My name is Milton Hooper and I watch Hallmark Christmas movies.
Don’t be a hater. We don’t need therapy. My wife and I were part of the 85 million viewers of the Hallmark Channel’s Countdown to Christmas movie watchers this season. Yes, I admit it. We watched them. We love Christmas. Hallmark can happily send us a check or a least a coupon for Folgers coffee (which we would re-gift).
Our Christmas season kicked off with the first Christmas movie on the Hallmark Channel with “Marry Me At Christmas” on October 28th. Yes, you read that right. October 28th. I know, it wasn’t even Halloween yet and we already started watching Christmas movies. It wasn’t our fault really. Hallmark made us do it.
My wife and I have always been fans of Hallmark movies throughout the year and their Countdown to Christmas did not disappoint us. In fact, the Hallmark Channel blew away every other channel in viewers during the season.
We all have our favorites. If you were to ask us what our ten all-time favorite Hallmark Christmas movies are they would be:
- A Christmas Melody (2015) – is directed by Mariah Carey who is also in the movie. No really, it’s not that bad. She actually plays her part really well. The movie stars Lacey Chabert and Brennan Elliott. My favorite part is the performance of Fina Strazza who plays Emily in the snowflake show at the end of the movie. I also like seeing Thomas – who is incognito as Santa – busting a move during the performance.
- A December Bride (2016) – is about an aspiring designed named Layla (Jessica Lowndes) who has to attend the wedding of her cousin to her ex-fiancé. Seth (Daniel Lissing) steps in an announces he and Layla are engaged to spare the awkwardness of the situation but then they are forced to keep up the charade of being engaged. It sounds a little warped but it is actually a good story. My favorite part is when they attempt to stage their breakup and they can’t go through with it.
- A Mistletoe Promise (2016) – Based on a book by Richard Paul Evans, Nick (Luke Macfarlane) and Elise (Jaime King) make a pact to navigate through the Christmas season together. It is strictly a business arrangement at first but as they spend more time with each other and experience the magic of Christmas together, the couple discovers they may have more than a business contract. I watch this one over and over. I am even reading the book. Two of my favorite lines is when Elise tells her ex-husband that he’s “eight reindeers shy of a sleigh ride” and the other when she draws names for the office Secret Santa and she says “I drew Drew”. (Drew is her ex-husband’s current girlfriend)
- A Very Merry Mix Up (2013) – Alice Chapman (Alicia Witt) gets her wires crossed as she has a series of unfortunate accidents and ends up befriended by Will Mitchum (Scott Gibson) who she thinks is her finance’s brother. Will takes her to meet the family and enjoys her time with them until she discovers that she is with the wrong family. The plot is really reaching to do all this but it is a very funny movie.
- I’m not ready for Christmas (2015) – Another movie starring Alicia Witt who is Holly. Holly’s world is changed when she discovers she can no longer tell a lie. Her niece, Anna, asked Santa Claus for a wish to force her Aunt Holly to tell the truth. This creates all kinds of chaos in Holly’s professional and personal life. It’s a Christmas version of “Liar, Liar”. It’s a very funny movie. My favorite part is when Holly goes the house of the security guard and actually gives him basketball tickets she had lied about earlier to get a good parking spot in front of the building.
- Marry Me At Christmas (2017) – Hallmark started the season off with a good one as Maddie (Rachel Skarsten) is tasked with planning and organizing wedding for the sister of Hollywood bad boy Johnny Blake (Trevor Donovan). Throughout the process of planning a Christmas wedding and dealing with Johnny’s antics, Maddie discovers the real Johnny Blake. My favorite part is the snowball fight between Johnny and Maddie.
- The Sweetest Christmas (2017) – Another movie starring Lacy Chabert. She is aspiring chef Kylie Watson who finds out that she made it to the finals of the American Gingerbread Competition. Along with that stress, she has a difficult relationship with her current boyfriend who only sees her as a business partner. Enter Nick Mazannti, her old high school sweetheart who saves the day by offering her to use his kitchen. Now what do you think it gonna happen?
- Christmas Next Door (2017) – Stars Jesse Metcalfe as Eric Randall who is a successful author of books about living the bachelor lifestyle. He’s not about Christmas but encounters is next door (actually two doors down) neighbor who is all about Christmas. When Eric is forced to take care of his niece and nephew, things start to change. It’s a good story about how someone’s life can change for the better. My favorite scenes are when an anonymous person continues to put Christmas decorations in his yard.
- A Christmas Detour (2015) – Is about Paige (Candice Cameron Bure) and Dylan (Paul Green) who are thrown together by travel difficulties at the airport. They team up with another couple, Frank and Maxine, to drive to their destinations. Paige is desperately trying to get to her finance and parents before Christmas. My favorite scene is at then end when Paige decides to call off the engagement and leaves the table where they were dining together. The father says “I’ve always liked that girl.”
- Window Wonderland (2013) – Two Manhattan store employees compete for the best window display at a popular department store. The movie stars Sloan Van Doren (Chyler Leigh) and Paul Campbell (Jake Dooley). Paul Campbell is always fun to watch. He is always a happy-go-lucky character in most of his movies.
I always have this little thing I do where I will spot different characters and tell what other movies they have been it. Yes, Hallmark loves to recycle their actors. I joke that I could probably do pretty good in a Hallmark Movie trivia game. Believe me, you will get a lot of Candice Cameron Bure, Lacey Chabert, Andrew Walker and others. Sometimes they will be in back-to-back movies. I don’t know if that’s intentional or not.
Here are some of our favorite Hallmark Christmas Movie actors:
- Lacey Chabert
- Andrew Walker
- Brennan Elliott
- Luke Macfarlane
- Alexa and Carlos Pena Vega
- Alicia Witt
As for this year’s new movies, here are how I would rank them:
- Christmas Next Door
- Marry Me At Christmas
- The Sweetest Christmas
- Enchanted Christmas
- With Love, Christmas
- Christmas at Holly Lodge
- The Mistletoe Inn
- Christmas in Evergreen
- Christmas Getaway
- Christmas Connection
- The Christmas Cottage
- Miss Christmas
- Coming Home for Christmas
- Switched for Christmas
- Christmas Festival of Ice
- Finding Santa
- A Gift to Remember
- Sharing Christmas
- The Christmas Train
Although we love the Hallmark movies there are few things that we would like to see improved:
- Can we have more movies where a spouse, parent or child has not died? In most of the movies, someone in the family has died which has caused issues with Christmas.
- Better editing! Please. There are so many times where better editing would have helped.
- Need more of the “one year later” endings. In most of the movies the characters finally get together in the final five minutes but a short travel into the future would be a good touch.
- We see too much of Candice Cameron Bure.
- Does there always have to be a jerk guy that the woman is torn about?
Fun Facts about Hallmark Christmas movies:
- Most the movies are filmed near Vancouver, British Columbia in Canada
- Movies are filmed in the summer and crews use trucks of ice and white drapes to make it look like winter.
- Most of the movies are made in 15 days.
- You will see lots of snowfall and a Christmas tree farm in almost every movie
- There will be an awkward screen shot of Folger’s coffee products
- Hallmark has made a total of 136 Christmas movies since 2008
- More than 85 million people have watched
- Common character names will be Nick, Chris or Holly
- There will usually be a huge misunderstanding. Someone overhears the wrong thing or gets the wrong impression.
- People fall in love quick – usually within three days
- This season almost every actor from Hallmark Channel’s TV series “Chesapeake Shores” has been in a Christmas movie.
Hallmark Channel has definitely created themselves an empire when it comes to Christmas. In spite of what you might think, these are good Christmas movies to watch. Believe me, you can see a lot worse elsewhere. Yes, some of the plots of rehashed in various ways but even if you know how the plot is going to end, it’s still a story with good values with low stress viewing. Admit it – don’t we all need something to calm us down during the Christmas season?
It’s going to be sad when the movies end and Hallmark brings back “The Golden Girls” and other shows. In addition to the usual they have been advertising repeatedly and when I say “repeatedly” I mean a LOT that they will start showing “Full House” reruns. How many more sleeps until next year’s Christmas movies start?
Have no fear, we won’t have to wait another year for Christmas movies. They will be back in July for the Christmas in July special.