How to Write a Hallmark Channel Christmas Movie

I adore Hallmark Channel Christmas movies. I adore Christmas. In fact, if I were an actor, all I would do is Hallmark Channel Christmas movies. (Is it too late for me?)

Therefore, I feel like kind of an expert on these movies so if you ever fancied yourself a screenwriter wanting to cut your teeth on fake snow and Candace Cameron Bure vehicles, then you should follow my advice on how to write a Hallmark Channel Christmas movie. I’ll be watching!

Detour right to my DVR, Candice!
Detour right to my DVR, Candace!

Take 1 from each column:

You are:

  • A single, lonely, but optimistic woman
  • A bitter, hardnosed, overworked professional desperate for a promotion
  • An naive, sweet do-gooder who knows deep inside she’s engaged to the wrong man, but doesn’t want to hurt his feelings by dumping him
  • An agent of Mr./Mrs. Claus
  • Apathetic or downright hostile towards the holidays due to a circumstance you only feel comfortable talking about to strangers when the moon is full and snow is falling
  • A young widower with chiseled good looks, doing the best he can to raise the three kids he rescued from a J. Crew catalog
  • Royalty

 Who is:

  • Wishing you didn’t have to spend the holidays alone
  • Sick of the holidays and everyone around you
  • Trying to take over a town/favorite landmark/small business
  • Trying to save a hometown/favorite landmark/small business
  • Trying to maintain a brave face in front of the kids even though you find the holidays insufferable
  • Trying to help a single, lonely, but affable woman/a hardnosed, overworked woman/naïve, sweet do-gooder engaged to the wrong guy/a widow or widower/undercover royalty/small town find the true meaning of Christmas
  • Misdirecting your grief over losing one or both of your parents/guardians when you were a child and acting out against everyone and everything. Even though it happens at this time every year, your misery always takes you by surprise
  • Yearning for a different life

 So you:

  • Throw yourself into your work hoping the long nights at the office will give you the same comfort a pair of loving arms would provide. Or so you imagine.
  • Dedicate yourself to helping others less fortunate
  • Escape to your rustic-inspired-luxury equipped, snow-covered cabin in the middle of nowhere to eat minestrone soup in front of a fire while your Excel spreadsheets keep you company
  • Run over everyone who gets in the way of achieving your life goal, or at least this month’s sales quota
  • Fight the urge to dump your betrothed in favor of the cute, single man you met while he was browsing the cute shop you own looking for a gift for his cute niece whom he simply adores.
  • Bake
  • Befriend a determined, hopeful, freckled child of a single mom who adores Christmas almost as much as you do
  • Pick a major American city, pack your Louis Vuitton suitcase and man servant, and go undercover

When suddenly you:

  • Literally stumble into a handsome, single, man wearing a cashmere, ¾ length topcoat with a full head of hair snowflakes take a remarkably long time to melt in
  • Find yourself having inappropriate feelings for the man who is trying to takeover your town/favorite landmark/small business
  • Come across a holiday stigmata that propels a tiny bubble of hope to rise to the surface of your cold, dank corn husk of a heart, despite your best efforts to thwart it
  • Feel yourself falling for your impeccably-coiffed children’s teacher, but suppress your feelings realizing how selfish you’re being
  • Are forced to identify your true self by pulling off several miracles so the dubious townspeople will listen to your wisdom
  • Win a huge payout from national a cookie baking competition your best friend secretly entered you in
  • Fall for a waitress

 Which results in:

  • Falling unexpectedly in love
  • Falling unexpectedly in love and saving your town/favorite landmark/small business
  • Falling unexpectedly in love and recapturing the Christmas spirit that vanished after your parents/guardian were tragically taken away when you were a child
  • Falling unexpectedly in love and throwing a huge holiday party to apologize for the whole town you insulted/tried to buy before realizing the error of your ways
  • Falling unexpectedly in love with a person who sincerely loved you even before they realized you were a prince/princess
  • Falling unexpectedly in love and using your massive windfall to give orphaned children the Christmas of their dreams
  • Helping a single, lonely, but affable woman/a hardnosed, overworked woman/naïve, sweet do-gooder engaged to the wrong guy/a widow or widower/undercover royalty fall unexpectedly in love

And scene!

Nothing makes me as warm and tingly as a bevy of Hallmark Channel Christmas soon-to-be classic movies. Except maybe a hot toddy sipped in front of an unyielding log burning in an abandoned hunting lodge fireplace while puffs of snow as pillowy as homemade ravioli begin to melt from the Land’s End sheathed shoulders of a man who looks like a commoner but is probably the heir to a shopping mall fortune, who rescued my Yorkie and I after we fell through the ice of the pond I had my first in front of. See that? You will if you tune in to the Hallmark Channel right now.

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14 thoughts on “How to Write a Hallmark Channel Christmas Movie

  1. I think you have built the ultimate plot generator for Hallmark movies.

    I’m just glad you didn’t binge watch Lifetime Movie Channel over the holidays…

  2. Katie, thank you! I’m sure your kids will come around. Or you’ll catch them downloading videos on their iPads and watching them in secret. Also, your site is gorgeous! I’m pinning things like crazy!

  3. or a couple of interns working at hallmark accidentally mix up the Rolodexes their rivaling producer bosses use to come up with the opium for the, er, movies for the people who like Christ,as traditions, and as they try to fix the mix up of the Rolodexes their rivaling producer bosses end up falling in love with the actor/actress who is starring in the other’s movie, and in the process heal their traumas, workaholicness, a dying guineapig, and the owner of hallmar whose name happens to be Scroge and is secretly posing as the Santa/janitor of hallamrk’s department store branch where the interns are also window designers. At the end, Candace cameron Burke marries the finance guy who is also a prince trying to avoid a life of a loveless arranged marriage in his kingdom which looks just like small town in California but with snow….

    If I were a producer, I would totally bank that idea.

  4. Dear Hallmark Producers we love the Christmas movies and the themes l, just wanted to know one thing why is there not more African Americans playing lead rolls for hallmark showing struggles of small black populated towns as well. Is there going to be some up coming rolls and movies with these rolls soon???? A lot of us was talking about it and wanted to know if there would be or is it only Caucasian movies only???…

  5. How does one truly get into the business of writing hallmark movies? I write stories and scripts as a hobby? I have tons of ideas.

  6. Dear writers,
    I’ve been watching your channels for as long as I can remember! All shows and movies that touch the heart. And love them all!
    Please bring back Nancy Drew! I loved the series of books. When I see your actress Lori Loughlin, she reminds me of Nancy Drew. Anyway, just one for the suggestion box.
    Eliz G.

  7. Is there anyplace where we can read a screenplay that’s been made and produced for Hallmark? I have the idea and have started one but I’d just like to see how it’s written – if more dialogue than action as I suspect – the length, etc.

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