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Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

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Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

Old 12-24-21, 01:55 AM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

Originally Posted by TheBigDave View Post
Sad news.

Well-being check finds actress Alicia Witt's parents dead in their Massachusetts home

https://www.telegram.com/story/enter...ck/9000609002/
Sad news, a couple of Witt's early Christmas films years ago for the channel are what got me hooked on Hallmark's holiday line-up in the first place.

Christmas On 5th Avenue (UP) - Fantastic. Probably the best movie I've ever caught on UP, which usually trends more as middle-of-the-road fare. The male lead could be Henry Cavill's clone and would be a good choice if they need a Superman. It's a heavily romantic movie with the Christmas themes neatly integrated into the story. Both stars play off each other nicely and the female lead who I didn't recognize offers a ton of positive energy in her role.

The Christmas House 2: Deck Those Halls (Hallmark) - I wasn't even planning to catch this one because I think I missed the original last year but got caught up in the first fifteen minutes. It's a cheeky, well-written comedic movie about two bickering brothers, one famous, competing over a Christmas decorating contest for reality TV. A lot of humor and genuinely funny during its first hour as they spoof the reality TV format. Slows down a bit as the plot points become more serious but it's such a well-made movie you don't care.
Old 12-24-21, 02:38 AM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

Godwink Christmas Miracle of Love: Iím not a huge fan of this series, but this one was pretty good.

Coyote Creek Christmas was ok for me, even though I like both Janell Parish and Ryan Paevy. Maybe it was the writing or the chemistry or something.

Jingle Bell Princess (GAC) was also ok for me. I like Merrit Patterson, but her accent just seemed strained.

A Christmas Together with You was pretty good. Laura Vandervoot has been a good addition to the roster, though her romance storylineówhile important for the formulaódidnít seem necessary.
Old 12-24-21, 04:05 PM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

GAC Family is running all their Christmas movies commercial-free on Christmas day. Hallmark's main channel cuts out most commercials starting tonight at 8 PM for 24 hours, shrinking most time slots from two hours to 1.5 hours. It's a great way for DVR users to scoop up anything they may have missed earlier or just need more space.
Old 12-24-21, 09:31 PM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

Originally Posted by PhantomStranger View Post
GAC Family is running all their Christmas movies commercial-free on Christmas day. Hallmark's main channel cuts out most commercials starting tonight at 8 PM for 24 hours, shrinking most time slots from two hours to 1.5 hours. It's a great way for DVR users to scoop up anything they may have missed earlier or just need more space.
I set the DVR to record the ones I havenít watched yet to save space. I was also going to get My Christmas Family Tree in a shorter version to save, but it airs just after the 24-hour window.
Old 12-25-21, 01:55 PM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

Christmas By Chance (Lifetime) - One of my favorites this holiday season. I've never seen the lead actress before, Celeste Desjardins, but I want her in more movies. I liked the supporting characters and the romance develops far more naturally than we usually get from these seasonal movies. Nothing is overly forced and doesn't feel like a cookie-cutter plot. Definitely check this one out if you can.

Hot Chocolate Holiday (Lifetime) - A solid but unremarkable Christmas movie. Frankly, it's more of a pure romance set around Christmas than any actual Christmas themes. Decent but forgettable leads. If you aren't interested by the cast, fairly boring.

Naughty & Nice (ION) - This movie is several years old and stars Haylie Duff, who doesn't really appear in these kind of movies anymore. The odd couple romance drives most of this movie. Christmas is more of an afterthought. Not a bad movie but nothing super special.
Old 12-25-21, 04:22 PM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas



The Christmas House (2020)

I just watched this on demand. I was surprised how much I liked this. I thought it was going to be extremely cheesy, but it was really quite charming. Robert Buckley plays an actor who comes back to his home town and learns that his parents are selling his childhood home that is used every holiday season as "The Christmas House" where people in the neighborhood visit as it's decorated up. His parents (Treat Williams and Sharon Lawrence) are apparently having issues as well. Buckley's character also reconnects with an old teenage crush, who is now a single Mom. It had a lot of really nice Holiday moments. Buckley had good chemistry with his female lead Ana Ayora.. I know there is a sequel and I recorded that one to watch later.
Old 12-25-21, 04:29 PM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas



The Great Christmas Switch (2021)

This aired on GAC recently. Another GAC original that I actually quite liked. It's about twin sisters, one who is single and one who is a mother of two, who decide to switch places for a week. Hijinks later happen. It was cute. Sarah Lind, who plays the twins, was quite likable and funny.
Old 12-25-21, 06:39 PM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

The Christmas Promise (Hallmark) - Despite an all-star cast by Hallmark standards, the movie opens on a downer and dwells heavily on a woman's lost love. Not a premise I'm fond of and the movie never really broke out of that rut for me. I can't really blame the leads, Hallmark regular Torrey DeVitto paired with one of Hallmark's most reliable male leads. Unless you are a big Torrey DeVitto booster, a miss for me. Her character actually rejects the love interest at one point, which happens in an odd scene.
Old 12-25-21, 11:34 PM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

A Godwink Christmas: Miracle of Love (Hallmark) - A well-done tearjerker based on a true story. It mostly stars a young but capable cast of unknowns. The two leads really help sell the movie, which could have turned out much cheesier. A heart-felt and touching love story set in Wisconsin of all places. This is the new Godwink entry for 2021 and it's unrelated to prior installments. It moved me enough that I'll keep an eye out for more Godwink movies.

Beaus of Holly (ION) - A cute and breezy romance as a woman quickly gets over her nearly engaged boyfriend dumping her. The male lead is largely untraditional but works. The guy playing the ex-boyfriend may actually make his character too much of a tool, he was annoying even me by the end of the movie. The first hour or so is super smooth and effortless. A solid, mostly sweet romantic Christmas film.
Old 12-27-21, 04:51 PM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

A Dickens of a Holiday! (Hallmark) - Brooke D'Orsay really helps sell this movie in her starring role. Great performance for a Hallmark film. A famous actor returns to his Ohio hometown for the first time in many years as he plays Scrooge in the town's community theater's annual performance of A Christmas Carol. Very convincing camaraderie between Brooke and her male lead, another Hallmark vet. This is more playful than many of the channel's romantic films, it's almost a romcom. Not a ton of Christmas-themed material but its lively spirit and well-formed romance make it a fun twist on Hallmark's regular Christmas formula.
Old 12-28-21, 02:07 PM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

Five More Minutes (Hallmark) - Put this new Christmas movie in the Hallmark Hall of Fame. I've watched many, many Hallmark Christmas movies over the years and Five More Minutes is the best I've ever seen. It could have been released theatrically very credibly. Wonderful screenplay and premise.

The sentimental Nikki DeLoach vehicle is incredibly tender and emotionally grueling. There's no way you'll watch all 90 minutes with dry eyes. I'd almost recommend splitting the movie up into two viewings because it becomes seriously emotional in the final act.

A granddaughter returns home, finding her recently deceased grandfather's journal he kept as a young man. He ran a Christmas store in their small town. Nikki DeLoach has always been a reliable star for Hallmark but she really shines here.

If you watch only one Christmas movie from 2021, Five More Minutes is it.
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Old 12-28-21, 08:34 PM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

And from the very best we now hit the opposite. I watched these two movies so no one else here would waste their time. Two of my least favorite watches this holiday season.

The Holiday Fix Up (Lifetime) - Lifetime regular Jana Kramer stars in this disappointing and poorly paced Christmas flick. Pretty clearly a romance script repurposed for the Christmas season, the holiday is barely mentioned. A hastily inserted montage has to carry a lot of weight in the oddly developed romantic connection between two former beaus.

Ghosts of Christmas Past (Lifetime) - I noticed this in The Holiday Fix Up as well but Lifetime feels it necessary to include social media elements in the hopes of appealing to younger audiences. This entire movie is a misfire, aimed at a much younger Millennial audience than usual. The two young leads have little chemistry and the male lead gives off distinctly non-heterosexual vibes when paired with the female lead. They also aren't particularly good actors. The premise is goofy to begin with - a young woman is told by a fortune teller she'll never find true love if she doesn't seek out all the men she's "ghosted" on dating apps and apologize.
Old 12-29-21, 10:53 AM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

I love this forum and all of us fellow DVD Talkers, because it is always revealed that one man's garbage is another mans treasure. Maybe treasure is too strong a word, but I enjoyed the The Holiday Fix Up; however, to be fair I honestly groaned a bit that a montage was thrown into the film as I find most montages in these type of films end on something that you just watched 30 seconds before the montage started up so what's the point showing you these scenes twice in the same movie. That being said, I think I have a Holiday film crush on Jana Kramer as I find her to be quite gorgeous and I believe I have seen all of her Holiday themed films from the past few years.

I think we have a 50/50 split on Ghosts of Christmas Past, as there is at least one other person upthread that enjoyed the film (or at least did not hate it), but with Phantom and another poster not caring for the film it almost pushed the film into the generally not liked category, but I found it was not a chore to watch. I kind-of like that the lead was far from perfect, and her ex's criticisms of her were pretty spot-on and explain why she has bounced along from one man to the next and perhaps it is not the crushing blow to her ex's egos that she thinks it is when she dumps them because they also see things in her that would prevent them from entering into a LTR with the lead character in Ghosts of Christmas Past.

ETA: Wait, I think I am commenting on an entirely different film where a woman has encounters with exes, but not because she had to make amends for "ghosting" them. Lol!! The ghosting movie was enjoyable enough, but yes...it would have been nice to actually see more chemistry between the two leads on my TV screen. It was hard to actively dislike the film, but yes...considering how closely the two worked to put together a Holiday video game the noticeable lack of chemistry between the two was a bit jarring. While it was a stretch to picture them in love with each other by the end of the movie, I could see them as really good friends.

I noticed that at least 2 DVD Talkers really like The Christmas House 2, which I found okay at best but maybe I should pay more attention the next time I watch as I want to give it a second chance.

I also got a kick out of seeing at least one person point out that the Dicken's film with Hallmark regulars Brooke D'orsay and Kristoffer Polaha could have been meh at best as the leads could have went into auto-pilot acting in the film, but instead turned in a fairly strong performance and elevated the film into one that is a bit underrated.

It was fun watching all of the Holiday films, but now things are getting back to normal and I can catch up on some other stuff. Just an FYI, Hallmark is continuing to air originals into the New Year, as a new film will air this Saturday.


Last edited by Inhumans99; 12-29-21 at 11:00 AM.
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Old 12-29-21, 11:09 AM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

I watched the two Sister Swap movies (with real-life sisters Ashley Williams and Kimberly Williams-Paisley). The concept is that one sister lives in the big city and one lives in their small hometown, but they trade places for the holidays. Each movie focuses on one sister, but both are actively featured, and some scenes are used in both movies. The first one with Kimberly was fine, but I had more fun with the concept in the second one seeing how they were playing with it. Overall it turned out fun.

Christmas on Fifth Avenue was ok for me. The leads didn’t have much chemistry (I realize that was the point in the beginning), and the actress’ character seemed pushy and annoying, and I didn’t see why the guy would put up with it. I don’t watch much UP, but the cinematography didn’t have the nice polish that Hallmark has.
Old 12-29-21, 03:48 PM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

UP and ION feature tackier sets and lower budgets. The stars are often younger and the supporting casts are usually filled with unknown talent.

A Christmas Witness (ION) - This one gets bonus points merely for dressing Arielle Kebbel up in an elf costume. A strange mash-up of witness protection buddy comedy, Christmas movie, and romcom. One of those movies where the idea of a hitman intent on killing people is laughed off without a second thought. Some unusual choices in the story like the two leads in a love triangle. This movie only works because of the enjoyable leads, and even then I found it scattered. Cute enough if you're an Arielle Kebbel fan but nothing particularly special.

Christmas For Keeps (Hallmark) - Something about this new movie tells me the screenplay wasn't originally developed for Hallmark. It's about youngish adults nearing 30 coming back to their home town near Christmas, celebrating the passing of their beloved theatre director. It's a pure ensemble-driven narrative with no true stars and most of the cast has never appeared in a Hallmark production before. There's a lightly romantic sub-plot but it by no means drives the story. Not really my cup of tea and some narrative elements are unlike anything I've seen from Hallmark. It's not terrible but in a holiday season now of over 50 new films, this isn't must-see material.
Old 12-30-21, 01:57 PM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

Phantom, agree that if it were not for Arielle Kebbel, A Christmas Witness would have just been lost in the crowd of Holiday originals. I actually enjoyed Christmas For Keeps precisely because it was a bit different from what you normally get in most Holiday originals, but that also reinforces your point that technically this film did not need to be set during the Holidays. Fair enough.
Old 12-30-21, 02:09 PM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

It Takes A Christmas Village (Lifetime) - Enjoyable movie starring Brooke Nevin. This one premiered just days before Christmas. It's not her best Christmas movie and the male lead is a little stiff. Nevin's always enthusiastic performance carries the pedestrian plotting and premise. Call me a sucker for Brooke up on the screen but worth checking out.

A Crafty Christmas Romance (Lifetime) - A decent romantic flick driven by one of my favorite formulas - two strangers end up investigating a mystery together and fall in love. It's a sweet story with new leads, both of whom make it work. I still have no idea why it's called "Crafty" in the title, that has absolutely nothing to do with anything in the movie. There's also a pretty big age gap between the romantic leads. She looks 25ish, he's 40ish even 45. This may not have been a movie for Christmas originally.

Christmas In Tahoe (Hallmark) - I was rather bored by this timid Hallmark effort. The Tahoe setting looks fabulous and makes me want to spend Christmas there, but that's it. The romantic connection is dull and I felt the male lead seemed more invested in selling the romance than the female lead, one of Hallmark's lesser regular leads. The story is driven by her job booking talent for a resort, but way too much plot and narrative is focused on that aspect. If the first ten minutes underwhelm you, it doesn't get any better.
Old 12-30-21, 02:53 PM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

The Tahoe film was indeed meh at best, and the lead is Laura Osnes, who is usually solid but I think a lot of folks were phoning it in with this film. Yes, the Christmas Village film would have been background viewing at best if it were not for Brooke Nevin, who really can elevate (aka salvage) an average film just by her always enjoyable performance. I love that she does not phone in a performance and puts in some effort in all her Holiday films. That is definitely part of why she is a fan favorite.
Old 12-30-21, 08:19 PM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

Originally Posted by Inhumans99 View Post
The Tahoe film was indeed meh at best, and the lead is Laura Osnes, who is usually solid but I think a lot of folks were phoning it in with this film. Yes, the Christmas Village film would have been background viewing at best if it were not for Brooke Nevin, who really can elevate (aka salvage) an average film just by her always enjoyable performance. I love that she does not phone in a performance and puts in some effort in all her Holiday films. That is definitely part of why she is a fan favorite.
It Takes A Christmas Village got bonus points from me for showing actual sledding, including the stars sledding down hills. Given the budget for Lifetime and Hallmark, doubt they properly cleared their stars actually sledding. The insurance alone would probably double the budget. So Nevin must be a real trooper, risking injury like that.
Old 12-31-21, 02:04 PM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

I've been a little under the weather this week, which is how I've been able watch this many Christmas movies so rapidly...I know someone out there was wondering.

A Christmas Together With You (Hallmark) - I consider this 2021 movie an experiment of sorts by Hallmark playing around with their more traditional formulas. I'm not sure Laura Vandervoort was the right choice for this role. She looks and feels like a character plucked from an entirely different movie and placed inside this tale of old loves reuniting. Her character's romance is on the backburner as she helps out a father figure in her life reconnect with a former love. The older romance isn't bad but it's not enough for me to carry an entire film. There's nothing terribly wrong here but it's not essential Hallmark. Maybe background viewing if the cast leaves you cold.

Time For Us to Come Home For Christmas (Hallmark) - Lacey Chabert comes through once again in this fine holiday flick from last year. Lacey's Hallmark films may not always be a homerun, but they rarely miss. This is a sweet tale driven by an engaging mystery. A group of seemingly random people are mysteriously invited to a Christmas resort by an unknown person. Lacey gets her screen time but this movie relies on a solid ensemble cast. Warm and enjoyable movie from Hallmark's most reliable and dependable star.

A Star For Christmas (Lifetime) - Fairly sure I'll be the only one catching this in 2021. This decently funny movie hails from 2012, starring Briana Evigan and Brooke Burns. It had been rotting on my DVR for years and I decided to finally give it a chance. Like many seasonal flicks from Lifetime and Hallmark years ago, you'd be hard-pressed finding the Christmas connection or theme. There are no festive decorations at all. This is a pure romcom about a woman from a small town falling for a movie star. What's funny is that the male lead still shows up rather regularly in these Christmas movies, while both female stars are now MIA. This one has fun mocking Hollywood and its actors.
Old 01-01-22, 04:28 AM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

Another season of fake digital snow, small inns/libraries saved from demolishment, and questionable posh accents.

My favorites of the new crop :
Christmas Sail
Liz (Katee Sackhoff) returns home after dad (Terry O'Quinn) gets injured, ends up competing in a boat decorating competition for 25K. Ms. Sackhoff looked like she had fun navigating through her first Hallmark xmas movie esp. with the nautical puns. Hinted big time what they were going to do with the boat before for the comp and I still was caught off guard.

A Kiss Before Christmas
It's a Wonderful Life / The Family Man vibes here for this mini-Desperate Housewives reunion. On screen chemistry still strong between James Denton & Teri Hatcher, worth a watch for that alone.

Debbie Macomber's A Mrs. Miracle Christmas
Caroline Rhea takes over the role of Mrs. Miracle - here hired by a couple to be caregiver for grandmother.
Briefly channels Mary Poppins, Mrs. Miracle has a hand in helping the couple heal & move forward after the opportunity to become foster parents ends up in disappointment. Kaitlin Doubleday & Steve Lund good here as the couple in grief.


Also liked :
Time For Them to Come Home for Christmas
Mystery woman leaves a diner, suffers amnesia after an accident crossing a bridge. Ends up on a cross-country trip with handsome nurse. Not a David Lynch Mulholland Dr.-Wild at Heart hybrid, but charming little road trip movie.

Sister Swap
Like the concept, but Hometown > City (although nice to see Kevin Nealon has a speaking role in the 2nd one)

Next Stop, Christmas
Lea Thompson & Christopher Lloyd in supp. roles, hard not to spot the similarities between this and the first Back to the Future (couldn't help but think of the fading photo every time they showed the train ticket )

Tis the Season to Be Merry
Rachael Leigh Cook plays a relationship expert needing to revise her book on finding the ideal man after publisher discovers subject is imaginary. Great banter between romantic leads. The publisher character was a tad annoying, hounding her every step.

Originally Posted by PhantomStranger View Post
It Takes A Christmas Village got bonus points from me for showing actual sledding, including the stars sledding down hills. Given the budget for Lifetime and Hallmark, doubt they properly cleared their stars actually sledding. The insurance alone would probably double the budget. So Nevin must be a real trooper, risking injury like that.
This was another Lifetime movie that was easy breezy thanks to Ms. Nevin. Enjoyed the only other Hallmark Xmas flicks I've seen her in: Jingle Around the Clock & On the Twelfth Day of Christmas (the toboggan sled ride in the latter was certainly green screen )



BEST White Elephant gift:
Christmas in Tahoe



BEST accessory:
(tie)Steve Lund's boa, Debbie Macomber's A Mrs. Miracle Christmas


Penelope the Pig, Christmas Movie Magic


WORST pseudo British accent:
see Christmas With a Crown (Lifetime)

MOST DISAPPOINTING scavenger hunt:
Every Time a Bell Rings
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Old 01-01-22, 01:11 PM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

I ran across a few of the newer films having been released in December on digital and video, like Roadhouse Romance (meh) from the fall and Christmas Waltz (good) from last Christmas. They tend to be selective about what they release and what they hold onto for broadcast and/or their service. It’s worth checking for your recent favorites, though.

Hallmark stars in non-Hallmark movies:

Jen Lilley in The Spirit of Christmas, which I watched on Prime but I think has also appeared on Netflix or one of those. She’s a realtor assessing a property when she discovers a ghost pining for his lost love. Unlike her Hallmark movies (she kicks off the wave of New Year’s movies tonight), she doesn’t seem to have a lot to do in this one.

Luke McFarlane is a central character in Single All the Way, a Netflix gay romcom that I thought was very good.
Old 01-01-22, 07:14 PM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

Remember, it's only seven more months until we get Christmas in July.
Old 01-01-22, 07:19 PM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

Originally Posted by skatefan20 View Post

Penelope the Pig, Christmas Movie Magic

It looks like you covered some of the ones I haven't seen yet for whatever reasons but I am saving Christmas Movie Magic for when I don't feel so burnt out on these holiday movies. I'm also holding off on Christmas At Castle Hart and Five Star Christmas.
Old 01-04-22, 02:16 PM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

Just watched The Lost Valentine, with Betty White as an elderly woman whose husband left for the war 60 years ago and went MIA, and every Valentineís Day she returns to the train station to wait for him to return. Hallmark reran this 2011 movie over the weekend for obvious reasons, but I found it on demand from Xfinity. It also has Jennifer Love Hewitt and is very good.

Originally Posted by PhantomStranger View Post
It looks like you covered some of the ones I haven't seen yet for whatever reasons but I am saving Christmas Movie Magic for when I don't feel so burnt out on these holiday movies. I'm also holding off on Christmas At Castle Hart and Five Star Christmas.
I watched a few this year that I never got to last year. Still have a few 2020s left too.

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