I have been a closeted Hallmark Channel Movie (HCM) watcher for 3 years. I started the same way many begin, through the gateway known as Hallmark’s Countdown to Christmas. This slippery slope envelopes you in 24 hours of light (and I mean light) and silly romantic movies building up a sense of Christmas festivity in your November and December months. I love snuggling up on the couch to watch a movie that is utterly predictable with recycled plot lines and mediocre acting. I hope you understand that I KNOW what a HCM is and what it isn’t. I am not under the impression that these are high quality movies with exceptional writing and stellar performances. I know they aren’t. In fact, I am sort of charmed by the fact that they aren’t. I have to admit though, since Countdown to Christmas has entered my life, I find myself slipping further into that special feeling of the holiday season.
My sister, knowing my secret love for these cheesy movies, challenged me to watch and rate this year’s HCM Countdown to Christmas movies. This is actually a really big undertaking as the Countdown to Christmas beings this weekend and continues through Christmas. This year, the network is debuting 21 movies over the course of 8ish weeks. 21!!!!! I am going to do my best, but that is like a lot of commitment to the Hallmark Channel. So check in here each week as I share my thoughts (which will likely be snarky) about the latest releases of HCMs for Christmas. To get you started, here is a peek at some of my favorite from years past that will surely be playing again through this year’s Countdown to Christmas:
Crown for Christmas (2015)
This one stars Danica McKellar (aka Winnie Cooper) as a maid who takes up a job as a governess for a young girl. Shockingly, this young girl turns out to be part of a powerful, royal family from an unnamed European country. There is a castle, some upstairs/downstairs drama, and a sweet story.
Snow Bride (2013)
Following a tabloid reporter, Greta, as she tries to get a scoop on a celebrity family vacationing in the snowy mountains. On her way there she finds herself accidentally taken in as a guest of the said family, which is going to make her story that much better. When she starts to get to know the family from an insider’s perspective, she will have to ask her self how far she is willing to go for a story. Classic mistaken identity plot with some actual chemistry between the romantic leads makes this an enjoyable one for me.
A Princess for Christmas (2011)
Jules is the caretaker for her young orphaned niece and nephew, and escorts them to a European castle when an estranged relative reaches out to them. The estranged relative ends up being a royal family of an unknown European country (sounds familiar, I know). The acting quality and story of this movie is on a higher level than what you normally see. I also almost died when I saw that Sam Heughan (of Outlander fame) plays the romantic male lead in this one–yum!
Christmas with Holly (2012)
When Maggie moves to a small town after fleeing her big-city life, she opens a toy store and meets a young girl who hasn’t spoken since her mother passed away. Now the young girl is living with her three uncles who are just trying their best. Again, I think the acting quality is a notch better than usual and I think the little girl and her uncles dynamic is really sweet. This is a solid HCM. P.S. it is also a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie, which normally is of higher quality.
The Mistletoe Promise (2016)
This movie is based on a book by Richard Paul Evans and is about a man and a woman who don’t enjoy Christmas who strike a deal to be each other’s stand in dates for all holiday events. This contract has them learning to enjoy Christmas more as well as each other. Jamie King and Luke Macfarlane star in this predictable, but cute comedy, both of whom have actually been in more legit acting ventures.
My Christmas Love (2016)
Meredith is a hopeless romantic, but can’t seem to land a guy she likes. Her interest is piqued, however, when an anonymous suitor sends her representations from the “12 Days of Christmas” song. There was actually a moment when watching this movie where I was so wrapped up in it I had to check myself and remind myself that I was watching a HCM and I should act cooler about it. I was a sucker for this one.
A December Bride (2016)
An interior designer, Layla, is preparing for her cousin’s winter wedding to her ex fiance, when in an act of desperation she strikes up a deal with an old friend to fake a relationship. Ah another fake relationship – I always enjoy this trope. I think Jessica Lowndes and Daniel Lissing have straight up chemistry. This might be my favorite HCM Christmas movie. I watched it so many times that my husband started to be able to quote it.
The Christmas Secret (2014)
This is a cute story about a single mom who is struggling to make ends meet when she meets the charming grandson of a local shop owner. Ugh this movie would sound so cheesy to any normal person if I fully explained the plot, but somehow I don’t care. I just really like this movie. I think Bethany Joy Lenz did a great job playing this down-and-out mom, which helped me get wrapped up in this heartwarming movie. I am not even going to apologize for liking this one.
What do you have to say about Hallmark Channel Countdown to Christmas movies? Are you into them or not so much? What are your favorites?