It's the day after Thanksgiving, so you know what that means: Christmas!
At least that's the case on the Hallmark Channel – and its sister network Hallmark Movies & Mysteries – which already began its onslaught of seasonal holly jolly well over a month ago, featuring all of the usual beloved cliches. A very important holiday shindig? Of course. A small town/big city dynamic? Do you even have to ask? A romance with a Generic Handsome Local? You already know the answer to all of these questions.
And yet that's part of the Christmas charm of Hallmark: soft, saccharine, predictable holiday love stories that are perfect for getting into the holiday spirit ... and even more perfect for drinking games about all of the tropes. It may be hell for some, but it's heaven for growing numbers across the nation – so much so that Netflix and many others are trying to get in on the business of seasonal soft-focus sweetness.
But Hallmark did it first – and arguably best. And for its fans, here's a full guide to the movies coming to Hallmark complete with premiere dates, upcoming showings, plot synopses and just a gentle flurry of sass.
"You, Me & The Christmas Trees"
- Monday, Nov. 29 at 3 p.m.
- Saturday, Dec. 11 at 7 a.m.
- Sunday, Dec. 19 at 11 p.m.
- Saturday, Dec. 25 at 2:30 a.m.
- Wednesday, Dec. 29 at 9 a.m.
Who plays the soon-to-be couple: Former Winnie Cooper and current math genius Danica McKellar will fall in love with Benjamin Ayres, a Canadian TV star ... and distant relative of Frankenstein and the Grinch himself, Boris Karloff. Well this took an ominous turn ...
Cutesy romantic kerfuffle/Christmas conundrum: Get into the holiday spirit with DEATH! OK, tree death BUT STILL! In what sounds like "CSI: Hallmark," McKellar is a tree expert called in to a small Connecticut town to find out what's killing a family fir farm's trees. The only cure: love! (And also consistent watering and direct sunlight.)
"Boyfriends of Christmas Past"
- Monday, Dec. 13 at 1 a.m.
- Saturday, Dec. 25 at 8:30 a.m.
Who plays the soon-to-be couple: Raymond Ablack – from "Ginny & Georgia," "Maid" and probably some other Netflix Original shows I haven't had the time to check out yet – will fall in love with Catherine Haena Kim, who starred in "FBI," "Ballers" and the rom-com "Ghosts of Girlfriends Past." WAIT A GOSH DARN SECOND ...
Cutesy romantic kerfuffle/Christmas conundrum: A woman is haunted by several of her ex-boyfriends that teach her lessons in the hopes of improving her future THAT'S THE PREMISE OF THE MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY MOVIE! This one, however, is set around Christmas, which I think adds a very novel and fresh angle for this story concept. Have never heard that before. (*The ghost of Charles Dickens punches me in the arm*)
"Christmas in My Heart"
Remaining showings (on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries)
- Tuesday, Nov. 30 at 11 p.m.
- Saturday, Dec. 4 at 9 a.m.
- Sunday, Dec. 12 at 9 p.m.
- Tuesday, Dec. 14 at 5 p.m.
- Saturday, Dec. 25 at 7 p.m.
Who plays the soon-to-be couple: Heather Hemmens is our lead actress here, formerly of "Yellowstone," "Roswell, New Mexico" and Netflix's "Dad Stop Embarrassing Me," which I assume is a show from the future created by my child. She'll fall in love with "Brothers & Sisters" performer Luke Macfarlane.
Cutesy romantic kerfuffle/Christmas conundrum: Hemmens plays a violinist helping to teach up a country music star's kid for a big Christmas concert. I too used to play the violin – my family still has all the shattered glass to prove it. Anyways, I'm sure love breaks out as well between the kid's teacher and her dad, which I'm sure the kid won't find weird at all.
"The Santa Stakeout"
- Monday, Dec. 6 at 1 p.m.
- Tuesday, Dec. 14 at 11 a.m.
- Friday, Dec. 24 at 11:30 p.m.
- Thursday, Dec. 30 at 7 a.m.
Who plays the soon-to-be couple: Paul Campbell and one of the "Sister Sister" sisters (I believe the correct grammatical terminology is "Sisters Sister") are the leads – but the true star here is clearly glorious character actor Joe Pantoliano of "Memento" and "The Matrix" fame.
Cutesy romantic kerfuffle/Christmas conundrum: Tamera Mowry-Housley and Paul Campbell play buddy cops on the hunt for a thief striking holiday parties around the area. Their main suspect? You guessed it: Joey Pants. Of course he did – AND HE MURDERED MOUSE, APOC AND SWITCH! All for a steak, the monster. But actually, the only thing Joey Pants could steal is my heart so my bet on the criminal is this guy:
"Christmas in Harmony"
- Tuesday, Nov. 30 at 9 a.m.
- Tuesday, Dec. 7 at 3 a.m.
- Sunday, Dec. 26 at 1 a.m.
- Friday, Dec. 31 at 9 p.m.
Who plays the soon-to-be couple: Riverdale's resident Josie Ashleigh Murray as well as R&B singer and "The Chi" actor Luke James – but again, the stars are the supporting roles with Loretta Devine, who is never not delightful, and former Destiny's Child star Michelle Williams. Which means this is closest we're getting to "Bootylicious" making it into a Hallmark movie.
Cutesy romantic kerfuffle/Christmas conundrum: A young woman named Harmony (YOU SEE WHAT THEY DID THERE!?) gets tricked into trying out for a holiday chorus that just so happens to be directed by her old flame. "By Christmas Eve, they could be harmonizing in the key of love," writes the official Hallmark blurb. I'm gonna need you to settle down there, Hallmark blurb – but also, B major then?
"Coyote Creek Christmas"
- Monday, Nov. 29 at 11 p.m.
- Friday, Dec. 10 at 11 a.m.
- Thursday, Dec. 16 at 1 p.m.
- Saturday, Dec. 25 at 5:30 p.m.
- Friday, Dec. 31 at 5 a.m.
Who plays the soon-to-be couple: Former Robin Thicke body double Ryan Paevey will fall in love with Janel Parrish, most notable as Mona from "Pretty Little Liars" or Margot the constantly disappearing older sister from Netflix's "To All the Boys" trilogy.
Cutesy romantic kerfuffle/Christmas conundrum: Two people find love at a local party. Well, that's a pretty simple concept – but at least surely the town has an adorable, cutesy, ridiculously merry Christmas-themed name like ... Coyote Creek? Not Hollyjollyburg or Santasville or Chestnutsroastingoveranopenfire Bay? Wow, Hallmark. It's like you're not even trying this year.
"The Christmas Promise"
Remaining showings (on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries)
- Friday, Dec. 3 at 7 p.m.
- Saturday, Dec. 25 at 5 p.m.
Who plays the soon-to-be couple: Torrey DeVitto – star of "Chicago Med" or "Chicago Fire" or "Chicago Garbage Collection," one of those shows – will meet up with Dylan Bruce of "Orphan Black." Never trust a man with two first names. Or two names, period, which is why I exclusively trust Bono.
Cutesy romantic kerfuffle/Christmas conundrum: Whenever I remember the sub-channel Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, I always think it's Hallmark Murders & Mysteries which would DEFINITELY be a different channel. Anyways, DeVitto here plays a grieving woman who decides to fix the house she was going to live in with her passed-away fiance ... and probably fall in love with the handsome guy helping her fix it. The ghost of the fiance's like, "Oh sure, now that I'm dead you get around to fixing the house." This is how you get a haunted house.
- Wednesday, Dec. 1 at 11 p.m.
- Thursday, Dec. 16 at 11 a.m.
- Sunday, Dec. 26 at 3 a.m.
- Tuesday, Dec. 28 at 9 p.m.
Who plays the soon-to-be couple: The movie stars Katee Sackhoff – who probably can do better than this, but after several rounds of kicking ass in the likes of "The Mandalorian" and "Battlestar Galactica" as well as getting menaced by Michael Myers, an evil mirror and Vin Diesel, she deserves a break with a nice movie about Christmas and boats. She'll fall in love with Patrick Sabongui, who could also use some rest after a long career of stunt performing and bit roles in horror and action movies.
Cutesy romantic kerfuffle/Christmas conundrum: Sackhoff returns home to take care of her dad, played by ... Terry O'Quinn, aka the evil killer stepfather from "The Stepfather"?! RUN, KATEE AND PATRICK; IT'S NOT A RELAXING BREAK AFTER ALL! Anyways, love and assumably boats will be involved as well ... as long as they don't get murdered first.
- Sunday, Dec. 5 at 5 a.m.
- Saturday, Dec. 25 at 7 a.m.
- Wednesday, Dec. 29 at 11 p.m.
Who plays the soon-to-be couple: Merritt Patterson, world record holder for most double consonants in a single name, will pair up with Jon Ecker, star of "Queen of the South" and ... "Gossip Girl: Acapulco," a spin-off of the original show that basically only aired in Mexico?! TELL ME MORE AND NOW!
Cutesy romantic kerfuffle/Christmas conundrum:
The Hallmark synopsis: Two former high school friends work together to sell a family member's beloved bakery.
Me: Sounds familiar and (*chuckles wryly*) sweet.
The Hallmark synopsis: And also it makes magical gingerbread that supposedly grants wishes.
Me: Oh, I see. I think that's enough of the special eggnog for you, Hallmark.
"Next Stop, Christmas"
- Sunday, Nov. 28 at 11 p.m.
- Friday, Dec. 3 at 11 a.m.
- Tuesday, Dec. 7 at 7 p.m.
- Monday, Dec. 13 at 9 p.m.
- Saturday, Dec. 25 at 5:30 a.m.
- Friday, Dec. 31 at 9 a.m.
Who plays the soon-to-be couple: "Kick-Ass" star Lyndsy Fonseca and "Days of Our Lives" Chandler Massey are technically the leads here – but who cares about them when we've got a stealth "Back to the Future" reunion here with Christopher Lloyd and Lea Thompson! Maybe this is a secret remake ...
Cutesy romantic kerfuffle/Christmas conundrum: IT IS! Fonseca hops on a time-travelling train – probably running on 1.21 gigawatts of electricity – that takes her back a decade for a chance to be with her former boyfriend-turned-sportscaster extraordinaire. I'm here for this faux reboot, which I imagine comes with fewer Freudian flirtations and attempted sexual assaults.
"Debbie Macomber's A Mrs. Miracle Christmas"
Remaining showings (on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries)
- Wednesday, Dec. 8 at 1 p.m.
- Monday, Dec. 13 at 7 p.m.
- Saturday, Dec. 25 at 9 a.m.
Who plays the soon-to-be couple: Kaitlin Doubleday of "Nashville" and "Empire" fame – as well as one of the leads of "Cavemen," the ABC sitcom based on the Geico cavemen that's often pointed to as "the death of civilization" – meets up with Steve Lund, aka Jake from "Schitt's Creek" and a star of "The Banana Splits Movie," which is NOT what you think it is.
Cutesy romantic kerfuffle/Christmas conundrum: Props to Debbie Macomber's agent for getting title billing in this Hallmark movie. I don't know who she is, but she is VERY powerful. Anyways, Mrs. Miracle (played by Caroline Rhea from "Sabrina the Teenage Witch") is a magic lady who's going to make a sad family feel better this holiday season – all while Debbie Macomber nods in approval.
"A Christmas Treasure"
- Tuesday, Nov. 30 at 7 a.m.
- Monday, Dec. 6 at 11 p.m.
- Wednesday, Dec. 15 at 9 a.m.
- Saturday, Dec. 25 at 2:30 p.m.
- Friday, Dec. 31 at 5 p.m.
Who plays the soon-to-be couple: Just like she imagined after winning "American Idol" all those years ago, Jordin Sparks is starring in a Hallmark movie. (Still better than most "American Idol" grads. Quick: Name who won the most recent season. Trick question: It cannot be done.) She'll be falling in love with the excellently named Michael Xavier, who sounds like the main character in an '80s action movie I would watch.
Cutesy romantic kerfuffle/Christmas conundrum: "After opening a 100-year-old time capsule and meeting a charming chef, Lou questions whether or not she should move to New York after Christmas and further her writing career," says the synopsis. Wait, was the charming chef inside the 100-year-old time capsule this whole time? I have some questions – though there's no question about this: She's definitely not moving to New York (or the plot will contrive to move both her and the century-old chef there).
"Open By Christmas"
- Sunday, Nov. 28 at 11 a.m.
- Wednesday, Dec. 1 at 9 a.m.
- Thursday, Dec. 9 at 11 p.m.
- Tuesday, Dec. 14 at 9 p.m.
- Monday, Dec. 20 at 11 a.m.
- Saturday, Dec. 25 at 6 a.m.
Who plays the soon-to-be couple: Low-key Hallmark queen Alison Sweeney and Brennan Elliott, a fellow Hallmark regular who was also once murdered by Chucky. (Not in a Hallmark movie, in case that wasn't obvious.) They'll be joined by Erica Durance, who was on "Smallville." No, she's not the one with the sex trafficking cult.
Cutesy romantic kerfuffle/Christmas conundrum: After finding an unopened anoynmous love letter from her high school days (remember to clean out your folders and backpacks, y'all), Alison Sweeney and her friend search to find her secret admirer – who is definitely married, content with his life and wholly moved on from his teenage years, not some generic handsome single guy with an immaculately strong jaw as well as a taste for hot cocoa and Christmas cheer.
"My Christmas Family Tree"
- Saturday, Nov. 27 at 11 a.m.
- Friday, Dec. 3 at 9 a.m.
- Sunday, Dec. 12 at 11 p.m.
- Wednesday, Dec. 15 at 11 a.m.
- Friday, Dec. 24 at 10 p.m.
Who plays the soon-to-be couple: Julie Taylor from "Friday Night Lights," aka Aimee Teagarden, who was last seen in a Vancouver backlot pretending to be Milwaukee in the Hallmark movie "A New Year's Resolution." She'll be falling for Hallmark regular Andrew Walker, who performed in not one but two episodes of Nickelodeon's "Are You Afraid of the Dark?" THANKS FOR THE CHILDHOOD NIGHTMARES, ANDY!
Cutesy romantic kerfuffle/Christmas conundrum: Teagarden plays a young woman who takes one of those DNA/Ancestry.com tests and discovers a family she didn't know she had. And as any reasonable person would, she meets them around Christmas time – you know, that time of year when everyone's stressed out and planning stuff and on edge cooking and cleaning and buying last minute gifts. Seems like a great time to introduce yourself and dredge up the past! Super calm and chill idea!
"One December Night"
Remaining showings (on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries)
- Friday, Nov. 26 at 5 p.m.
- Saturday, Dec. 4 at 7 p.m.
- Tuesday, Dec. 7 at 5 p.m.
- Friday, Dec. 17 at 11 p.m.
- Tuesday, Dec. 21 at 7 p.m.
- Saturday, Dec. 25 at 7 a.m.
Who plays the soon-to-be couple: First of all, the AUDACITY to name this movie "One December Night" when it debuts in the middle of November. Movie, you're lucky I'm distracted by the fact that this stars Hollywood's finest eyebrows David Gallagher and "Evil Dead" cult icon Bruce Campbell. With him involved, you should've called it "A Groovy Christmas."
Cutesy romantic kerfuffle/Christmas conundrum: Unfortunately Campbell and Gallagher are not the lead couple or even the main characters. I imagine there will be no boomstick either. Instead, we get Quinn and Jason, their respective children and managers trying to get this surly former music duo back together in time for a reunion performance. Gosh, I wonder if ANOTHER duo of the romantic variety will form by the end of this movie.
"A Holiday in Harlem"
- Saturday, Nov. 27 at 1 p.m.
- Thursday, Dec. 2 at 11 a.m.
- Sunday, Dec. 12 at 9 a.m.
- Friday, Dec. 17 at 9 p.m.
- Saturday, Dec. 25 at 7 p.m.
- Thursday, Dec. 30 at 1 p.m.
Who plays the soon-to-be couple: Olivia Washington takes the lead in this Hallmark movie. You may recognize her father: Denzel Washington. Kinda popular guy? Pretty good at the acting thing? She'll fall in love with newcomer Will Adams.
Cutesy romantic kerfuffle/Christmas conundrum: A young woman comes home to visit her grandmother, only for her grandma to suffer a yoga-related injury. But who will co-chair the block's holiday jamboree now? "Probably the grandmother's second-in-command, not the young woman who just arrived in town for a limited time and has her own time-consuming job elsewhere," said Matt, apparently forgetting how Hallmark movies work. Anyways, the real drama in this Hallmark movie is WILL DENZEL MAKE A CAMEO!?
- Wednesday, Dec. 8 at 7 a.m.
- Saturday, Dec. 25 at 1 a.m.
Who plays the soon-to-be couple: "Nantucket Noel" stars the awesomely named Sarah Power (perhaps related to Max?) of "The Good Witch" Hallmark fame, as well as from two episodes of "Schitt's Creek" as Tennessee and a murder victim in "Saw V" – but not by Jigsaw's hand so congrats I guess? She'll fall in love with Trevor Donovan from the "90210" reboot that techncially existed.
Cutesy romantic kerfuffle/Christmas conundrum: A woman discovers that a ruthless business man is planning to tear down the wharf her toy store calls home. (Wharf: underrated terrible word.) Gosh, I sure hope this ruthless business man doesn't have a handsome son or protege that he sends to take care of this all! Snark aside, I'm excited for this one because it's another regionally specific alliterative name! WOO! Here's to "Jolly Jacksonville" up next!
"A Christmas Together With You"
- Saturday, Dec. 4 at 1 p.m.
- Friday, Dec. 10 at 3 p.m.
- Wednesday, Dec. 15 at 7 a.m.
- Tuesday, Dec. 21 at 3 a.m.
- Sunday, Dec. 26 at 11 a.m.
- Thursday, Dec. 30 at 11 p.m.
Who plays the soon-to-be couple: Our cute lead couple is Laura Vandervoort – Supergirl from "Smallville," an evil sexy alien lady from the remake of "V" – and Niall Matter, most famously murdered by an evil alien in "The Predator." I'm sure they will have much to talk about. Most importantly, though, Harry Lennix is here – which means Harry Lennix's incredible gravitas-filled vocal chords are here. A top Hallmark movie of the season, guaranteed; Lennix's voice is an automatic five stars.
Cutesy romantic kerfuffle/Christmas conundrum: In addition to regionally specific alliterative names, I also love Hallmark movie titles like this one that sound like just a grab bag of words that TECHNICALLY sound right but also sound like an alien trying to imitate festive cheer. Anyways, "A Festive Night With Humans And Also Friends" follows a woman and a father-like friend travelling to find his long-lost love while finding her one along the way. Judging by Hallmark's first photo, Santa will be involved at some point too. Maybe he's one of the loves in the film? WHAT A TWIST!
"Five More Minutes"
Remaining showings (all on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries):
- Sunday, Nov. 28 at 9 p.m.
- Friday, Dec. 3 at 1 a.m.
- Wednesday, Dec. 8 at 11 p.m.
- Sunday, Dec. 12 at 1 p.m.
- Saturday, Dec. 18 at 7 p.m.
- Saturday, Dec. 25 at 5 a.m.
- Wednesday, Dec. 29 at 9 p.m.
Who plays the soon-to-be couple: "Awkward" co-star and Hallmark regular Nikki Deloach will spend significantly more than five minutes with David Haydn-Jones, most famous for playing Arthur Ketch in "Supernatural" and far less famous for making his screen debut in the 1990 film (*checks notes*) "I Bought a Vampire Motorcycle," which is somehow exactly what it sounds like.
Cutesy romantic kerfuffle/Christmas conundrum: A woman's Christmas wish results in uncovering a secret involving her late grandfather and – if you can believe it – love, in what has to be the first Christmas movie inspired by a Scotty McCreery song. (Oh wait, I forgot "Bad Santa.")
"A Kiss Before Christmas"
- Sunday, Nov. 28 at 1 p.m.
- Tuesday, Nov. 30 at 9 p.m.
- Friday, Dec. 10 at 5 p.m.
- Thursday, Dec. 16 at 9 p.m.
- Saturday, Dec. 18 at 9 a.m.
- Sunday, Dec. 26 at 9 p.m.
- Wednesday, Dec. 29 at 7 a.m.
Who plays the soon-to-be couple: "Desperate Housewives" reunion alert! (*sounds alarm*) "DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES" REUNION ALERT! Studly plumber neighbor James Denton will lead here alongside the show's lead, Susan Mayer herself Teri Hatcher. Take that, Edie Britt!
Cutesy romantic kerfuffle/Christmas conundrum: Denton plays a business guy who misses out on a promotion because he's too much of a "nice guy," so he wishes for a different life – which comes true, for better in business but for far worse as he has to re-win over his wife's heart. Told him he shouldn't have had that magic gingerbread from that earlier Hallmark movie!
"The Nine Kittens of Christmas"
- Friday, Nov. 26 at 9:01 p.m.
- Tuesday, Nov. 30 at 5 p.m.
- Sunday, Dec. 5 at 3 p.m.
- Tuesday, Dec. 14 at 7 a.m.
- Saturday, Dec. 18 at 11 p.m.
- Friday, Dec. 24 at 7 p.m.
- Wednesday, Dec. 29 at 11 a.m.
Who plays the soon-to-be couple: It's a bird! It's a plane! No, it's Brandon Routh from "Superman Returns," which was seen as a pretty meh movie in those innocent pre-"Batman vs. Superman" times. He'll be falling in love with Kimberley Sustad from Netflix's "Travelers." But let's be honest: The stars here all have four legs, not two.
Cutesy romantic kerfuffle/Christmas conundrum: Former lovers are brought together around the holidays when there's a precious and adorable litter of kittens that need a home. I have never been more in on a Hallmark holiday movie. HOLD ON, IT'S A SEQUEL TO A 2014 MOVIE!? And they still dared to give "Birdman" Best Picture that year instead? Ridiculous ...
Premieres: Friday, Nov. 26 at 5 p.m.
Who plays the soon-to-be couple: Marisol Nichols, last seen getting her face melted off by Jigsaw in "Spiral" (spoiler alert for the one person in the Venn diagram of Hallmark fans and "Saw" gorehounds), will have a far more enjoyable time I imagine hanging with Paul Greene, who most Hallmark hardcores will recognize as Dr. Carson Shepherd from "When Calls the Heart."
Cutesy romantic kerfuffle/Christmas conundrum: Estranged business partners come together – in business and, maybe just maybe, in love – when their small toy company gets an offer from a major toy monolith. Will the major toy monolith not have the appropriate amount of Christmas spirit and be secretly nefarious in the end? WhO cOuLd KnOw!?
"An Unexpected Christmas"
Premieres: Friday, Nov. 26 at 7 p.m.
Who plays the soon-to-be couple: Bethany Joy Lenz – who, in addition to starring on "One Tree Hill," wrote a whole damn musical of "The Notebook" – and Tyler Hynes, who co-starred in past Hallmark Christmases alongside, um, let's say polarizing performances from country stars LeeAnn Rimes and Kellie Pickler. He's probably pretty pumped to be working with a pro actress this time.
Cutesy romantic kerfuffle/Christmas conundrum: How can Christmas be unexpected? It's literally the same day every year. Anyways, Lenz and Hynes will play exes who join back up for the holidays when he needs her to pose as a couple. Can't imagine any old feelings sparking back up here! I don't know, that all sounds pretty expected to me.
"Making Spirits Bright"
Premieres: Saturday, Nov. 27 at 5 p.m.
Who plays the soon-to-be couple: Taylor Cole stars here, most recognizable for a small role on "CSI: Miami" – but her best role is obviously in the "Mr. and Mrs. Smith"-inspired music video for Mayer Hawthorne's "The Walk," a confirmed bop. She's falling for Carlo Marks, who's appeared on "Chesapeake Shores," "The 100," "The Flash," "Pretty Little Liars" and "Smallville" as a character named Devilicus. Don't know why, but I'm getting the vibe that he was a villain.
Cutesy romantic kerfuffle/Christmas conundrum: Unfortunately, this is not a Hallmark movie about booze and "spirits" – maybe a small town distillery owner feuds with a big-city conglomerate booze company guy but then they fall in love. Actually, this idea might be something ...
As for what THIS movie's about, it involved siblings from rival families coming together to win a holiday decorating contest and also fall in love over hot cocoa. Probably some mistletoe will be involved too. Sounds pretty standard ... as opposed to "A Merry Alco-holiday," my new script pitch that should be in your inbox any minute now, Hallmark!
"Christmas at Castle Hart"
Premieres: Saturday, Nov. 27 at 7 p.m.
Who plays the soon-to-be couple: It took until after Thanksgiving, but we finally got to one of the royals of Hallmark: Lacey Chabert. Her partner-in-love will be ... huh, so that's what happened to Stuart Townsend. Hollywood tried to turn the Irish actor into A Thing in the early 2000s with "Queen of the Damned" and "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen," then dropped off the planet – and apparently landed here at Castle Hart!
Cutesy romantic kerfuffle/Christmas conundrum: Coming off "Christmas in Rome" in 2019, props to Lacey Chabert's agent for once again snagging the Hallmark script with the most impressive budget – because so long, Canada; we're going to Ireland! (Or at least a Canadian backlot with maybe some Irish flags, Guinness signs and shamrocks put up.) There, Chabert will find romance, castles and romance inside castles as she gets mistaken for a fancy Earl's party planner. Classic rich people, always misidentifying people – sure hope no one reveals her true identity at the end of the second act!
"Time for Them to Come Home for Christmas"
Premieres: Saturday, Nov. 27 at 9 p.m. on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries
Who plays the soon-to-be couple: Bonnie Whiteside from "Mad Men" (Jessy Schram) will meet up with the co-pilot from the third "Fifty Shades of Grey" movie (Brendan Penny). I feel like he may have died in a plane crash in that film? Who's to know. Imagine remembering the plot of the "Fifty Shades" movies.
Cutesy romantic kerfuffle/Christmas conundrum: First there was "Time for Me to Come Home for Christmas," followed by "Time for You to Come Home for Christmas," "Time for Us to Come Home for Christmas" and now "Time for Them to Come Home Christmas." WE ARE RUNNING OUT OF PRONOUNS! My head hurts; I wish I could forget all of this. Oh, how convenient, this installment's about amnesia – in particular an amnesiac woman and her handsome nurse (as if there could be any other kind in a Hallmark movie) travelling to answer a mysterious invitation to a Christmas party with potential answers. Why would you give it such a long-winded name when you could've called it "Hallmarkmento"?
"Christmas in Tahoe"
Premieres: Sunday, Nov. 28 at 5 p.m.
Who plays the soon-to-be couple: Theater kids, UNITE! Not only do you get two-time Tony nominee (and "A Royal Holiday" star!) Laura Osnes but you also get Kyle Selig, aka Aaron Samuels in the Broadway production of "Mean Girls." You almost get the impression something happened over the past year to cause theater productions to halt, causing actors to go elsewhere for jobs! In case that wasn't enough, we also get ... George Lopez and the lead singer of Train? I think perhaps the casting director here was a dartboard.
Cutesy romantic kerfuffle/Christmas conundrum: A woman has to save her family's hotel, so she needs to convince a band to play the big holiday show – but her ex-boyfriend is the lead guitarist AND she used to be their manager before she was fired. So many plot contortions – especially when all I care about is, "How much Tahoe am I going to see in this?" I hope the answer is "all of it." It is gorgeous country, surrounded by "Mad Max: Fury Road."
"The Christmas Contest"
Premieres: Sunday, Nov. 28 at 7 p.m.
Who plays the soon-to-be couple: ALL RISE FOR THE QUEEN! (*curtsies*) Yes, Candace Cameron Bure has arrived – and she'll be falling in love with John Brotherton, who conveniently also played her love interest on Netflix's "Fuller House."
Cutesy romantic kerfuffle/Christmas conundrum: Fun fact: This is the 47th Hallmark movie called "The Christmas Contest." But this particular version is about competing exes trying to win a contest for charity. But what will be more important: love or winning? Considering the proceeds go to charity, seems like winning, actually.
"Eight Gifts of Hanukkah"
Premieres: Friday, Dec. 3 at 7 p.m.
Who plays the soon-to-be couple: Our lead here is Inbar Lavi, most famous for playing the star serial con artist in Bravo's "Imposters" as well as Eve on "Lucifer." I know: You read those two credits and immediately think GET THAT LADY INTO A PRECIOUS AND INNOCENT HALLMARK FILM! She'll be falling in love with Craig Manning from "Degrassi: The Next Generation."
Cutesy romantic kerfuffle/Christmas conundrum: Back in 2019, Hallmark started really investing in making Hanukkah-themed holiday movies. It was a ... rough start. Things improved last year with "Love, Lights, Hanukkah!" – if only because the bar was set at "don't be anti-Semitic." So we'll see if third year's the charm as Lavi will set out on the road to find her secret admirer during the festive season. Sounds like somebody was copying off "Open By Christmas's" paper ...
"A Very Merry Bridesmaid"
Premieres: Saturday, Dec. 4 at 7 p.m.
Who plays the soon-to-be couple: Emily Osment – most famously Hannah Montana's best buddy Lilly Truscott and most recently Theresa on the Emmy-nominated "The Kominsky Method" on Netflix – plays our very merry bridesmaid while Casey Deidrick (most recently in "In the Dark" and "Into the Dark," which isn't confusing at all) assumably woos her.
Cutesy romantic kerfuffle/Christmas conundrum: Osment's having a blue Christmas because not only is her birthday on Christmas Eve but her brother's getting married on the same day. Her childhood crush is in town to make things better – but let's not overlook that her brother is a JEEEERKKFACE! Who plans their wedding not only on Christmas Eve – only the busiest time of year when all friends and family certainly have plans – but on a sibling's birthday at the same time?! You had 364 other days, bro! I hope the sequel takes place at family therapy.
"Our Christmas Journey"
Premieres: Saturday, Dec. 4 at 9 p.m. on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries
Who plays the soon-to-be couple: Hallmark favorite Holly Robinson Peete stars here along with Lyriq Bent, the main target of the Jigsaw killer in "Saw IV." Here's to a more relaxing time in this film. A lot more hot cocoa and blankets not made of barbed wire here.
Cutesy romantic kerfuffle/Christmas conundrum: So here's a rare Hallmark twist: Here's a holiday film not focused on a romantic relationship but a mother-son one as Robinson Peete plays a single mom learning how to let her autistic son live his life and be himself. Part of the solution? Probably a romance with a Handsome Local. So much for that rare Hallmark twist.
"Sister Swap: A Hometown Holiday"
Premieres: Sunday, Dec. 5 at 7 p.m.
Who plays the soon-to-be couple: Somehow the sister-swapping Hallmark movie does not star the "Sisters Sister." Instead it stars a different combo of sisters: Ashley Williams and Kimberley Williams-Paisley. Keith D. Robinson and Mark Deklin – who already had to deal with twin tomfoolery in the Hallmark holiday movie "Switched for Christmas" – play their respective attractive men.
Cutesy romantic kerfuffle/Christmas conundrum: Jennifer takes a break from running her restaurant to head back home for Christmas and resurrect her family's dusty neighborhood theater. (Exactly what everyone loves to do over the holiday break: MORE work.) Hold on a second, this synopsis says nothing about the other sister! I WAS PROMISED SISTER-SWAPPING SHENANIGANS! Well clearly we know which sister would win Hallmark's "Sophie's Choice" ...
"A Dickens of a Holiday!"
Premieres: Friday, Dec. 10 at 7 p.m.
Who plays the soon-to-be couple: Hallmark regular, "Royal Pains" co-star and "Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle" bathroom scene champion Brooke D'Orsay will be having a dickens of a time this holiday season with Kristoffer Polaha, who's having a moment graduating from "Handsome Man" in "Wonder Woman 1984" to a named character in the next "Jurassic Park" movie. Congrats Kristoffer!
Cutesy romantic kerfuffle/Christmas conundrum: You better earn that exclamation mark in your title, movie. OK, so the premise is a small town woman at the helm of its big Victorian festival invites a famous movie star, former classmate and almost certainly past crush to star in their adaptation of "A Christmas Carol" as Scrooge. I don't know if that's exciting enough for an exclamation point, but I'll at least give it an enthustiastic em dash. Also: Five dollars on somebody heartbreakingly telling Action Star Guy, "You really are becoming Scrooge," at some key moment.
"A Royal Queens Christmas"
Premieres: Saturday, Dec. 11 at 7 p.m.
Who plays the soon-to-be couple: Megan Park, very funny in the rom-com "What If," will have a royal holiday with requisite Brit Julian Morris, who was the lead in the kinda underrated horror movie "Cry Wolf."
Cutesy romantic kerfuffle/Christmas conundrum: Huh, we're still making movies about the romantic magic of the royals in a post-Harry and Meghan world. This particular variation connects two lovebirds from different worlds when a prince is recruited to help with a children's Christmas show in Queens. Wow, you really can find anyone for any job on Indeed.com!
"A Godwink Christmas: Miracle of Love"
Premieres: Saturday, Dec. 11 at 9 p.m. on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries
Who plays the soon-to-be couple: Katherine Barrell of "Wynonna Earp" and "Workin' Moms" fame will be warmed by the Christmas spirit by Alberto Frezza, who was on the "Grey's Anatomy" spin-off "Station 19" before getting shot and killed in season three. Glad to see "Station 19" keeping up "Grey's" penchant for murdering cast members.
Cutesy romantic kerfuffle/Christmas conundrum: Two lost people team up with a volunteer effort to build a house for a family during the holidays – and assuredly build a romance in the process. Because isn't that what volunteer work is truly for? Also, several coincidences – or "Godwinks" – happen because they discovered this word "godwink" several years ago and they're gonna turn it into a thing or die trying, dammit!
"Sister Swap: Christmas in the City"
Premieres: Sunday, Dec. 12 at 7 p.m.
Who plays the soon-to-be couple: Somehow the sister-swapping Hallmark movie does not star the "Sisters Sister." Instead it stars a different combo of sisters: Ashley Williams and Kimberley Williams-Paisley. Wait ... I feel like I've written this already ...
Cutesy romantic kerfuffle/Christmas conundrum: Aww, the other sister got a movie after all! As it turns out, while the other movie was going on, twin Meg heads over to Salt Lake City to help out her sister's restaurant, escape grief back home and – what else? – fall in love. I'm still not hearing a lot of true mistaken identity sister-swapping shenanigans, but I think Hallmark can find a way to wedge those in here. After all, they just found a way to make viewers watch two movies rather than merely one.
"The Christmas House 2: Deck Those Halls"
Premieres: Saturday, Dec. 18 at 7 p.m.
Who plays the soon-to-be couple: The sequel to last year's groundbreaking Hallmark holiday movie – but really, it was the first to star a same-sex couple – brings back all the family: Robert Buckley, Ana Ayora, Jonathan Bennett, Brad "Die" Harder, Sharon Lawrence and, the greatest treat of all, Treat Williams.
Cutesy romantic kerfuffle/Christmas conundrum: Another year, another batch of Christmas decoration chaos – but this one comes with the enjoyably sassy subtitle "Deck Those Halls," as if I decked the wrong halls in the first movie and have to do it the right way this time.
"Christmas for Keeps"
Premieres: Saturday, Dec. 18 at 9 p.m. on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries
Who plays the soon-to-be couple: I'm actually ... not sure. I know Ryan Rottman of the "90210" reboot will be involved, but then there's three other female leads: Christa B. Allen, who played the 13 portion of "13 Going on 30"; Ashley Newbrough from "Privileged"; and Marielle Scott from Netflix's "You" and "Lady Bird." Could we be looking at the second same-sex Hallmark holiday movie? Or maybe the first polygamous Hallmark holiday movie? I didn't know this was set in Utah!
Cutesy romantic kerfuffle/Christmas conundrum: Four friends gather after a decade apart to celebrate the life of their late high school teacher. Along the way, some combination of them will fall in love. And also: YAY CHRISTMAS!
"Tis the Season to Be Merry"
Premieres: Sunday, Dec. 19 at 7 p.m.
Who plays the soon-to-be couple: Rachael Leigh Cook, last seen appearing in Netflix's "He's All That" distinctly NOT playing Laney (unacceptable), and Travis Van Winkle, who made his name playing every Trent, Chad and Hoyt on screen in the 2000s.
Cutesy romantic kerfuffle/Christmas conundrum: An author (Cook) journeys to find fresh story ideas for her next relationship book in snowy Vermont, where I imagine we will find plot developments that are the very opposite of fresh.
As much as it is a gigantic cliché to say that one has always had a passion for film, Matt Mueller has always had a passion for film. Whether it was bringing in the latest movie reviews for his first grade show-and-tell or writing film reviews for the St. Norbert College Times as a high school student, Matt is way too obsessed with movies for his own good.
When he's not writing about the latest blockbuster or talking much too glowingly about "Piranha 3D," Matt can probably be found watching literally any sport (minus cricket) or working at - get this - a local movie theater. Or watching a movie. Yeah, he's probably watching a movie.