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Unwrapping Hallmark’s Christmas Essentials

by Rebecca Rhodes

Tinsel gleaming in the candlelight, the sweet taste of hot cider after an afternoon sleigh ride and late nights reminiscing over holidays past; the ambiance Christmas creates has every boy and girl wishing upon a star. Well, Hallmark granted millions of wishes with their 2017 Christmas movie lineup. These films officially began airing Oct. 28 and will run until Dec. 30.

In honor of the new releases coming every Saturday and Sunday evening, I have put together a list of my favorite Hallmark originals thus far. Hopefully, these romantic comedies and dramas will put you in the spirit and make you believe in holiday magic.

“Dashing Through the Snow”

Ashley Harrison is a crafter just trying to get home to spend time with her family in Seattle, and being stranded at the airport was not part of her plan. In desperation, Ashley accepts a ride from the man who stole the last rental car from right under her nose. The long journey these two make may just lead to the road of love. That is, if a puppy and the federal agents tailing Ashley don’t get in the way first. Viewers are guaranteed a heart warming performance and many light and emotional moments.  

“Single Santa Seeks Mrs. Claus”

While it was released in 2004, this movie stands the test of time. This may be due to the star-studded performances by Steve Guttenburg and Crystal Bernard. You may know Guttenburg from “Police Academy” and “Three Men and a Baby.” And, Bernard made her mark on the television world as the sarcastic and beautiful blonde on “Wings.” These two make a perfect on-screen couple, and they should if they are to be the future Mr. and Mrs. Claus. Guttenburg is on the search a bride that can take care of the North Pole while he learns the ropes to become the man in the big, red suit. Too bad he falls in love with Bernard who does not believe in child fantasies.

“Christmas Land”

This film has all the wit and charm of a Hallmark movie, and it will have you devouring handfuls of the buttery goodness we call popcorn. In one word, “Christmas Land” is cute, and it features Maureen McCormick from “The Brady Bunch.” She plays the grandmother of the New York business woman, Jules, to whom she has deeded a Christmas themed village to. Jules is faced with the decision to sell the countryside land or continue the legacy of her grandmother. With her beautiful red coat, she falls in love with the handyman, but will he be enough to turn her head from city life? You will have to watch to find out.

“A Bride for Christmas”

Choosing complementary colors, the right bridesmaid gowns and flower arrangements are just a few decisions every bride must make. Planning a wedding can be stressful, but planning three takes a toll, especially when you have left every last groom at the altar. Jessie is the bride that cannot say “no” to a proposal in the thought that she may hurt the guy’s feelings. Playing Jessie’s opposite is Aiden, the man who has taken on a bet to convince a woman to marry him by Christmas. Obviously, Jessie becomes his target, but she is a tough shell to crack since she has sworn off men for good.

“A Boyfriend for Christmas”

This rates “pretty great” on the cheesy but cute scale. Holly Grant once made a request to Santa: a boyfriend for Christmas. That was 20 years ago, and she basically gave up the idea of love and Santa Claus after her wish never came true. But, Mr. Right ends up at her front door with a big bow on his chest. “A Boyfriend for Christmas” is one of those light-hearted films that will have you smiling through all the smooth pick-up lines, and raging when there are some holiday mishaps. And, as always, it is amazing to watch a character’s heart soften and bend under the weight of love.

“Snow Bride”

No one likes a tabloid, unless you are trying to waste time while forever waiting in the checkout line at Walmart. A juicy piece of gossip can catch our eye, and it is Greta Kane’s job to search out the best stories for “Pulse! Gossip.” She makes it her mission to expose all of the celebrities in Los Angeles. As she goes on an adventure to investigate a prominent family, she drifts into a snowbank. The only warmth she has against the blustering cold is her best friend’s wedding dress which Greta was supposed to get dry cleaned. Thankfully, a knight in shining armor comes to her rescue, but it is the man she is scooping for the magazine. This movie is full of romance and comedy, and it is a story of how the truth always comes out.

“Journey Back to Christmas”

Candace Cameron Bure is one of my favorite childhood stars. I cannot count how many times I have rewatched episodes of “Full House.” By the way, what a wonderful theme song. Anyways, it is nice to see her return to the screen as a Hallmark actress. Her sweet, caring personality fits right in with the type of shows and movies the company is producing. In “Journey Back to Christmas,” Bure plays Hannah, a WWII nurse who has lost her husband. When trying to return home after a long day at the hospital, she takes a tumble and finds herself in the year 2016. This may sound like a situation Marty McFly might find himself in, but this movie really about finding yourself. It is full of old-fashioned charm and great chemistry between the two leads.

“The Spirit of Christmas”

Some might say it is hard to fall in love, but imagine falling in love with a ghost. Spirits are always thought to be terrifying creatures stuck in the unknown, but Kate finds out that they can be handsome business men from the 1920s. Daniel is able to return to his human form for only 12 days a year (much like the 12 days of Christmas). It is up to Kate to break Daniel’s curse by finding the missing pieces of his past. I feel a little bit of remorse, because this is not actually a Hallmark film. Instead, it is a product of Lifetime. However, it could have fooled me, and it has obviously made such an impact that I have to mention it in this lineup.

“Love at the Thanksgiving Day Parade”

If you know me, you know that I am an old soul, and that is why I relate so much to this film. The beautiful and confident Autumn Reeser plays Emily Jones, the Chicago parade manager. This vintage-loving gal finds herself at odds when a finance consultant (Antonio Cupo) comes to evaluate the cost effectiveness of the Thanksgiving Day Parade. As she spends more time with her infuriating counterpart, she finds herself breaking through his rough exterior. But, she is also anticipating a proposal from her long-term boyfriend. “Love at the Thanksgiving Day Parade” is a classic love story with a modern twist. Cupo and Reeser are reminiscent of Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn. Not to mention, Reeser’s quirky personality and sense of style will have you sighing with awe.

“The Nine Lives of Christmas”

Fireman Zachary Stone finds himself a furry roommate when a stray, tabby cat worms its way into his home. That’s right, firemen don’t  just rescue cats from trees. Never having to care for a pet before (nor a significant other), he meets Marilee, a veterinary student who teaches him how to manage the feline. Sparks fly between the two, but Marilee has sworn off dating until she graduates college, and Zachary is not ready to give up his bachelor status. Throw in some ex-girlfriend drama, conniving siblings and a lesson in love makes this the perfect movie to snuggle up with on a chilly winter’s night. And, it will have you putting up mistletoe on every doorway. Just watch it, you will know what I mean.

For a full list of these Christmas essentials, visit  http://www.hallmarkchannel.com/christmas 

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