We Ranked All of Hallmark Channel's 2022 Christmas Movies—Prepare to Say What the Elf

Hallmark Channel aired 31 original movies during its annual Countdown to Christmas programming. Find out which one topped our nice list in 2022:

By Tierney Bricker Dec 20, 2022 4:00 PMTags
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We're making a list and checking it twice...

After two months, 31 movies and countless peppermint mochas, Hallmark Channel's 2022 "Countdown to Christmas" came to a jolly end on Dec. 18. As it has done since it launched in 2009, the network's annual holiday event delivered festive fun, fake snow and so. Much. Flannel. And it wa arguably the most stacked C-to-C ever, delivering what was arguably Lacey Chabert's best movie in her long history, the first all-gay offering fronted by Jonathan Bennett and the crossover event of the season: The charm offensive that was a film starring three of the most beloved leading men.

Alas, all good things must come to an end, including this round of cheesy and cheerful TV movies. But that doesn't mean our work is done. No, no, no, the time has come for us to once again rank all 31. Not all heroes wear capes, but we do wear cookie crumb-covered ugly Christmas sweaters. (Per tradition, we did not include Hallmark Movies & Mysteries' nine films as we do occasionally need to see our family and friends and pillows.)

All the Cameos You Might Have Missed in Hallmark Channel's 2022 Christmas Movies

And, before we get down to it, let us remind longtime Hallmark fans that that this list isn't personal and it's not business. Rather, it's personal business, so please remember that this assessment comes from a place of love, a heart of snark and a DVR happy to have some empty storage again.

So, get ready to deck those halls because here's our ranking of every 2022 Countdown to Christmas movie: 

A Royal Corgi Christmas

Woof. At least the dog was cute?

A Magical Christmas Village

Sigh, with Alison Sweeney and Luke Macfarlane as its leads, we so wanted to like this one. But the last time we had to pretend to be this interested in architecture we were on a bad Bumble date. The magical element also just felt shoe-horned in, especially compared to some of the other 2022 movies with fantastical premises. 

Undercover Holiday

Not to be rude, but...the music is not that good in this movie, which is about the winner of a reality singing competition being forced to have a hot bodyguard pretend to be her boyfriend after she begins receiving notes from a stalker? But there were two other cardinal sins: 1. The fake relationship trope was not necessary here and fell flat. 2. The reveal that the lead's ex-boyfriend was the person responsible for the comical love letters was a bigger letdown than that time we did not receive a Furby underneath the tree in 1999.

All Saints Christmas

We are not sure why Hallmark thought it needed not one, but two movies centering on pop stars in fake relationships. But, as far as we are concerned, it was two too many.

My Southern Family Christmas

It is absurd that a man would not be able to recognize his own daughter, who is posing as a journalist interviewing him for a magazine feature. It is even more outlandish that his wife would reach out to said daughter to reunite with her father, only for them both to harbor the secret for the ENTIRETY of the movie. For reasons? (We still love you Bruce Campbell and Moira Kelly!) But the movie does get five points for the cheeky Wes Brown cameo as Jaicy Elliot's editor.

A Tale of Two Christmases

Truly wild to have two love stories to choose between and we found ourselves swiping on Tinder instead. (What a wasted opportunity to buck the usual trope of having a leading lady actually STAY in a big city during the holidays and find that—gasp!—she actually feels at home there, too!)

Jolly Good Christmas

Honestly, it was hard to get over the decision to have leading man Will Kemp, who is British, play an American businessman living in London? Let him use that gorgeous accent! Despite a fun and flirty dynamic between Kemp and Reshma Shetty, Jolly Good Christmas felt a little hollow, kind of like one of those chocolate Santas you impulse buy while waiting in line at Home Goods. (We've all been there.) It's just not that much fun to watch people shop for the perfect gift, especially when it's a man making the purchase for his girlfriend we all know he will no longer be with by movie's end. More like Jolly Fine Christmas!

When I Think of Christmas

It is so weird because we remember liking this movie—especially the performances of Shenae Grimes-Beech and Nial Matter—while watching it, yet now, in our post-31 movie haze, we are struggling to remember exactly what happenedwhat went down. 

Christmas at the Golden Dragon

While we appreciated the attempt to bring multiple storylines together, we struggled to invest in any of the various plots wholeheartedly, so we will be canceling our reservation at the Golden Dragon. (Though we are still open to ordering in!)

A Fabled Holiday

Like a loose thread on your ugly Christmas sweater, tug thread on this storyline a little too much and it will come completely undone because it's about an inn that magically attracts people in need of some problem-solving who all happened to read the same Christmas book growing up. It's kooky, for sure, but dare we say that they should have just leaned into the fairy tale element of the tale even more, rather than rely on a narrator and story book graphics heading into each commercial break? 

We must also note that we were actually more invested in elderly widower Charles (John Prowse) and his quest to rediscover the magic of the holiday season after the death of his wife than the lead couple. Charles being told, "You still deserve to experience joy" hit us so hard in our feels that we are still wearing a cast. 

Noel Next Door

So, everyone in this movie is kind of the worst (the leading man is basically the Grinch but make him hot AF), but in a way that kind of works! Also working for us were the serious sparks flying between Natalie Hall and Corey Sevier

A Christmas Cookie Catastrophe

Listen, our favorite kind of catastrophe is one of the confection variety, so we were biased heading in to his one, especially with Rachel Boston and Victor Webster as the leads. Sure, it's not the best cookie we've ever had, but it was consistent and pleasant enough. However, the reveal of who stole the secret recipe at the end was so convoluted and confusing that we almost thought M. Night Shyamalan ghost-wrote the script. 

We Wish You a Married Christmas

We love when Hallmark goes dark...and by dark we, of course, mean centering a movie on a couple on the brink of divorce. (You know it's bad because they booked two separate rooms during their last-minute trip.) Though both leads were, as always, charismatic, this one was just middle of the road for us. (Also, how many cars are these freakin' inn keepers purposefully damaging to get these struggling pairs to stay?!)

'Twas the Night Before Christmas

"Part play, part mock trial, the show features two lawyers debating whether 'A Visit from Saint Nick' was authored by Clement Clarke Moore or Henry Livingston Jr. and has the audience decide as the jury."

Well, you can't say this two-hour TV movie wasn't ambitious! And it definitely gets points for that. But how does NO ONE in this entire production find it odd that two old men just keep magically appearing? Heck, not only do they not find it weird, they cast them in the play. Here's hoping ghosts hold onto their SAG cards.

The Royal Nanny

As any longtime Countdown to Christmas fan knows, Hallmark loves them a movie about royalty. But this one offers up a refreshing twist on the stale-as-bread genre, with Rachel Skarsten proving charismatic and cool as an MI5 agent who goes undercover to keep the royal family safe. It also helps that Dan Jeannotte is arguably the hottest fictional prince in TV history. Respectfully. 


In the year of our lord 2022, there is simply no way a person could just flat-out fake an entire marriage (pretending her sister's child is her own, no less!) for social media clout without at least one of their hometown nemeses immediately calling for their cancellation. Still, take that logic away and you are left with a surprisingly relatable story about trying to figure out who the hell you are and what you want when it feels like the entire world is always watching.

Christmas Class Reunion

As big fans of the old friends reuniting trope, we had high hopes for this outing centering on a cursed high school class coming together for their 15-year reunion. Unfortunately, it wasn't exactly an affair to remember, but Friday Night Lights alum Aimee Teegarden is always a welcome presence.

In Merry Measure

How cruel to give us the promise of a high school glee club sing-off only to...just not do it? Bummer City, population: Us. Fortunately, Brendan Penny—rocking specs, which we very much appreciated!—and Patti Murin were very fun as bantering and battling high school rivals. (And props to the music team for creating an actual holiday bop for Broadway star Murin with "Christmas Crush.")

A Cozy Christmas Inn

We must give credit to for Hallmark Channel for actually bringing back a character whose relationship in a previous movie failed! Yes, this is followup to Candace Cameron Bure's 2014 TV movie Christmas Under Wraps, with David O'Donnell back inn action (see what we did there?) to romance her Full House little sister Jodie Sweetin. She plays, you guessed it, a real estate exec tasked with flying to Alaska to take over a cozy bed and breakfast, only to discover it's run by her handsome ex. Sure, it's not exactly reinventing the wheel, but there's a reason the wheel has never been reinvented, ya know? 

Lights, Camera, Christmas!

Though the ending was utterly underwhelming and rushed, and it was disappointing to see a female lead squander an amazing professional opportunity based solely on a throwaway sentence from the guy (Sighhh!), John Brotherton was pitch-perfect as a charismatic-if-slightly-self-centered actor known for playing Santa in a string of TV movies. 

Holiday Heritage

This feels like a Hallmark movie of yesteryear simply for the fact that there aren't any gimmicks, hijinks or magical baked goods. And that makes the conflict between the three generations of Chapel women following the death of their family's patriarch all the more potent and powerful. But what did feel refreshingly modern was that this was the network's first Kwanzaa film, which felt truly celebratory, and that they allowed Holly Robinson Peete's character—a single woman in her 50s—actually move away from her small hometown to pursue her big city dreams! As one of the characters puts it, "Dreams don't have zip codes." 

The Most Colorful Time of the Year

This might just be the best worst Hallmark movie we have ever seen...and we've been doing this for quite some time. A colorblind teacher (Christoper Russell, going for gold!) discovers the true meaning of the holiday season when a nosy optometrist—who happens to be the mother of one of his students—helps him to see color for the first time. It is unintentionally hilarious and made us laugh more than any other C-to-C offering this year. A classic for all the wrong reasons, which is why it ranks so highly on our list. It's better to be memorable than meh and forgettable. 

A Big Fat Family Christmas

Before anything else, we must address the fact that the main character, who is a photojournalist, does not take the best pictures? Phew, glad we got that out of the way. While it took awhile to get to it, we were so invested in the emotional journey of Liv (Shannon Chan-Kent) after she reveals she has distanced herself from her family's annual Christmas party because she's struggled with her identity as a Chinese-American. More of this kind of storytelling, please!

Inventing the Christmas Prince

This movie is categorically absurd. First of all, these rocket scientists work in an office building that even the Dunder-Mifflin crew would scoff at. Second, an employee basically blackmails her boss into pretending to be holiday royalty to avoid shattering her daughter's fantasy. (Her future therapist will be dining on this for quite some time!) Third, this is an actual line of dialogue in this here Hallmark movie: "We're interested in exploring the habitability of Saturn's moons." AND YET, said boss showing up in full fake prince attire in the final scene had us curtsying, crying and crowning this a cinematic masterpiece! (Don't ask how many glasses of wine deep we were, it's not relevant!)

A Kismet Christmas

Our main takeaway from this early Countdown to Christmas outing: Put Sarah Ramos in all the things! The Parenthood alum is wry and whimsical and just winning as an author returning to a small town years after having her heart broken by the boy next door. Add in some magical cookies (not that kind) that help a person find true love and you have a recipe for a surprisingly sweet and quirky story. 

A Holiday Spectacular

Okay, okay, okay, hear us out. If you go into this abiding by the laws of The Greatest Showman (a.k.a. pretend it is entirely fictional and not based at all on history!), than this is one of the most impressive films to ever hit the Hallmark Channel. With showstopping dance numbers performed by The Radio City Rockettes, spectacular sets replicating the 1950s and a stellar performance from Broadway star Ginna Claire Mason, it was hard not to be razzle-dazzled by this period piece. Oh, and did we mention Ann-Margret is in it?!

The Holiday Sitter

With sizzling chemistry between Jonathan Bennett and George Krissa, holiday hijinks that don't feel hokey and a surprising amount of heart, we were so pleased to see the network's first-ever LGBQT+-led movie (think a gay version of Uncle Buck) was just a damn good rom-com, no cheap tricks needed. Oh, and Bennett's heartbreaking monologue at the end of the film about not allowing himself to believe marriage and children could be for him will live rent-free in out minds until next year when we get the sequel we all need and deserve!

Three Wise Men and a Baby

Consider: The ultimate team up of three of the network's most beloved leading men—Tyler Hynes, Andrew Walker and Paul Campbell, who co-wrote the heartwarming and hilarious script with his frequent co-star Kimberly Sustadt—to star as a trio of bantering brothers tasked with taking care of a baby over the holidays. The hijinks are holly, the snark is sincere and the chemistry is contagious, you just want to hang out with this family. Sure, the romances were unnecessary, but we will gladly take a sequel next season, if only to see this trio once again have as much fun as they did in this one—choregraphed dance routine included.

Hanukkah on Rye

Imagine You've Got Mail but it's about the bicoastal offspring of two Jewish deli owners writing each other anonymous letters through a matchmaking service. Add in effortless banter between leads Jeremy Jordan and Yael Groblas, an ecletically lovable supporting cast of bubbehs and and constant glamor shots of sandwiches and matzo ball soup and there is a latke to love about Hallmark's sole Hannukah offering of 2022. 

Haul Out the Holly

Um, more like Haul In All of the Holly! You guys, this movie was absolutely unhinged in the best possible way, with Wes Brown leading the charge in the zaniest and best appearance in his 13-year career with Hallmark. Lacey Chabert is, of course, as adorable as ever, but is also at her funniest, utilizing her underserved comedic timing with the help of one of the best supporting casts we've ever seen, including Stephen Tobolowsky, Melissa Peterman and Peter Jacobson. We laughed a lot—and it was always intentional?! Plus, there were several unexpected cameos from other Hallmark stars that added to the cuckoo for cocoa puffs vibe of this all-time Hallmark Channel Christmas movie. Oh, we went there and we bought property on Evergreen Lane!

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