Hallmark Christmas Movies

Coyote Creek Christmas (2021)

Coyote Creek Christmas debuted Oct. 30, 2021, on the Hallmark Channel as part of its Countdown to Christmas series.

IMDB Rating: 5.7 (as of Nov. 23, 2021)

Dylan is a stoic single dad who gave up on love when his wife bolted a few years ago and left him to raise their scene-stealing son.

Paige is a career-driven woman in line for a big promotion at her event-planning business, but only if she can come up with one more killer project to add to her portfolio. With everything she’s ever worked for hanging in the balance, she shoves all that to the side and bolts to her parents’ small-town inn somewhere in the Rocky Mountains to spend a week helping them plan their annual Christmas festivities.

Unbeknownst to Paige, her parents have decided to sell the inn they’ve run for forty years, even though it’s doing better every year. They want to go out on top and see the world before kicking the bucket.

Dylan and his brother own a firm whose business model is to pay top dollar for highly successful inns, raze them and build luxury hotels in their place. A more prudent strategy would be to find struggling inns looking to sell for cheap, but this is Hallmark? Who needs a well-developed business plan?

Mom and dad make a half-hearted attempt to tell Paige their plans but fail and decide that’s enough. Besides, she’s happy with her event-planning career in Denver and has never expressed any interest in taking over the inn. They’ll just send her a postcard from Paris one day to let her know that she needn’t bother coming home for Christmas next year.

When Paige finds out from Dylan’s brother that her parents are selling the inn, she takes out her anger at Mom and Dad on poor Dylan, who stammers an apology for doing only what her parents asked him to do. The man’s been unlucky with the ladies, and now some hottie is giving him the business for no apparent reason. Poor Dylan can’t catch a break.

When word gets out the inn is for sale, they are inexplicably over-run by customers. Dylan comes to the rescue and orders a bunch of tents to handle the overflow crowd. If only the baby Jesus had been so lucky. And besides, who needs heat and indoor plumbing in the dead of winter in the Rocky Mountains?

Dylan convinces his brother they shouldn’t tear down the family inn but instead should expand it. After all, they’ve got people sleeping in tents in sub-zero weather, so this inn’s got something going on.

Dylan wraps up his evaluation and heads for the Grand Canyon, fulfilling a promise to his son. But the wise-beyond-his-single-digit-years tyke convinces Dad to head back to Coyote Creek and make amends with Paige. The hole in the ground can wait because Dad’s got a hole in his heart that only Paige can fill.

Paige realizes Dylan isn’t so bad and forgives him for, well, no one really knows for sure. But the point is she forgives him so they can move to the next stage of their relationship—the dry kiss. Arm in arm they lock lips and then watch a glorious fireworks display, oblivious to the terror it is causing their guests trying desperately to fall asleep inside those frigid tents on the front lawn.

Relationship update: Paige doesn’t get the promotion at work and, as usual, takes her anger out on Dylan, who realizes no woman is better than an angry woman and calls it off.

The Angel Tree (2020)

IMDB Rating: 7.1

Rebecca is a hot-shot writer who’s up for a huge promotion, but only if she can ruin her hometown’s treasured secret. Her editor wants her to traipse back to Pine River and find out the identity of the do-gooder behind the town’s beloved tradition, the Angel Tree.

For decades, some kind soul has granted Christmas wishes for townsfolk. And this angel has been doing it all anonymously. Of course, Rebecca jumps at the chance for personal gain and heads back to her tiny village for the first time in twenty years, hellbent on outing Angel despite the pain and heartache she will bring to the people she used to consider friends.

Turns out Rebecca has an axe to grind with the Angel Tree. When she was a child, she had to move away from this little slice of heaven because her father got a new job on the other side of the country. She put a wish on the Angel Tree for her family to stay, but Angel ignored it. Resentment has festered inside Rebecca for two decades, churning away at her soul like undiagnosed chronic gastritis, leaving a raging inferno in her gut and a huge hole in her stomach lining.

Matthew runs the local diner and brews up coffee blends out back. He’s also been carrying a torch for Rebecca since she left, surreptitiously following her career and rejoicing when he read about her husband’s untimely demise. And it just so happens he is one of the few people who know the secret behind the Angel Tree.

Having Rebecca back reminds him of those repressed feelings, but he chooses honor over desire and refuses to give up the secret. She keeps digging and is stonewalled by all the townspeople.

Unhindered by any sense of human decency and completely oblivious to the fact that they don’t want their secret to become tabloid fodder, Rebecca plows ahead and blogs about her investigation. People from surrounding towns and villages know a good thing when they read about one and head over to place their own wishes on the tree, hoping to scoop up some free goodies from Angel because, well, getting free stuff is what the season’s all about.

All this unwanted publicity strains Angel’s finances. Word gets out she won’t be able to meet demand. Townsfolk pick up the slack, taking it upon themselves to fill the wishes for those greedy jerks from out of town.

Rebecca’s heartless boss demands she spill the beans about Angel, but she decides no job is worth selling out her town for. Matthew kisses her, and she decides to make her little visit permanent.

Relationship update: Sick of listening to Rebecca whining about the lack of writing opportunities in her little town, Matthew sells one of his coffee blends for a million bucks and bolts for the big city.

Jingle Bell Bride (2020)

IMDB rating: 6.2

Jessica is a New York event planner who’s up for a big promotion if she can pull off a Christmas Eve wedding for a demanding pop diva who wants a bridal bouquet made from a flower grown only in a greenhouse in Alaska. Matt is the florist in a remote village in Alaska who can sell her the flowers, but she has to travel all the way from New York so she can then fly on the same plane back as the boxes he puts them in.

Her 20-hour day trip goes haywire when the only plane in and out of the tiny village develops mechanical problems and is grounded for three days while waiting for the part to arrive via dog sled. Fortunately for Jessica, she packed several days’ worth of clothes for her one-day trip and the tiny town of barely more than 100 is in the midst of its annual four-day Christmas festival, so she has plenty to keep her occupied.

It also has a strong WiFi signal so she can continue to work on the wedding despite an office rival scheming behind her back to take over the high-profile client. Of course, she spends all her spare time with Matt, and sparks ignite just as the plane is repaired.

Jessica scoots back to New York in time for the wedding. When the ceremony ends, who is standing outside the church but Matt, who has decided to come back to New York and get his Ph.D. in greenhouse flower growing.

Relationship update: Jessica gets the promotion to London and ditches Matt within a month.

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Christmas Wishes and Mistletoe Kisses (2019)

How does a movie have Mistletoe Kisses in the title and then not have any kisses underneath mistletoe in the movie? #WTF

Christmas By Starlight (2020)

William is a playboy executive who doesn’t take his job at his father’s development firm seriously. Pops tells his numbskull son to shape up and orders him to hire an attorney to help him learn the family business he’s spent a couple of decades ignoring.