We hadn’t even tricked or treated, yet Hallmark spent last week flinging us straight into The Holiday Season. Of course, since their ridiculously early holiday focus comes with just a DVR-full of movies and not a list of tasks, deadlines, and to-dos (like all the other holiday messages flooding my inbox and mailbox), I can’t even be mad.

Even though I literally sorted my kids’ candy while watching the first new Christmas movie of the season. Sorry, Thanksgiving. We’ll get on that daily gratitude list tomorrow.

Nope, the beginning of Hallmark’s Countdown to Christmas is by far one of my favorite TV seasons of the year. And while I know some of you just roll your eyes at the thought of these cheesy TV movies, I know others are with me and ready to indulge in the cheese for the next several weeks.

Why is that? Because it’s not like any of us holiday movie fans are under the impression that these films bring with them top-notch writing or acting. I don’t think any of us are surprised at the lack of Oscars and Emmys earned by our favorite TV movies.

I think we love Hallmark Christmas movies so darn much because they are our entertainment comfort food. Like a heaping serving of mashed potatoes or warm mug of cocoa, these movies are simple, straightforward, and rarely surprising – and that’s just why we like them. We know what to expect, so our stress level (which – HELLO! – is frequently elevated this time of year) can settle on down a notch and let us just chill for a couple hours.

Holiday TV movies tend to use a handful of well-worn story lines and character motivations, so even if the quirky town or precious small business or unique annual festival or everything-is-riding-on-it contest is something new (doubtful), the characters and their lives operate within agreed-upon parameters.

So even if your family is feuding over who gets to (or has to) host this year’s turkey dinner, Hallmark movies are there for you.

When you can’t figure out how to find the money for gifts or the time for concerts and class parties, Hallmark movies are there for you.

Even if you don’t know how you will survive this holiday without your loved one, without a job, without an answer, without anyone, Hallmark movies are there for you.

If you are so tired of the news being all bad and the weather being all devastating and the world basically being at odds with itself, Hallmark movies are there for you.

(Yes, yes, Jesus is also there for you. First and more and better than any movie. Obviously. That is true – and for another post.)

No matter what is going on in your life, in the world, Hallmark movies are there for you. And they will not let you down.

They will introduce you to pretty (but not overwhelmingly so) people who have the most interesting of jobs and the most quirky of family members, friends, or neighbors. Then they’ll orchestrate a conflict between the two prettiest people, make sure it all goes down in a sweet little town (that is most likely obsessed with Christmas) or the cleanest city you’ve ever seen.

Add in accidental meetings, coincidental holiday festivities, some well-placed mistletoe and well-timed snowfall, and BAM! You’ve got yourself a two-hour escape into the warm, predictable, happy-ending-guaranteed holiday movie.

Why We Love Hallmark Christmas Movies So Much (and free printable schedule) | marycarver.com

Of course I’m saying all this a little tongue in cheek, but I mean every word with sincerity. I do love holiday-themed TV movies. Because the world is hard, and nobody is guaranteed a happy ending in real life – so sometimes we need to get away. Sometimes we need to pretend we’re in control of something, that an angel or an elf is bound to show up to help any day now. Sometimes we need to pretend holiday magic is real.

Sometimes we need a Hallmark [or Lifetime or Freeform] Christmas movie.

Now, does this mean I’m blind to the down side of these movies? Nope. Just like I know how much butter and sour cream do into my favorite potato casserole and how dangerous too many mugs of spiked cider can be, I’m aware of the weaknesses of my beloved movies.

I can’t deny the frustrating absence of people of color in leading roles. I can’t stop my eyes from rolling at all the [many…so many] unrealistic elements of every single one of these stories. And don’t think it’s escaped me how ironic it is for a giant media conglomerate like Hallmark to crank out movie after movie pitting the darling small-town business against the monstrous corporate office in the city.

I’m going to address some of those issues this season, actually. But today is all about loving these movies – and making sure we don’t miss a single spoon-full of this televised comfort food. So if you’re like me and adore holiday TV movies – AND you want to organize your indulging by making a movie-watching schedule or crossing off a list as you get your DVR ready – I’ve got the exact thing you need!

I’ve made a printable schedule of all the new movies premiering on the Hallmark Channel this holiday season. It comes with premiere dates, the stars of each film (because let’s not even pretend like we don’t have our favorite Hallmark movie actors!), and a brief description to help you keep them straight. (Because heaven knows the vague titles don’t tell us a thing about the movie [I’m looking at you, “My Christmas Love.”]…unless they do [Way to be on the nose, “Ice Sculpture Christmas”!].)

This handy-dandy guide to all things Hallmark Christmas movie is FREE to everyone who subscribes to this blog. If you already subscribe, you should have received your copy over the weekend (check your junk mail folder if you didn’t). And if you have been waiting to subscribe, wait no more! Go here to subscribe and get your printable movie schedule right away!

Note: The printable covers the new movies on the Hallmark Channel, but doesn’t include the 12 new movies on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries. If “touching holiday drama” is more your speed, you can get the schedule of movie premieres on that channel here.

In just a couple weeks, I’ll be talking about what to do if you don’t have the Hallmark Channel, some holiday movies you might prefer to the cheesy cheesiness of TV movies, and tips for planning a holiday movie watching party. Stay tuned – and in the meantime, make sure you subscribe to get a printable schedule of Hallmark Christmas movie premieres!

Do you love Hallmark Christmas movies? What’s your favorite?

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