It is now that time of the year where I am measuring my time by Hallmark movies: They are each two hours long, always starting on even-numbered times, with the main issue occurring just about 15 minutes before the end. Maybe it’s a little sad that I know this, but they are always so uplifting and happy, and I’m a sucker for the sappy stuff. I’m not skipping Thanksgiving or anything, I’ll watch Christmas movies all year long. We all know how Hallmark movies go, boy meets girl, the girl convinces the boy that Christmas is wonderful and he should celebrate it, the boy has to leave town for some reason but decides to stay because he falls in love with the girl–a happy ending ensues, or vice versa.
1. A Holiday Engagement
I’m not quite sure what makes this Hallmark movie my favorite, but maybe it’s the fact that the plot seems to be so unlike the rest of their movies. In an off-the-rails love story, our main character, Hillary, is engaged to an overly dedicated lawyer who quickly calls off their engagement, leaving her single for the holidays and victim to more of her mother’s nagging. Instead of telling the truth, she hires a low-wage actor to play her financé for the holidays. In a crazy turn of events, the whole scheme falls apart, only to show that it was really falling together. The craziness of it all makes for an inconvenient love story, but a love story nonetheless.
2. One Starry Christmas
Okay, so this one takes “corny” to an entirely new level, but corny seems to be a requirement for Hallmark movies. Let it also be a lesson to all that if you don’t show the one you love how much you care, someone else will. When an astronomy graduate student is hurt by her boyfriend’s decision to travel for business over Christmas, she decides to surprise him. This leads her right into the path of a cowboy, Luke, whom she meets on her bus ride to New York, where her boyfriend is staying. Her boyfriend quickly becomes competitive, but only ends up proving that their spark might have already been dying out. This one just might make you believe in fate–and develop a love for country boys.
3. Christmas at Cartwright’s
Who says Santa can’t be a woman? In this Hallmark movie, it may make you wonder. When an unemployed, single mother is struggling to make ends meet during the Holidays, she stumbles upon a Santa costume by accident, or so she thinks. It seems that there are other forces helping her. In order to avoid getting caught, she slips into the costume but is forced onto the floor to play Santa for awaiting children. When she is beyond successful with them, she continues the rouse. A unique movie, Hallmark outdoes itself by focusing on a single mother and the miracles of Christmas.
4. The Christmas Card
Have you ever wondered what becomes of the cards we send to soldiers away from their families at Christmas time? Hallmark movies like this one really tug at the heart. This movie explores the journey of one specific card from a woman in a small town sent to a stranger, and our main character, Cody. He is taken aback by her beauty and wonderful card, which brings him some joy while he is away. He is given leave when his friend dies only days later; which he then uses to seek out the woman in the card. A sweet love story, The Christmas Card sheds light on the impact a single card can have on a soldier away at Christmas and the magic of fate.
5. Snow Bride
The title is enough to make it fit in with the rest of the Hallmark movies on this list, but it is still very different. Spoiler alert: Despite the title, the two love interests actually don’t end up getting married in this one–I never said they don’t fall in love though. When a reporter, Greta, is asked to do a story on a rich and privileged, political family known as the Tannenhills, she immediately embarks on the drive to their town. When she begins to experience car troubles, her only choice for warmth is to slip into her friend’s wedding dress she had picked up for her and begin to trudge through the snow to get cell service. This is how she meets Ben Tannehill, and plants herself into their lives to get an inside scoop. Of course, she quickly grows guilty for her schemes as she develops feelings for Ben. It is a Hallmark movie after all, and we couldn’t have it any other way.
6. A Bride For Christmas
In terms of Hallmark movies, this plot may be slightly overdone, but it is still just as good. Have you ever heard of (or seen) Julia Roberts in Runaway Bride? If not, allow me to explain the concept. Weddings often inspire “cold feet” but sometimes, the bride never makes it down the aisle at all, and they end up running out on the big day. In this Hallmark movie, a woman has been engaged–and ran out–three times. Upon learning this, our love interest, Aiden, makes a bet that he can make her fall in love with him and get engaged by Christmas. Sleazy, I know. Maybe this one could be the one she doesn’t run out on, you’ll have to watch to find out. Or maybe you can infer based on the fact it’s a Hallmark movie after all.
7. Matchmaker Santa
As the name suggests, Santa plays a big part in the story of four people this holiday season, as he does for most Hallmark movies. When a workaholic CEO, Justin, sends his assistant, Dean, to pick up his girlfriend, Melanie, and take her to his lake house to spend time with his family, they end up broken down in a small town. Here, Dean and Melanie begin to spend more and more time together, attempting to make the best of their situation, while Justin waits at the lake house recalling memories with an old friend. The entire time, Santa is behind the scenes ensuring Melanie and Justin stay apart long enough to realize who they are really meant for. I’m sure you know what happens next, but give it a watch.
8. The Most Wonderful Time of the Year
Don’t get this one confused with It’s A Wonderful Life, this movie deals with much lighter matters of the heart, and a meddling uncle. A sophisticated, businesswoman plans on a normal Christmas, just like all the ones before, when her uncle decides to bring home a man he met at the airport who is stranded until the snow clears up at his intended destination. I feel there are definitely some safety risks here, but her uncle is a retired cop so I guess he would know better, right? This mysterious stranger quickly changes her views of Christmas and makes a surprising impact on her life. I guess you’ll have to watch to find out what that is.
9. A Very Merry Mix-Up
Now don’t get me wrong, I make my fair share of mistakes, but this one is even too embarrassing for me. Upon their engagement, a couple decides to visit the soon-to-be groom’s parents to give them the good news. When work gets in the way, she is sent on her own, having never met his parents before. At the airport, she meets a man with the same last name and a brother with the same first name as her fiancé. He offers to drive her to his parent’s house, who she assumes is her soon-to-be inlaws. A series of crazy events lead her to develop quiet feelings for him and calls into question her love for her overly serious fiancé. When her fiancé finally shows up, and she finds she has been taken in by the wrong family, she is embarrassed and disappointed. What will she do about it? You have to watch to find out.
10. Naughty or Nice
When a woman down on her luck ends up finding Santa’s “Naughty or Nice” list, she quickly begins to expose everyone around her. For a while, this allows her to gain the confidence to confront people who were putting her down or taking advantage of her. However, when she says her boyfriend’s name to the list and quickly learns about his fleeting intimate relationship with one of her best friends, she snaps. Only through the realization that there are two sides to every story does she realize that she hadn’t seen the full picture; she had attacked so many people without acknowledging all the nice things they had done too. In the end, she learns that it is not naughty or nice, it’s naughty and nice–no one fits into only one category. Oh, and in case you’re wondering if she and her boyfriend end up getting back together, I suggest you watch the movie.