' ' Cinema Romantico: 10 Made for TV Christmas Movies to Watch This Holiday Season (by synopsis)

Monday, November 28, 2022

10 Made for TV Christmas Movies to Watch This Holiday Season (by synopsis)

Depending on your source there are maybe 164 new Made for TV Christmas Movies in 2022, or possibly 148 new Made for TV Christmas Movies in 2022. Without doing a lick of deeper research, let’s split the difference and unofficially call it 156 new Made for TV Christmas Movies in 2022, except that we also have to subtract the new 18 Made for TV 2022 Christmas movies at GAC (Great American Family Channel) because the network was hit with a whole host of false piety violations by the Federal Broadcast Commission. So, that’s 138 new Made for TV Christmas movies this spread across not just the old reliables like Hallmark and Lifetime but ION and BET and UPtv too. That’s too many movies from which to choose for the average Made for TV Christmas viewer. Then again, the average Made for TV Christmas viewer might not care which movie is currently airing, just one that is in the first place. To them, all these hard-charging event planners and career-oriented journalists in love with or scarred by Christmas are probably the same. To the discerning viewer, however, the kind of person who does not just buy a coffeemaker for a Christmas present when someone puts it on his or her list but does the research on drip and pour-over and French press and Moka pots, there are subtle variations within each synopsis. And that is where Cinema Romantico comes in as we do each and every holiday season, to wade into these myriad synopses and point you toward the best. 

Granted, the quality of synopsis does not necessarily correlate to the movie’s own quality. We have already watched one with much to recommend it (review to come!) that does not appear on this list. But it’s a good place to start, and besides, in many pop cultures, it is merely the Made for TV Christmas Movie synopsis that is considered the reason for the season. 

(All synopses belong to the Hallmark Channel unless otherwise noted.) 

10 Made for TV Christmas Movies to Watch This Holiday Season (by synopsis)

10. Noel Next Door. A hard-working, single mom gets into a war of words with a neighbor who she feels is ruining Christmas, only to find that this misunderstood grouch just may steal her heart. Can you guess that hard-working, single mom’s name? Can you???

9. The Most Colorful Time of Year: “Ryan is an elementary school teacher, who learns that he is colorblind. Michelle, an optometrist and mother of one of his students, helps bring color into his life in time for the holidays.” It’s a metaphor!

8. Reindeer Games Homecoming: Sparks fly between a Vermont biology teacher and her high school crush as they compete in a holiday fundraising tradition.” (Lifetime) The synopsis is strong but I’m disappointed Gary Sinise doesn’t have an And Starring credit while appearing on the poster in a garish Rudolph sweater. 

7. #Xmas: “When Jen gets the chance to enter a brand’s design contest, she poses as a family influencer, enlisting the help of her best friend, Max, and her baby nephew. When her video is selected as a finalist, Jen is torn on whether to go on with her perfect ‘family’ or reveal the truth.” Some hard lessons here about our brave new world.

6. A Royal Corgi Christmas. “Sparks fly between a crown prince and a canine behavior expert as they work together to train a rambunctious dog before an annual holiday ball.” Our second “Sparks Fly”! (See #8.) These Royal Hallmark entries always take place in fictional countries, but I like imagining a version of known Corgi devotee Queen Elizabeth II showing up in this one anyway in a kind of dream sequence a la Jaclyn Smith’s glowing visage in “Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle.” 

5. Haul Out the Holly: “Emily arrives home, hoping to visit her parents, only to discover that they are leaving on a trip of their own. As she stays at their house for the holidays, their HOA is determined to get Emily to participate in the neighborhood’s many Christmas festivities.” This one stars our good friend Lacey Chabert. She always does fine work, and maybe she’ll prove me wrong, but I sort of feel like this one should star, say, Clea DuVall. Because Clea DuVall strikes me as the sort of person that would really want to punch this whole HOA in the face. Also, shouldn’t Emily’s name be Holly?

4. The Holiday Swap. (UPtv) “When two strangers mistakenly pick up the wrong piece of luggage at the airport, each must use the intriguing contents within to track down the other’s whereabouts in time for Christmas.” Dying to know what constitutes “intriguing contents.” A PalmPilot? They don’t make those anymore! French francs? They switched to the Euro! A Leland College hoodie? That’s not a real college! Does this person even exist?! Does love itself even exist?!

3. Wrapped Up in Love. (Lifetime) “Ashley has always been the ‘Christmas Queen’ in town. That is, until she meets her match, Ben, a handsome new guy in town, who loves Christmas just as much as she does. They join forces to make Christmas even more meaningful.” More meaningful??? This sounds like a sentient War on Christmas meme. 

2. A Magical Christmas Village: “A woman tells her young granddaughter, Chloe, that her miniature Christmas village can magically grant holiday wishes. As Chloe begins setting up the figurines, real-life events seem to mimic the scenes she creates.” Our annual reminder that all these movies are one broken snow globe away from mutating into full-on horror. 

1. The Royal Nanny: “Working undercover as a nanny, an MI5 agent must resist the charms of Prince Colin while keeping the royal family safe during Christmastime.” Answers the question I have been asking for almost 20 years – that is, what if one of the “Love Actually” vignettes had featured Sydney Bristow

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