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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!

With this wreath, I thee wed. Also with these green and red holiday sweaters.

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.

Shelly Mazzanoble

38 Replies to “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.

  8. I have an AMAZING idea for a Christmas Hallmark Movie. I have no idea whom to contact to move forward with it. I am 48 years old and have this idea (really a wish) since I was 17. I am such a fan of the Hallmark channel and in watching the Christmas special I have no doubt that my idea will blow most of the out of the water. Can you please help me?

    Thank you,
    Angela Elliott

  9. My family and I enjoy watching movies on the Hallmark channel, but over the years Hallmark movies have been losing their focus on what the true meaning of Christmas is. Christmas isn’t about getting so many presents or Santa claus or about magic!! Santa Claus is not the True meaning of Christmas. Christmas is about the birth of Jesus. Honestly, Hallmark Channel should be making more movies like that. I would like to see you in the real meaning of Christmas instead of doing Santa claus movie. Also, Thanksgiving is a big holiday as well, its about being grateful of what you have in your life. I feel like all the TV shows forget about Thanksgiving and just jump right into Christmas, which is not right! There needs to be a change.

  10. I never miss hallmark Christmas movies but this year they have been so repetitive. Old flames, widowed moms or dads

  11. My family member has produced a few Hallmark movies and keeps telling me to write out the beats for one- I am totally thinking about using this generator and sending it to her to see what she says. Hilariously enough it follows the one I recently wrote pretty well- any ideas for a unique meet cute for a widowed er doctor helping a low profile royal in her hospital (chiseled and in a 3/4 length cashmere coat of course)? She has had some trouble with her Christmas spirit since her husband died but she has to keep it together for the sake of her daughter. LOL

  12. We discussed it further and I am working on something. It isn’t at all what I posted above (natch) but if a million things go right and it ends up being a movie I will come back and tell you! I wish I could pick your Hallmarkified brain. Have you noticed how many lawyers there are?

  13. Shelly, do you happen to know the cut-off date for Hallmark Christmas script submissions? And do you happen to know if the entertainment industry is already shut down for the holidays? My writing partner and I have been submitting our first Hallmark-type movie and had some script requests, but I just sent out more submission and this time, crickets. Thanks.

  14. Dear Shelly:

    I thought it would be a little fun thing to do, is to create a little site that picks the information you put. This will happen randomly and automatically. I, myself, will probably be creating a Hallmark script based off of that.

    If this is something you want taken down, let me know.

    Let us become a world where the movies live from within.

    God Bless.


    John German

  15. How exciting! The script, I mean– not the crickets. I don’t know the cut-off date for scripts unfortunately but you have to keep me posted if you hear any news! Good luck!

  16. My name is Esther J. Crockett I love watching the Hallmark channel.
    I’m writing to inquire about different clothing items I’ve seen various actresses have worn in different movies. Is there some way I could find out where they were purchased. Lacey wore a sweater in the movie the sweetest Christmas.
    Thank You
    Esther J. Crockett

  17. Looking to Hallmark Movie made about couple where one of the spouses are going to pass away. Together they work to find someone for the surviving spouse to carry on with for a future lives together.

  18. Like everyone here, I love Hallmark movies! My 10 yr old daughter and I watch every one together. Making our own memories, I guess. I have a question, how does someone submit a song to Hallmark to be considered for a movie? Or is that even possible? Thanks!

  19. That’s a great question! People always ask about submitting scripts but the music has to come from somewhere. I honestly have no idea. I don’t write for Hallmark. I just love the movies!

  20. Hi Shelly! Thanks for responding. Looks like I’ve got a Hallmark mystery on my hands!

  21. I just finished listening to an On Point radio show about Hallmark Christmas movies. The poor, On Point host, gingerly tip-toed through this gooey, syrupy topic, as though she feared she’d never be able to lead a discussion on TRUMP again! Between listening to On Point and checking-out a Hallmark webpage trumpeting the roster of Christmas movies they’ve produced, I now confidently understand that the Hallmark Channel’s Christmas movies are a place where white, suburban women can go for some dreamy downtime. (And where former community theater actors can now get their SAG membership cards.) Nothing wrong with that. No judgments here. Movies for Stepford Wives? That’s a bit harsh, right? Hallmark should simply own up to representing the white women holiday television viewing market, and make advertising hay while the snow falls. People of color? LGBTQ participation? No, no, no – minorities please go elsewhere. It ain’t happening here. It doesn’t have to!

  22. My name is Mr. Anthony Pondillo and I would like to write for Hallmark as I am a talented writer with a lot of great ideas. I can be reached at (917) 941-9885.

  23. Hi Anthony! I don’t actually work for Hallmark or have any say in who they hire. If I did, you’d be in! I’m just a fan of the holiday movies like you. Good luck!

  24. I am actually a novelist (published in multiple languages) and have been dabbling with a Hallmark Christmas screenplay for a few years, based in my hometown. This Christmas, I decided it’s time to finish it. Do you know of production companies or a contact where I could submit? I’m not sure this is something my agent would handle.
    Thanks, Maryann

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