Christmas…In September?!? The Hallmark Channel Celebrates Ten Years of “Counting Down to Christmas”
As most of the country slogs through the prerequisite Indian Summer that sends temperatures soaring and air conditioners chugging wearily, it’s hard to project far enough into the future to imagine Bing Crosby crooning about a white Christmas or to picture the serene majesty of a freshly fallen snow as we sit with friends and family by the warm hearth of a majestic fireplace, toasting holiday festivities as we take stock in the year that was even as we look forward to the New Year to be.
For many Christmas aficionados though, the holiday season always kicks off in late August/early September with the announcement by the Hallmark Channel of its newest yuletide holiday movie offerings. Just what is a Hallmark Channel Christmas movie, the uninitiated might ask, and how does one become a part of what is now a tradition in many families, right up there with hanging the stockings with care and decorating the Christmas tree?
There’s no pretty way around this – a Hallmark Christmas movie, which ranges from stories with titles such as Switched for Christmas to A Princess for Christmas, is the filmatic equivalent of holiday porn. You know the sort of movies I’m talking about: Those movies that provide a quick and visceral thrill that we all deny any knowledge of and which are promptly shuffled off of our television playlist when grandma and grandpa arrives for a visit only to be replaced by the figurative good girls of Christmas films: It’s a Wonderful Life, A Christmas Story, Miracle On 34th Street, Scrooge, The Snowman and A Charlie Brown Christmas. Hallmark Christmas movies are pure and unadulterated comfort food with empty calories in abundance and nothing too substantive or memorable at the end of the day. They depict an extremely idealized version of the Big Kahuna of holidays and all of their films when put together resemble a painful holiday hangover as brought to us by Pier 1 and Martha Stewart and filmed in an almost angelic soft backlight as if to illustrate the so bad it’s good quality of the stories. And. I. Love. Them.
Yes, it’s true, gentle readers: Even as my blu-ray copies of Before Sunset, The Godfather and The Hours stare down at me reproachfully from their shelves that surround our television set, like clockwork every year I will indulge my secret vice for saccharine plots and impossibly beautiful people wrapped up in a big enough red bow of Christmas perfection to choke poor old Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. And, judging by the ratings for these eggnog drenched bacchanals, I’m not alone. Which is kind of comforting. And disturbing.
This leads us to the recent announcement by the aforementioned Hallmark Channel of the lineup for their 10th anniversary Countdown to Christmas movie lineup which features – wait for it – 40 new Christmas films, all being rolled out for their world debut this October.
The Christmas festivities kick off on Friday, October 25 with A Merry Christmas Match and then follow-up on Saturday, October 26 with the premiere of the too-good to be true titled Christmas Wishes and Mistletoe Kisses starring Jill Wagner, Matthew Davis and Donna Mills.
The complete list of Hallmark Christmas Movies for 2019 beyond the opening volleys above are as follows:
Nostalgic Christmas (Stars Brooke D’Orsay and Trevor Donovan), October 31
Two Turtle Doves (Stars Nikki DeLoach and Michael Rady), November 1
Merry & Bright (Stars Jodie Sweetin, Andrew Walker and Sharon Lawrence) November 2
Christmas Scavenger Hunt (Stars Kevin McGarry and Kim Shaw) November 3
A Blue Ridge Mountain Christmas (Stars Rachael Leigh Cook and Benjamin Ayres), November 7
Holiday for Heroes (Stars Marc Blucas, Melissa Claire Egan and Patti Murin), November 8
A Christmas Duet (Stars Chaley Rose, Rome Flynn and Teryl Rothery) November 9
The Mistletoe Secret (Stars Kellie Pickler, Tyler Hynes and Patrick Duffy) November 10
A Christmas Miracle (Stars Tamera Mowry-Housely, Brooks Darnell and Barry Bostwick), November 14
Double Holiday (Stars Kristoffer Polaha and Carly Pope) November 16
The Christmas Club (Stars Elizabeth Mitchell and Cameron Mathison) November 17
Picture a Perfect Christmas (Stars Merritt Patterson and Jon Cor) November 23
Christmas at Graceland: Home for the Holidays (Stars Adrian Grenier, Kaitlin Doubleday, Priscilla Presley and Chase Bryant) November 24
Check Inn to Christmas (Stars Rachel Boston and Wes Brown) November 25
A Gift to Remember 2 (Stars Ali Liebert, Peter Porte and Tina Lifford) November 26
Sense, Sensibility, & Snowmen (Stars Erin Krakow, Luke Macfarlane and Kimberley Sustand) November 27
Write Before Christmas (Stars Torrey DeVitto, Chad Michael Murray, Lolita Davidovich and Drew Seeley) November 28
Christmas at the Plaza (Stars Ryan Paevey and Elizabeth Henstridge) November 29
Christmas in Rome (Stars Lacey Chabert and Sam Page) November 30
Christmas Town (Stars Candace Cameron Bure, Tim Rozon and Beth Broderick) December 1
Hallmark Hall of Fame: A Christmas Love Story (Stars Kristin Chenoweth, Scott Wolf, Keith Robinson and Kevin Quinn) December 7
Christmas at Dollywood (Stars Danica McKellar, Niall Matter and Dolly Parton) December 8
Christmas in Evergreen: Tidings of Joy (Stars Paul Greene, Maggie Lawson, Barbara Niven, Holly Robinson Peete, Ruklya Bernard, Colin Lawrence, Ashley Williams and Jill Wagner) December 14
Alice in Christmasland, December 15
It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas (Stars Eric Mabius) December 21
Holiday Date (Stars Brittany Bristow and Matt Cohen) December 22
When Calls the Heart Christmas (Stars Erin Krakow, Pascale Hutton, Jack Wagner, Kavan Smith, Kevin McGarry, Paul Greene, Chris McNally, Martin Cummins and Andrea Brooks) December 25
New Year, New Me, December 28
And there you have it, enough illicit holiday cheese to put a smile even on the Grinch. So settle back, turn down the central air, pull out that beautifully ugly Christmas sweater and hunker down for more holiday tidings than you can shake a yule log at.