The amount of time I spent watching Hallmark movies this holiday season is…embarrassing to say the least. However, there’s a certain kind of joy that comes from the predictability and cheesiness of a good Hallmark movie. So I watched and ranked all of them, so you don’t have to. There’s too many of these and I really wouldn’t recommend watching all but the top ten, if that.
40. Never Kiss A Man in a Christmas Sweater: She’s a teacher who’s spending Christmas alone when she accidentally knocks over an architect from out of town who is wearing an ugly Christmas sweater. The premise isn’t very fun, and there’s not much joy overall.
39. Christmas in Vienna: The only positive thing I can say about this one is that I like classical music and the Vienna architecture is really pretty, but even then, the violin playing is atrociously inaccurate, and it is terribly dry.
38. A Christmas Tree Grows in Colorado: A woman wants to take a single father’s front yard spruce tree for a Christmas celebration.That is not a euphemism, that is the whole premise.
37. Christmas She Wrote: Jerk editor who fired the journalist protagonist comes back to her hometown to try to win her over and also maybe fall in love. Honestly, I was disappointed that this wasn’t a Christmas spin on “Murder She Wrote”. Boo, no Angela Lansbury.
36. Good Morning Christmas: Morning show co-hosts who can’t get along are sent to a festive small-town inn. Their banter is frankly quite annoying and this one is also missing the joy and fun.
35. If I Only Had Christmas: A cheerful publicist and a cynical VP help a charity in need. The whole thing is a Wizard of Oz reference. I was very confused throughout this entire movie and don’t think I could recount the plot beyond what you just read.
34: The Christmas Ring: A woman finds an antique ring that she holds a hidden story, and entails tracking down the grandson of the former owner. I like antiques and wanted to like this, but the acting was poor and it was quite boring.
33. A Little Christmas Charm: There’s a jewelry designer and a lost charm bracelet and a reporter and I am very bored. Something, something, one of them wears red and one of them wears green.
32. Unlocking Christmas: Two strangers meet when they find a key and a riddle. Quite boring, nothing particularly interesting, and once more, I don’t remember it fairly well.
31. A Christmas Carousel: A woman must repair the carousel of the Royal Family of Ancadia, leading her to meet a bad boy prince with a heart of gold. This is the cheesy concept that I wanted to love, but it was presented with such dry and lifeless acting that left me wanting more.
30. Swept Up by Christmas: An antique seller and cleaner clash when they have to prepare an estate to be sold by Christmas. I am reading my notes, and I don’t remember this one at all.
29. Meet Me at Christmas: Joan, the mother of the groom, has to plan her son’s wedding with the help of the bride’s uncle, a travel photographer. I liked that they went with an older romance and I liked the premise, but again, the acting and presentation threw me off.
28. Heart of the Holidays: An uptight Wall Street lady goes home for the holidays and meets up with her coffee shop/baker owner ex-boyfriend for a second chance at love. This is lower down because of how much it lies in The Hallmark Movie(™) archetype, but it had some fun and was kind of enjoyable.
27. Christmas in Evergreen: Bells Are Ringing: They’re trying to make a Christmas museum in Evergreen. The leads are good and have chemistry but unfortunately this is the fourth in the Evergreen series and so I did not really care for the characters, as I have not seen the rest.
26. Project Christmas Wish: Lucy grants Christmas wishes as a Santa-like charity project runner, leading her to fall in love when Luke’s daughter wishes for his happiness. I don’t remember this one.
25. The Christmas Doctor: A travelling doctor in a small town with past regrets. Cute, but ultimately unmemorable.
24. Christmas Comes Twice: Tamera of “Tia and Tamera” stars, as she travels back 5 years for a second chance. I wanted to like this one way more for Tamera, but unfortunately, it is fine.
23. Cross Country Christmas: Two people that kind of hate each other have to work together to get home for Christmas during a snowstorm as it seems every form of transportation is broken. This one was wacky and fun, if missing the heart.
22. Christmas Tree Lane: He works for developers that are tearing down her beloved Christmas tree lane. This was one of many “tearing down” movies and was the most forgettable of them.
21. USS Christmas: She is a reporter who needs a romance story when she finds a mystery in the archive of a tiger cruise (when civilians ride on a navy ship for the last few days of deployment) with a naval officer. I liked the premise and the protagonist; the love interest was not my favourite.
20. The Christmas House: This was the much hyped “gay one” with Jonathan Bennett of Mean Girls fame. Two brothers come home for the last “Christmas house”—it’s like a haunted house but for Christmas. Unfortunately, this movie gives approximately 5 minutes to its very hyped-up gay couple and the rest to the older brother, whose story is not particularly interesting. It was alright, and the acting, by Hallmark standards, was pretty good, but I felt cheated with this one.
19. A Nashville Christmas Carol: She’s a TV producer and her childhood friend manages a country music star. She must choose ambition or friendship and reconnect with the one who got away. The music was fun, and the structure allows you to just enjoy, since it sticks with the Christmas Carol formula.
18. Christmas by Starlight: She has to pretend to be his lawyer for the week and he will stop her family’s beloved Starlight Café from being demolished. Honestly, this one was better than it sounds, and I always find the random Christmas deadline entertaining.
17. A Timeless Christmas: An inventor of a Christmas clock that will find you true love if wound correctly on a Christmas moon travels to 2020, where his house is now a historical museum. This one simultaneously had fairly new, fun ideas and was a hodgepodge of Hallmark tropes I’d seen a million times before, and for that I applaud it.
16. A Godwink Christmas: First Loves, Second Chances: A single father ends up coincidentally bumping into his high school sweetheart. The third in the Godwink series, but could stand alone, and was quite sweet.
15. The Christmas Bow: A violinist reconnects with a family friend. It was predictable but cutesy and the protagonist is played by an actual musician, so the music bits are very lovely.
14. Chateau Christmas: She is a pianist who doesn’t believe in the magic of Christmas or performing anymore, so she goes with her family on vacation to a chateau where her ex, a music teacher, is running the Christmas concert but is fraught with, of course, everything going wrong. This one was sweet, and I enjoyed it quite a bit.
13. On the 12th Date of Christmas: Two game creators team up to create a Christmas scavenger hunt app, leading to them having to go on Christmas themed dates with the purpose of creating the app. This was a fresh premise, and it had the joy of a fake dating story with a twist. Also, being in a long-distance relationship during the pandemic meant I really enjoyed the Christmas dates. Yearning.
12. A Glenbrooke Christmas: An heiress heads to the small town of Glenbrooke where she meets a handsome fireman. This one had really lovely chemistry and dialogue, even though the premise wasn’t all that special.
11. Time for Us to Come Home for Christmas: Five guests are mysteriously invited to an inn, but not by the owner. They must figure out what connects them, and it might be the protagonist’s dead mom. A fairly new take, and it felt a bit like an Agatha Christie or Clue-esque murder mystery without the murder.
10. Holly & Ivy: A contractor helps a woman renovate her house so he can adopt a sick neighbour’s two children. This one was enjoyable due to the focus of the main character’s friendship with her neighbour and the children, while not throwing the romance together too hurriedly. It was also a tearjerker, which, for me, is a nice change from the sweetly saccharine-ness of Hallmark.
9. Cranberry Christmas: A married couple needs to re-spark their marriage by planning their brand (Cranberry Lane) festival together. It was different to see a couple that was already together, and they were believably so. It was cute.
8. The Angel Tree: A writer tries to find the wish granter of the Angel Tree and reconnects with a childhood friend. I enjoyed the message of giving for the enjoyment of others throughout, and the protagonists were likeable, and it was nice to have a movie where the protagonists didn’t actively hate each other.
7. Deliver by Christmas: He’s a widower and she’s a bakery owner, and they don’t realize they know each other over the phone. I liked that they never hated each other, there were just a lot of misunderstandings and past damage, which felt both refreshing and more realistic than a lot of the others.
6. Jingle Bell Bride: A wedding planner needs to find jingle bell flowers from Alaska for a celebrity client, only found in a remote town. Cute small towns with holiday traditions are always a nice touch, and the way the two learn about each other is lovely.
5. Christmas Waltz: She is dumped by her fiancé a month before her Christmas wedding but decides to keep the ballroom lessons she planned, falling in love with the instructor. There was a beautiful Golden Age feel about this movie, and the dancing is wonderful.
4. Love, Lights, Hanukkah!: This is the only non-Christmas holiday movie, as Christina is adopted and finds out she is 50% Jewish, learning about Judaism from her birth mother. The focus away from romance and on family was touching and beautiful, and the romance was fun. This one might’ve been higher if it wasn’t so very Hanukkah for the goys.
3. Five Star Christmas: A dad starts running an inn and his family pretends to be guests when a travel writer comes to town. Did I like this because I miss Schitt’s Creek? Maybe, but the chemistry is good, the hijinks and comedy are fun, and there’s a lot of family heart to it. The tone was so much lighter than a lot of the rest, and with a year like we’ve had, this one is what I needed.
2. Christmas with the Darlings: A woman helps a man look after his orphaned nieces and nephews. She is the executive assistant to his elder brother. The relationship with the kids and the family appeal of this movie was also what drew me in and made it enjoyable. Also, I’m not sure why The Christmas House got that much hype when this movie featured a side sapphic interracial couple of the best friend and a baker! It is very minor and also is only allotted about 5 minutes, but it was very sweet.
1. One Royal Holiday: I hate that I liked this one so much. Broadway’s Laura Osnes is a nurse whose father owns a B&B, which she offers to Broadway’s Aaron Tveit, who is the prince of Galwick who must be home for his holiday address. The minor characters were all full of joy and fun, and it was just a romp. If you like Aaron Tveit with a bad British accent (side note, why do they keep letting him play characters with British accents?), some pretty singing, and sickly-sweet love stories, this is the one.