2019 Holiday Movies: Hallmark And Beyond – NPR
Josh Whitehouse and Vanessa Hudgens star in a movie in which an actual knight comes to modern-day Ohio, and if that’s not enough for you, I can’t help you.
It’s holiday TV movie season, and it’s not just a Hallmark party. There’s also Lifetime, UPTV, and — increasingly — Netflix.
We know that for devotees of this genre, it can be hard to keep up. Therefore, we have prepared a helpful guide to all the new movies we’re aware of that are on tap for the season, complete with notations for which tropes they offer. Everything in bold is what I would consider an element of holiday programming; that should help you find what you need. Are you a person who likes to see a “suit man” learn the new meaning of Christmas? We can help! Do you prefer to see someone save her hometown? You’ll find just the right movie for you, right here. And remember: These are just the new ones. There are so many!
I’ve also noted where beloved celebrities and nostalgic figures are present — I admit this is a blurry line between these categories, but it’s meant to be “famous for [specific character/project]” versus “famous generally.”
Note that these are based on what the networks and services have revealed thus far. Some of these might have hidden elves or moppets or musical numbers that just haven’t revealed themselves yet. You have to keep some surprises for Santa, right?
Picture A Perfect Christmas (Hallmark, 11/9, 8 pmET)
She’s an “extreme sports photographer” who goes to her own little town to take care of Grandma and meets a neighbor whose nephew is visiting him. She learns that this little town is OK. Also Moppet!
Radio Christmas (Lifetime, 11/9, 8 pmET)
Keshia Knight Pulliam plays a DJ who is forced to relocate from her Philadelphia broadcasting digs to the small town of — you guessed it — Bethlehem, and it turns out this little town is OK. Also, everybody cares too much about Christmas, in that there is apparently a “year-round Christmas station.” (You can kind of forgive them because it’s Bethlehem, I suppose.)
Rock N’ Roll Christmas (UPTV, 11/10, 7pmET)
Estranged mother and daughter singers rush to get ready in time to write a Christmas single together. Will they succeed? I would say it’s fa-la-la-la-likely. There’s probably music!
The Mistletoe Secret (Hallmark, 11/10, 8 pmET)
Remember Kellie Pickler from American Idol? This is what she does now! She plays a woman whose hometown is losing tourists until a grumpy journalist agrees to write an article about it, and she has the chance to help her hometown! Nostalgic figure Patrick Duffy.
A Sweet Christmas Romance (Lifetime, 11/10, 8 pmET)
A food stylist returns to her hometown, where she has the opportunity to participate in a baking contest to win ownership of an adorable small business, her favorite bakery. Of course, there’s a guy who will be her professional competitor. Will they fall in love? MIGHT THEY?
A Christmas Miracle (Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, 11/14, 9 pmET)
A journalist tries to create a Christmas miracle. Moppet!
Christmas A La Mode (Lifetime, 11/15, 8 pmET)
How to save the adorable small business, a family dairy farm? With a high-stakes competition involving ice cream.
Christmas Under The Stars (Hallmark 11/16, 9 pmET)
He’s a suit man who loses his job and goes to work on a Christmas tree lot despite his missing Christmas spirit. You get no points for figuring out what happens when he meets Julie, “an astronomy teacher who’s always looked to the stars for hope.” Beloved celebrity Clarke Peters!
Percy Daggs III and Jana Kramer in Christmas in Louisiana.
Christmas in Louisiana (Lifetime, 11/16, 8 pmET)
Well she’s a former Miss Christmas in her town, a title that exists because everybody cares too much about Christmas, and she goes back home and runs into the former Mister Christmas, and they might perhaps fall in love and presumably wear matching wreath crowns. Beloved celebrities Barry Bostwick, Moira Kelly and Dee Wallace.
Christmas Cupcakes (UPTV, 11/17, 7 pmET)
How to save the family bakery, a truly adorable small business? Win a high-stakes competition on television!
Write Before Christmas (Hallmark, 11/17, 8 pmET)
A woman sends thank-you notes at Christmas. The most important thing to know about this one is that nostalgic figure Grant Show, former Melrose Place hottie, is now playing Hot Gray Hair types, and it’s possible that he looks better than ever. Here, most of his scenes seem to be with a cute dog. Also beloved celebrity Lolita Davidovich. Horrible pun title.
Random Acts of Christmas (Lifetime, 11/17, 8 pmET)
An investigative journalist (not sure if she’s grumpy) tries to figure out why there are “random acts of Christmas” taking place. A man “ignites her Christmas spirit.” But he “may not be the man he claims to be.” So he could be a bank robber or an elf; we just don’t know. Nostalgic figures Patrick Duffy and Jaclyn Smith (Duffy’s pulling a twofer!).
A Godwink Christmas: Meant For Love (Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, 11/17, 9 pmET)
About a couple brought together by the actual supernatural force that is “Godwinks,” which are literally winks from God in the theology of the books that inspired this movie as well as a previous one just called A Godwink Christmas. Beloved celebrity Kathie Lee Gifford.
The Knight Before Christmas (Netflix, 11/21)
If you were a medieval knight and you were magically transported to Christmas in contemporary Ohio, wouldn’t you hope to run into Vanessa Hudgens? Sure you would. So would this guy, and it happens to him thanks to the actual supernatural force of time travel. Horrible pun title.
The Magical Christmas Shoes (Lifetime, 11/22, 8 pmET)
This is not the same movie as The Christmas Shoes, based on the book The Christmas Shoes which was based on the song “The Christmas Shoes.” No, this is The Magical Christmas Shoes, and it’s something else entirely, but it appears to involve actual supernatural forces.
Twinkle All The Way (Lifetime, 11/23, 8 pmET)
So there’s a woman in event planning who has to plan a Christmas wedding, which is pretty hard. But fortunately for her, she meets a guy who runs a [checks notes] “Christmas decoration and house-lighting company,” where everybody cares too much about Christmas. They undoubtedly have to rush to get ready for her wedding and also do the work for his client, who is played by beloved celebrity Lesley Ann Warren.
Holiday Hearts (Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, 11/23, 9 pmET)
Two people have to care for a friend’s daughter at the same time she has to do holiday event planning for a Christmas party, which seems like a lot of pressure.
Christmas At Graceland: Home For The Holidays (Hallmark, 11/23, 8 pmET)
Remember Adrian Grenier from Entourage? This is what he does now! He plays a suit man who prioritizes his job until the nanny he hired, who’s home in Memphis for the holidays, convinces him to stop and smell the peanut butter and bacon sandwiches at the famous location, location, location. Nostalgic figure Priscilla Presley!
A Christmas Recipe For Romance (UPTV, 11/24, 7 pmET)
How to save the adorable small business that is your family-run inn? Win a high-stakes competition for which you’ll have to rush to get ready!
Cherished Memories: A Gift to Remember 2 (Hallmark, 11/24, 8 pmET)
Look, I could explain this movie to you, or I could tell you that the first sentence of the description is “A year after Darcy ran over Aiden, his amnesia is gone but not their love.” (Darcy is also trying to save the rec center, meaning this is also an example of saving her hometown).
Christmas 9 to 5 (Lifetime, 11/24, 8 pmET)
Tiya Sircar (who plays Vicky/”Real Eleanor” on The Good Place) plays a grump journalist (she might be more of a hopeful journalist, but it’s not clear) who’s assigned to find the true meaning of Christmas, so she becomes a sales clerk.
A Christmas Duet (Hallmark, 11/25, 8 pmET)
Averie and Jesse used to be a singing duo until they broke up, but now he, her old flame, comes to her lodge (a/k/a her adorable small business) over the holidays, and naturally they may just figure out how to get back together. They are played, we should note, by Chaley Rose and Rome Flynn, black leading actors on a channel that basically never used to have black leading actors but has some this year; Lifetime has significantly more and has for quite a while. There’s probably music!
Wes Brown and Rachel Boston canoodle in Check Inn To Christmas.
Fred Hayes/Hallmark Channel
Fred Hayes/Hallmark Channel
Check Inn To Christmas (Hallmark, 11/26, 8 pmET)
Her family and his family own rival cozy inns (what could be a more adorable small business?) and might just fall in love even though they are professional competitors. Nostalgic figure Richard Karn! Horrible pun title.
A Very Vintage Christmas (Lifetime, 11/27, 8 pmET)
Tia Mowry-Hardrict is in this one about a woman who owns the ultimate adorable small business: an antique shop. She comes into possession of a box of someone’s old stuff (which cannot really be that uncommon, given that it’s an antique shop) and decides to return it. A man helps her, obviously.
The Christmas Club (Hallmark, 11/27, 8 pmET)
A man and a woman meet when they “help an elderly woman find her lost Christmas savings.”
Holiday Rush (Netflix, 11/28)
Romany Malco plays a dad who loses his job and has to struggle to make the perfect Christmas for his kids. Beloved celebrity Darlene Love is in it — will she sing “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)”?
A Christmas Wish (Lifetime, 11/28, 8 pmET)
It’s not clear whether this movie about a woman who makes a wish for love really gets the wish via actual supernatural forces or whether she only thinks she’s getting the wish when actually she’s not getting the wish but just falling in love the regular way, but I’m throwing it in here anyway.
Christmas at the Plaza (Hallmark, 11/28, 8 pmET)
Jessica and Nick, who are perhaps named after countless characters from other TV romantic movies, are assigned to collaborate on a project at the Plaza Hotel, a very classy location, location, location. Features two beloved celebrities: Julia Duffy and Bruce Davison!
Staging Christmas (Lifetime, 11/29, 8 pmET)
Soleil Moon Frye, known to children of the ’80s as Punky Brewster, is in this one as a woman who stages houses that people are selling. She gets a special assignment from a guy who doesn’t feel prepared to decorate his own house for Christmas but thinks his daughter would enjoy it. And then she teaches everybody the true meaning of Christmas, probably. (He is not a suit man; he is a sweater man, which is a very different man.)
Christmas In Evergreen: Tidings Of Joy (Hallmark, 11/29, 8 pmET)
The third film in a Hallmark franchise of sorts, this one is about Evergreen’s search for a time capsule and the grump journalist who comes to town and meets a woman just in time to be charmed by it all and help her hometown.
Merry Liddle Christmas (Lifetime, 11/30, 8 pmET)
Kelly Rowland stars as a woman who’s obsessed with the perfect Christmas, only to find that her family is all over the place and driving her crazy. Will she learn that the true meaning of Christmas is not about Instagram? I bet she will.
Christmas In Rome (Hallmark, 11/30, 8 pmET)
Lacey Chabert, one of our Christmas Movie Queens, plays a woman who shows around an American suit man who wants to buy a company in Rome, but suffers from missing Christmas spirit even in this tremendous location, location, location.
Sense, Sensibility & Snowmen (Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, 11/30, 9 pmET)
“Christmas enthusiast” event planners get a client who’s a suit man and a “not-so-jolly toy company CEO.”
Christmas Chalet (UPTV, 12/1, 7 pmET)
The Christmas chalet is double-booked (almost like being snowed in!), and the other person staying with a divorced mom and her daughter is a “grumpy writer who hates Christmas.” (Writer, journalist, you know.) Well, I bet he doesn’t hate Christmas for long. Moppet!
You Light Up My Christmas (Lifetime, 12/1, 8 pmET)
Kim Fields plays a woman whose hometown was “built around her family’s pioneer Christmas Light Factory.” (Perhaps everybody cares too much about Christmas?) She needs to help her hometown and her adorable small business.
Christmas Town (Hallmark, 12/1, 8 pmET)
A career woman discovers that this little town is OK when she winds up in said little town, where there is Some Dude. Stars Candance Cameron Bure, billed as “Christmas favorite Candace Cameron Bure.”
A Christmas Prince: The Royal Baby (Netflix, 12/5)
The royal family franchise that is following the literal “first comes love, then comes marriage, then comes Tiny in the baby carriage” rhyme reaches its third chapter. Is there anything left after this? The Royal Home Equity Loan?
A Storybook Christmas (Lifetime, 12/6, 8 pmET)
An event planner hires a nanny for her niece at Christmas and THE NANNY IS A MAN. We are through the looking glass of traditional gender roles.
Jake Epstein and Kelly Jakle in Mistletoe and Menorahs.
Mistletoe and Menorahs (Lifetime, 12/7, 6 pmET)
She has to learn about Hanukkah! He has to learn about Christmas! They’d better get busy!
Christmas Unleashed (Lifetime, 12/7, 8 pmET)
An old flame has to help find Vanessa Lachey’s dog. Well, not Vanessa Lachey. A woman played by Vanessa Lachey. You know what I’m saying.
A Christmas Love Story (Hallmark [Hall Of Fame], 12/7, 8 pmET)
Kristin Chenoweth plays a youth choir director who meets the widowed father (Scott Wolf) of just the beautiful moppet singer she’s been looking for. There’s probably music!
A Homecoming For The Holidays (Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, 12/7, 9 pmET)
Actual Broadway performer (and winner of the reality show Grease: You’re The One That I Want!) Laura Osnes stars as a country singer who helps a guy build a house for a friend. There’s probably music!
Christmas In Paris (UPTV, 12/8, 7 pmET)
A rich French guy comes to Montana, whisks a local woman off to Paris for Christmas, and has a secret. Location, location, location!
Christmas at Dollywood (Hallmark, 12/8, 8 pmET)
Two people fall in love while event planning, specifically for the Christmas show at Dollywood. There’s probably music at this particular location, location, location. Features beloved celebrity Dolly Parton!
Grounded For Christmas (Lifetime, 12/8, 8 pmET)
Two pilots who don’t get along find their flight snowed in so they’re stuck in Cleveland. They wind up at her parents’ house, but because her ex is around, he agrees to a scheme where her family can meet her fake boyfriend.
Christmas Stars (Lifetime, 12/13, 8 pmET)
J.T. Hodges and Erica Durance star as aspiring singers working together and maybe falling in love and there’s a high-stakes competition and there’s probably music and is this A Star Is Born: Christmas Edition or what?
Matchmaker Christmas (Lifetime, 12/14, 6 pmET)
The old flame who shows up around Christmas in this one is named Jaxson. Yyyyikes. I say don’t do it, girl.
A Christmas Winter Song (Lifetime, 12/14, 8 pmET)
Ashanti is in this one, as a woman who meets a former jazz singer named Fred, played by Stan Shaw, who’s now homeless. There’s probably music!
Holiday Date (Hallmark, 12/14, 8 pmET)
Brooke brings an actor home to have her family meet her fake boyfriend over the holidays, something many many romcom characters have tried. And then she learns he’s Jewish and celebrates Hanukkah. Beloved celebrity Bruce Boxleitner!
Snowbound for Christmas (UPTV, 12/15, 7 pmET)
This is actually based on a novella that I have read, by the terrific romance writer Shannon Stacey! (It was called Snowbound with the CEO.) A boss brings his marketing executive to a pitch that will take place at a resort, and they are snowed in.
Rediscovering Christmas (Lifetime, 12/15, 8 pmET)
Mia the big-city window dresser has to come back to help her hometown to help with the annual Snowflake festival!
A Cheerful Christmas (Hallmark, 12/15, 8 pmET)
A woman is hired as the “Christmas coach” to restore the missing Christmas spirit of someone who is somehow both a member of a royal family and a suit man at a company.
The Christmas Temp (Lifetime, 12/20, 8 pmET)
There is a “Christmas temp agency” in this movie because everybody cares too much about Christmas, and it has an HR manager for whom the titular Christmas Temp has “feelings.”
Christmas Love Letter (Lifetime, 12/21, 6 pmET)
A relationship advice columnist goes back home to figure out who wrote her an anonymous love letter. Information is limited, but based on the promotional photo, I can add Moppet!
Christmas Hotel (Lifetime, 12/21, 8 pmET)
Garland Grove (where this takes place) is all about Christmas 12 months a year, making it the ultimate everybody cares too much about Christmas situation. Erin (Tatyana Ali) is in charge of developing a new hotel and help her hometown, so she makes it a Christmas Hotel to please the locals. Her old flame helps her find her missing Christmas spirit.
It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas (Hallmark, 12/21, 8 pmET)
No description except a photo of a man in a sweater looking hopefully upward.
Christmas Wedding Runaway (UPTV, 12/22, 7 pmET)
A soon-to-be bride is snowed in with her Grandma and an old flame. In the promotional photo, one guy is wearing glasses and a suit and the other guy is scruffy with a flannel shirt, so I’m pretty sure the flannel shirt guy will win, even on UPTV.
Double Holiday (Hallmark, 12/22, 8 pmET)
Rebecca, who celebrates Hanukkah, is thrown together with Chris, who celebrates Christmas, to carry out some event planning around the office holiday party. Naturally they fall in love, even though they’re professional competitors.
A Date By Christmas Eve (Lifetime, 12/22, 8 pmET)
A woman gets magical powers from the actual supernatural forces within a dating app and accidentally adds her kindly neighbor to the naughty list, and do not get me started.
Baby In A Manger (UPTV, 12/24, 7 pmET)
Someone has abandoned a baby in a nativity scene (a little on the nose), so a social worker and a police officer work to find the baby’s mother. I can’t even figure out what they want you to root for!
New Year, New Me (Hallmark, 12/28, 8 pmET)
No description except a photo of part of a tree.
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