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This year, I’ve been ill for the pre-holiday season, which means that instead of being at work all day and working on writing in the evenings, I’ve been vegging on the sofa with my trusty tissue box. This has given me ample time to watch excessive amounts of Hallmark and Lifetime holiday movies.

I’ll begin by admitting that I love cheesy holiday love stories. I’m not Christian, but I still love the movies. (I’m Pagan, and Solstice–with all the trimmings–is pretty much where all the Christmas traditions come from.) My all-time favorite is Holiday in Handcuffs, not only because of the handcuffs, but because I have a soft spot for Melissa Joan Hart and Mario Lopez. But that wasn’t on this year. Here’s a brief overview of SOME of the movies I watched.

nutcrackerA Nutcracker Christmas (Amy Acker and Sascha Radetsky)–3 Stars. A great take on a second chance romance. Amy Acker does a job on the stage, and she has great chemistry with the male lead, but the story glosses over their early romance to focus on them getting back together 8 years later. I liked this one, but I feel like I could have bonded with the major players better if the hero and heroine had spent more time together. The character of Mark was a bit underdeveloped, which was a shame because they gave him an interesting backstory. Overall, I liked it, but I probably wouldn’t see it again. (I am not a fan of ballet, so that colors my opinion.)

Heaven Sent (Christian Kane and Marley Shelton)–5 stars. Okay, I’ll admit that I heaven-senthad no intention of watching this one. When the holiday shows get all preachy and overtly religious, I tend to steer clear of them. However, I love Christian Kane. I still call him Lindsay from when he was in Angel–doesn’t matter what role he plays. In Heaven Sent, we get the story of a couple in the midst of divorce. I loved that the backstory unfolded as the characters developed. Kane and Shelton have chemistry, and it’s apparent that Billy and Marie Taylor still very much love each other. When a little runaway angel winds up in their house, they band together to take care of this little celestial girl. As the time they spend together becomes more and more meaningful for them, the heartbreak of their story is revealed. I won’t spoil the ending for you, but I’ll warn you to have tissues handy. I sobbed like a baby.

family-for-christmasFamily for Christmas (Lacey Chabert and Tyron Leitso)–4 stars. Whenever I see something with former Party of Five star Lacey Chabert, I always check it out. She’s just as cute now as she was then. Add to that Director Amanda Tapping’s talent (I miss SG-1) and there was no way I wasn’t watching. Family for Christmas is that take on the “It’s a Wonderful Life” trope, only in this one Hannah wishes to know what her life would be like if she’d married her college sweetheart. She wakes up to find her high-powered city life is gone, and now she’s a stay-at-home mom with two kids. What I particularly liked about this is that she didn’t have to choose between motherhood and a career. The ending was perfect, as I’d expect from an Amanda Tapping venture.

Snow Bride (Katrina Law and Jordan Belfi)–5 stars. I’ll admit to having the hots for snow-brideKatrina Law. In this movie, Greta Kaine plays a tabloid reporter who finds her way into the holiday home of the Tannenhills (a Kennedy-esque political family). This is her ticket to journalistic fame, but when she falls for the eldest son, Ben, she starts listening to her moral compass. The characters were loveable–Greta, who finds love and the career she’s always wanted, and Ben, the dutiful political son who doesn’t want to go into politics–and the storyline was well-executed. You definitely get that “Awwwww” moment that makes your heart happy. I’ve watched this one twice already.

I’ve watched a ton more, but these ones were the most memorable for me right now. Have you seen any of these? Do you have others you liked that weren’t mentioned here? I’d love to hear about them.

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