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Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

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Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

Old 12-27-23, 01:48 PM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

In To All a Good Night, Kimberly Sustad is a small-town photographer suspicious of a real-estate guy coming into town and potentially destroying her family's legacy. Sustad is very funny, and the script takes a surprising turn. I liked it.

Heaven Down Here collects a random bunch of people who get stuck in a diner during a snowstorm and of course end up affecting each other's lives. It was fine.

Magic in Mistletoe stars Paul Campbell as a jaded author of a beloved Christmas book, and Lyndie Greenwood is his publicist trying to keep him from blowing up his hometown. Nothing special but fine.
Old 12-29-23, 03:13 PM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

Christmas on Cherry Lane is a three-family story with a giant cast, including Erin Cahill, Catherine Bell, and James Denton, and they're in different time periods so you have to follow the clues. It's fine.

Time for Her to Come Home for Christmas is another in the "Time for (pronoun)..." series, and it's a little lighter than the ones that deal with serious medical conditions. Stephanie Grimes-Beech (new to me) takes a job preparing a church choir for a Christmas performance, and they transform from the world's worst choir to a polished group in a matter of days. I'm a choral singer myself and am pretty sure no group could be unintentionally that bad.

The Secret Gift of Christmas has Meghan Ory (Chesapeake Shores, apparently) as a gift-buying specialist for Christopher Russell, and it feels about the same as the last two or three Christopher Russell movies.

In Sealed with a List, Katie Findlay is cheated out of a promotion by a nepotistic slacker and decides to reset her life instead. I liked Findlay in 2021's Love Strikes Twice, but the plot and character transformation didn't really work for me, and I was just glad to see it end.

Christmas in Notting Hill has only superficial ties to the movie it references: American in London, relationship between celebrity and ordinary person, clothing mishap creates a connection. It works on the charm of Sarah Ramos and William Moseley.
Old 12-29-23, 08:24 PM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

Christmas Coupon 1.5 out of 5 (Ovation) - What a joyless slog. A former ice skating champion's kiddie class is kicked out of the hockey rink, forcing her to offer the class on a frozen lake. A former hockey player ends up helping out. This isn't a bad movie per se, but there's a strange energy to it which saps the life out of any potential story. Goes through the motions without any added emotion or feeling.
Old 12-29-23, 09:12 PM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

I DVRd an older Lacey Chabert movie from 2015 called “Family for Christmas”. I liked it, but it was almost the same movie as the Nic Cage 2000 movie “The Family Man”. A very ambitious person who chose career over love and family and regrets it. But is given an opportunity to experience an alternate reality where they do have a family.

Old 12-31-23, 03:58 PM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

The Secret Gift of Christmas 4 out of 5 (Hallmark) - Meghan Ory stars in this movie about a single dad hiring a shopper to get Christmas gifts for the people in his life. Nice, enjoyable tale with strong chemistry between the leads. I always liked Ory when she was on Once Upon a Time and hadn't caught her in much since those days. I will say Christmas films are using the single parent/widower formula a little too much these days. Saw it way too often the past month.

Last edited by PhantomStranger; 01-02-24 at 12:57 PM.
Old 01-01-24, 01:57 AM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

A lot of forgettable ones. Most of my favorites aired during the week of Thanksgiving.

FAVORITES
Holiday Road (Hallmark)
After their flight to Denver is cancelled, a ragtag group of strangers carpool together cross-country carrying a hefty amount of baggage (apart from their carry-on luggage). Already mentioned this was my favorite despite the controversy. Loved this ensemble (also feel like an idiot for not figuring out why one of them was having panic attacks despite the big hint dropped midway).

Miss Christmas Comes to Town (Hallmark Movies & Mysteries)
Home shopping network host goes on the road for a farewell tour after a terminal illness diagnosis, initially kept secret from her producer. Sweet mother-daughter type of relationship portrayed by Erica Durance and Barbara Niven.

Christmas at the Chalet (Lifetime)
Motivated divorcťe celebrity reporter holidays at a family-owned ski resort. With encouragement from her son, she documents on social media her stay as a temp housekeeper and clumsiness on the slopes, all while contemplating her second act. Teri Hatcher is charming as ever.

Catch Me if You Claus (HM)
Probably longtime Hallmark staple Luke MacFarlane's best holiday film I've seen. Great chemistry between him and Italia Ricci.

Holiday Hotline (HM)
Almost made feel bad for those customer service reps manning the butterball hotline.

Haul out the Holly: Lit Up (HM)
HOA deals with new reality TV stars that try to one-up everybody in all the block's festive activities. Better of the two holiday Lacey Chabert movies this season. Zany fun like the first, Stephen Tobolowsky and Melissa Peterman again were standouts

Originally Posted by davidh777
I just watched Haul Out the Holly 2 as well, and agree it was a step down from last year, though still fine. There was one scene


that I found pretty funny.

this and the Emily in training montage. Ms Peterman is gold.


a few more...
Rescuing Christmas (Hallmark Movies NOW) - part of her MarVista deal, a shame this one starring Rachael Leigh Cook wasn't featured on the main channel
The Santa Summit (HM)
Ladies of the 80s: A Divas Christmas (Lifetime)
To All a Good Night (HMM)



Two Movies, almost identical premise
Rescuing Christmas (Hallmark Movies NOW)
Where Are You, Christmas? (HM)

Mom's Christmas Boyfriend (Lifetime)
Peppermint and Postcards (Great American Family/Freevee/Pluto)

The More You Know...
Christmas Island (HM) - Hallmark went abroad to the UK, Germany, Norway this season. But the LOBSTER TRAP Xmas Tree in this Canadian pitstop was such an oddity. I did not know it was a thing in the northeast.



Double the trouble, Double the fun
Erik Athavale (Holiday Hotline, The Santa Summit)




"Believe" it or not
"DJ Play A Christmas Song" - that Cher electropop tune grew on me after it was featured on The Santa Summit. Addictive earworm.

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Old 01-04-24, 10:58 AM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

I like Athavale. He was really good in Holiday Hotline, and I also saw him in a GAC where he didn’t make the IMDb credits.

I watched Miracle in Bethlehem PA the last new Hallmark of the season, starring Laura Vandervoot as Mary Ann, who miraculously acquires a child without having sex, then, unable to find room at the end, finds shelter with Joe (Benjamin Ayres). Ok, the analogy pretty much ends there, and becomes a pretty standard single-parent story, though not surprisingly touching more on spirituality than usual. It was fine.

There’s a new Vudu sale on Hallmark series, so Good Witch, Chesapeake Shores, When Calls the Heart, The Way Home, etc. They also include the season of Signed Sealed Delivered, which is interesting because they rarely include that series (including the movies) in sales. I ended up getting a lot of the movies in $20 four-packs but still need the final four. As much as I like the series, it’s pretty spendy at regular price ($9.99-$12.99 each).
Old 01-04-24, 04:40 PM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

I have like 3 or 4 movies left from the DVR. But, once Christmas is over, my motivation to watch them completely falls off. I may end up deleting them and just waiting to watch holiday movies in 10 months.
Old 01-04-24, 05:00 PM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

Originally Posted by DJariya
I have like 3 or 4 movies left from the DVR. But, once Christmas is over, my motivation to watch them completely falls off. I may end up deleting them and just waiting to watch holiday movies in 10 months.
Thatís fair. I did pretty well in that I have only one or two left, but I only watched a handful of GAC/Lifetime, and I think last year there was more streaming stuff (NF, Prime, CBS) to also keep up with.
Old 01-04-24, 06:28 PM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

I have something like 20 Christmas movies still left on the DVR. I'll still get around to one or two everyone once in a while.

My Norwegian Holiday 4.5 out 5 (Hallmark) - Norway is the real star in this vacation-themed holiday movie. Rhiannon Fish stars in a highly contrived tale full of improbable coincidences but I enjoyed learning about Christmas traditions in Norway. The actual romance is kind of an afterthought but everything gels together so nicely that isn't a problem. Cute movie outside the Hallmark norm.
Old 01-06-24, 07:21 PM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

Autumn in the City 1.5 out of 5 (Hallmark) - Try-hard Gen Z (or is it Zoomer now?) romance from 2022 starring Aimee Teagarden, who I usually enjoy. I can see Hallmark groping in the dark attempting to hit upon a new formula aimed at 20-somethings. A lot more of them have been created since 2020 when before they never really cared hitting younger demos. The most unique thing about this one is the double-kiss ending, something I don't remember seeing before.
Old 01-06-24, 07:45 PM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

I deleted all the remaining Christmas movies I had on my DVR last night. Once the holidays are over, I have almost no motivation to watch them.

Until next November. Maybe I'll try to watch more. But as I said previously, I'm a little more pickier on these. The standard holiday romances bore me to tears. It needs to have a unique hook to it.
Old 01-07-24, 08:23 PM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

Time for Her To Come Home for Christmas 2 out of 5 (Hallmark) - 2023 Christmas flick which takes a huge face-plant for me in the final act. A shame because the first hour is a lovely ensemble piece about a small church choir. There's a stupid twist surrounding the main character which puts the minister and his wife in a very negative light. Tepid romance arc as well, the male love interest is more seen than actually heard and they squash a childhood crush with some of the lamest dialogue possible. There are other issues I have but enough said about this entry.
Old 01-12-24, 01:58 AM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

I think this may be the first time I’ve finished all the holiday originals! And it’s still January!

I liked Round and Round and agree with an earlier comment that it was one of the better ones this year. The plot required the viewer to pay attention, but the time was worth it, and there was a lot of funny stuff. It seems like this year Hallmark in general has really stepped up the use of current pop-culture references like Taylor Swift and others. The lead, Vic Michaelis, was new to me, and apparently a trans activist who uses they/them pronouns in Hallmark’s bio. Not sure if the actor is actually trans, but it’s still a step for diversity.

Soeaking of diversity, Friends and Family Christmas is another gay-leads movie, but now without the hype of the first one they did a year or two ago. Ali Liebert does her best Michelle Williams impression alongside a lead who isn’t even listed in the Hallmark app’s cast info. Anyway, it was pretty standard Hallmark but just happened to have gay leads, and charming enough to work.
Old 01-12-24, 10:56 AM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

I think there were surprisingly fewer films to chase this year (and I do not just blame the strike for this, as a lot of these films were in the can well before the strike), even though it felt at times like the schedule was quite crowded with Holiday films. I noticed no ION originals (there have been 4-6 originals in the past), much less Lifetime Holiday films (and to be honest, a Lifetime film or two I did not bother to watch because there was nothing interesting about the film from the bits I would read on-line to get a taste of what I might be in for if I watch), I think I did not see any Comedy Central originals (there was at least 1 a few years back), nothing on the network stations (as pointed out earlier in this thread, I believe CBS surprisingly aired a couple originals several years back, I kind-of missed that they did not do that again this year), and if there were originals on OWN I never bothered. I think BET had a slate of originals, but make that BET+, so unless you subscribed there were no new 2023 Holiday films on BET, but I could be wrong.

Hallmark also aired at least 2 originals on Now that I could not watch (and apparently, they are both good, so I might try out Now for a month, then cancel when done watching them) and might not air on the regular Hallmark channels for quite some time.

Almost forgot, there was Exmas on Freevee (a fun film, worth a watch), and some of those Reel One/Marvista type produced Holiday films on sites like Freevee and Tubi, but I think Netflix only had 1 original when I know they have had at least 2-3 originals in years past (I was genuinely surprised at so few Neflix originals, if you count some of their foreign Christmas/Holiday films they aired then they aired more than 1 original, but it still felt quiet on the streamer when it came to Christmas/Holiday originals).

I forgot about GAC films, I definitely skipped a few of them, so even with their airing a total of 18 films this past season, combined with lack of new films on sites like Netflix and channels like ION, it was not hard to watch most the GAC films not long after they aired. It says a lot, mostly unfortunately not a lot of good things, that I barely remember some of GAC films. At least Hallmark airs something like 40-45 films, so you can be forgiven for forgetting a title or two, but some of the GACs were just not that memorable. In fact, there was a GAC Holiday film that starred Merritt Patterson and Trevor Donovan from a year or two back (where she is accidentally left behind on a flight home) that was a fun rewatch, certainly a bit better than the Merritt P and Trevor D film on GAC this year (which was just okay).

This means it was noticeably easier for me to actually watch most of the Holiday films that aired and I also seem to be caught up (except for the 2 Hallmarks on Now).

I have to say that the Golf New Years original on Hallmark that just aired, at first I was going to say it was not bad, not remotely great, but an easy enough watch, and I liked the cast of the film, but all of the things that were pointed out on a blog I listen to pointing out how this was really just not a good film, well...the folks on the Podcast are not wrong, lol!! I know I have no interest in a re-watch and I would not go out of my way to recommend the film because there are others that are much better and are less likely to have your friend going wow, these Hallmark films suck and walking away from them entirely.

Having said that, I am looking forward to Hallmark Movies and Mysteries film True Justice airing tonight, and of course the Hallmark film airing tomorrow night, lol.

It actually felt good that unlike in years past where I would come home from even a brief visit to see my family in Los Angeles and have to scramble to catch up on the backlog of films on my streaming dvr, I did not have to do that at all this year.

If this is the new normal, I can live with that.

Last edited by Inhumans99; 01-12-24 at 11:08 AM.
Old 01-13-24, 07:48 PM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

I suspect the strikes in Hollywood affected production schedules this past year.
Old 01-22-24, 01:16 PM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

Love on the Right Course, just mentioned by Inhumans, was fine. Ashley Newborough is a credible golfer, and she's reunited with Marcus Rosner. There's a small role for Brittany Bristow, who wrote the film with her husband, and her parents are producer and executive producer. I checked the parents' credits, and they do a TON of these films. I had no idea.

A Scottish Love Scheme is yet another Scotland-set film following Lacey's holiday film. This seems like a light romance, but takes a significant turn midway through. It stars Erica Durance, whose Hallmark career has leaned on the dramatic side. Fine but forgettable.

I agree with Inhumans' point that you can't show just any of these to anybody. The wife likes romance and drama, but I'll show her maybe four of these per year. We did just watch 2022's The Presence of Love, the Eloise Mumford vehicle set in Cornwall, England and involving anxiety and dyslexia. My second time but her first, and I think it went over fine.
Old 01-29-24, 01:56 PM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

True Justice: Family Ties is the intended start of a series based around law students trying to free the wrongly incarcerated (that’s what the title refers to, not a true-crime series). Katherine McNamara, the young blonde who I first saw in Love Confidential when Hallmark was still experimenting with gay storylines, is the lead, and Nikki DeLoach cowrote and has a small role. Benjamin Ayres earns an easy paycheck with an even smaller role. If this were an established series, it’s of the interest level where I’d watch new entries but not go back for older ones.

In Betty’s Bad Luck in Love, Laci Mailey has been cursed to always have bad things happen to her boyfriends, so when she is attracted to Marco Grazzini she struggles to figure out whether she can follow her heart without exposing him to danger. I thought it was cute.
Old 01-29-24, 03:18 PM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

331 days until Christmas
Old 01-31-24, 11:40 AM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

First, GuessWho
Yes, time flies and even I am saying to myself, wow...it is pretty much February already and we are a full month closer to not just Christmas, but October, which is when Hallmark does their Fall Harvest batch of films that immediately leads into the official countdown to Christmas batch of Hallmark originals, I can't wait.

I did like Romance With A Twist, the original that aired this past weekend, as it was one of the better originals I have seen in quite some time, but having said that...gotta once again agree with a Hallmark blog that for the most part, this was one of the weakest starts to a new year of Hallmark Originals. Of the five originals that have aired, the 4 on Hallmark channel and True Justice on Hallmark Movies and Mysteries, True Justice was solid, Romance With A Twist was good, and the rest just did not stand out.

I plan to watch, and I am already giving credit to Hallmark for attempting something different with their "Loveuary" Jane Austen themed films, but I am rather curious how these films will be received by the loyal Hallmark film watchers like myself.

Going back to pointing out how this months batch of films were for the most part weaker than what we received in 2023, I just googled to remind myself that Hallmark started out 2023 with the Wedding Veil Trilogy of films, which some folks did not care for at all, but I felt worked pretty well to kick-off 2023 and it seems the Wedding Veil films were generally well received by most folks who watched them. It is kind of unfair to compare this months line-up to a series of interconnected films from January of 2023, but the year is very young and I have no plans to abandon my plans to watch as many Hallmark (and Hallmark type films from folks like UP) films as I can no more than a day after they air (I have spent many a Sunday watching films recorded the night before).

Old 01-31-24, 09:15 PM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

It seems like forever ago that the Wedding Veil was the Big Event, and it made sense considering the star power involved. As weíve discussed before, the films themselves were a little hit and miss.

The January films did feel like placeholders while they push Loveuary. Iíll watch them but donít really expect a lot. Maybe Iíll be surprised.
Old 01-31-24, 09:50 PM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

Santa's Got Style 3 out of 5 (UP) - Recurring UP lead Kathryn Davis stars in this 2022 movie about a woman somehow falling for her male friend...when he dresses up as Santa pretending to be his cousin. Pretty good by the standards set by UP, though I've never been fond of the male lead UP keeps casting in their movies. Clearly cast for looks, his acting isn't leading man stuff.

A Picture of Her 3.5 out of 5 (Hallmark) - First non-seasonal movie I've caught this year, the romance stars Rhiannon Fish and Tyler Hynes. Good, not great movie. The ending felt forced, a product of needing to wrap things up smoothly while fixing the couple's issue.
Old 02-06-24, 06:16 PM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

I liked Romance with a Twist too. It was an unusual concept, and Jocelyn Hudon was pretty adorable. I've seen her in a couple other things but not really taken notice, but maybe her other characters were written as perkily.

With the Austen event upon us, I went back to Unleasing Mr Darcy (it involved dog training) and Marrying Mr Darcy, which I had never seen before, with Cindy Busby and Ryan Paevey. I liked how the first spun off of Pride and Prejudice even including the famous bathing scene, and although the second was just a "we want to get married but are facing obstacles" plot, I thought it worked. On the same theme, I rewatched Pride Prejudice and Mistletoe, but it didn't really follow P&P other than the names of some of the characters.

Finally watched Making Waves, which was the last 2023 film on my DVR. It was about an indie band and fine. I also checked off Sun Sand and Romance with Paul Campbell and Tricia Helfer, who I know from Battlestar Galactica, though I know she made a number of Hallmarks. She's gorgeous but not really that remarkable an actress.

Vudu has a new Hallmark sale that leads with the original Wedding Veil trilogy but doesn't include the 2023 trilogy. There are only a few 2023 films, and I think they've been on sale before.
Old 05-15-24, 03:51 PM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

The news is already at least 2 days old, but folks on-line are freaking out a bit that Lacey Chabert will stop doing Hallmark films (especially Christmas Hallmark films) because she will be starring in a Netflix Holiday film called Hot Frosty (to air this year). It is being noted that this was a big get for Netflix given her cachet in the Holiday film space, and I agree.

I want to be the guy to tell folks to relax, she is not leaving Hallmark, but who really knows? At least it sounds like she might become more of a free agent and star in Netflix and other streamers Holiday films vs just jumping over to GAC (which I do not think will happen).

I think she only does 2-3 Hallmark films in a years time, so if she decided to star in 3 Holiday films, but each film is from a different network/streaming service, I could live with that.
Old 05-16-24, 09:45 AM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

Okay this sounds really cool. Its the Hallmark Christmas Movie Experience and will be at Crown Center near Hallmark's Headquarters in Kansas City.
https://corporate.hallmark.com/news-...as-experience/
KANSAS CITY, Mo., May 15, 2024 –– Hallmark is giving fans the ultimate new holiday tradition, bringing the very best of the iconic brand together during the most special time of year. Right outside the heart of Hallmark headquarters, the inaugural Hallmark Christmas Experience will celebrate the joy of the season at Kansas City’s Crown Center every weekend beginning November 29 through December 23, 2024. This free, open-to-the public immersive experience is designed by Hallmark’s renowned creative team to bring all the charm of a Hallmark movie town square to life, inviting guests to be merry, make memories, and find magic together.

While visiting the experience, guests can shop at a magical Christmas market with event-exclusive Hallmark products and one-of-a-kind gifts created by Hallmark artisans and other seasonal merchants, indulge in festive food and themed drinks, and go ice skating with friends and family. They can relax and enjoy jaw-dropping nightly tree lightings featuring one of world’s tallest Christmas trees, show their loved ones that they care with card-sending and gift wrap stations, contribute to a Crayola Community Mural, and strike a pose during interactive light walks and photo ops.

Fans can elevate their experience with exclusive ticketed activities, including events and photo ops with beloved Hallmark stars, workshops with Hallmark artists, elevated dining experiences and breakfast with Santa, and much more.

“Creating ways to help people celebrate and connect is at the very core of our brand DNA at Hallmark, especially during the holiday season,” said Lindsey Roy, Hallmark’s SVP, Brand Development. “We are so excited to bring this uniquely Hallmark experience to life, and can’t wait to watch people find joy and make memories together.”

The Hallmark Christmas Experience will serve as the marquee celebration for Hallmark holiday movies, too, with ticketed opportunities to hear behind-the-scenes stories from Hallmark stars, cheer them on as they compete in holiday-themed challenges, and more. Hallmarkies can also enjoy Hallmark movie marathons and watch an all-new holiday movie premiere in honor of the 15th Anniversary of Countdown to Christmas.

Tickets go on sale tomorrow, May 16, 2024 at 10am Central Standard Time. VIP ticket packages are limited. To purchase and learn more information about ticketed and non-ticketed experiences, visit ExperienceHallmarkChristmas.com. .

To help plan your visit, please find the star-studded Hallmark talent lineup below:
  • WEEKEND ONE, November 29-December 1 – Jonathan Bennett, Wes Brown, Cindy Busby, Erin Cahill, Warren Christie, Tyler Hynes, Kristoffer Polaha, Jessy Schram, and Ashley Williams
  • WEEKEND TWO, December 6-8 – Benjamin Ayres, B.J. Britt, John Brotherton, Paul Campbell, Lacey Chabert, Taylor Cole, Nikki DeLoach, Heather Hemmens, Ginna Claire Mason, Kimberley Sustad, and Andrew Walker
  • WEEKEND THREE, December 13-15 – Pascale Hutton, Erin Krakow, Viv Leacock, Chyler Leigh, Crystal Lowe, Andie MacDowell, Kevin McGarry, Chris McNally, Brendan Penny, and Kavan Smith
  • WEEKEND FOUR, December 20-23 – Rachel Boston, Brooke D’Orsay, Brennan Elliot, Aimee Garcia, Niall Matter, Barbara Niven, and Victor Webster

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