We Ranked the Best 58 Lifetime Christmas Movies


‘Tis the season for Lifetime to roll out a new batch of Christmas movies; if they keep making them, we’ll keep ranking them.

While Netflix has come in strong on the Christmas movie game, Lifetime is still the OG, and this year they are stuffing your Christmas stocking with fourteen new holiday movies. Classics like Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever are making way for more young women to find the “true meaning of Christmas” while trying to save their bakery or town or inn from closing, and more busy executives to give up their careers after hooking up with their high-school crush under the mistletoe. This year, there are performances by Lifetime favorites like Melissa Joan Hart, Toni Braxton, Alexandra Breckenridge, and Tatyana Ali, as well as a reunion of the One Tree Hill cast.

Spike your eggnog, prop your feet up, and watch someone find new love under the mistletoe (or a little boy set up his mom with Santa, or a busy executive remember the true meaning of Christmas). Here’s our ranking of 58 of Lifetime’s finest Christmas movies.


Holly’s Holiday (2012)

Way before Sex and the City, Kim Cattrall starred in Mannequin, in which she played the titular clotheshorse who came to life and fell in love with Andrew McCarthy. (Same.) Holly’s Holiday (aka A Perfect Christmas) is a gender-swapped version of that movie with Holly (who, of course, has a Christmasy name) falling for a hunky mannequin named Bo, despite the fact that he has a crazy ex-girlfriend who is also a mannequin. This one’s wildly derivative—and how could you ever hope to compete with Mannequin?


Finding Mrs. Claus (2012)

Few Lifetime movies can boast that they have a bona fide Oscar winner in their cast, but Finding Mrs. Claus has Mira Sorvino playing Mrs. Claus. Turns out her marriage to Santa (played by MadTV‘s Will Sasso) has hit a bumpy patch, so when she gets a Christmas letter from a lonely little girl, she heads to Las Vegas for a few reindeer games. You may never look at Santa the same way after seeing this movie—and not in the good way.


12 Wishes of Christmas (2011)

If you’re wondering what a Christmas movie made entirely out of clichés would look like, try 12 Wishes of Christmas (alternative title: 12 Christmas Wishes for My Dog). Elisa Donovan plays Maura, a self-centered woman who whose life hits a rough patch. She hires a mysterious life coach (Christmasy name: Noel), who grants her 12 wishes, which she uses for herself until she remembers the true meaning of Christmas. Yes, there’s a love interest, too. Casting highlights include many, many dogs, Family Ties star Michael Gross, and Beverly Hills 90210 alum (and current real-life head of the Screen Actors Guild) Gabrielle Carteris. A great choice if you also know a drinking game involving vapid characters and bad life choices.


The Christmas Consultant (2012)

The fact that it stars David Hasselhoff should immediately rocket The Christmas Consultant to the top of this list, but for one small fact—it’s as depressing as Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree. The film stars Caroline Rhea and Barclay Hope as busy parents who have to hire a party planner (that’s Hasselhoff) to organize their Christmas fete. Soon any semblance of a happy family crumbles (therapy! Bullies! Job loss!) and Hasselhoff does his best to impart some Christmas cheer, even though his own back story is enough to make Tiny Tim cry into his Christmas pudding.


Heaven Sent (2016)

Nothing warms the heart more than a child angel sent to rekindle the romance between a couple on the verge of divorce. When an “eight-year-old runaway from Heaven” is delivered via UPS, the couple is thrilled to have this little girl in their midst, even though no one can see her except for Ernie Hudson’s character—though he’s a Ghostbuster, so it almost makes sense. Still, this one’s not exactly going to halt your Christmas channel-changing.


Christmas on the Bayou (2013)

An overworked single mother (Hilarie Burton) leaves NYC to spend Christmas in her small Louisiana hometown. She has to do some work over the holiday, so her family spends the entire week trying to distract her from the evils of technology and prevent her from doing her job. She strangely doesn’t see that as annoying, but rather as a valuable way to learn the true meaning of Christmas and just maybe fall in love. Gracing this film with their presence are country crooner Randy Travis, Ed Asner, and Night Court‘s Markie Post.


All I Want for Christmas (2013)

Not to be confused with Hallmark’s Christmas film of the same name, Lifetime’s version features a busy executive who gets a Christmas gift she doesn’t really want—the ability to hear everyone’s thoughts thanks to a special Christmas pin. (Accessories really can change your life!) She decides to use her newfound power for good, trying to be a better person, finding love, and, naturally, learning the true meaning of Christmas. This film earns extra points for featuring Tom Arnold.


Wish Upon a Christmas (2015)

Amelia is an efficient corporate shark who is tasked with whipping a failing Christmas ornament factory into shape. She’s happy to return to her hometown and see her dad (played by the late Alan Thicke), but her job gets complicated when she discovers her high school sweetheart runs the company. (Guess she’s not on Facebook?) Can you guess whether she will lay off all the workers at the ornament factory or find the true meaning of Christmas and love instead?


A Nanny for Christmas (2011)

Sometimes you go to interview for a job as an ad executive and wind up getting hired as a nanny. Emmanuelle Vaugier plays the ersatz nanny who, instead of being annoyed at the mistake, simply decides to go along with the job switcheroo. A girl’s gotta work, after all. She soon discovers that the children have very strict parents and a lot of rules to follow and, well, if you’ve seen The Sound of Music, this is pretty much the same thing, but with more Dean Cain.


The March Sisters at Christmas (2012)

Okay, who let Lifetime near the classic literature? This film updates Louisa May Alcott’s beloved Little Women by transporting the four March sisters into modern times. Jo is a ghost tweeter for a teen pop star, Meg is hung up on her ex, Amy had a run-in with the law in Thailand, and they all swap boyfriends like Pokémon cards. The quarreling sisters come together to try to save their family home, but Louisa May’s ghost undoubtedly did a spit take when Jo called her sisters “slutsicles.”


A Country Christmas Story (2013)

Terrible parents are not normally where a Christmas movie starts, but here we are. Grace (Desiree Ross) is a talented singer-songwriter stuck between her bitter, divorced parents. The tension reaches its apex when her mother (Megyn Price) kicks her out of the house for playing guitar, because it’s a reminder that her father (Brian McKnight) left them to pursue his musical dreams. Luckily, Dolly Parton saves the day (!!) with her talent competition, and music reunites the family. This film is typical Lifetime fare: equal doses of heartwarming and heartbreaking, with some musical interludes thrown in, but it barely qualifies as a Christmas movie—the only mention of the holiday comes in some background props and a brief rendition of “Jingle Bells.”


The Spirit of Christmas (2015)

If you’re looking for the holiday edition of improbable ghost rom-com Just Like Heaven, this is it. Here, Kate (Jen Lilley) falls in love with a ghost, because the dating scene in her town is just that bad. The dead guy’s spirit is trapped haunting an inn, and despite the fact that she’s a lawyer, not a medium, she helps him solve the mystery of his death. There’s betrayal, rum-running, and Christmas magic, and together they crush the space-time continuum to live happily ever after (or something).


Deck the Halls (2005)

Lifetime managed to fit both its single-mom trope and Christmasy-named characters into this patently silly riff on Miracle on 34th Street. Holly (Gabrielle Carteris) returns to her hometown with eight-year-old son Ben to work for her father’s toy business. When Ben meets their new next-door neighbor, Nick (Steve Bacic), he becomes convinced Nick is actually Santa Claus. He does his best to set up his mom with Santa so they can live happily ever after in the North Pole.


A Christmas Angel (2011)

Not to be confused with Hallmark’s Angel of Christmas, Lifetime’s A Christmas Angel is your basic “girl needs a job, ends up working for Santa” story. In the film, Ashley is desperate for work and her affable neighbor, aptly named Nick, offers her work as his assistant. The one rule is that she can’t tell anyone that he is a sort of Secret Santa, who spends his days anonymously helping others. Then Ashley meets Will, a nefarious yet handsome journalist desperate for a story. Ashley must do her best to protect Nick’s secret—and her own heart.


All About Christmas Eve (2012)

Haylie Duff stars as Eve, a busy party planner in New York City who has really lousy work-life balance. Her boyfriend wants to take her on a romantic vacation over Christmas, but because she’s a party planner, that’s her busiest time of year. When a client asks her to throw a huge event in L.A., she has to choose between love and her career—and both play out in Sliding Doors–style parallel action.


Comfort and Joy (2003)

This film has pretty much the same plot as A Snow Globe Christmas (which ranked higher). Jane, a workaholic advertising executive played by Nancy McKeon, wakes up to find herself a happily married stay-at-home mom to two kids. While it’s nice that Lifetime is tackling the working woman vs. stay-at-home mother question that many women face, they don’t seem to realize that you can actually work and have children at the same time.


A Christmas Reunion (2015)

Former Bond girl and Wild Thing Denise Richards stars as Amy, a Madison Avenue executive who returns to her hometown at Christmas in the wake of her aunt’s death. In traditional morbid backstory, Amy was raised by her aunt after her parents died in an accident, and is affected strongly by the loss. Not so strongly, though, that when her tyrannical boss comes calling she doesn’t consider skipping out on her aunt’s last wish—that Amy and her ex run her bakery and co-host the town’s annual holiday bake-off. Of course, as everyone knows, holiday cookies are a gateway drug to love.


A Christmas Wedding Date (2012)

The only thing worse than showing up to your best friend’s wedding without a date is being forced to relive that wedding over and over again trying to get it right. A Christmas Wedding Date stars TV movie regular Marla Sokoloff as Rebecca, a Wall Street executive who returns to her small hometown for a friend’s wedding. A magical Christmas ornament helps her find the true meaning of Christmas and, naturally, true love. Casting highlights include Nashville‘s Will Lexington (Chris Carmack) and Cheers alum George Wendt.


A Very Nutty Christmas (2018)

In case you were concerned that Melissa Joan Hart wasn’t getting enough Christmas-related TV roles, here she plays hard-working bakery owner Kate Holiday (drink for a Christmas name!). While Kate is knee-deep in Christmas cookie orders, she gets unceremoniously dumped by her jerk boyfriend days before Christmas. Thanks to a magic ornament and/or stress-induced psychosis, she awakes to find a handsome soldier in her living room. Turns out that Chip (Lifetime regular Barry Watson) may or may not be the Nutcracker Prince from Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker, which is reassuring enough that Kate considers falling in love or at least not calling the cops on him.


A Very Merry Toy Store (2017)

Mario Lopez and Melissa Joan Hart (playing a single mother, natch) are rival toy store owners with complicated family backstories, who have no choice but to join forces to fight the unscrupulous owner of the big box store that arrives in their small Connecticut town. Will these rivals save their stores and Christmas and fight The Man and find love? Have you ever seen a Lifetime movie that doesn’t end like that? While the film loses points for cloying obviousness, it earns points for basically being the A-Team of Lifetime movies, starring Hart and Lopez as well as Sex and the City’s Mario Cantone and Hart’s Sabrina the Teenage Witch co-star Beth Broderick (a.k.a. Aunt Zelda), playing her mom.


Becoming Santa (2015)

Lifetime remixed one of its own for this film, which is a genders-reversed version of the 2013 movie Merry In-Laws. The film features a soon-to-be married couple, one of whom happens to be the lone offspring of Mr. and Mrs. Claus. This time, it’s the daughter—and whoever marries her must be prepared to step into her father’s shoes. That’s right, he has to become Santa Claus. As with its predecessor, the best part of the movie is that it features a mini-reunion of a beloved sitcom cast. This time, Family Ties stars Meredith Baxter and Michael Gross play the Clauses.


Christmas Around the Corner (2018)

This time Claire (American Horror Story’s Alexandra Breckenridge) is the savvy venture capitalist from New York City who heads to an idyllic town in Vermont for the holidays. She quickly falls in love with the quaint Fortenbury Bookstore, but hates the owner, Andrew (Jamie Spilchuk), who mansplains over her ideas to save the store. Of course, in the Lifetime universe, it’s a slippery slope from burning hatred to making heart-eye emojis at each other. Soon enough Claire and Andrew start to fall for each other, until Claire finds out Andrew wants to sell the bookstore. How dare he sell his own business? Luckily, the spirit of Christmas just might change his mind, especially if Claire gives up her Wall Street career and moves to Vermont!


Will You Merry Me (2008)

You can’t deny this one has a great title. Rebecca and Henry are engaged—but can Rebecca’s Jewish parents and Henry’s Christmas-loving family, the Kringles, find a way to get along, despite differing religious beliefs and holiday traditions? Probably! This corny premise is redeemed by stars Wendie Malick and Cynthia Stevenson, who should star in every Lifetime movie, honestly.


A Twist of Christmas (2018)

Why have just one single parent who discovers the true meaning of Christmas when you can have two single parents find the true meaning of Christmas together? Busy working mom Abby (Vanessa Lachey) and single dad lawyer Ryan (Brendon Zub) hate each other pretty much on sight, which is the surest recipe for love in the Lifetime Christmas kitchen. When a fateful mix-up at a toy store is poised to ruin Christmas for both families, they can’t help but team up to save Christmas—not realizing they’re falling for each other in the process.


Christmas Lost and Found (2018)

New York City event planner Whitney Kennison (The Good Place’s Tiya Sircar) goes on a literal guilt trip to Chicago to spend Christmas with her Grandma Frances (Diane Ladd). To reward her, Frances decides to give her granddaughter the family ornaments (not a euphemism), but Whitney accidentally throws the box away. Instead of never talking to her again, Grandma Frances devises a Christmas scavenger hunt to remind Whitney about the true meaning of Christmas—and if she happens to find love along the way and move to Chicago and give up her job, even better.


Merry In-Laws (2012)

The holidays are stressful for Mr. and Mrs. Claus, but having to oversee the manufacturing of toys for all the good boys and girls and making deliveries on a very tight deadline is nothing compared to having to hang out with their son’s scientist future wife and her joyless parents. They all believe in science over Christmas, which makes for a very long holiday weekend. Cheers fans will rejoice at the reunion of Shelley Long and George Wendt, who star as the jolly in-laws.


Dear Santa (2011)

Dear Santa stars Amy Acker (of Angel and Alias fame) as a rich girl whose parents threaten to cancel her credit cards if she doesn’t change her life. Her foolproof plan: Make a little girl’s Christmas dream come true by marrying her father. What could possibly go wrong? The icing on this cinematic confection is that it was directed by Beverly Hills 90210 star Jason Priestley. Do you really need to know more than that?


Love at the Christmas Table (2012)

Sam and Kat met at the children’s table one Christmas, kick-starting a lifelong friendship that just might turn into romance. The film earns points for sheer quantity of festivities, with the action unfolding over the course of more than a dozen Christmas Eve parties. As for casting highlights, this film includes Gilmore Girls‘ Luke (Scott Patterson) and not one, but two Dancing With the Stars contestants—Back to the Future‘s Lea Thompson and Danica McKellar.


Christmas in Paradise (2007)

We found it—the only Lifetime Christmas movie that takes place on a cruise ship. Two families, led by Colin Ferguson (Eureka) and Charlotte Ross (NYPD Blue), want to escape the ghosts of their Christmases past, so they hop on a giant boat to Puerto Rico to spend their holidays in the sun. The two families bond, but it’s complicated, especially when his ex-wife shows up.


The Flight Before Christmas (2015)

If you’ve ever dreamed of a Family MattersBig Bang Theory mash-up, then this is our pick for you. Big Bang Theory‘s Mayim Bialik gets dumped by her boyfriend a few days before Christmas and decides she may as well spend the holiday with her family. Unfortunately, bad weather diverts her plane and she ends up in Montana, where she is forced to share the town’s last hotel room with an incredibly attractive stranger (Ryan McPartlin), who just happens to walk around with a towel casually slung around his waist. Helping to extend this meet-cute into a full-length movie are Family Matters stars Reginald VelJohnson and Jo Marie Payton.


The Christmas Gift (2015)

Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Gossip Girl‘s Michelle Trachtenberg plays a reporter seeking the boy who sent her a memorable Secret Santa gift when they were kids. With the blessing of her editor, she uses all her journalistic skills (e.g., wearing a cocktail dress) to track him down so she can thank him in person for the gift. Then, in a very unprofessional—yet not particularly surprising—move, she falls in love with him. If you want to feel extra good about this movie, it was based on a real-life heartwarming story.


The Real St. Nick (2012)

This film, set in a psychiatric hospital, clearly owes a debt to Miracle on 34th Street. Kate, a psychiatrist, is rescued by a mysterious man named Nick Claus. She brings him to her hospital, where he sets about filling the patients with Christmas spirit, infuriating the Scrooge-like hospital administrator, and, of course, winning Kate’s heart.


A Snow Globe Christmas (2013)

Alicia Witt plays a jaded TV executive who gets sucked into an antique snow globe. She’s okay with that, though, because inside the globe it’s always Christmas, she’s married to Scrubs star Donald Faison, and she has two cute kids—plus a guardian angel in the form of Christina Milian.


Santa’s Boots (2018)

It’s easy to imagine this as a Christmas-themed retelling of Kinky Boots, since it involves a family business on the brink of demise, but instead of turning to the world of erotic footwear, the business looks to Santa Claus for a miracle. In the movie, Megan Hilty (better known as Glinda the Good Witch from Wicked) plays Holly (drink for a Christmas name!) who is filling in as a Santa’s Helper at her parents’ struggling department store when she commits the ultimate no-no—she falls for her Santa. Then, jolly old Nick turns into the ghost of boyfriends past and disappears, leaving only a boot behind as a clue. Apparently unaware of ghosting as a modern dating phenomenon, Holly goes on the hunt for him, random boot in hand, turning this from Kinky Boots to Cinderella.


A Very Merry Daughter of the Bride (2008)

The title of this one doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, but it’ll slot right into your comfort viewing schedule. Starring JoAnna Garcia as Roxanne, a wedding planner who sees red flags when her mom gets engaged to a man she hasn’t known for very long, it’s really two love stories for the price of one. 90210 and Riverdale fans will be excited to see Luke Perry pop up here, as Roxanne’s confusingly hot potential new brother-in-law, but honestly, there’s not enough of him in the movie (and that’s why it didn’t rank higher).


Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever (2014)

An internet meme becomes a made-for-TV movie thanks to the wonders of basic cable programming. Strangely more fun than you would expect, particularly because Grumpy Cat spends the entire film making fun of Christmas movie clichés while starring in one.


Dear Secret Santa (2013)

A Ghostbuster (Ernie Hudson), an American Idol (Jordin Sparks), and a Fresh Prince actor star in this Christmas tale inspired by the Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves time-traveling romance The Lake House. Tatyana Ali plays the adorably clumsy Jennifer, who moves back home to care for her aging father and starts getting anonymous letters from a secret admirer, Jack (New Girl‘s Lamorne Morris). This film has something for everyone: romance, Christmas, and interdimensional wormholes.


Hometown Christmas (2018)

Not to be confused with Christmas in the Bayou or The Christmas Contract, in this movie, Beverley Mitchell plays Noelle (drink for a Christmas name!) who returns to Louisiana for Christmas with big plans to resurrect her late mom’s favorite Christmas tradition—the town’s live nativity. She would also like to avoid her ex, Nick (One Tree Hill’s Stephen Colletti), while she’s in town, but what kind of Lifetime movie would it be if she didn’t run into him? The former high school sweethearts are forced to hang out because their parents are hanging out, too, and this just might turn into an episode of Dr. Phil, where a mom and her guy get married, while the step-kids are dating each other. Keep an eye out for Little House on the Prairie star Melissa Gilbert!


Christmas in the City (2013)

Wendy (Ashley Williams) is a single mom who is going to lose her candy shop if she doesn’t raise some fast cash. Instead of turning to Kickstarter, she takes a job in the toy section of a big-city department store at Christmas. While the owner’s son takes a shine to her, she must face off against Teanna, a tough-as-nails marketer played by Ashanti. Will Wendy find love and the riches she needs? Well, it is Christmas on Lifetime.


Last Chance for Christmas (2015)

Hilarie Burton got into Christmas movies on a dare from Paul Rudd, and she has turned that one-off into a career with roles in Christmas on the Bayou, Naughty or Nice, and many more. In this go-round she plays a spunky Alaskan reindeer trainer charged with finding a substitute for Prancer when he injures his hoof. Her character, Annie, is a single mother (of course) who isn’t sure she wants her daughter’s pet reindeer to go to the North Pole. It’s up to Santa’s hunky stablehand to convince her otherwise.


A Gift Wrapped Christmas (2015)

Gwen (Meredith Hagner) is a personal shopper with a new client—Charlie (Travis Milne), a workaholic single dad. If you think they might fall in love by the end of the movie, then you have finally watched enough Lifetime movies to know what you’re in for. Gwen has no understanding of boundaries, and when she meets Charlie’s adorable son, she decides to make it her Christmas mission to bring a little cheer to the family. She not only gets them in the festive spirit, but she also realizes that all she wants for Christmas is them.


Recipe for a Perfect Christmas (2005)

If you have ever wanted to see Christine Baranski reveal her up-to-the-minute tech skills by revealing that she’s “just bought a book on Amazon dot com,” then you’re in luck. Baranski plays Lee, who arrives on her restaurant-critic daughter JJ’s doorstep after losing her job. Perennial hottie Bobby Cannavale stars as a chef JJ asks to help manage her OTT mom and, voilà! Christmas magic happens.


My Christmas Inn (2018)

Tia Mowry-Hardict plays yet another workaholic who thinks she is satisfied with her wildly successful advertising career, but soon realizes there’s more to life, thanks to a deceased aunt who leaves her a cozy inn in Alaska. Instead of selling the inn for a profit and returning to her life in San Francisco, she decides to stay after she experiences the town’s Stars Hollow-meets-Northern Exposure Christmas vibe. Of course, the handsome town attorney, Steve (Rob Mayes), doesn’t hurt either.


Jingle Belle (2018)

Belle (played by Lifetime Christmas troupe member Tatyana Ali) followed her musical dreams to Juilliard in New York City, which is amazing. However, everyone in her hometown is treating her like it was a bad choice, because she broke the heart of her high school sweetheart when she left him behind. She got into Julliard, people, respect! Belle is lured back to town to write music for the town’s 50th anniversary Christmas pageant, which just so happens to be directed by her ex, Mike (Scandal’s Cornelius Smith Jr). While Belle claims she doesn’t “want any messy emotions getting in the way” of their working relationship, is there any doubt that she’ll be giving up her New York City dreams for a rekindled flame by the end of the film? While the premise is annoying, the movie features two Cosby Show alums (Keshia Knight Pulliam and Tempestt Bledsoe).


An En Vogue Christmas (2014)

Any Christmas movie that ends with an En Vogue concert has to automatically be a top contender. Seriously, they could close It Follows with an En Vogue show, and the resulting film could upstage It’s a Wonderful Life as a holiday favorite. This feel-good musical odyssey focuses on a fan (Genelle Williams) who asks the divas to play a benefit concert to save her family’s club. And well, who cares: En Vogue concert!


Seasons of Love (2014)

Taraji P. Henson produced and made a brief appearance in this heartwarming, music-driven movie. Coming along for the ride are Gladys Knight and Method Man, who plays the resident Grinch—an untrustworthy record executive. The drama follows Kyla (LeToya Luckett) and Amir on their journey to the true meaning of Christmas and, duh, love.


Christmas Pen Pals (2018)

Sarah Drew may not be on Grey’s Anatomy anymore, but she already has a new line on her resumé—playing Hannah, a tech genius/dating-app creator who is, funnily enough, bad at love. After getting dumped, she heads home for the holidays, where she runs into her high school boyfriend, as you do in Lifetime movies. Meanwhile, her dad (played by Michael Gross) convinces her to sign up for the anonymous holiday pen pal service (is that a thing?) where the writers’ identities will be revealed on Christmas Eve. If you’ve ever seen You’ve Got Mail you can probably guess where this is going.


Twelve Trees of Christmas (2013)

This movie stars a Spice Girl, so it’s mandatory viewing. Cheri (Lindy Booth) plays a librarian desperate to save her local branch from an evil yet handsome real-estate developer, Tony (Robin Dunne). To raise funds to save the library, she throws a tree-decorating contest and Tony enters with the help of his decorator—Mel B, aka Scary Spice. Will Mel B “Let Love Lead the Way” for Cheri and Tony, or does she “Wannabe” his “Love Thing”?


The Santa Con (2014)

Melissa Joan Hart both directs and stars in this story of yet another single mom whose adorable son asks Santa to reunite his parents for Christmas. The twist comes in the form of a con man (played by 7th Heaven‘s Barry Watson) with a heart of gold who discovers the true meaning of Christmas after getting a job as a department store Santa. Familiar faces include Family Matters‘ Jaleel White, Wendy Williams as a straight-talking pastor, and another Cheers alum, John Ratzenberger.


Holiday High School Reunion (2012)

Imagine Romy & Michele’s High School Reunion with a Christmas backdrop and you’ll have a good feel for Holiday High School Reunion. The film stars Rachel Boston as Georgia, a former cheerleader and aspiring fashion designer who’s desperate to win back her football player ex-boyfriend, Craig. The movie’s most redeeming characteristic is that it’s full of Mean Girls references, including the casting of Jonathan Bennett (aka Aaron “October 3rd” Samuels) as Georgia’s best friend, Ben. If you want to watch this one immediately, we should tell you that the movie was renamed Christmas Crush.


The Christmas Pact (2018)

Not to be confused with The Christmas Contract,this film asks the eternal question: Can best friends fall in love? As anyone who binge-watches Lifetime movies can tell you, the resounding answer is yes! Still, next door neighbors Sadie (Kyla Pratt) and Ben (Jarod Joseph) have to stumble on that realization for themselves. They must decide whether to keep the pact they made over a Christmas tree when they were eight years old or make like Fleetwood Mac and go their own ways. Life may have interfered with their friendship, but it’s nothing that a little Christmas magic can’t cure. Brace yourself for tree metaphors! And A Different World’s Jasmine Guy as a mom!


Holiday Spin (2012)

Opening with a car accident that leaves a young boy motherless, Holiday Spin is designed to be a real tearjerker. The boy, Blake, is forced to go live with his dad, Ruben, played by Ralph Macchio, aka the Karate Kid himself, who is barely keeping his dance studio afloat. The only hope for the studio’s survival is the star dancer (and Ruben’s soon-to-be stepdaughter), Pia, winning big at the annual dance called, you guessed it, the Holiday Spin. When Pia’s partner bails on the competition, guess who has to step in? This movie has everything you could want in a Lifetime flick, including holiday magic, Baywatch‘s Erika Eleniak, and some slightly creepy stepbrother/stepsister crush action.


Kristin’s Christmas Past (2013)

UnREAL‘s Shiri Appleby stars as a woman who gets a do-over when she falls asleep alone on Christmas Eve and wakes up on Christmas morning 17 years in the past. It’s a Christmas miracle that lets her fix the mistakes of her past, correct her fashion faux pas, and, you know, find love and the true meaning of Christmas. Keep an eye out for Lost‘s Elizabeth Mitchell and ’80s icon Judd Nelson.


The Christmas Contract (2018)

This film seems like it should be a sequel to Christmas on the Bayou, what with Hilarie Burton once again playing an attractive workaholic fleeing her big city life to her Southern hometown, but instead it’s a One Tree Hill reunion. Look! There’s Clay! And Antwon! And Rachel! And Chris! As well as revisiting your favorite mid-’00s show, there’s a Christmas-themed love story to tell. Burton’s Jolie can’t stand the idea of going back to Louisiana without a boyfriend to rub in the face of her ex, so she takes a page out of To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before and whips up a contract with her bestie’s brother, Jack (played by Robert Buckley) to pretend to be her boyfriend. Of course, the contract is just the beginning. (Bonus: Since they had the cast around, Lifetime threw a reunion into the holiday mix, with ‘Tis the Season: A One Tree Hill Cast Reunion.)


Wishin’ and Hopin’ (2014)

Now for a 10-year-old boy’s Christmastime in ’60s Connecticut. His adventure begins when a substitute teacher comes up with an outrageous plan to shake up a school’s Christmas pageant, ensuring no one in the town will forget it. Based on the Wally Lamb novel, Wishin’ and Hopin’ has a surprisingly A-list cast, including Molly Ringwald, Chevy Chase, Annabella Sciorra, and SNL‘s Cheri Oteri.


Every Day is Christmas (2018)

Did you ever think you’d see Toni Braxton in a Lifetime movie inspired by the Charles Dickens classic A Christmas Carol? It’s a Christmas miracle inside another Christmas miracle! Braxton plays a workaholic money manager who says “Bah humbug” to love. That all changes over the course of one crazy night when the spirit of Christmas takes her on a trip through her romantic past, present, and future, and reminds her that love is the greatest gift of all.


12 Men of Christmas (2009)

Emmy- and Tony-winning actress Kristen Chenoweth plays driven New York City publicist E.J. Baxter, who loses both her job and her fiancé at the office Christmas party. Her only choice is to move to Montana and convince a bunch of hunky search-and-rescue volunteers to pose nude for a fundraising calendar. Luckily, she is very good at her job. Keep your eyes peeled for a pre-Veep Anna Chlumsky, playing E.J.’s eager assistant. It’s not just the great casting that makes this one shine—its Christmas feels are real.


On the 2nd Day of Christmas (1997)

Everyone has to start somewhere. Mark Ruffalo, Oscar-nominated actor and everyone’s favorite hunky Hulk, took an early shot with this made-for-TV Christmas romance. The film revolves around Patsy, a pint-size con artist, and her criminally minded aunt (played by Mary Stuart Masterson). A baby-faced Ruffalo plays Bert, the world-weary security guard who busts them on Christmas Eve. Bert’s boss orders him to watch over the thieves until the jails reopen (…okay?)—and that’s when the Christmas magic takes hold. We just can’t resist this ghost of Ruffalo past.


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