25 Best Hallmark Christmas Movies of All Time, Ranked 🎅
Over the years, I’ve watched more Hallmark Christmas movies than I can count. There’s just something about immersing myself into a fictional world of hot cocoa, snow-covered gazebos, and Balsam Hill Christmas trees that just feels right. Add in a heavy pour of Hallmark Channel’s limited-edition wine (it’s a thing) and a batch of homemade sugar cookies, and I’m in holly, jolly heaven. While some love to hate Hallmark’s knack for the cliches — ya know, the girl who leaves the big city for a small town to find a new zest for life a.k.a. a hunky heartthrob — millions of viewers agree that nothing compares to the thrill that comes from watching one of the “Countdown to Christmas” and “Miracles of Christmas” films.
Each year, Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries step up their yuletide game with expanding movie lineups (they’ll release 40 brand-new holiday movies in 2020), stronger diversity initiatives, and tons of holiday cheer. But still, I find that there’s a lot of joy to be found in revisiting the best Hallmark Christmas movies from years past.
With that being said, here’s my highly subjective ranking of the best Hallmark holiday movies of all time, dating all the way back to 2006. There are tons of gems that made the cut — some well-known, others less so. All of them, however, are equally merry and bright. (But since I’m not a Grinch, I’ll go ahead and warn you that there are major spoilers ahead!)
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It’s Christmas, Eve
Clever name aside, this music-filled movie marks LeAnn Rimes’ Hallmark debut. She plays an interim school superintendent, aptly named Eve, who plans to cut the school’s music program until she meets the head of the music department, who is conveniently single.
RELATED: The Best Christmas Movies of All Time
Christmas in Evergreen
Take a trip to one of the merriest towns in America in this series, which is airing its fourth movie this holiday season. Each movie takes place in Evergreen — makes sense — and highlights a new budding romance among stars like Jill Wagner, Mark Deklin, Paul Greene, Holly Robinson Peete, Barbara Niven, and Ashley Williams.
Christmas at the Plaza
This one may not have big-time star appeal like other movies on this list, but it has an old-timey feel that seems especially appropriate around the holidays. Jessica (played by Elizabeth Henstridge) takes a job at The Plaza in New York City only to find that she has to work with— and maybe, ya know, fall in love with — the hotel’s longtime decorator, Nick.
Christmas at Graceland
There’s just something about seeing Elvis Presley’s beloved Graceland estate decked out in red and green that gets me in the holiday spirit. When Laurel (played by Kellie Pickler) returns to Memphis, she’s met with two surprises: her ex-flame (played by Wes Brown) and a renewed love for this simpler way of life.
RELATED: Kellie Pickler Spills on Filming for Hallmark
Christmas at Dollywood
Two words: Dolly Parton! Even though the country music icon only appears onscreen for a minute tops, it’s well worth it. The rest of the movie showcases the best of Dollywood as Rachel (played by Danica McKellar) finalizes the details for the theme park’s 30th Smoky Mountain Christmas celebration.
A Grandpa for Christmas
Because love stories come in all shapes and sizes. This time, it’s about the unconditional love between a grandfather (played by Ernest Borgnine) and his granddaughter (played by Juliette Goglia). At first, the two are mere strangers, but her school’s Christmas pageant bonds them forever.
A Heavenly Christmas
Serving as a reminder to embrace life’s most precious moments, this movie follows Eve Morgan (played by Kristin Davis), a chronic workaholic, as she navigates life after her sudden death. She’s called on to be a Christmas angel in Heaven with the guidance of her guardian angel, played by none other than Shirley MacLaine.
The Christmas Card
One of Hallmark’s oldest efforts remains one of their best: After Cody Cullen (played by John Newton) receives an anonymous Christmas card while serving overseas, he tracks down the sender (played by Alice Evans). Upon meeting her, he learns that she might just be the person he needs and vice versa.
Call a place “Christmastown,” and I’m sold. Candace Cameron Bure plays Lauren, who gets stuck in Grandon Falls on her way home from Boston. While there, she’s reminded of a long-lost family heirloom, and recruits the town’s handyman and his foster son for help. (Psst, this is totally a shameless plug since I was an extra in this movie — that’s me in the red coat!)
A December Bride
Nothing tops a winter wedding! After Layla (played by Jessica Lowndes) begrudgingly agrees to attend her ex-fiancé’s wedding with Seth (played by Daniel Lissing), he “accidentally” tells the other wedding guests that they’re engaged … and well, he’s onto something.
A Gingerbread Romance
Some consider the kitchen to be the heart of the home — and this sugary-sweet movie is proof. Before architect Taylor Scott (played by Tia Mowry-Hadrict) ships off to Paris, her boss tasks her with creating a life-size gingerbread house. She leans on a local pastry chef (played by Duane Henry) for help, and learns the secret ingredient to a happy life along the way.
The Mistletoe Promise
Sometimes, just sometimes, revenge is the best gift of all — at least in Elise (played by Jamie King) and Nick’s (played by Luke Macfarlane) case. The two share a mutual hatred for the holidays, but make a “mistletoe promise” to trick their exes into believing that they’re a real couple. You can guess the rest.
Coming Home for Christmas
This movie checks all the boxes: As the house manager at the Ashford Estate, Lizzie (played by Danica McKellar) is in charge of planning the Marley family’s final Christmas gala. There is a ton of family drama, though: Some want to sell the estate, others are opposed, and one family member has his eyes on Lizzie.
I’ll Be Home for Christmas
Life is practically perfect for Jackie (played by Susie Belzberg) until her troubled dad (played by James Brolin) hijacks her holiday plans. She won’t let his baggage ruin her Christmas, and instead uses it as opportunity to forge ahead and leave their complicated past behind. What’s sweeter: Barbara Streisand’s music is woven throughout, and she just so happens to be Brolin’s wife of more than 20 years.
Christmas at the Palace
This love story gives Harry and Meghan’s royal romance a run for its money. Katie (played by Merritt Patterson) unknowingly befriends a king (played by Andrew Cooper) while visiting San Senova for work. Things get complicated once she discovers the truth about her new flame, but Hallmark finds a solution — as unrealistic as it may be.
Christmas at Pemberly Manor
Think Pride and Prejudice, but with a holiday twist. It takes an event planner (played by Jessica Lowndes) to get billionaire William Darcy (played by Michael Rady) into the Christmas spirit. While he brings her along to throw one last holiday bash at his family estate before he sells it, he gets way more than he bargained for: true love and holiday cheer.
Memories of Christmas
Let this movie be a warning to be wary about mixing business with pleasure. Noelle (played by Christina Milian) returns home to sort out her late mother’s home. To fulfill her mother’s wish, she attends the lodge’s annual Christmas Charity Gala, where she meets Dave (played by Mark Taylor). But there, she learns that the beloved lodge is being sold and it hits a little too close to home.
Northpole: Open for Christmas
Before Hallmark pumped out dozens of Christmas movies a year, they splurged on big budget projects like this one. Mackenzie (played by Lori Laughlin) inherits a hotel and asks elves — it’s Christmas, after all — to help restore it to its natural, North Pole-inspired state.
A Shoe Addict’s Christmas
Don’t let the name fool you — this movie is packed with heart, faith, and memories of Christmases past. A guardian angel (played by Jean Smart) gives Noelle (played by Candace Cameron Bure) a pair of magical shoes — like Cinderella, but with a touch of Hallmark magic — that take her back in time to reignite her faith in Christmas.
RELATED: Candace Cameron Bure Tells Her “Most Heartwarming Fan Story”
Crown for Christmas
If you want to let your royal fantasies run wild, look no further than this Danica McKellar-led classic. Allie’s (played by McKellar) entire life changes when she takes on a new job — she moves to a castle and gets swept up with the King of Winshire. Casual.
Holiday for Heroes
Hallmark is known (and loved) for the cutesy cliches, but this newer release goes deep. Pen pals Audrey (played by Melissa Claire Egan) and First Sergeant Matt (played by Marc Blucas) finally meet up after a year of writing back and forth, and there are instant sparks. The question: Can they take their love beyond the letters once small town drama kicks in?
The Christmas Ornament
For newly widowed Kathy (played by Kellie Martin), the holidays are simply a reminder of what she’s lost. That is, until the local Christmas tree shop owner (played by Cameron Mathison) gives her an ornament as a symbol of hope — or in Kathy’s case, a sign that she’s ready for love again.
The Christmas Train
It’s not about the destination; it’s about the journey, at least that’s true for for journalist Tom Langdon (played by Dermot Mulroney). While on a cross-country train ride home, Tom meets interesting characters, including Kimberly Williams-Paisley’s Eleanor, who open his eyes to the true meaning of Christmas — and life, for that matter.
Let It Snow
Stephanie (played by Candace Cameron Bure) is best described as a scrooge — she hates winter and everything that comes from it. Everything changes when her father sends her to his brand-new ski lodge for business, and she starts to see the magic of Christmas in action.
A Royal Christmas
Picture this: You’re preparing to spend the holidays with your boyfriend, who just told you that he’s heir to the throne of Cordinia. That’s this movie in a nutshell — just throw in a disapproving potential mother-in-law, a meddling ex-girlfriend, and a glittery ball gown. It’s truly Hallmark at its finest, especially since Lacey Chabert takes the lead.
RELATED: Lacey Chabert Shares 5 Hallmark Secrets
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