Sorting through the holiday bounty to pick the best
It sure has looked a lot like Christmas, 24/7 in some instances, for weeks already on certain television channels.
A record number of new holiday films is being produced for channels such as Hallmark Channel and Lifetime, and it can be tough to sort them out. And if you look closely, you’ll note that some of them are moving from one channel to another, and then back again. (Yes. We’re looking too closely.)
Well, have no fear: We’re here to recommend some of the best of the lot, both projects made for this year and encores for past yuletide seasons, that will surface again in the coming days.
“Christmas in Evergreen: Letters to Santa” (Friday, Dec. 14, Hallmark Channel): Former “Wipeout” co-host Jill Wagner has done a lot of work for Hallmark in recent years, but she’s particularly pleasant in this sequel to an earlier film, taking her character back to the hometown that happens to be holiday-ready. Ashley Williams returns from the first picture.
“The Christmas Contract” (Friday, Dec. 14, Lifetime): “One Tree Hill” fans will enjoy seeing Hilarie Burton, Robert Buckley and several other of the show’s alumni in this tale of two people who don’t get along, but spend Christmas together under a binding legal contract designed to let each fulfill their holiday aims.
“A Christmas Kiss” (Friday, Dec. 14, UP): Laura Breckenridge (“Related”) is a charmer as an aspiring designer who receives said kiss from a stranger (Brendan Fehr) in an elevator … and he turns out to be the boyfriend of her unscrupulous boss (Elisabeth Rohm).
“Christmas in Love” (Saturday, Dec. 15, Hallmark Channel): Former “Royal Pains” co-star Brooke D’Orsay is delightful as a bakery worker who makes the site’s new CEO (Daniel Lissing) think twice about streamlining the business …and about (say it with us) love.
“Merry Kissmas” (Sunday, Dec. 16, ION Television): No, really … “Kissmas.” Two strangers (Karissa Lee Staples, Brant Daugherty) share a kiss in an elevator at holiday time – yes, again – and, well, you know. You really DO know. But first, the woman has to dump her jerky theater-director fiance, which “only” takes an hour and 45 minutes.
“Love for Christmas” (Monday, Dec. 17, UP): For the sake of saying it, this isn’t the same movie as “Christmas in Love.” Actually, it originally was the third entry in the “A Golden Christmas” series, with Shantel VanSanten (“Shooter”) and Rob Mayes as old acquaintances brought back together by their mutual love for dogs.
“12 Men of Christmas” (Tuesday, Dec. 18, Lifetime Movies): Kristin Chenoweth. A holiday calendar of hunky men. What else do you need to know?
“A Star for Christmas” (Tuesday, Dec. 18, Lifetime): A small-town cupcake maker (a nicely low-key Briana Evigan) becomes attracted to a handsome fellow who turns out to be a movie star in hiding (Corey Sevier) … which doesn’t prevent his high-maintenance girlfriend (Brooke Burns) from finding him.
“Snowed Inn Christmas” (Tuesday, Dec. 18, Lifetime Movies): Another “One Tree Hill” veteran, Bethany Joy Lenz, has become a regular in seasonal Lifetime movies. She’s particularly terrific in this one, casting her and Andrew Walker as writers in a competition to come up with the best holiday article – and warming up to each other when they’re stranded by weather in an extremely Christmas-y town.
“A Perfect Christmas List” (Thursday, Dec. 20, Lifetime): Ellen Hollman (“Into the Badlands”) makes a spirited heroine who’s led to believe that this Christmas may be her beloved grandmother’s (Marion Ross) last one, making her eager to do everything on a holiday list that Grandma devises.
“Santa’s Boots” (Thursday, Dec. 20, Lifetime): ”Smash” alum Megan Hilty surprisingly doesn’t sing in this tale, but she’s a delight anyway as a woman trying to help her relatives save their department store – and falling for the store Santa (Noah Mills) in the process.
“A Princess for Christmas” (Friday, Dec. 21, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries): One of the last appearances by Sir Roger Moore is a highlight of this saga, as he plays a duke unsettled by the presence of a distant relative (Katie McGrath, lately Lena Luthor on “Supergirl”) at his European castle for the holidays.
“The Spruces and the Pines” (Sunday, Dec. 23, ION Television): “Romeo and Juliet” gets a comfy update as Jonna Walsh and Nick Ballard play a newly romantic couple who hail from long-warring families.