul Gosselaar. Watch either, watch both, who even cares at this point.
You might be asking, “Heather, what X movie? And Y movie? And how could leave out Z movie?” Well, Maureen don’t pay by the word, so you’re only getting the skinny only a few of the literally hundreds of Hallmark (and Hallmarky) holiday movies available to watch over the next few weeks. That being said, dear readers who have experience in the Hallmark Cinematic Universe, please let me know if I missed any movies that have gotten a lot of hype, or if there are any from Christmases past that I should watch. As someone just beginning my Hallmark culture journey, I need guidance. Do we have a drinking game? Play BINGO? Should we do a group live watch? I’m down for pretty much anything other than a stupid Christmas sweater.
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