Saturday, January 4, 2020

Ranking Hallmark's 2019 Christmas Movies

The Hallmark Christmas movie season has (finally) come to a close. Yes, movies are still running 24/7, but all of the new movies have premiered, and the end of "all Christmas all the time" is in sight. Since I subscribe to Frndly TV, for the first time I didn't have to watch movies when they aired—I could record and watch later! This made my viewing experience so much better—I could watch movies in pieces ... or quit watching and decide later if I'd go back or not.

I felt like, overall, this season was fair to middling. I think that's because 39 movies is way too many if you want any sort of quality control! You'll see that I have about 85 movies rated 3-star. (OK, not really, but you'll see what I mean.) I had a few movies that I loved, but many were just meh ... movies that I might keep on in the background but I wouldn't ever make a point to watch again. I put my reactions to each of the movies in my Instagram highlights shortly after watching each one (2019 Christmas & Pt. 2 Christmas)—you might notice that my opinions on some of the movies changed a bit when I compared them all to each other.

Also, there are four "movies" that I either didn't even attempt or only gave about 10 minutes to, so I didn't think it was fair to rank those. Now, to the list!

Did Not Watch

A Homecoming for the Holidays

A Family Christmas

A Cheerful Christmas
(I heard from many sources that this was the worst Hallmark Christmas movie of all time. It's one that Hallmark purchased, rather than making, and apparently it shows.)

When Calls the Heart: Home for Christmas
 (This is not a Christmas movie. It's a When Calls the Heart special. Hallmark needs to stop including these specials in their Christmas movie lists.)

35. Cherished Memories: A Gift to Remember 2 Did Not Finish (Hallmark Channel)

This movie is beloved by so many people ... and I have no idea why. I really liked the original, but this time around, I didn't think the stars had any romantic chemistry, and I was so bored. I quit watching after an hour.

34. Christmas in Rome DNF (HC)

For the second year in a row, the Lacey Chabert Christmas entry has disappointed me. This one was just bland and boring. I made 45 minutes, and then I quit.

33. Nostalgic Christmas DNF (Hallmark Movies & Mysteries)

Again, so boring. This was my first DNF of the season, and I tortured myself for 90 minutes before turning it off. 

32. Christmas Scavenger Hunt ⭐1/2 (HC)

Soooooooo boring! The scavenger hunt that would never end! (If you like Kevin McGarry, check out the still-not-stellar-but-much-better Lifetime movie Random Acts of Christmas.)

31. A Blue Ridge Mountain Christmas ⭐⭐ (HMM)

Here's literally the only thing I remember about the movie: there was a wedding near the end, and the Christmas decorations at the wedding were beautiful. Again, so boring! (Are you sensing a theme this year?)

30. Christmas at Dollywood ⭐⭐

Danica McKellar is one of my favorite Hallmark actresses. But even she couldn't save the dumpster fire that was Christmas at Dollywood.

29. A Merry Christmas Match ⭐⭐1/2 (HMM)

This was the very first new movie to air this season. Had it aired later on, I might've hated it, but, at the time, I felt like it was a decent entry into the season. That said, I can't imagine I'll ever purposely watch it again, and I'm removing half a star from my original rating, as it's clearly worse than Holiday for Heroes. (This was an acquisition—Hallmark didn't make it in house—and you can tell.)

28. Holiday for Heroes ⭐⭐1/2 (HMM)

I've seen this on a lot of Top 5 lists for this season, and I just don't get it. I do think that this is one I might enjoy more upon a second viewing, so we'll see how I feel about it next year. But no way would it move up into my Top 10 (or even 15).

27. Christmas at Graceland: Home for the Holidays ⭐⭐⭐

This movie was fine, I think, but it's been less than I month since I watched it, and I couldn't really tell you anything that's not written in the photo above!

26. Holiday Hearts ⭐⭐⭐ (HMM)

I was so disappointed by this movie. I really like both Paul Campbell ("Gridley," as my dad likes to call him) and Ashley Williams, but the movie was just boring and unmemorable. It wasn't actively bad like some of the movies that ranked below it, but it was "blah."

25. A Christmas Duet ⭐⭐⭐ (HC)

My favorite part of this movie was the song. And I enjoyed Teryl Rothery's character.

24. Our Christmas Love Song ⭐⭐⭐ (HMM)

My love for Alicia Witt may be a bit irrational (I know that many people can't stand her), but I did enjoy this movie, in spite of its (fairly major) flaws. But that song ... was not great.

23. Merry & Bright ⭐⭐⭐ (HC)

This movie aired early on in the season. At the time, I enjoyed it quite a bit, but then so many others that I enjoyed more came along ...

22. Picture a Perfect Christmas ⭐⭐⭐ (HC)

This movie was a pleasant surprise! It wasn't the most memorable, and the ending was truly ridiculous, but the leads had great chemistry, and I wasn't bored.

21. Christmas on My Mind ⭐⭐⭐ (HMM)

This movie is based on The Goodbye Bride, a book I absolutely loved. Let's just say this is a loose adaptation ... Taken on its own, this movie would be fine, but I couldn't help but compare it to the book.

20. Angel Falls: A Novel Holiday ⭐⭐⭐ (HMM)

A tad boring at times, but Jen Lilley and Eric Close were both excellent in their roles, and I appreciated that this was an angel movie where the angel didn't fall in love with a human. I also enjoyed it much more than the original (Christmas in Angel Falls).

19. Christmas in Evergreen: Tidings of Joy ⭐⭐⭐ (HC)

I am a big fan of the Evergreen series! While I didn't really care about the main story at all, I really loved the ensemble cast, and the B & C stories were great! I don't know that I would watch it again ... unless I was doing an Evergreen marathon, which I would totally do if they keep making these movies. (Letters to Santa ranked #12 on last year's list, and I would absolutely enjoy watching that one again!)

18. A Godwink Christmas: Meant for Love ⭐⭐⭐ (HMM)

A Godwink Christmas was my favorite Hallmark Christmas movie last year. It was so good! In comparison, Godwink 2 is pretty bad. In fact, I almost turned it off after the first 30 minutes (hear me: the first half hour is terrible). But then they had to go and throw in a chronic illness story line, which really resonated with me. And suddenly I was all in on the movie!

17. The Mistletoe Secret ⭐⭐⭐1/2 (HC)

I almost didn't even watch this one, as we who watch Hallmark movies all know that Kellie Pickler cannot act. But the non-Pickler parts of this movie are so great, and she was even growing on me by the end! Tyler Hynes is this year's Hallmark Christmas MVP in my estimation—he made the movie not just bearable but actually kind of good. Also, for a long time, while we were in the "meh" part of the season, I used this movie as the dividing line: "Did I like this more or less than The Mistletoe Secret?" It astounded me just how many times I had to answer less.

16. It's Beginning To Look a Lot Like Christmas ⭐⭐⭐1/2 (HC)

This is the very last new movie that I watched. I almost passed on it, but then I really enjoyed it! It has a whole lot of "wait, what?" moments, but the leads are winning, and it's just a likable movie.

15. Christmas Under the Stars ⭐⭐⭐1/2 (HC)

This movie needed to air on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries instead of Hallmark Channel. There were a lot of heavy moments; I'm sure it aired on Hallmark because of the re-teaming of Metcalfe & Reeser, and they wanted to get it in front of more eyeballs. I liked it (and would probably like it more upon a rewatch); it just wasn't what I expected.

14. Christmas Town ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (HC)

CCB's annual Christmas entry was quite enjoyable. However, her character was a terrible cat owner, and the whole foster/adoption plot seemed too easy. (I would rank this 7 out of 8 in the CCB Christmas pantheon.)

13. Sense, Sensibility, & Snowmen ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (HMM)

This is another movie that aired on the wrong network—it felt much more like a Hallmark Channel rom-com than a more serious Movies & Mysteries movie. That said, I liked it a lot, especially Kimberley Sustad's character. (Dear Hallmark: cast her as the lead more often!)

12. A Christmas Miracle ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (HMM)

Some people really, really disliked this movie—I've seen it on several bottom 5 lists. And I will acknowledge that the magazine's timeline was uber unrealistic. But I adored the Santa Dean story (except when Barry Bostwick was singing ... that was cringe-worthy), and I liked the whole movie.

11. Christmas at the Plaza ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (HC)

I'm actually watching this one as I compose this list! (It's the last movie that Hallmark Channel is showing before switching to Winterfest movies.) It's just as enjoyable the second time as it was the first! The main couple is "meh," but I love the Bruce Davison story line, the film is beautifully shot, and there's real classic Christmas music throughout. And it's very, very Christmassy.

10. Two Turtle Doves ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (HMM)

This movie is excellent. It's also kind of hard to watch at times because it really delves into grief at the holidays. Michael Rady & Nikki Deloach knock it out of the park.

9. A Christmas Love Story ⭐⭐⭐⭐1/2 (HC/Hallmark Hall of Fame)

The last scene is awful/incredibly cheesy. But the rest of the movie? Wonderful. And there's some really great music!

8. Check Inn to Christmas ⭐⭐⭐⭐1/2 (HC)

Wes Brown was saddled with Kellie Pickler last year (twice!), so it was nice to see him with a good leading lady. Plus, this movie was just lots of fun!

7. The Christmas Club ⭐⭐⭐⭐1/2 (HC)

Wow, this one flew under the radar! Cameron Mathison and Elizabeth Mitchell are wonderful together, plus there's a bit of Christmas "magic" that has been lacking in many of these movies recently!

6. Christmas in Montana ⭐⭐⭐⭐1/2 (HMM)

I'm definitely in the minority here, but I loved this movie! Lots of people found it boring, but I didn't at all. And I loved that the daughter was a little older and wasn't a brat. I thought it was so, so good.

5. Write Before Christmas ⭐⭐⭐⭐1/2 (HC)

I have a feeling that this one might drop a bit in the rankings if I watched it again, but I absolutely loved every second I spent watching it! There are multiple story lines to keep track of, but I followed them all with no trouble. 

4. Holiday Date ⭐⭐⭐⭐1/2 (HC)

I laughed more in this movie than in any other this season! This is one of two Christmas/Hanukkah movies this season, and I can see how some people might be upset by how clueless Joel was about Christmas. But I thought it was such a fun movie—kind of a cross between Holiday Engagement and Hitched for the Holidays.

3. Time for You to Come Home for Christmas ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (HMM)

Alison Sweeney is great as always, and I really enjoyed ... every single thing about this movie. It also deals with grief (a common theme this year), but it never gets too sad or depressing.

2. Christmas Wishes & Mistletoe Kisses ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (HC)

Apparently, I'm a big fan of movies based on Jenny Hale novels (Coming Home for Christmas was one of my favorites a couple years ago). Jill Wagner is spectacular, and this movie just made me smile! (I already have it on DVD ...)

1. Double Holiday ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (HC)

The second Christmas/Hanukkah movie to air was even better than the first! I'm a big fan of Kris Polaha, and I think this has become my favorite of his Christmas movies (though I really loved Hearts of Christmas, also). He and Carly Pope have great chemistry, and the movie hits just the right holiday tone. I loved it!

I did it!!! That list took forever 🤣 What did you think of Hallmark's offerings this year? With 39 movies, I'm guessing that no two lists look the same, but I'd love to know what your favorite (and least favorite) movies were!


  1. Great list, Becky!! I love seeing people's rankings for Hallmark movies, especially since I don't often see the new ones the first year. I only saw two new ones in their entirety this year...Holiday for Heroes (I am one of those who LOVED it!!) and Christmas Under the Stars, which I really enjoyed as well. I saw parts of a lot of these, but it's rare I get to watch a whole movie on tv for various reasons. It is easier for me to get the DVD's from the library and watch in parts and at my convenience. Frndly tv sounds awesome! I saw a number of them I wanted to see in your top 15...guess I 'll have to wait til next year to try to catch them.

    1. I don't know what my problem was with Holiday for Heroes! I might like it much more next year if I watch it :-) Frndly is AMAZING! I was planning to just keep it through the holiday season, but I'm loving it too much to give it up--I like having Pixl, UpTV, and the Game Show Network in addition to the Hallmark channels. So I cancelled Hallmark Movies Now (which I hardly ever used) instead :-) Thanks for stopping by, Becky!

  2. Loved Double Holiday. It was SO fun, and I think a good cast can go a LOOONG way in making any story (even if it is a common trope) seem new and more interesting. :)

    1. Yes, yes, yes on the cast!!! Good casting (and chemistry, which I guess is part of good casting) can make all the difference!


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