Sweater weather is coming, and we all know what that means: Hallmark will soon be filling the airwaves with heartwarming holiday films that bring so much joy, it feels like being a kid at Christmas.
This year's slate includes a bevy of films in the Countdown to Christmas lineup, which will be shown on the Hallmark Channel, as well as in the Miracles of Christmas lineup, which will be shown on the Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Channel. Both of the holly and jolly lineups feature films that star soap opera favorites, including a groundbreaking (for Hallmark) LGBT film with Jonathan Bennett (ex-J.R. Chandler, All My Children).
"Our holiday table is bigger and more welcoming than ever. This year's movies reflect our most diverse representation of talent, narratives, and families, including The Christmas House featuring a storyline about a gay couple looking to adopt their first child, and starring Jonathan Bennett in an ensemble cast," Michelle Vicary, EVP, Programming, said in a statement. "Our movies are rooted in warmth and positivity, meaningful connections, family gatherings, and seasonal traditions -- a winning formula we hope will bring our millions of viewers much-needed levity and holiday cheer at the end of a tough year."
Keep reading for a complete list of every Hallmark Countdown to Christmas and Miracles of Christmas film that features a soap opera star this year, including the films' airdates and synopses.
Hallmark's Countdown to Christmas Schedule (all movies premiere at 9PM ET)
Stars: Ashley Williams (ex-Danielle Andropoulos, As the World Turns) and Niall Matter
Summary: Single mom Maggie (Williams) is facing Christmas alone until Lucas (Matter) crashes into her life and becomes an unexpected houseguest. Together, they overcome Christmas while finding comfort in their growing bond.
Stars: Ryan Paevey (ex-Nathan West, General Hospital) and Erin Cahill (ex-Cassandra, GH)
Summary: Charles Whitley (Paevey) travels from 1903 to 2020, where he meets Megan Turner (Cahill), a tour guide at his historic mansion, and experiences a 21st century Christmas.
Stars: Robert Buckley, Jonathan Bennett (ex-J.R. Chandler, AMC), Ana Ayora, Treat Williams, Sharon Lawrence, and Brad Harder
Summary: Working through some difficult decisions, Mitchell family matriarch Phylis (Lawrence) and patriarch Bill (Williams) have summoned their two grown sons -- TV star Mike (Buckley) and Brandon (Bennett) -- home for the holidays. It is their hope that bringing the family together to recreate the Christmas house will help them find resolution and make a memorable holiday for the entire family and community. As Brandon and his husband, Jake (Harder), make the trip home, they are anxiously awaiting a call about the adoption of their first child. Meanwhile, Mike reconnects with Andi (Ayora), his high school sweetheart.
Stars: Alison Sweeney (Sami Brady, Days of our Lives) and Marc Blucas
Summary: Two competing TV hosts (Sweeney and Blucas) are sent to a festive small town over Christmas. While pretending to get along for the sake of appearances, they discover that there's more to each other than they thought.
Stars: Bethany Joy Lenz (ex-Michelle Bauer, Guiding Light) and Victor Webster
Summary: After moving back to her hometown, Lisa (Lenz) plots with her siblings and grandparents to help her father's new bed and breakfast get a five-star review from an incognito travel critic (Webster) but ends up falling for him, not knowing he is the real critic.
Stars: Holly Robinson Peete, Colin Lawrence, Rukiya Bernard, Antonio Cayonne, and Barbara Niven (ex-Liz Coleman, OLTL)
Summary: As Michelle's (Peete) wedding approaches, Hannah (Bernard) steps up to help finish the launch of the new Evergreen museum while questioning her relationship and future with Elliot (Cayonne).
Hallmark Movies & Mysteries' Miracles of Christmas Schedule (all movies premiere at 9PM ET)
Stars: Alicia Witt, Andrew Walker, Drake Hogestyn (John Black, DAYS), and Briana Price
Summary: Music store owner Meg (Witt) spearheads the community effort to save the Christmas Tree Lane shopping district from demolition. As she finds herself falling for Nate (Walker), a recent acquaintance, she's thrown when she learns of his surprising tie to the developer. For more about this film, check out Soap Central's previous story about Hogestyn joining the cast here.
Stars: Catherine Bell and Mark Deklin (ex-Joe, Guiding Light)
Summary: When Joan's (Bell) son's wedding planner unexpectedly quits, she must coordinate his Christmas Eve wedding with the help of Beau (Deklin), the bride's uncle. As they work alongside each other, they discover their fates and pasts are intertwined.
Stars: Jen Lilley (ex-Theresa Donovan, DAYS), Trevor Donovan (ex-Jeremy Horton, DAYS), and Barbara Niven (ex-Liz Coleman, OLTL)
Summary: Maddie (Lilley), a reporter for a Norfolk newspaper, embarks on a Tiger Cruise during Christmastime, where she meets a handsome naval officer (Donovan) and stumbles upon a mystery in the ship's archive room.
Stars: Lacey Chabert (ex-Bianca Montgomery, AMC) and Stephen Huszar
Summary: Five guests are mysteriously invited to an inn to celebrate Christmas. With the help of the owner Ben (Huszar), Sarah (Chabert) discovers that an event from the past may connect them and change their lives forever. Executive produced by Blake Shelton.
Stars: Brooke D'Orsay and Sam Page (ex-Trey Shepard, AMC)
Summary: After 15 years, Pat (Page) moves home from Hawaii with his two sons and through a series of coincidences, or Godwinks, ends up stuck in traffic next to his high school sweetheart, Margie (D'Orsay), at Christmas.
What do you think about the Hallmark holiday films that star soap opera actors this year? Which of the Christmas films are you most looking forward to watching? We want to hear from you -- and there are many ways you can share your thoughts.