Nothing can bring joy to the world quite like the steady diet of cavity-inducing sweetness bursting from the Hallmark Channel’s annual slate of holiday romances. Simply have a wonderful Christmastime with 40 whimsical tales that will melt even the Grinchiest of hearts. The sleigh ride into the most wonderful time of the year begins Friday, Oct. 23 and doesn’t stop until little Saint Nick returns to the North Pole with an empty bag. Each weekend delivers premieres filled with strong, independent characters striving to bring a little seasonal magic to their families and friends. And if they find a partner along the way to coo, “Merry Christmas, Darling,” by the candy-colored lights of a tree – hooray!
Well-known faces dot this year’s yuletide landscape, including Candace Cameron Bure, Tamera Mowry-Housley, Holly Robinson Peete and Lacey Chabert, while themes—often predictable, sometimes outlandish, yet always delicious—emerge. Let us be your guide through Hallmark’s “Countdown to Christmas,” available now through the Lifestyle Extra package with your SLING Orange or Blue subscription.
What could be more romantic than tying the knot in a winter wonderland around the holidays? If you ask the folks who work those weddings, the answer might be a far cry from a fairy tale. In Jingle Bell Bride (10/24 at 8 pm ET), a wedding planner (played by Julie Gonzalo) must traipse all the way to Alaska to track down a rare flower for a celebrity client’s nuptials with the help of a charming local (played by Ronnie Row Jr.) Those pocketing some extra crash as the hired help for a Christmas marital union fare better than Lacey Chabert’s character in Christmas Waltz (11/28 at 8 pm ET) when her picture-perfect wedding is abruptly canceled. A sympathetic dance instructor (played by Will Kemp) helps soften the blow. The holidays also prompt some to reevaluate their romantic partners, which is exactly the situation Hannah (played by Rukiya Bernard) finds herself in as she juggles a museum opening and her friend Michelle’s (played by Holly Robinson Peete) wedding in Christmas in Evergreen: Bells are Ringing (12/5 at 8 pm ET).
Offering a simple kindness to a stranger will activate those feel-good endorphins, but it also might aid in your quest to find true love. Anna (played by Laura Osnes) hits the jackpot when she selflessly takes in a stranded mother and her son (played by Aaron Tveit) during a blizzard only to find out the down-on-their-luck pair make up two thirds of the Royal Family of Galwick in One Royal Holiday (10/31 at 8 pm ET). And if you can’t serendipitously happen upon a dreamy prince, why not allow his family to hire you for your in-demand carousel-repair services. Will Lila (played by Rachel Boston) meet her Dec. 25 deadline in A Christmas Carousel (12/19 at 8 pm ET) with help from Marcadia’s heir?
They say first love never dies—just ask anyone who has ever traveled home for Christmas and run into a former high school flame. More specifically, direct your questions to Sam (played by Vanessa Lengies) who comes face-to-face with her former teen crush in Heart of the Holidays (11/23 at 8 pm ET) when she finally ekes out time away from her all-encompassing career ambitions and visits her hometown. Another pair of former classmates must put their heads (and hearts) together to figure out how to make it home in time for Santa when a snowstorm derails regular, convenient modes of transportation in Cross Country Christmas (12/12 at 8 pm ET) while struggling parents welcome their two grown sons home to help them come to terms with a difficult decision in The Christmas House (11/22 at 8 pm ET). However, the pair of brothers – TV star Mike (played by Robert Buckley) and Brandon Mitchell (played Jonathan Bennett) – must contend with their own dramas: Brandon and his husband await adoption news while Mike gets entangled with a high school ex.
Appreciation for the musicians who create songs that soothe and uplift has only increased during the pandemic (at least in this writer’s house), so let’s toast the music makers and wish for all their yuletide dreams to come true, like Margo, a world famous pianist (played by Merritt Patterson) in Chateau Christmas (10/25 at 8 pm ET) who reclaims her musical drive with assistance from a hunky ex. Or Jess (played by Sarah Drew), a concert violinist who finds herself in a similar slump when her performance schedule sends her to Austria in Christmas in Vienna (11/14 at 8 pm ET). Grammy-winning icon Wynonna Judd lends her talents to A Nashville Christmas Carol (11/21 at 8 pm ET) as a paranormal mentor to a TV producer saddled with delivering a glittering, star-making country music Christmas special.
The message of the 1985 Eurythmics and Aretha Franklin collaboration, “Sisters Are Doin’ It For Themselves” holds true today, especially in this year’s batch of movies. There’s the game designer who teams up a co-worker to create a city-wide scavenger hunt in On the 12th Date of Christmas (11/1 at 8 pm ET) and the law firm assistant who offers to help the cute brother of her wealthy boss with a child care issue in Christmas with the Darlings (11/8 at 8 pm ET). Days of Our Lives star Alison Sweeney is an ambitious TV host competing for a story in Good Morning Christmas! (11/25 at 8 pm ET) while Candace Cameron Bure plays the lively publicist to a cynical businessman in If I Only Had Christmas (11/29 at 8 pm ET). The Wonder Years alum Danica McKellar plays a romance writer down in the dumps when her column gets cancelled right before Christmas, but after the editor has a change of heart, he pays her a surprise visit in Christmas She Wrote (12/6 at 8 pm ET).
Hallmark has found a way to turn back time in Christmas Comes Twice (12/13 at 8 pm ET), starring Tamera Mowry-Housley as a well-known news anchor who hops on a magical carousel at the Christmas carnival and is transported five years into the past, giving her a second chance to nab the guy she let get away. In A Timeless Christmas (11/15 at 8 pm ET), Charles Whitley (played by Ryan Paevey) jumps in time from 1903 to 2020 and spends a modern, smartphone-filled Christmas with the woman who works as a tour guide at his historic mansion.
Local businesses make up the lifeblood of any town — especially places people gather to break bread and share a meal. That’s why it’s so important for a lawyer in Christmas by Starlight (11/26 at 8 pm ET ) to do anything she can to save her family’s restaurant from demolition, even provide pro bono legal work to the father of the man who swings the wrecking ball. While the stakes aren’t quite as high for recent transplant Lisa (played by Bethany Joy Lenz) in Five Star Christmas (11/27 at 8 pm ET), the reputation of her father’s new bed and breakfast depends on her ability to sniff out the real travel critic amongst the other guests. As restaurant owner Christina (played by Mira Kirshner) readies for the Christmas rush, a DNA test reveals her Jewish heritage in Love, Lights, Hanukkah! (12/20 at 8 pm ET). This discovery opens her up to new traditions and a fetching suitor (played by Ben Savage).
Some movies just don’t fit snugly in a brown paper package tied up with string. For instance, going by the title alone, Never Kiss a Man in a Christmas Sweater (11/7 at 8 pm ET) seems to contradict every piece of advice we've gleaned from this annual smorgasbord of holiday fare, while an environmentally questionable ulterior motive drives the love story in A Christmas Tree Grows in Colorado 11/24 at 8 pm ET)
If you are still looking for more Christmas fare to sweep you off your feet, check out the "Miracles of Christmas" lineup on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries:
Christmas Tree Lane
Premieres Saturday, Oct. 24 at 10 pm ET
Starring Alicia Witt, Andrew Walker, Drake Hogestyn and Brianna Price
Deliver by Christmas
Premieres Sunday, Oct. 25 at 10 pm ET
Starring Alvina August and Elon Bailey
Premieres Saturday, Oct. 31 at 10 pm ET
Starring Nikki DeLoach and Benjamin Ayres
Holly & Ivy
Premieres Sunday, Nov. 1 at 10 pm ET
Starring Janel Parrish, Jeremy Jordan and Marisol Nichols
The Christmas Ring
Premieres Saturday, Nov. 7 at 10 pm ET
Starring Nazneen Contractor and David Alpay
The Christmas Bow
Premieres Sunday, Nov. 8 at 10 pm ET
Starring Lucia Micarelli and Michael Rady
Meet Me at Christmas
Premieres Saturday, Nov. 14 at 10 pm ET
Starring Catherine Bell and Mark Deklin
The Christmas Doctor
Premieres Sunday, Nov. 15 at 10 pm ET
Starring Holly Robinson Peete and Adrian Holmes
The Angel Tree
Premieres Saturday, Nov. 21 at 10 pm ET
Starring Jill Wagner and Lucas Bryant
A Godwink Christmas: Second Chance, First Love
Premieres Sunday, Nov. 22 at 10 pm ET
Starring Brooke D'Orsay and Sam Page
Premieres Saturday, Nov. 28 at 10 pm ET
Starring Jen Lilley, Trevor Donovan and Barbara Niven
A Little Christmas Charm
Premieres Saturday, Dec. 5 at 10 pm ET
Starring Ashley Greene and Brendan Penny
Time for Us to Come Home for Christmas
Premieres Sunday, Dec. 6 at 10 pm ET
Starring Lacey Chabert and Stephen Huszar
A Glenbrooke Christmas
Premieres Saturday, Dec. 12 at 10 pm ET
Starring Autumn Reeser and Antonio Cupo
Premieres Sunday, Dec. 13 at 10 pm ET
Starring Taylor Cole and Steve Lund
Swept Up by Christmas
Premieres Saturday, Dec. 19 at 10 pm ET
Starring Lindy Booth and Justin Bruening
Project Christmas Wish
Premieres Sunday, Dec. 20 at 10 pm ET
Starring Amanda Schull and Travis Van Winkle
To watch every Hallmark Christmas movie this holiday season, sign up for Sling Orange or Blue with the lifestyle Extra package. Use the link below to get 3-days free!