2020 Holiday Movies Worth Watching on Hallmark, Netflix, Lifetime & More
By Philiana Ng
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This story was originally published Wednesday, Oct. 21 at 9:30 a.m. PST.
Time to grab a warm cup of hot cocoa, slip on your cozy slippers and comfy flannel pajamas, and curl up by the fireplace because another holiday movie season is upon us!
Starting Friday, Oct. 23 and running through ‘til the end of the year, Hallmark, Lifetime, Netflix, Hulu and others are keeping us feeling the warm fuzzies in 2020 with more than 80 original holiday film premieres to inject you with a dose of holiday cheer. In an unrelenting year filled with uncertainty, there’s never been a more perfect time to escape into a TV wonderland where the only worries are how many gingerbread cookies to bake in time for the town’s winter festival.
That’s where we come in! We’ve pored through every holiday film premiering on the small screen (and your computer screen) over the next three months, and we’ve cherry-picked 34 of our favorites we think you should watch. So, snuggle up in your holiday comfiest, grab a warm plate of your favorite sweets and be sure to tune in for these two-hour doses of heartwarming Christmas charm.
Premieres: Friday, Oct. 23 at 8 p.m. ET/PT (Lifetime) Starring: Abigail Klein, Ryan Cooper, Caroline Portu, Will Lyman and Meara Mahoney Gross Plot: Courtney Bennett (Klein), a former U.S. figure skating hopeful, runs the city’s public skating rink, but when the mayor (Lyman) announces its closing, Courtney is heartbroken but determined to save it. After Courtney’s attempts to warm the mayor’s Scrooge-like heart fail, she enlists the help of Noah Tremblay (Cooper), a former professional hockey player and single dad, who owns the new indoor skating center, to help her, and together they find more than just the spirit of holidays on the ice. Why we’re excited: Ice-skating! Hockey! Christmas! Romance! We’re always down for a holiday movie set around an ice rink -- or in this case, two. A Lifetime-ified version of the 1992 romantic film The Cutting Edge and 2005’s Go Figure, we hope this one scores 10s across the board.
Premieres: Saturday, Oct. 24 at 8 p.m. ET/PT (Lifetime) Starring: Amber Stevens West, Marco Grazzini and Cheryl Ladd
Plot: From executive producer Tiffany Haddish, the movie follows Charity (West), an ambitious reporter, who learns the true meaning of Christmas when she investigates Erik Gallagher (Grazzini), a beloved member of the town who insists all the gifts he provides are from none other than Santa himself. Why we’re excited: If Haddish is involved, you know it’ll be funny. And it’s hard to bet against Greek alum Amber Stevens West. Honestly, with 2020 being a bit surreal, it’s a welcomed change of pace.
Premieres: Wednesday, Oct. 28 at 12:01 a.m. PT (Netflix) Starring: Emma Roberts, Kristin Chenoweth, Luke Bracey, Andrew Bachelor, Jessica Capshaw, Manish Dayal, Alex Moffat, Jake Manley, Cynthy Wu and Frances Fisher Plot: Sloane (Roberts) and Jackson (Bracey) hate the holidays. They constantly find themselves single, sitting at the kids table, or stuck with awkward dates. But when these two strangers meet one particularly bad Christmas, they make a pact to be each other’s “holidate” for every festive occasion throughout the next year. With a mutual disdain for the holidays, and assuring themselves that they have no romantic interest in the other, they make the perfect team. However, as a year of absurd celebrations come to an end, Sloane and Jackson find that sharing everything they hate may just prove to be something they unexpectedly love. Why we’re excited: While the plot isn’t exactly original (strangers agreeing to be each other’s go-to dates is a tried-and-true movie formula), the stellar cast is the selling point here. We all know how this story ends, but it’s all about the journey to love for these two scrooges that will have us pressing play at midnight.
Candy Cane Christmas
Premieres: Saturday, Oct. 31 at 8 p.m. ET/PT (Lifetime) Starring: Beverley Mitchell, Mark Ghanime, Trudy Weiss and Benedicte Belizaire Plot: Since childhood, Candy Cane Lane has been Phoebe’s (Mitchell) favorite Christmas tradition of an entire neighborhood decorated for the holidays. This Christmas, however, the neighborhood decides to skip the decorations, crushing her spirits. As Phoebe is searching for a new tradition to cheer her up, she realizes that it’s not the traditions we cherish, but the people we spend them with. While preparing for her new tradition, Phoebe stumbles upon the final thing her Christmas was missing: love! Why we’re excited: We love a heartwarming tale filled with second chances at Christmastime. Who doesn’t want to escape to a world where there’s a street named Candy Cane Lane?
One Royal Holiday
Premieres: Saturday, Oct. 31 at 8 p.m. ET/PT (Hallmark Channel) Starring: Laura Osnes, Aaron Tveit, Krystal Joy Brown, Victoria Clark and Tom McGowan Plot: When Anna (Osnes) offers a stranded mother (Clark) and son (Tveit) shelter in a blizzard, she learns that they are the Royal Family of Galwick. Anna shows the prince how they do Christmas in her hometown, encouraging him to open his heart and be true to himself. Why we’re excited: A prince from a tiny fictional country falls in love with a small-town nurse after a massive snowstorm? Count us in. And when you have Broadway stars Osnes and Tveit, who just scored his first Tony nomination (and likely win), you can count on some exquisite Christmas caroling.
The Christmas Aunt
Premieres: Sunday, Nov. 1 at 8 p.m. ET/PT (Lifetime) Starring: Keshia Knight Pulliam and Jarod Joseph Plot: When Rebecca Miller (Pulliam) returns home to Tennessee two weeks before Christmas to take care of her niece and nephew while their parents are away, the last thing she expected is to reconnect with her childhood best friend, Drew (Joseph). As she attempts to revive the kids' Christmas spirit and redeem their faith in Santa, she rediscovers her favorite childhood activity: 12 Days of Christmas -- something she always did with Drew. As the kids' faith in the holiday grows, Rebecca and Drew's friendship returns, and she starts looking at Drew in a whole new light. Why we’re excited: If you won’t be able to be with your loved ones this holiday season, a story about celebrating family may be just what you need to cure the blues.
Holly & Ivy
Premieres: Sunday, Nov. 1 at 10 p.m. ET/PT (Hallmark Movies & Mysteries) Starring: Janel Parrish, Jeremy Jordan and Marisol Nichols Plot: When Melody’s (Parrish) neighbor, Nina (Nichols), learns that her illness has returned, Melody promises to keep Nina’s kids, Holly & Ivy, together. To adopt the children, she must renovate her new fixer-upper, which she does with the help of contractor Adam (Jordan). Why we’re excited: Sure to be a tearjerker, we’re looking forward to seeing Pretty Little Liars, Supergirl and Riverdale stars coming together to bring hope to a heartfelt story.
Operation Christmas Drop
Premieres: Thursday, Nov. 5 at 12:01 a.m. PT (Netflix) Starring: Kat Graham, Alexander Ludwig and Virginia Madsen Plot: Chasing a promotion, congressional aide Erica Miller (Graham) forgoes family Christmas to travel across the Pacific at her boss’ behest. Upon landing at a beachside Air Force base, she clashes with her guide, Captain Andrew Jantz (Ludwig), who knows her assignment is finding reasons to defund the facility. The pilot’s pet project -- Operation: Christmas Drop, a genuine, decades-old tradition where gifts and supplies are parachuted to residents of remote neighboring islands -- has lawmakers wondering if his unit has too much spare energy. Despite their initial opposing goals, Erica softens once she experiences the customs and communal spirit of Andrew's adopted home. Why we’re excited: Graham’s second Netflix holiday film, after 2018’s The Holiday Calendar, this one combines politics, military and charity in one fell swoop.
A Welcome Home Christmas
Premieres: Saturday, Nov. 7 at 8 p.m .ET/PT (Lifetime); re-airs Wednesday, Nov. 11 (Veterans Day) Starring: Jana Kramer, Brandon Quinn, Tim Reid, Charlene Tilton and Craig Morgan Plot: Chloe (Kramer) has always supported various military organizations, including the town’s Army toy drive for Christmas. This year, she is paired up with Michael (Quinn), a vet who recently returned home, and together they recruit other veterans and active military personnel to help in the cause. As the community gears up for the Officer’s Christmas Ball, where all the kids will meet Santa Claus and receive their gifts, Michael and Chloe begin to realize the greatest gift this season has been each other’s company. Why we’re excited: Lifetime’s first holiday film around military veterans, just in time for Veterans Day.
Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey
Premieres: Friday, Nov. 13 at 12:01 a.m. PT (Netflix) Starring: Forest Whitaker, Madalen Mills, Keegan-Michael Key, Sharon Rose, Phylicia Rashad, Anika Noni Rose, Ricky Martin, Kieron Dyer, Justin Cornwell, Lisa Davina Phillip, Hugh Bonneville Plot: Set in the gloriously vibrant town of Cobbleton, the musical film follows legendary toymaker Jeronicus Jangle (Whitaker), whose fanciful inventions burst with whimsy and wonder. But when his trusted apprentice (Key) steals his most prized creation, it’s up to his equally bright and inventive granddaughter (newcomer Mills) -- and a long-forgotten invention -- to heal old wounds and reawaken the magic within. Features original songs by John Legend, Philip Lawrence, Davy Nathan and "This Day," performed by Usher and Kiana Ledé. Why we’re excited: Is there anything better than new Christmas music and a magical star-studded cast? We didn’t think so!
Christmas in Vienna
Premieres: Saturday, Nov. 14 at 8 p.m. ET/PT (Hallmark Channel) Starring: Sarah Drew and Brennan Elliott Plot: Jess (Drew), a concert violinist whose heart just isn’t in it anymore, goes to Vienna for a performance. While there, she finds the inspiration she has been missing, and a new love. Why we’re excited: Filmed on location before lockdown, Christmas in Vienna may be the temporary cure-all for the travel aficionados out there as we all safely stay at home.
A Timeless Christmas
Premieres: Sunday, Nov. 15 at 8 p.m. ET/PT (Hallmark Channel) Starring: Ryan Paevey and Erin Cahill Plot: Charles Whitley (Paevey) travels from 1903 to 2020, where he meets Megan Turner (Cahill), a tour guide at his historic mansion, and experiences a 21st-century Christmas. Why we’re excited: Combine time travel with small-town lore during the holidays, and you’ve got a classic TV movie trope -- and what’s more fun than watching a fish-out-of-water romance with a good-looking estate owner who doesn’t understand electricity?
Premieres: Thursday, Nov. 19 at 12:01 a.m. PT (Netflix) Starring: Vanessa Hudgens, Sam Palladio and Nick Sagar Plot: When Duchess Margaret (Hudgens) unexpectedly inherits the throne to Montenaro and hits a rough patch with boyfriend Kevin, it's up to her double, Princess Stacy of Belgravia (also Hudgens), to get these star-crossed lovers back together... but the course of true love is complicated by the appearance of a handsome royal who's intent on stealing Margaret's heart. Throw in the unexpected arrival of Margaret's outrageous party girl cousin, Fiona (yup, Hudgens again), a third look-alike who has ambitions of her own, and you have the recipe for Christmas triple trouble! Why we’re excited: If you thought two Vanessa Hudgens were enough, what about three? The premise for The Princess Switch is so ridiculous and out there that you just have to suspend your disbelief when you dive in. But the adventure is oh so worth it in the end. With a threequel already greenlit (will there be four Vanessa Hudgens?!), the time is now to invest in this wacky Christmastime jaunt.
Premieres: Saturday, Nov. 21 at 8 p.m. ET/PT (Lifetime) Starring: Mario Lopez, AnnaLynne McCord, Paulina Chavez and Marycarmen Lopez Plot: Directed by Melissa Joan Hart, the movie follows David Morales (Mario Lopez), an Arizona high school principal and single dad who has lost the holiday spirit after also losing his wife a few years ago during the Christmas season. Now, David will do anything to avoid Christmas, so he moonlights as a delivery driver during the holidays. But this year, David’s 14-year-old daughter, Noel (Chavez), and his live-in sister, Marissa (Marycarmen Lopez), are determined to bring the yuletide spirit back to the family and, with a little luck, also help David find love again via online dating. So when Sophie (McCord), a witty musician and customer on David’s delivery route, swipes right on him, something magical happens between them. Why we’re excited: A mainly Latinx cast takes center stage and are the stars of their own love story, aided by the very 2020 addition of a Bumble-esque dating app.
A Nashville Christmas Carol
Premieres: Saturday, Nov. 21 at 8 p.m. ET/PT (Hallmark Channel) Starring: Jessy Schram, Wes Brown, Wynonna Judd, Sara Evans, RaeLynn, Kix Brooks and Kimberly Williams-Paisley Plot: Vivienne Wake (Schram), a workaholic television producer in charge of a country music Christmas special showcasing newcomer Alexis (Raelynn), never lets personal feelings get in the way of business. On the verge of accepting a job in L.A., and with the return of Gavin Chase (Brown), her childhood sweetheart and manager to the special’s headliner, Belinda (Evans), she receives a visit from the ghost of her recently deceased mentor, Marilyn (Judd). Her mentor warns her current path leads to a dark future and has recruited both the Spirit of Christmas Past (Brooks) and the Spirit of Christmas Present (Williams-Paisley) to help her get back on track. The Spirits’ time-jumping adventures force Vivienne to take hold of her life. Why we’re excited: Country stars pop in to add a touch of Nashville spice, with a twist on the holiday classic, A Christmas Carol.
Dolly Parton’s Christmas on the Square
Premieres: Sunday, Nov. 22 at 12:01 a.m. PT (Netflix) Starring: Dolly Parton, Christine Baranski, Jenifer Lewis and Treat Williams Plot: Directed and choreographed by Debbie Allen, the musical film follows a rich and nasty woman, Regina Fuller (Baranski), who returns to her small hometown after her father’s death to evict everyone and sell the land to a mall developer -- right before Christmas. However, after listening to stories of the local townsfolk, reconnecting with an old love, and accepting the guidance of an actual angel, Regina starts to have a change of heart. This is the story about family, love, and how a small town’s Christmas spirit can warm even the coldest of hearts. Features 14 original songs by Parton. Why we’re excited: Christine Baranski + singing + Dolly Parton (as an angel!) = perfect holiday viewing.
The Christmas House
Premieres: Sunday, Nov. 22 at 8 p.m. ET/PT (Hallmark Channel) Starring: Robert Buckley, Jonathan Bennett, Ana Ayora, Treat Williams, Sharon Lawrence and Brad Harder Plot: Working through some difficult decisions, Mitchell family matriarch Phylis (Lawrence) and patriarch Bill (Williams), have summoned their two grown sons -- TV star Mike Mitchell (Buckley) and Brandon Mitchell (Bennett) -- home for the holidays. It is their hope that bringing the family together to recreate the Christmas house, will help them find resolution and make a memorable holiday for the entire family and community. As Brandon and his husband, Jake (Harder), make the trip home, they are anxiously awaiting a call about the adoption of their first child. Meanwhile, Mike reconnects with Andi (Ayora), his high school sweetheart. Why we're excited: Hallmark's first holiday movie to feature a central storyline revolving around a gay couple, it’s taken a little too long to get to here, but we'll take it! One Tree Hill alum Buckley apparently originated the story, which only adds to the charm of this family-friendly tale.
Premieres: Wednesday, Nov. 25 at 12:01 a.m. PT (Netflix) Starring: Kurt Russell, Goldie Hawn, Darby Camp, Jahzir Bruno, Julian Dennison, Kimberly Williams-Paisley, Tyrese Gibson and Judah Lewis Plot: Chris Columbus returns to direct the sequel to the 2018 Netflix film. Kate Pierce (Camp), now a cynical teen, is unexpectedly reunited with Santa Claus (Russell) when a mysterious troublemaker threatens to cancel Christmas… forever. Why we’re excited: It’s always a joy to see real-life couple Russell and Hawn sharing the screen together. Sure, the premise is a little silly (threatening to cancel Christmas forever, blasphemy?), but doesn’t that mean you’ll have a memorably jolly time?
Premieres: Wednesday, Nov. 25 (Hulu) Starring: Kristen Stewart, Mackenzie Davis, Alison Brie, Aubrey Plaza, Daniel Levy, Mary Holland, Burl Moseley, Victor Garber and Mary Steenburgen Plot: Meeting your girlfriend’s family for the first time can be tough. Planning to propose at her family’s annual Christmas dinner -- until you realize that they don’t even know she’s gay -- is even harder. When Abby (Stewart) learns that Harper (Davis) has kept their relationship a secret from her family, she begins to question the girlfriend she thought she knew. Why we’re excited: Directed by Clea DuVall, the star-studded LGBTQ+ romance seems to delve deeper than the typical holiday rom-com. After all, we can all connect with wanting our family’s acceptance, staying true to ourselves and trying not to ruin Christmas.
Premieres: Friday, Nov. 27 at 8 p.m. ET/PT (Lifetime) Starring: Melissa Joan Hart, Jason Priestley, Robin Givens, Ed Begley Jr., Faith Prince and Nicky Whelan; cameos by Jamie and Doug Hehner, Hilarie Burton and Antwon Tanner Plot: Natalie Morgan (Hart) is the host of a popular podcast, Holiday Love, which shares true stories of holiday romance with its listeners. While the outside world and her listeners everywhere see Natalie as an expert on romance, she’s never truly experienced a romance of her own. As Natalie prepares to embark on a promotional tour for her new book, she stops back home to spend Christmas with her family, where she unexpectedly begins to experience her own holiday romance as sparks ignite with local firefighter Jack (Priestley). Why we’re excited: Priestley in a Santa suit. Period.
Premieres: Saturday, Nov. 28 at 8 p.m. ET/PT (Hallmark Channel) Starring: Lacey Chabert, Will Kemp and JT Church Plot: After Avery’s (Chabert) storybook Christmas wedding is canceled unexpectedly, dance instructor Roman (Kemp) helps her rebuild her dreams. Why we’re excited: It’s time dance -- more specifically, waltzing! -- was the centerpiece of a Hallmark movie set during a snowy winter. Excuse us while we dust off our strappy heels and seek out a hunky dance instructor to ring in the new year with.
Merry Liddle Christmas Wedding
Premieres: Saturday, Nov. 28 at 8 p.m. ET/PT (Lifetime) Starring: Kelly Rowland, Thomas Cadrot, Debbi Morgan, Bresha Webb, Latonya Williams, Jaime M. Callica, Nathan Witte and Chris Shields Plot: Lifetime's first-ever Christmas sequel to last year’s Merry Liddle Christmas, Merry Liddle Christmas Wedding once again follows Jacquie Liddle (Rowland), as she and Tyler (Cadrot) try to plan their perfect destination Christmas wedding. Naturally, Jacquie's plans go awry when her boisterous family intervenes in her planning and her snooty wedding planner quits in protest. While nothing goes as initially planned, Jacquie and Tyler get a Christmas wedding more memorable than they could have ever dreamed. Why we’re excited: Holiday sequels are rare, but Rowland returns to give us all a little dash of hope.
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Premieres: Sunday, Nov. 29 at 8 p.m. ET/PT (Hallmark Channel) Starring: Candace Cameron Bure and Warren Christie Plot: At Christmas, a cheerful publicist (Bure) teams up with a cynical business owner (Christie) and his team to help a charity in need. Why we’re excited: Bure, a Hallmark staple, leads yet another Hallmark Christmas movie -- and this time, she’s the holiday enthusiast with the unenviable task of winning over a scrooge. Sometimes a simple premise is all you need.
Once Upon a Main Street
Premieres: Sunday, Nov. 29 at 8 p.m. ET/PT (Lifetime) Starring: Vanessa Lachey, Ryan McPartlin, Patrick Duffy and Polly Draper Plot: Amelia Lewis (Lachey) is super excited when she buys an available storefront, planning to open a year-round Christmas shop. But her celebration comes to a screeching halt when she discovers that Vic Manning (McPartlin) has also bid on the property. Amelia and Vic have the same idea, get to the seller -- Elder Dubois (Duffy) in the next town -- and convince him to sell his space to them. Despite the holidays, Elder is down in the dumps. It’s the first Christmas without his wife, and he’s in no mood to chair the decoration committee for the “Battle of the Main Street” yearly holiday competition with the neighboring town. Hoping to win favor with Elder, Amelia and Vic volunteer to take over his duties. After continually bickering and trying to one-up each other, the two combatants learn to work together and even get the merchants on Main Street to put aside their differences for the greater good. Everyone, including Amelia and Vic, realize that compromise is the key that leads to a happy -- and romantic -- ending. Why we’re excited: Love-hate relationships are ripe for fireworks, and a movie set around competing bidders on the same storefront is gold. What are the odds they end up combining their efforts for something even better than they could’ve imagined?
A Little Christmas Charm
Premieres: Saturday, Dec. 5 at 10 p.m. ET/PT (Hallmark Movies & Mysteries) Starring: Ashley Greene and Brendan Penny Plot: Holly (Greene), a jewelry designer, finds a lost charm bracelet and teams up with investigative reporter Greg (Penny) in hopes of finding the owner and returning it by Christmas Eve. Why we’re excited: Must be an impressive charm bracelet for someone to recruit a good-looking reporter to help search for the owner, but hey, we’re all for a low-stakes mystery!
Christmas on the Range
Premieres: Sunday, Dec. 6 at 7 p.m. ET (UP tv) Starring: Erin Cahill, Nicholas Gonzalez, A Martinez and Lindsay Wagner Plot: All Kendall Riley (Cahill) wants for the holidays is to save her family's ranch, but her longtime rival, small-town scrooge Brick McCree (Martinez), has other plans in mind. When Brick's son, Clint (Gonzalez), comes back to town, he is immediately drawn to Kendall and offers a helping hand. As a romance starts to blossom, Kendall's farm is sabotaged, leaving her to wonder about Clint's true intentions. Why we’re excited: This movie had us at sabotage, rivalries and romance.
Premieres: Sunday, Dec. 6 at 8 p.m. ET/PT (Lifetime) Starring: Ali Stroker and Daniel di Tomasso Plot: Popular romance novelist Izzi Simmons (Stroker) spends every Christmas at her favorite snowy bed & breakfast, but this year, she’s faced with an impending deadline and a severe case of writer’s block. Luckily, inspiration strikes in the unlikely form of the B&B’s new owner, Matt (di Tomasso), who bears an uncanny resemblance to the handsome hero from Izzi’s novels. As both partake in the lodge’s annual itinerary of Christmas activities, Izzi’s writer’s block is cured and the first pages of her and Matt’s own love story may just be beginning. Why we’re excited: Lifetime’s first holiday movie featuring a lead actor with a disability in Stroker, it’s refreshing to see the network taking serious steps to expanding what it means to be diverse in its march toward inclusive storytelling. Another fun fact: Because this was filmed during COVID, Stroker and di Tomasso filmed kissing scenes with plexiglass partitions that will be erased in post-production.
A Christmas for Mary
Premieres: Wednesday, Dec. 9 at 9 p.m. ET (OWN) Starring: Vivica A. Fox, Jackee Harry and Morgan Dixon Plot: Up-and-coming journalist Lena Jones (Dixon) is tasked with delivering a story by Christmas that will wow her boss, magazine editor Vivian Vaye (Fox), who is dangling a promotion to head writer over Lena’s head. Intrigued by a portrait of a mysterious woman painted by her late grandfather, Lena journeys to the small town of Pineville, where with her mother, Deborah’s (Harry) blessing and support, Lena uncovers a long-ago forgotten tale of young love that not only uncovers cherished memories of the past, but also inspires Lena to follow her heart and find her own true love… and her perfect Christmas story. Why we're excited: With Fox and Harry leading the way, we're in for this magical holiday adventure.
Premieres: Saturday, Dec. 12 at 8 p.m. ET/PT (Lifetime) Starring: Ben Lewis, Blake Lee, Fran Drescher, Ellen Wong and Chad Connell Plot: New York lawyer Hugo (Lewis) heads to Milwaukee with his best friend, Madelyn (Wong), to spend the holidays with his brother, Aiden (Connell), and his mom, Kate (Drescher), who is also in charge of the local Christmas celebrations. Ever the matchmaker, Kate arranges for Hugo to run into Patrick (Lee), Hugo’s high school friend and secret crush, who has recently returned after a successful stint in Silicon Valley. As they enjoy the local holiday festivities together, Hugo and Patrick’s attraction to each other is undeniable and it looks as though Kate’s Santa-style matchmaking is a success. But as Hugo receives word of a big promotion requiring a move to London, he must decide what is most important to him. Why we’re excited: Casting real-life married couple Lewis and Lee almost guarantees a chemistry explosion for Lifetime’s first holiday gay romance, and we’re 100 percent on board with seeing Lewis and Lee fall in love onscreen.
Christmas Comes Twice
Premieres: Sunday, Dec. 13 at 8 p.m. ET/PT (Hallmark Channel) Starring: Tamera Mowry-Housley and Michael Xavier Plot: Emily (Mowry-Housley) is a top newscaster who has achieved her career dreams but still has regrets about the guy (Xavier) who got away five years earlier. When the Christmas carnival comes to town, a ride around the carousel takes her magically back in time to the carnival five years before… giving her a second chance at love before she must return to Christmas present. Why we’re excited: Mixing Christmas with time travel is a favorite go-to move when it comes to holiday films, and who hasn’t thought about revisiting the past (or maybe even taking a peek into the future) and redoing a decision or two, especially when it comes to love?
Premieres: Sunday, Dec. 13 at 8 p.m. ET/PT (Lifetime) Starring: Jacky Lai, Tony Giroux, Tzi Ma and Lillian Lim Plot: Suzie (Lai), a rising young architect, returns to her small hometown in Maine for Christmas, where her Chinese-American parents, Pete (Ma) and Mimi (Lim), run the local Lobster Bar. Following the loss of her beloved grandmother who was a legendary baker in their community, Suzie is guilted into following in her grandmother’s footsteps by entering the local gingerbread house competition. Teaming up with her old high school friend, Billy (Giroux), who grew up to be a catch, Suzie must find the right recipes and mix of sugar and spice infused with her cultural traditions to win the competition and perhaps find some love in the process. Why we’re excited: Lifetime’s first all-Asian holiday movie, A Sugar & Spice Holiday has all the ingredients of becoming a festive favorite. With baking and food at the center of the story, which, for the record, was written and directed by Asian women, we’re hoping it’ll embrace its Asian influence in front of and behind the camera.
Premieres: Saturday, Dec. 19 at 8 p.m. ET/PT (Hallmark Channel) Starring: Rachel Boston and Neal Bledsoe Plot: When Lila (Boston) is hired by the royal family of Marcadia to repair a carousel, she must work with the prince (Bledsoe) to complete it by Christmas. Why we’re excited: Another royal romance to swoon over! We were already sold when we read “royal family of Marcadia.”
A Christmas Exchange
Premieres: Saturday, Dec. 19 at 8 p.m. ET/PT (Lifetime) Starring: Laura Vandervoort and Rainbow Sun Francks Plot: The holiday season has started and Molly Cooper (Vandervoort) is looking for joy. Finally living her childhood dream, Molly swaps her quaint farmhouse for London financier Patrick Kingston's (Francks) posh apartment. Through the ups and downs of her new life in London and searching for romance, Molly begins to look forward to all communication with Patrick. Likewise, Patrick finds Molly's warm emails and texts charming and compelling. Sparks fly between them as they get to know each other as they live in each other's spaces. Why we’re excited: It’s like The Holiday! Who hasn’t dreamt about doing a home swap and accidentally falling in love?
Love, Lights, Hanukkah!
Premieres: Sunday, Dec. 20 at 8 p.m. ET/PT (Hallmark Channel) Starring: Mia Kirshner, Ben Savage and Marilu Henner Plot: As Christina (Kirshner) prepares her restaurant for its busiest time of year, she gets back a DNA test revealing that she’s Jewish. The discovery leads her to a new family and an unlikely romance over eight nights. Why we’re excited: The lone Hanukkah offering the major holiday players are gifting us this year, it’s Boy Meets World star Savage’s introduction into the enchanting world of Hallmark. While the premise itself is a little silly on paper, not everyone celebrates Christmas -- and hopefully in the coming years, there will be more nontraditional holiday romances to come.
For more on how Hallmark Christmas movies come together, watch the video below.