Hallmark Channel announces Countdown to Christmas movie lineup

Hallmark's Countdown to Christmas begins with the premiere of "Checkin' It Twice," airing Oct. 20.
Screenshot from a Hallmark Channel Christmas movie.
Posted at 10:35 AM, Sep 21, 2023

While Christmas might be over 90 days away, the Hallmark Channel is already gearing up for the holidays. The Hallmark Channel has just announced its upcoming programming, and it is merry, bright and includes 40 brand-new holiday movies.

Starting on Oct. 20, we can start growing our Santa spirit and happy-crying as the Hallmark Channel begins its much-anticipated Countdown to Christmas. That’s right: While everyone else is eating candy corn and watching horror movies, you can be cozied up with hot cocoa and cozy holiday flicks.

Hallmark Channel

Hallmark’s Countdown to Christmas begins with the premiere of “Checkin’ It Twice,” airing at 8 p.m. ET.

“Checkin’ It Twice” stars Kevin McGarry as a hockey player who strikes up a romance with Kim Matula. Longtime Hallmark Christmas movie fans will recognize McGarry right away from the channel’s popular movies like “A Very Corgi Christmas,” “Random Acts of Christmas” and “My Grown-Up Christmas List.” And soap star Matula has also been in the Hallmark Christmas movie circuit, starring in the well-reviewed “Ghosts of Christmas Always.”

We are also looking forward to “Mystic Christmas,” which is a play on the 1988 film “Mystic Pizza,” which is  *chef’s kiss* perfection. This version, which premieres on Oct. 28 at 8 p.m. ET, follows animal expert Juniper as she travels to Mystic, Connecticut, to help an old friend. While there, she stumbles into her ex who now runs a pizza shop. The result? Ooey-gooey holiday goodness.

Hallmark Channel

And, on Nov. 18, you can catch “Party of Five” stars Lacey Chabert and Scott Wolf in the premiere of “A Merry Scottish Christmas.” Yes, it was filmed on location in Scotland (hello, dreamy background settings!) and no, Chabert and Wolf are not an item! Thank goodness: It seems Hallmark knew we didn’t want to see these famous television siblings fall in love.

On Dec. 17, don’t miss the premiere of “Friends & Family Christmas,” which features a lesbian couple (played by Ali Liebert and Humberly Gonzalez) who are set up by their parents and end up falling deeply in love. In recent years, Hallmark has committed to making more diverse content, including movies with LGBTQ+ storylines.

Liebert famously starred as Nora in “Every Time a Bell Rings,” the 2021 Hallmark Channel Movie that showed her kissing Maizy (Lyndie Greenwood). Sadly, Liebert experienced online backlash from people who attacked the star for her role. In response, Liebert posted this on X:

Hallmark was quick to defend its star and its choice to make their movies more diverse and inclusive.

“Our priority is to develop a diverse mix of content, characters and narratives in order to create a Hallmark experience where everyone feels welcome,” Hallmark Movies Now said in a tweet in 2021.

In addition, Hallmark is bringing more diversity by creating movies that offer starring roles for people of color, like “Christmas With a Kiss” (premiering Dec. 3), “Magic in Mistletoe” (premiering Dec. 8) and “Heaven Down Here” (premiering Dec. 14).

Hallmark Channel announces Christmas cruise
A Hallmark Christmas cruise is to set sail November of 2024.

Hallmark Channel announces Christmas cruise

The Christmas Cruise will feature stars from the movies.


Throughout the fall, new Hallmark Christmas movies will continue to debut on the Hallmark Channel and the Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Channel. You can also access the content via streaming the Hallmark Movies Now service.  You can also access Hallmark movies via Peacock’s live TV subscription or on Hulu + Live.

Never want to miss a single moment of Hallmark Christmas bliss? We feel you: Download the Hallmark Movie Checklist app to get a real-time schedule of Hallmark’s on-air schedule as well as a Countdown to Christmas timer that will thrill your inner child.

This story was originally published by Bridget Sharkey at Simplemost.com.