A definitive ranking of all 42 Hallmark movies of 2023

Lunenburg, the first lesbian Hallmark movie, and more!
Gabriel Theriault – Argosy Illustrator


Hello, readers! I am back for the fourth, and possibly final, year to rank every holiday movie Hallmark came out with this year. Hallmark movies fill a special place in my heart. They are movies you watch with the whole family, while baking cookies, and their endless opportunities for Christmas spirit—and increasingly ridiculous plot points—are always invigorating. While last year, I commended Hallmark for their steps towards inclusion and representation, I think this year was a bit more middling. While there are definitely some hidden gems, this was not the finest year for Hallmark Christmas movies. Thankfully, I watched all 42 to let you know what to watch and what to skip. 


  1. Never Been Chris’d: Best friends Naomi and Liz return home for the holidays, where they see Chris Silver, the guy they both had a crush on in high school. I know that this is Hallmark, but goodbye to any semblance of feminism with this frankly terrible one. 


  1. Everything Christmas: LJ takes her roommate with her to fulfill her dead grandma’s dream. It is not often that I say this, but I hated the protagonist. She was incredibly annoying and unrealistic, and not in the cute, quirky, romcom way. 


  1. Miracle in Bethlehem, PA: Attorney Mary Anne adopts a baby in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania and is caught in a snowstorm, forcing her to stay with former musician Joe(seph?) and his dog, Donkey when there are no rooms at his sister’s inn. Get it? Get it? I cannot with this one. 


  1. The Santa Summit: Three teachers find love at an event in which everyone is dressed like Santa. I spent most of this movie trying to tell people apart, since everyone is in a Santa suit. Too much effort for not enough pay off. 


  1. Flipping for Christmas: Pro-gentrification Abby is tasked with flipping her sister’s husband’s parents’ house. I did not expect to get gentrification girlboss this year but here we are. 


  1. Haul Out the Holly: Lit Up: In this sequel (which never bodes well for a Hallmark movie) Homeowners Association president Jared and his girlfriend Emily deal with the most annoying reality star family ever. Yeesh. 


  1. My Norwegian Holiday: Henrik is going home to Norway and gives his extra ticket to a random high school teacher he met at a café. It is a ridiculous set up that honestly could have been an interesting Midsommar-esque horror movie but is horribly boring.


  1. Not So Royal Christmas: When a journalist wants to interview a long-missing count, the grounds landscaper steps up and pretends to be the count. I re-watched this one twice because I wanted to believe in the premise, but somehow it failed to keep my attention all three times because I do not remember what happened. 


  1. Mystery on Mistletoe Lane: A historical society director and her kids move into an old house, where they find a holiday scavenger hunt. Sure. 


  1. Our Christmas Mural: Uninspired artist Olivia is entered by her mom into a mural contest and decides to work together with local teacher Will. I still have no idea why Will would not let Olivia have one of his 12 tubes of green paint. 


  1. Magic in Mistletoe: Famous children’s book author Harrington Davis (a hilarious name) tweets that he hates Christmas, and to save his image, publicist April makes him go back to his hometown that inspired his books. I think Harrington had better chemistry with his best friend Chris than with the love interest. 


  1. Rescuing Christmas: Elves Debbie and Chuck grant human Erin three wishes, but when she wishes that Christmas would disappear, she has to try to teach everyone about it. Erin, for some inexplicable reason, thinks making a tree out of rolls of toilet paper is a better visual than using…a tree outside? Some sort of other plant? 


  1. Heaven Down Here: A server, hospice worker, pastor, and diner manager are stranded in a diner on Christmas Eve due to a snowstorm.  I felt like I was trapped too, for the 84-minute runtime of this movie. 


  1. A World Record Christmas: This one is based on the true story of Auldin Maxwell, who wanted to set a Guinness World Record to stack Jenga blocks. I am not sure about true stories and Hallmark, as that is definitely not why I tune in each year. 


  1. A Season for Family: Single parents Maddy and Paul meet when their sons become immediate besties at ski school. It turns out that the boys are long lost biological brothers, but this is not The Parent Trap. It did, however, make me want to re-watch The Parent Trap.


  1. Christmas with a Kiss: Mona has to choose between her firefighter high school ex-boyfriend and a reporter she clashes with to pick who she is going to kiss under the mistletoe. Is it a man in a red sweater or a man in a green sweater? 


  1. Christmas in Notting Hill: British football (soccer) player Graham’s brother is proposing to American special education teacher Georgia’s sister. I know Notting Hill is an actual place, but no Notting Hill (starring Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant) references? Disappointing. The girls did have quirky outfits that could rival Zooey Deschanel, though. 


  1. Sealed with a List: Carley is stuck working with nepo baby Wyatt, who helps her hit her resolutions before New Year’s. I think this one is this high solely on the charisma of the main actors. 


  1. Time for Her to Come Home for Christmas: Please tell me they have hit all the pronouns possible because I hate these titles. That being said, this was cute. Carly (not to be mistaken with Carley, above) helps a community choir remember why they love music as they prepare for Christmas Eve. The purposely bad choir singing is hilarious.


  1. Ms. Christmas Comes to Town: Popular channel host Gale “Ms. Christmas” is hit with a terminal diagnosis but wants to go on a final tour. I love when Hallmark centres an older couple, as it is a welcome change. 


  1. The Secret Gift of Christmas: Personal gift shopper Bonnie Parker is hired by extraordinarily practical contractor Patrick. This one is this high due to Bonnie’s fabulous outfits. She looked like an American Girl doll meets Holiday Barbie. 


  1. Holiday Road: When a flight to Denver is cancelled, a group decides to share a rental car to get there by Christmas Eve. I liked the protagonists and the ensemble cast and this would have gone higher if not for the absolutely infuriating influencer character, who literally filmed and uploaded someone’s panic attack. 


  1. My Christmas Guide: Blind professor Trevor’s daughter suggests he gets a guide dog, and guide dog trainer Amber is there to help the family along their way. Heartwarming, cute, original idea. 


  1. Mystic Christmas: This one is for anyone who had a phase where they thought maybe they would be a marine biologist. Dr. Juniper Jones, Peppermint the seal, and small-town pizzeria-owner Sawyer are all absolutely adorable. 


  1. Under the Christmas Sky: Astrophysicist Kat always dreamed of going to space, but an accident stops her, and to cheer her up, her brother gets her a gig consulting at the local planetarium. Cool concept, entirely average execution. 


  1. Navigating Christmas: Divorcée Melanie takes her teenage son on a trip to stay in a lighthouse. The two couples are sweet, and the son is rude to his mom in a painfully realistic way. 


  1. Joyeux Noel: Hopeless romantic Leah is paired up with moody Mark to write a story on a mysterious love story that happened at a French Christmas market in 1959. Leah realizes that real love is better than romanticized perfection, and the setting is lovely.


  1. To All a Good Night: Photographer Ceci saves a man in a motorcycle accident, but could he be buying her family’s land? Very classic Hallmark, and the dog was the MVP with how adorable it was. 


  1. Christmas Island: A private pilot has to make an emergency landing on Christmas Island. For Maritimers, this one might look familiar, as “Christmas Island” is actually a mash up of Peggy’s Cove and Lunenburg! There is a family learning to love each other again, a romantic airport gesture, and chicken bones. What is not to love? 


  1. Christmas by Design: She is a luxury NYC fashion designer, and he is a mechanic in her hometown. Fake dating, Christmas events galore, and a tribute to her dead father make this one a great execution of the Hallmark formula. 


  1. 12. A Heidelberg Holiday: Artisan glass ornament maker Heidi Heidelberg (yes, really) visits Heidelberg to sell her ornaments at the Christmas market. Ginna Claire Mason, who starred in last year’s A Holiday Spectacular, is quickly rising up the list of my favourite Hallmark stars. She is exceptionally lovable. 


  1. Checkin’ It Twice: Hockey player Scott may be a 32-year-old rookie, but he is still trying to hit it big, even if it involves playing in real estate agent Ash’s small hometown. He learns that his dream does not have to be the same as his dad’s, and that he would do anything to see her for even a little while, which tugged at my heartstrings.


  1. Holiday Hotline: British chef Abby works on a hotline that helps people struggling with their turkeys, disguised under an American accent and the name Peggy. While Abby falls for architect Jack, “Peggy” connects with constant caller “John” (it is Jack). I love how they essentially fall in love twice without knowing it. 


  1. An Ice Palace Romance: Journalist Lori is hesitant when she is assigned a story about her hometown rink, which is about to be torn down. It turns out that Lori is a former figure skater who stopped after a fall during a competition, and she starts a relationship with single dad Mark, who owns the local rink. Even her skates follow the Hallmark holiday colour palette of red and green. 


  1. Catch Me If You Claus: Aspiring newscaster Avery is about to get her big break on Christmas morning when a man breaks into her house! Is he Santa, like he says he is, or is he The Santa Crook? This one gets bonus points for how ridiculous and campy it was. 


  1. Round and Round: When assistant publisher Rachel goes home for the seventh night of Hanukkah, her grandmother gives her an antique dreidel that forces her to relive the same day seven times until she finally finds her true love. The obligatory annual Hanukkah movie is often among the best of the year, and wackier storylines always get points with me. 


  1. Where Are You, Christmas?: Workaholic Addy (not to be confused with the two Abbys on this list) returns to her hometown for Christmas, but when she wishes there was never Christmas, the world turns black and white. She enlists the help of mechanic Hunter to get people to remember Christmas, which turns them back to colour. Parts of this movie almost had a Twilight Zone vibe, which was a welcome break from the sickly-sweet usual Hallmark fare. 


  1. A Merry Scottish Christmas: Lindsay (played by Hallmark favourite Lacey Chabert) and her estranged brother Brad travel to Scotland to stay at a castle that they learn their mom is the heiress of. While there is certainly romance, I liked that this one focused on rebuilding the relationship between the siblings. 


  1. Christmas on Cherry Lane: In another more inventive take, this movie covers three families who lived in the same house over three different time periods spanning 50 years. A couple is expecting their first baby, an empty nester gets engaged, and a gay couple welcomes an adoption. Although you do have to pay more attention than is usually needed for a Hallmark movie, this one is worth it. 


  1. A Biltmore Christmas: When cynical screenwriter Lucy is rewriting a movie from the 1940s, she turns over an hourglass and ends up back in time to the original film set. She falls for 1940s movie star Jack Huston, who was responsible for the happy ending she initially hated. This one was beautifully put together and had me longing for pin curls and Oxfords. 


  1. Letters to Santa: Two children are given a magic pen by Santa, and after wishing for a puppy, they start to wish for things to help their family before turning their attention to the ultimate wish: for their parents to get back together. This one kept sucking me back in, and you could really tell that the main couple deeply loved each other but just needed to communicate. It is also nice to see a couple mid-journey, as opposed to at the start of their relationship. 


  1. Friends & Family Christmas: A photographer and a lawyer fake date in order to appease their parents. This sounds pretty standard, but it is the first lesbian-focused Hallmark movie, just one year after the first gay Hallmark movie: The Holiday Sitter. The classic third act misunderstandings had me yelling at the screen before the couple thankfully ended up adorably together. I hope these harken more gay Hallmark movies, because they have been doing a phenomenal job with them. 

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