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Sat Dec 23, 2023, 10:49 AM Dec 2023

Just How Formulaic Are Hallmark and Lifetime Holiday Movies? We (Over)analyzed 424 of Them. [View all]


Just How Formulaic Are Hallmark and Lifetime Holiday Movies? We (Over)analyzed 424 of Them.
By Alicia Parlapiano
Dec. 22, 2023

The Hallmark and Lifetime networks are known for their prolific output of made-for-television holiday movies each year. Even in the age of streaming, they bring in impressive cable television ratings, perhaps aided by how easy they are to leave on while, say, baking several batches of gingerbread for a tree lighting ceremony.

They also have something of a reputation for following a very specific story line: A recently dumped, high-powered female executive from the city finds new love, purpose and appreciation for Christmas in a small town with the help of a handsome local fellow.

But how much does that formula hold up across the hundreds of holiday movies released since 2017 by Hallmark and Lifetime? Based on data from IMDb, internet recaps and our own viewing, our answer is quite a bit! With some caveats. Here’s what we found.


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Jeez, you'd think after all that stress somebody would at least score some sex... Wounded Bear Dec 2023 #1
What do you expect.. It's hallmark..Closest you can get is the "after one year" shot and she is pregnant. nt mitch96 Dec 2023 #49
Boring, not a single entitled Karen scene in the bunch. Needs more tantrums. Hotler Dec 2023 #2
There were some spoofs made a couple of years ago... Hugin Dec 2023 #4
Were they on HallTime or LifeMark? lame54 Dec 2023 #48
To be fair... Hugin Dec 2023 #3
I always figured they went like this... nuxvomica Dec 2023 #5
My wife and I can't go there - never watched one, never plan to. NewHendoLib Dec 2023 #6
Silent Night - JustAnotherGen Dec 2023 #40
Ah. This is reductive. And boring. Igel Dec 2023 #56
It isn't only Hallmark and Lifetime. madaboutharry Dec 2023 #7
I loathe romantic movies in general but I loved the "Home for Christmas" tv series, Ocelot II Dec 2023 #19
Definitely too quirky for Hallmark! madaboutharry Dec 2023 #51
They are useful for putting brain cells on hold and "recharging batteries" Zambero Dec 2023 #8
+1. Just fast forward to the end. All is well. Nobody died. Nobody got shot. Nobody got nekkid. dalton99a Dec 2023 #10
Nobody got nekkid. Aristus Dec 2023 #16
Check out the "Home For Christmas" series on Netflix. People get nekkid Ocelot II Dec 2023 #21
I like PlutosHeart Dec 2023 #34
I'm not sure how I could explain to Mrs. Aristus why I was watching all of those holiday movies. Aristus Dec 2023 #46
It's in Norwegian, so just turn off the subtitles and she won't know what's going on Ocelot II Dec 2023 #53
Napping during one of these can be dangerous... Hugin Dec 2023 #12
This lonely bird Dec 2023 #25
I always figured they had something sarisataka Dec 2023 #9
If you are too drunk or otherwise incompetent to write a passable Christmas romance... hunter Dec 2023 #11
Halloween romance...that's the ticket. n/t OnlinePoker Dec 2023 #31
SNL got there before you! :-) Coventina Dec 2023 #63
Can't see it outside of U.S. n/t OnlinePoker Dec 2023 #64
ChatGPT comes up with this: skip fox Dec 2023 #13
Here was my prompt: skip fox Dec 2023 #14
All the same actors too. Srkdqltr Dec 2023 #15
My 71 year old husband plops down on the couch and watches that crap every single day!!! Talitha Dec 2023 #17
I call it "Sap." My Lady Friend watches these and some home building shows. I watch along while surfing net. Silent Type Dec 2023 #18
Lol. My parents love those things XorXor Dec 2023 #20
Good overview jimfields33 Dec 2023 #22
It's all propoganda. Grumpy Old Guy Dec 2023 #23
That plus a woman can't be happy and fulfilled Xavier Breath Dec 2023 #39
And also that you have to live in a small town with *real* Americans to have a good life. Ocelot II Dec 2023 #54
They are formulaic just like romance novels are formulaic pinkstarburst Dec 2023 #24
As my mom descended deeper into dementia, things she used to enjoy upset her. yardwork Dec 2023 #26
Where is the Christmas Tree Farm that is threatened by greedy developers? Midnight Writer Dec 2023 #27
They mixed it up a little more this year. LisaM Dec 2023 #28
Actually thought the Norwegian one was super. PlutosHeart Dec 2023 #36
My brother works on the film crew for these productions OnlinePoker Dec 2023 #29
This sort of makes me miss my late mother-in-law. NNadir Dec 2023 #30
'Baby Boom' (1987) Diane Keaton, super yuppie appalachiablue Dec 2023 #32
Loved that Movie. PlutosHeart Dec 2023 #37
A movie that takes place in Vermont heckles65 Dec 2023 #38
Good, I didnt know that. Vermont is nice, what I've seen. appalachiablue Dec 2023 #42
Damn nice! heckles65 Dec 2023 #61
One of my favorites! JustAnotherGen Dec 2023 #41
I don't watch Faux pas Dec 2023 #33
It's Pretty Accurate ProfessorGAC Dec 2023 #35
My wife and 2 daughters hate them as much as I do! NewHendoLib Dec 2023 #45
The thing that always cracks me up is that these small towns tanyev Dec 2023 #43
These movies are usually filmed in Vancouver or Toronto. John1956PA Dec 2023 #44
People watch them because they're good "background" movies LeftInTX Dec 2023 #47
I had to suffer thru one the other nite and guess what!! NO HALLMARK FORMULA!! Most talk about mitch96 Dec 2023 #50
Thanks for saving me a lot of time. Renew Deal Dec 2023 #52
They forgot the part where someone/thing/ event/ misunderstanding breaks them up LakeArenal Dec 2023 #55
No, no, they're all individually crafted muriel_volestrangler Dec 2023 #57
+1 dalton99a Dec 2023 #58
Every batch of guacamole I've ever made is individually crafted Zambero Dec 2023 #60
That's funny, likely true (at least anecdotally) but at the same time... wyldwolf Dec 2023 #59
My mom loves them. Elessar Zappa Dec 2023 #62
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