It’s not called “the heart of TV” for nothing, and the Hallmark Channel has a whole new cache of Christmas movies to warm you up this year. The festivities start in just a week, and for those who love the holidays, here are a few of the best from the dozen new features for 2013.
The Thanksgiving House. With plenty of familiar favorites in the cast, and a heartwarming story fusing the first Thanksgiving with the modern “media connected” today, the story is a perfect start to the holiday season. Emily Rose stars as Mary, who has just inherited her great aunt “Philly’s” house in Plymouth, MA, of all places. Justin Bruening, currently starring on “Hawaii Five-O”, portrays Everett, who is after a prized archaeological discovery on the site. Faith, family, and courtship at last come together, and it’s nice to see familiar favorite actors, Bruce Boxleitner, (also starring in the Hallmark series “Cedar Cove”) and Lindsay Wagner as un-meddling parents.
Pete’s Christmas. This is a fun one for the house full of out-of-school kids to see. In a mix of Groundhog Day and sort of A Christmas Carol, the story centers around the worst of all Christmases for Pete. The worst part is, he has to relive it again and again! When he meets a new girl (Bailee Madison), however, he learns to appreciate life rather than recall only past problems. The tale is a modern fable for living in gratitude, and veteran star, Bruce Dern, is a nice surprise, too. Hallmark executives seem to remember that older actors still can act.
The Christmas Ornament. Purely touching, this little gem brings back TV treasures, Kellie Martin and Cameron Matheson. This lovely story of second-chance romance revolves around Martin as Kathy, a widow struggling to find her way and find some joy in Christmas when she meets Tim (Matheson) in a Christmas tree lot. She is torn between holding to memories or holding to belief in a new love and a new future. Moving to anyone who has loved, lost, and lived enough to know the lessons of starting over, this one is worth more than one viewing.
The Christmas Spirit. Worth the wait until its December debut, this is a delicious treat for any fans who love seeing saucy Olympia Dukakis on the screen again. It’s a fun feud of feminine wit and wiles, as Dukakis holds firm against the plans of a real estate developer.
Santa Switch. It’s easy to forget that Sean Astin is an Oscar nominee as a filmmaker (Kangaroo Court), with all his television credits, and he is as delicious and cute as a Christmas cookie in this yarn, in which even Kris Kringle needs a little rest and relaxation at the worst time! A divorced dad, desperate for a job (Ethan Erickson) is recruited for temporary help, and thank goodness for Eddie, Santa’s Elf in charge, captured perfectly by Astin. Eight to eighty will chuckle at this one, and go off to bed with a smile.
Premieres begin for the 2013 season on November 2.