Clockwise from top left: Crown Media/Crown Media/Freeform/Lifetime
It's that time of year again!
When November rolls around, it's time to dust off those holiday decorations and get into the festive Christmas mood -- and that means diving into the latest crop of holiday TV movies. With more than 60 original made-for-TV films to choose from in 2018, thanks to Hallmark Channel, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, Lifetime, Freeform, Netflix and UP tv going all in with their slates, it can be a daunting task figuring out just which holiday movies to put on the nice list.
Luckily for you, ET is all about spreading holiday cheer and as a result, we've combed through each and every film premiering between now and the end of the year. And believe us, there are plenty of worthy options. (Side note: Hallmark Channel kicked off its Countdown to Christmas slate at the end of October -- and a few films that have already aired are worth catching in reruns, like Christmas Joy with Danielle Panabaker.)
From the One Tree Hill cast's anticipated reunion in Lifetime's The Christmas Contract and Vanessa Hudgens' royal romance in Netflix's The Princess Switch to a Hallmark Movies & Mysteries film inspired by a Blake Shelton song and the When Calls the Heart Christmas movie, you really can't go wrong with your dose of wholesome romance. (Life Size 2, which premieres Sunday, Dec. 2 on Freeform, is in its own Tyra-sized category!)
So snuggle into your favorite holiday PJs, curl up in that cozy blanket of yours, sip on a mug of hot cocoa (with marshmallows, of course!) and settle in front of the television to see ET's festive picks for the 24 holiday movies you absolutely cannot miss this year.
It's Christmas, Eve
Premieres: Saturday, Nov. 10 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Hallmark Channel Starring: LeAnn Rimes, Tyler Hynes What the Movie Is About: Interim school superintendent Eve trims budgets, and now she’s in her hometown where it’s personal. Her handsome neighbor, Liam, is a music teacher and Eve feels his program must be cut. But luckily her friend is married to an IT guy, who’s created a website for donations directly to save the Arts program. Launched during the tree lighting ceremony, where Liam’s students will perform, the website could provide the Christmas miracle the town needs. Already the universe is cooperating. Eve is back home and she, Liam and his daughter look like they might be celebrating many a future Christmas together. Why We're Excited: We love a holiday movie that just goes all in on the made-for-TV movie tropes and this one totally fits the bill. A woman who aims to make changes, potentially harmful budgetary cuts, in her hometown? Check. A good-looking, simpleton guy who forces her to question her task? Check. All culminating at a small-town Christmas event? Check. Plus, LeAnn Rimes sings? We're in.
The Princess Switch
Premieres: Friday, Nov. 16 at 12:01 a.m. PT on Netflix Starring: Vanessa Hudgens, Sam Palladio What the Movie Is About: One week before Christmas, Margaret, the gorgeous Duchess of Montenaro, switches places with Stacy, a “commoner” from Chicago, who looks exactly like her. With the assistance of a magical Santa's helper, Margaret falls in love with Stacy’s handsome co-worker, while Stacy falls in love with Margaret's fiance, the dashing Prince. Why We're Excited: On paper, the premise sounds exactly like the 2000 classic made-for-TV Disney movie, Model Behavior, with a very young Justin Timberlake and Maggie Lawson, about two look-alike teen girls who switch places and... shocker, fall in love. Only with royalty. And Christmas!
A Godwink Christmas
Premieres: Sunday, Nov. 18 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Starring: Kimberly Sustad, Paul Campbell, Kathie Lee Gifford What the Movie Is About: As Christmas approaches, Paula, a St. Louis antique appraiser, reluctantly accepts a marriage proposal from her boyfriend, Daniel. Sensing her reticence, her Aunt Jane invites Paula to her Nantucket home. When Paula visits nearby Martha's Vineyard, she meets a charming inn owner, Gery, and enjoys celebrating the holiday festivities with him. Although Paula develops feelings for Gery, she moves forward with her engagement, but Aunt Jane reminds her that sometimes we receive messages from above to help determine which direction life should take. Why We're Excited: We're just fascinated by the fact that someone's name is Gery. Is it pronounced Jerry or Gary? We have questions!
Christmas at Grand Valley
Premieres: Wednesday, Nov. 21 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Hallmark Channel Starring: Danica McKellar, Brennan Elliott What the Movie Is About: Burned out from the hubbub of the Chicago gallery world, artist Kelly returns home to the picturesque Grand Valley just in time for Christmas. Maybe her favorite town’s shining season will reinvigorate her love of art and guide her down her next path. Leo, a businessman and all-star dad to his children, struggles to balance his time this holiday season. When he is assigned to review a hotel in Grand Valley for its value, he sees this as the perfect opportunity for a Christmas family vacation. It isn’t long until Kelly and Leo’s worlds collide. As Kelly re-experiences her favorite Grand Valley traditions with Leo and his children, she begins to find her way back to her passion for art. Why We're Excited: Hallmark fave Danica McKellar is back for another holiday movie -- and this one has all the ingredients for a perfect night in the day before Thanksgiving.
The Christmas Chronicles
Premieres: Thursday, Nov. 22 at 12:01 a.m. PT on Netflix Starring: Kurt Russell, Judah Lewis, Darby Camp What the Movie Is About: The Christmas Chronicles tells the story of sister and brother, Kate and Teddy Pierce, whose Christmas Eve plan to catch Santa Claus on camera turns into an unexpected journey that most kids could only dream about. After staking out Santa’s arrival, they sneak into his sleigh, cause it to crash and nearly derail Christmas. As their wild night unfolds, Kate and Teddy work together with Santa -- as you've never seen him before -- and his loyal elves to save Christmas before it's too late. Why We're Excited: Kurt Russell as St. Nick with a twist? Sign. Us. Up.
The Christmas Contract
Premieres: Thursday, Nov. 22 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Lifetime Starring: Hilarie Burton, Robert Buckley, Danneel Ackles, Antwon Tanner, Jordan Ladd, Cheryl Ladd, Bruce Boxleitner, Jason London; special musical appearance from Tyler Hilton What the Movie Is About: It’s Jolie’s first time going back home to Louisiana since her devastating breakup with Foster. Seeing him is inevitable, as their parents run the town’s annual Christmas Market together, but when she discovers Foster is bringing home a new girlfriend, Jolie cannot bear the thought of going home alone and seeing them together. Her best friend, Naomi, suggests that Jolie bring her flaky brother, Jack, home for Christmas as he has no plans this year. Jolie, a professional web designer, is hesitant; so, Naomi, a lawyer, creates a Christmas contract to give them both something they want -- a buffer for those awkward moments around Jolie’s ex and a website to help sell Jack’s upcoming novel. Unbeknownst to them, the Christmas contract proves to be so much more than what they signed up for. Why We're Excited: If this is the unofficial One Tree Hill reunion movie we're ever going to get, we'll take it. (And don't forget to stay locked into Lifetime after the film for a TV special reuniting cast members of our favorite Tree Hill gang.)
Pride, Prejudice and Mistletoe
Premieres: Friday, Nov. 23 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Hallmark Channel Starring: Lacey Chabert, Brendan Penny What the Movie Is About: Based on the book by Melissa de la Cruz, Darcy (Chabert) has always worked hard to prove herself and be successful on her own terms, even choosing to start her own company, rather than work with her father. Returning to her hometown for Christmas, Darcy reconnects with an old rival, restaurant owner Luke (Penny), and they are forced to plan a charity event together. As Darcy spends time with her family and Luke, she starts to realize what matters most in life and sets out to mend her relationship with her father, and possibly fall in love. Why We're Excited: A holiday romance that puts a sweet twist on a Jane Austen classic is reason enough to tune in. Plus, we love a cheery Lacey Chabert movie -- and Chesapeake Shores star Brendan Penny isn't hard to look at either. Brownie points!
Poinsettias for Christmas
Premieres: Friday, Nov. 23 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Lifetime Starring: Bethany Joy Lenz, Marcus Rosner, Lauren London, Sharon Lawrence, John Schneider What the Movie Is About: It's just weeks before Christmas when Ellie gets a call to return home to help her father (John Schneider) on the family’s poinsettia farm. The family business is on the line to deliver tens of thousands of plants for the town's annual parade. The problem is -- the poinsettias have yet to turn red! As Ellie searches for the solution, she is reminded of where her heart truly lies as she falls in love with both her roots and a local botanist. Why We're Excited: Why isn't Bethany Joy Lenz in A Christmas Contract with her fellow One Tree Hill co-stars? Anyway, Lenz starred in one of our favorite Lifetime holiday TV films last year, Snowed-Inn Christmas (she even made a slick music video to accompany it!), so we're always game for her latest offering. This movie has everything: a poinsettia farm (are those real?!), a struggling family business, a small-town Christmas parade, botany... If you're into plants, this may be the movie for you.
Every Day Is Christmas
Premieres: Saturday, Nov. 24 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Lifetime Starring: Toni Braxton, Gloria Reuben, Towanda Braxton, Michael Jai White What the Movie Is About: Inspired by the Charles Dickens classic, A Christmas Carol, shrewd money manager Alexis Taylor gets the holiday visit of a lifetime. A self-proclaimed workaholic who "humbugs" love, Alexis ends up embracing the spirit of Christmas when her past, present and future collide, forcing her to risk the one thing money can’t buy: her heart. Why We'reExcited: Toni Braxton (and her sister!) putting a fierce spin on Ebenezer Scrooge? We're so in.
A Shoe Addict's Christmas
Premieres: Sunday. Nov. 25 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Hallmark Channel Starring: Candace Cameron Bure, Luke Macfarlane, Jean Smart What the Movie Is About: As Christmas approaches, Noelle is at a crossroads in her life when it seems that love, a connection with her father and her dream career are out of reach. When she stays late at her job in a department store on a snowy Christmas Eve, she accidentally gets locked in after closing. She isn’t too concerned about the prospect of spending the night in the store… until a quirky woman appears out of nowhere in the shoe department and tells Noelle that she’s her guardian angel. Soon, Noelle finds herself revisiting Christmases past, present and future as she must work with her new neighbor, a handsome, Christmas-loving firefighter, to plan the annual Christmas Charity Gala. Will visiting the holidays of yesterday and tomorrow help Noelle take new chances and discover the true spirit of Christmas? And in realizing that the only thing standing in her way of leading a fulfilling life is herself, will the love she has longed for all her life be the best surprise gift of all? Why We're Excited: Candace Cameron Bure is synonymous with Hallmark and A Shoe Addict's Christmas has all the makings of another Bure classic. While these made-for-TV movies are wholesome, at times cheesy and low stakes in their conflicts, we gravitate toward a holiday film that evolves the main character's value system -- however simple that may be!
A Christmas Prince: A Royal Wedding
Premieres: Friday, Nov. 30 at 12:01 a.m. PT on Netflix Starring: Rose McIver, Ben Lamb, Alice Krige What the Movie Is About: A year after Amber helped Richard secure the crown, the two are set to tie the knot in a royal Christmas wedding -- but their plans are jeopardized when Amber finds herself second-guessing whether or not she's cut out to be queen, and Richard is faced with a political crisis that threatens to tarnish not only the holiday season, but the future of the kingdom. The sequel to Netflix's 2017 holiday hit, A Christmas Prince. Why We're Excited: Netflix struck gold last holiday season with A Christmas Prince when fans flooded social media with memes and passionate adoration for the heartfelt romance, so the follow-up really is a win-win for everybody.
A Very Nutty Christmas
Premieres: Friday, Nov. 30 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Lifetime Starring: Melissa Joan Hart, Barry Watson What the Movie Is About: Hard-working bakery owner Kate Holiday, has more cookie orders than she has time to fill this holiday season, and when her boyfriend suddenly breaks up with her, any shred of Christmas joy she was hanging onto immediately disappears. After Kate hangs the last ornament on the tree and goes to bed, she awakens the next morning to a little bit of Christmas magic. She gets the surprise of her life when Chip, a handsome soldier who may or may not be the Nutcracker Prince from Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker, appears in her living room. Why We'reExcited: We love a premise that sounds as ridiculous as this one -- picturing Barry Watson as a Nutcracker Prince is a visual we just have to see -- and it's always cool to see '90s stars work together on a project.
Premieres: Sunday, Dec. 2 at 7 p.m. ET on UP tv Starring: Emily Alatalo, Franco Lo Presti, Yanic Truesdale What the Movie Is About: Detective Mackenzie Bennett loves Christmas. But her plans to spend the holidays with her family, friends -- not to mention a handsome new stranger who just moved to town -- are put on hold when the FBI tells her that her gorgeous new friend is a suspect in a diamond heist. Now, undercover (and under tight supervision), Mack finds herself getting close to a man who might be a criminal, but who also might be the man of her dreams! Why We're Excited: Gasp, a holiday romance where an FBI detective falls in love with the suspect in a high-profile investigation? Something tells us the guy probably didn't do it. But we're in for the ride anyway!
Premieres: Saturday, Dec. 8 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Hallmark Channel Starring: Lori Loughlin, Victor Webster What the Movie Is About: After stepping down as CEO of her dream job, Maddie heads home for the holidays to gain perspective. She finds herself running into her old high school sweetheart, Carter, and tensions quickly arise. When forced to put together a Christmas dance for the local high school, Carter and Maddie find themselves putting their differences aside and rediscover what made them fall in love all those years ago. Why We're Excited: Ah, the tried-and-true trope of a big-city, workaholic woman who returns home and falls back in love with her first love. Sold.
Memories of Christmas
Premieres: Saturday, Dec. 8 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Starring: Christina Milian, Mark Taylor What the Movie Is About: Noelle was raised by the queen of Christmas. When she inherits her late mother’s house, she finds out that her mother had been hiring someone to decorate it -- Dave. The deal is off, but Dave convinces Noelle to let him carry on the tradition. As the display goes up, Noelle’s defenses start to come down. She embraces the town’s Christmas gala that was her mother’s legacy, finds unexpected love and develops a joy for the holidays that she never thought possible. Why We're Excited: Falling in love while decorating your late mother's home? Sounds like a winter fairy tale to us!
A Christmas in Tennessee
Premieres: Sunday, Dec. 9 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Lifetime Starring: Rachel Boston, Andrew Walker, Patricia Richardson What the Movie Is About: Allison Bennet, along with her daughter, Olivia, and mother, Martha, run a bakery in the small mountain town of White Pines, Tennessee. When Matthew, a charming real estate developer, tries to buy the town for a corporate ski resort, Allison and the townspeople must work together to prevent that from happening. And just when the Bennet ladies seem out of luck, an unexpected visitor -- with a well-known sweet tooth for cookies and milk -- comes to the bakery and may, in fact, be the key to solving everything. Why We're Excited: Holiday staple Andrew Walker returns for his second Lifetime Christmas movie and it features several of our favorite tropes: there's a bakery involved and a single parent who unexpectedly falls in love with the sworn enemy.
No Sleep 'Til Christmas
Premieres: Monday, Dec. 10 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Freeform Starring: Dave Annable, Odette Annable, Charles Michael Davis, Sheryl Lee Ralph What the Movie Is About: An unexpected and whimsical holiday romantic comedy about two insomniac strangers plagued by exhaustion. Lizzie is a high-end event planner preparing for her own life’s biggest event – her wedding. She lies awake nightly while her devoted fiancé, Josh, rests peacefully, unaware of how to solve her issue. When a sleep-deprived incident causes her to run into Billy, a low-key bartender who is just as sleepless and frustrated as she is, they discover that they can only fall asleep while next to each other. What seems like an odd coincidence, and frankly a disruption to their lives, might be more meaningful than they’d like to admit. Why We're Excited: When we first heard the premise, it sounded a little... silly. But we were lucky enough to watch it early and well, we're smitten. The Annables turn what could have easily been a dumb concept into a sweet, charming and uber-endearing two-hour movie. Plus, Younger and The Originals star Charles Michael Davis makes for an empathetic third wheel.
Christmas Pen Pals
Premieres: Saturday, Dec. 15 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Lifetime Starring: Sarah Drew, Niall Matter, Michael Gross What the Movie Is About: Following an unexpected breakup weeks before Christmas, Hannah, tech wiz and creator of the dating app Perfect One, heads home for the holidays, challenged to save her failing business by reconceiving a new romantic dating model. Upon her return, she runs into her high school boyfriend, Sam, whom she has carefully avoided for years and reluctantly makes a deal with her dad, Ted, to sign up for the town’s Christmas Cupid, an anonymous holiday pen pal service. As the season progresses, Hannah is smitten by each beautifully written letter she receives and starts to believe that her Christmas pen pal could be her soulmate. It’s not until Christmas Eve that everyone must reveal their true identities to their pen pals, even if it means coming face to face with the last person they ever expected. Why We're Excited: Grey's Anatomy alum Sarah Drew hangs up her scrubs for a laptop computer to play a genius dating app inventor, who -- surprise, surprise -- has a hard time finding love herself. In the fast-paced world of tech-based communication, there's something romantic about a slow-burning romance blossoming over old-fashioned pen to paper. And we're betting the high school flame is the mysterious guy she's been corresponding with.
Time for Me to Come Home for Christmas
Premieres: Saturday, Dec. 15 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Starring: Josh Henderson, Megan Park What the Movie Is About: Based on the song by Blake Shelton and the book by Dorothy Shakleford and Travis Thrasher. It’s the last Friday before Christmas in New York City and a massive storm is brewing. Small-town businesswoman Cara Hill is meeting with her banker while country music star Heath Sawyer is playing Madison Square Garden. When the flight to Tulsa they’re both booked on is canceled, this unlikely pair of strangers winds up traveling together. Each has a secret -- Heath hasn’t written a song since his father died, and Cara’s mother recently passed and her family’s jam business is failing. Will Christmas provide a miracle -- and a chance at love? Why We're Excited: Strangers stranded together in a small town has been a trope used by many a holiday movie, but this one may require some Kleenex.
Christmas on Holly Lane
Premieres: Sunday, Dec. 16 at 7 p.m. ET on UP tv Starring: Sarah Lancaster, Karen Holness, Gina Holden What the Movie Is About: The house on Holly Lane has always held a special place in the hearts of life-long best friends Sarah, Cat and Riley. It’s the magical home where they spent many happy Christmases. Now, the girls are all grown up and the house they hold dear is in danger of being sold. With each friend at a different crossroad, they will all have to come together to call upon that special Christmas magic that can only happen on Holly Lane. Why We're Excited: Friendship is at the core of Christmas on Holly Lane and for that, we're grateful.
A Gingerbread Romance
Premieres: Sunday, Dec. 16 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Hallmark Channel Starring: Tia Mowry-Hardrict, Duane Henry What the Movie Is About: With Christmas just weeks away, the architecture firm Taylor works for enters her in a contest in which the teams will design and build life-sized gingerbread houses. After the contest, Taylor will likely be getting a promotion to a position in another city. The firm teams her up with Annabelle, a renowned French pastry chef with whom Taylor instantly locks horns. When Annabelle backs out, Taylor stumbles into a local bakery and meets Adam, a baker and single dad. In an act of desperation, Taylor convinces Adam to partner with her for the contest, arguing that winning would give the bakery and his designs much-needed exposure. For years, Taylor has been resistant to call anywhere “home” for fear it will only be temporary. But the time she spends with Adam and his daughter, Brook, in their cozy home, decorating for Christmas, and exploring Philadelphia at Christmas, fills her with a longing for a place to call home. Why We're Excited: Nothing says Christmas like fresh-baked pastries; the title, A Gingerbread Romance, basically sums it all up. A successful architect teams up with a local baker (who happens to be a single dad, by the way) for a company-wide gingerbread contest... and chances are, they fall in love along the way.
Christmas Made to Order
Premieres: Sunday, Dec. 23 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Hallmark Channel Starring: Alexa PenaVega, Jonathan Bennett What the Movie Is About: When architect and Christmas amateur Steven finds himself hosting his family for Christmas, he recruits holiday coordinator Gretchen to bring holiday joy to his home. Gretchen’s expert Christmas spirit brings Steven’s family together, but neither expected it to bring them closer to each other. After a great opportunity presents itself to Gretchen, she and Steven must decide what’s really important in life. Why We're Excited: Pairing polar opposites is always a recipe for amusing shenanigans and this one fits the bill.
When Calls the Heart Christmas
Premieres: Tuesday, Dec. 25 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Hallmark Channel Starring: Erin Krakow, Lori Loughlin, Jack Wagner, Pascale Hutton, Kavan Smith, Paul Greene What the Movie IsAbout: When a group of orphans becomes stranded in Hope Valley for Christmas, their caretakers -- sisters who have a mysterious backstory -- lead Bill to investigate the circumstances of their arrival. He discovers the sisters and their orphanage are in jeopardy, so Abigail and the other residents rally to make it a Christmas to remember for the orphans. Elizabeth, who is preparing for the birth of her child, organizes her students to engage in selfless gift-giving. That, along with a Christmas miracle, help bring wonder, hope, joy and love to all this Christmas season. Why We're Excited: When Calls the Heart is one of Hallmark's top properties and the Hearties will have even more to celebrate with this festive special.
A Midnight Kiss
Premieres: Saturday, Dec. 29 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Hallmark Channel Starring: Carlos PenaVega, Adelaide Kane What the Movie Is About: With only one week to prepare, Lisa Patterson and her family of party planners are given the biggest job in their company’s history: a New Year’s Eve party for tech entrepreneur Megan Clark. But when her brother breaks his leg and her parents head off on a planned vacation, Lisa must reluctantly enlist the help of her brother’s visiting college buddy, David Campos, to help her pull off the event which just so happens to fall on her favorite day of the year. But what Lisa didn’t plan on was falling in love in the process. Why We're Excited: Christmas may be Hallmark's bread and butter, but we're just as enthusiastic about their New Year's Eve-set movie. After all, love can happen at any moment -- why not celebrate 2019 with a brand new romance!