10 best Hallmark Christmas movies

Lacey Chabert in a Royal Christmas
(Image credit: Hallmark Channel)

Hallmark Christmas movies have unironically become a staple of my holidays. I legit love watching them. Every movie is pleasant, doesn’t make you think too hard and Hallmark heroines always get their happily ever after. 

I’ve watched these babies for years now, so I know which films are must-see and which are worth only a lump of coal. Below are my picks that everyone should have on their Hallmark Christmas movie watchlist and details on whether they're on the best streaming services

A Royal Christmas (2014)

Lacey Chabert as Emily and Stephen Hagan as Leo in A Royal Christmas

(Image credit: Hallmark)

The Queen of Hallmark is undoubtedly Lacey Chabert, who's made a dozen or so Christmas movies so far. In A Royal Christmas, she stars as aspiring fashion designer Emily, who finds out her boyfriend is a prince. She goes home with him for the holidays to meet his mother, the reigning monarch, played by Jane Seymour.

The couple is adorable together, and there are a lot of amusing moments about Emily being a fish out of water in her new, uppercrust surroundings. While this endears her to the rest of the household and the local orphanage, the queen schemes to send her packing. You'll be grinning throughout, as you watch to see if the young lovebirds can make it work.

Stream on Fubo

The Nine Lives of Christmas (2014)

Kimberley Sustad and Brandon Routh in The Nine Lives of Christmas

(Image credit: Hallmark)

Brandon Routh is a hunky fireman that flips houses and has a new pet cat. He meets Marilee (Kimberley Sustad), a veterinary student who gives him cat tips in exchange for a place to stay. Neither think they’re looking for love, but fall in love they do! This one is very funny and charming. I love the scene where she bumps into him at the supermarket with a cart full of junk food, so she quickly pretends it’s for a whole party. Marilee has a really down-to-earth quality and you can’t help but root for her. Due to the film’s lasting popularity, Hallmark released a sequel in 2021.

Rent/buy on Amazon

Crown for Christmas (2015)

Danica McKellar in Crown for Christmas

(Image credit: Hallmark)

Winnie Cooper (or “Danica McKellar” if you want to get technical) is hired as the governess for a princess over the holidays. The American’s earnestness makes her a favorite of the castle, and also happens to win her the heart of the widowed king, played by Rupert Penry-Jones. He's portrayed a tragic romantic hero before — in one of the best shows ever, Black Sails — and is perfect for the part. The whole movie is delightful. Alex Zamm, who previously directed A Royal Christmas, definitely seems to be the king of the "my boyfriend's a royal!" subgenre. 

Rent/buy on Amazon

The Sweetest Christmas (2017)

Lacey Chabert and child look at a baked concoction in The Sweetest Christmas

(Image credit: Hallmark)

Chabert's most delicious-looking Christmas entry sees her playing Kylie, an underemployed pastry chef working as a temp and dating her clueless boss. After she gets a promotion instead of a proposal, she decides to devote her time to a gingerbread baking competition, so she can use the prize money to open a bakery. After her oven breaks, she reconnects with her old childhood sweetheart, who owns a restaurant, to borrow his kitchen. 

While there's a lot of familiar beats, the leads are totally charming together. There's also some gorgeous gingerbread creations to feast your eyes on. Plus, there’s a mini Mean Girls reunion, as the "She doesn't even go here" girl plays Lacey's work friend!

Rent/buy on Amazon

Deliver by Christmas (2020)

Alvina August and Eion Bailey in Deliver by Christmas

(Image credit: Hallmark)

Band of Brothers alum Eion Bailey plays a widower with a young son who crosses paths with baker Molly (Alvina August). She becomes smitten with him, but also her new mysterious client whom she only knows from speaking with by phone. Luckily, it’s the same guy! The couple have a nice, easy rapport, but what I really love is how mature they are. Whenever a misunderstanding happens, another character comes by saying, “Wait a sec, that just sounds like a misunderstanding.” So, they deal with the issue like adults and avoid any big, dramatic breakups.

Rent/buy on Amazon

A Christmas Tree Grows in Colorado (2020)

Rochelle Aytes, Grace Sunar and Mark Taylor in A Christmas Tree Grows in Colorado

(Image credit: Hallmark)

This story is more grown-up than the typical Hallmark holiday film. The leads, played by Rochelle Aytes and Mark Taylor, get teamed up for a town project. The problems that arise to thwart their romance are serious issues like children’s internet privacy and eminent domain, but fortunately their smoldering chemistry can’t be denied. There’s also a secondary romance involving a likeable gay couple, and the topic of a single man adopting an older child is highlighted. The movie is full of realistic humor, like a scene that comes hard for office Secret Santa and how everyone gets stuck with a scented candle.

Rent/buy on Amazon

My Christmas Family Tree (2021)

Aimee Teegarden and Andrew Walker in My Christmas Family Tree

(Image credit: Hallmark)

Aimee Teegarden (Julie from the beloved Friday Night Lights) stars as Vanessa, a former foster kid who takes an online DNA test, and finds her surprised bio-dad, Richard (James Tupper). Richard invites Vanessa to spend Christmas with his family in the suburbs to make up for lost time. He arranges for surrogate son Kris (Andrew Walker) to drive her, and sparks immediately begin flying. They're super cute together.

The whole family embraces Vanessa, and everybody has such amazing chemistry. But after getting a voicemail from the testing center about a mix-up, Vanessa doesn't have the heart to tell them there’s been a mistake. It all works out in the end, making this one of the most endearing Hallmark Christmas movies. Now that they're getting into making more sequels, hopefully we see this family again.

Rent/buy on Amazon

Eight Gifts of Hanukkah (2021)

Inbar Lavi in Eight Gifts of Hanukkah

(Image credit: Hallmark)

This next pick isn't a Christmas movie, but it is set around during the holiday season. Sarah (Inbar Lavi) is an optometrist — a groundbreaking career for a Hallmark heroine! She starts getting Hanukkah gifts from a secret admirer, who’s possibly her dreamy contractor BFF, Daniel (Jake Epstein aka Craig from Degrassi). 

Eight Gifts of Hanukkah is the cabler’s first film spotlighting just the Jewish holiday, and it’s amusing to see tropes of the genre parallelled. These include Sarah always wearing blue instead of red or green and having her apartment decked out in dreidel tchotchkes and menorahs  instead of nutcracker knickknacks and Christmas trees.

Rent/buy on Amazon

Haul Out the Holly (2022)

In the latest entry in the Lacey Chabert Christmas Cinematic Universe (LCCCU), she stars as a character shockingly not named Holly. Freelance writer Emily returns to her hometown for the holidays and gets swept up in her zany neighborhood’s obsessive Christmas decorating celebrations. Despite a romantic subplot with Wes Brown, the film is more of an ensemble screwball comedy. The supporting cast is great, and there are a ton of laugh-out-loud moments.

Find air dates on Hallmark.com

A Holiday Spectacular (2022)

After socialite Maggie (Ginna Claire Mason) secretly joins the Rockettes in 1958, she must juggle her family obligations with a budding dance career and romance with a local photographer (Derek Klena). While it's more fantasy than factual, and largely a commercial for the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, a few things elevate this from the usual Hallmark Christmas movie fare. They include gorgeous period-appropriate costumes and cars, filming on location at the iconic music hall, and Hollywood icon Ann-Margret in a supporting role! It's all very classy. 

Find air dates on Hallmark.com

Next: Also check out these 9 best new Christmas movies for 2022. Looking to decorate this Christmas? This TikTok Christmas tree lighting hack is a game-changer — here’s why. Also check out 5 festive ways to decorate a Christmas tree. If you're getting set to wrap presents, make sure you avoid these 7 common gift wrapping mistakes.

Freelance writer

Jenna is a freelance writer who covers TV, film, and all things pop culture. Her work has appeared on Teen Vogue, The Mary Sue, and Women & Hollywood, among other outlets. In her free time, she alternates between watching romcoms, romantic period dramas, and true crime, and is making her way through the list of movies on the National Film Registry.