It’s officially Christmas movie season — in fact, at the Hallmark Channel, it begins in October. While there have been changes behind-the-scenes at the network, one thing remains the same: Their holiday cheer.
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The channel first launched “Countdown to Christmas,” during which more than 20 new holiday movies premiere between October and December, in 2010. In 2013, Hallmark Movies and Mysteries rolled out their own version of “Countdown to Christmas” with “Miracles of Christmas” (originally “The Most Wonderful Movies of Christmas” and then “The Most Wonderful Miracles of Christmas”), airing at least 15 original movies during the same months.
“Christmas Under Wraps,” starring Candace Cameron Bure and David O’Donnell, debuted in 2014 and still holds the record for Hallmark’s highest-ever broadcast premiere ratings. Bure stars in four of the 10 most-viewed Christmas movies on the network, which also include “Switched for Christmas,” “The Christmas Train” and “A Royal Christmas.”
Here, Variety ranks the best Hallmark holiday movies to rewatch this year.
25. ‘The Most Wonderful Time of the Year’ (2008)
Cast: Brooke Burns, Warren Christie, Henry Winkler
Come for Henry Winkler, of course; stay for the way this story really does include an entire family and not just a couple.
24. ‘One Royal Holiday’ (2020)
Cast: Laura Osnes and Aaron Tveit
Come for two Broadway stars willing to show off their pipes singing Christmas carols; stay for one of the sweetest twists ever done.
23. ‘Christmas in Vienna’ (2020)
Cast: Sarah Drew and Brennan Elliott
Come for Austria and Romania — that’s where the movie filmed and it’s quite a sight; stay for Drew and Elliott’s connection. It takes some time, but when they get there, it’s rather pleasant.
22. ‘Snow Bride’ (2013)
Cast: Patricia Richardson, Katrina Law and Jordan Belfi
Come for a woman tumbling down a snowy mountain in a wedding dress that isn’t hers; stay for a surprising twist and a mother who actually likes the woman pursuing her son.
21. ‘The Christmas Train’ (2017)
Cast: Kimberly Williams-Paisley, Dermot Mulroney, Danny Glover, Joan Cusack
Come for Danny Glover, of course; stay for the cross-country train ride full of actual magic and some of the greatest actors in the channel’s history.
20. ‘The Christmas House’ (2020)
Cast: Robert Buckley, Ana Ayora, Jonathan Bennett
Come for the first Hallmark movie to prominently feature a same-sex couple; stay for three different creative storylines woven together.
19. ‘Christmas Waltz’ (2020)
Cast: Lacey Chabert and Will Kemp
Come for the dance lessons — truly, they’re so fun! Stay for the chemistry.
18. ‘Christmas Town’ (2019)
Cast: Candace Cameron Bure, Tim Rozon
Come for an adoption storyline finally being the focus; stay for the excellent chemistry between Bure and Rozon, the world’s easiest going cat and a magical twist.
17. ‘Write Before Christmas’ (2019)
Cast: Torrey DeVitto, Chad Michael Murray
Come for a “One Tree Hill” reunion you didn’t know you needed; stay for an early-movie kiss — with Murray dressed as Santa.
16. ‘Christmas at Pemberley Manor’ (2018)
Cast: Jessica Lowndes and Michael Rady
Come for a very sweet love story at a gorgeous manor; stay for an independent woman standing up to her boss — portrayed by Elaine Hendrix — that will give any “Parent Trap” fan delight.
15. ‘Road to Christmas’ (2018)
Cast: Chad Michael Murray, Jessy Schram
Come for a TV producer falling for the son of the host of her annual special; stay for a brother storyline that surprisingly tugs at heartstrings.
14. ‘Christmas Getaway’ (2017)
Cast: Bridget Regan and Travis Van Winkle
Come for Van Winkle as a charming widower who loves his mom and daughter; stay for the independent woman who enjoys traveling around and seeing the world — alone!
13. ‘A Royal Christmas’ (2014)
Cast: Lacey Chabert, Stephen Hagan and Jane Seymour
Come for a different format: a happy couple who have been in love for years hit a hurdle when he casually reveals he’s royalty; stay for Jane Seymour as the royal, very cranky Queen of Cordinia.
12. ‘Christmas at the Plaza’ (2019)
Cast: Elizabeth Henstridge and Ryan Paevey
Come for the Plaza at Christmas — not since “Home Alone 2” has it looked so magical; stay for the most cringey yet adorable karaoke scene ever.
11. ‘Where Are You Christmas?’ (2023)
Cast: Lyndsy Fonseca, Michael Rady
Come for the updated twist on “It’s a Wonderful Life” and a rare new storyline for a Hallmark movie. Stay for a surprising and touching military storyline and a new side of Rady than seen before.
10. ‘A Wish for Christmas’ (2017)
Cast: Paul Greene, Lacey Chabert
Come for the dynamic of two fan-favorites; stay for the way Sara (Chabert) finds herself and her confidence, both at home and at work.
9. ‘A Christmas Detour’ (2015)
Starring Candace Cameron Bure, Paul Greene
Come for the classic story of travelers getting stuck in a snowstorm at the holidays, but add in the fact that one is traveling with a giant mood board; stay for the married couple who spend most of their time bickering and admit sometimes, the spark fizzles.
8. ‘The Christmas Cottage’ (2017)
Cast: Merritt Patterson, Steve Lund
Come for the gorgeous cabin in the woods that magically brings people back together at Christmastime; stay for fireside chats and hot cocoa.
7. ‘Christmas Under Wraps’ (2014)
Cast: Candace Cameron Bure, David O’Donnell
Come for a doctor moving to Alaska with only heels and no boots; stay for an appearance by the real Santa, who also has high cholesterol.
6. ‘Marry Me At Christmas’ (2020)
Cast: Rachel Skarsten and Trevor Donovan
Come for the story: A celebrity comes to town to help his little sister plan her wedding and is enamored by the local bridal boutique owner; stay for Johnny (Donovan) thinking everyone is taking photos of him when they’re actually snapping shots of a Christmas tree.
5. ‘Lights, Camera, Christmas!’ (2022)
Cast: Kimberly Sustad, John Brotherton
Come for the movie within the movie — a store owner struggling to keep her company is flabbergasted when a Christmas movie comes to film in her town and the lead is annoyingly charming; stay for the surprise romantic twist between the fake movie’s producers.
4. ‘Switched for Christmas’ (2017)
Cast: Candace Cameron Bure, Eion Bailey, Mark Deklin
Come for Bure playing very different twin sisters who switch places only to fall in love with men who think they’re each other; stay for not one, but two love stories! Double the fun!
3. ‘Three Wise Men and a Baby’ (2022)
Cast: Paul Campbell, Tyler Hynes and Andrew Walker
Come for Tyler Hynes, Paul Campbell and Andrew Walker. Stay for Paul Campbell, Tyler Hynes and Andrew Walker — plus, a ridiculously cute baby, a dance number and actual comedy.
2. ‘Let It Snow’ (2013)
Cast: Candace Cameron Bure, Jesse Hutch, Alan Thicke
Come for Alan Thicke as a very cold father who would rather have dinner in a restaurant than spend the holidays with his daughter; stay for Hutch’s Brady teaching Bure’s Stephanie how to ski and fly fish — and a very sweet, unique holiday tradition.
1. ‘An Unexpected Christmas’ (2021)
Cast: Bethany Joy Lenz and Tyler Hynes
Come for the sweet pretend-we’re-still-together-for-my-parents storyline; stay for the most natural chemistry yet.
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