Best 9 Hallmark Holiday Movie Formula Keeps Us Coming Back Time and Again

When you turn on the TV these days, it seems like someone’s always talking aggressively, there’s something violent happening, and there’s an awful lot of skin flashing around. Research and psychology tell producers and marketers this is what the population wants, right?

So what’s Hallmark’s deal? How do they cram in so much brand new cheesy goodness throughout the year and stay successful following the exact opposite formula of what they say works best? Well, Hallmark has got what they do down to a science and it works.

Here are some things you might not know about how Hallmark Holiday Movie pumps out exactly what we want in our holiday movies.

1- If you think your job requires you to do way too much in too small of a timeframe, you might have to adjust that thinking. Hallmark movies have a pretty strict time limit for the production of each film.

Imagine filming every single scene you need to be able to put together into a cohesive, enjoyable holiday movie in just two to three weeks. That’s kind of crazy if you think about it. I’d be lucky to mow my lawn twice in two to three weeks.

2- Anyone who’s ever lived paycheck to paycheck knows that a tightly planned out budget makes a world of difference in how far a dollar can be stretched. Hallmark gives every single movie a budget of less than $2,000,000.

While you and I could get a whole lot done with that kind of money, Hallmark has every single cent assigned to a specific function. From paying for talent to makeup and hair, everyone has got to get paid. Costume designers, camera operators, sound engineers, and more all need their own paycheck.

When you spread $2,000,000 out over many different jobs while creating sets and snow, things start to look a little lean. With this kind of frugality, it’s amazing what they can pull off in each holiday movie.

3- Since the streaming trend is here to stay, businesses are becoming more hesitant to invest in advertising. Commercials have been a huge part of marketing pretty much since the advent of television, but people aren’t watching cable anymore.

holiday movie

Confidence in being able to reach potential customers this way is pretty unsteady. But Hallmark continues to be one of the few places that advertisers feel confident giving their advertising dollars and they do just that. Some big companies are even teaming up with Hallmark to have their product placed in movies.

Don’t be surprised to see the main character using a recognizable brand or driving a car without its logo blurred out. The smart advertising money is on Hallmark and nowhere else.

4- I’m terrible at remembering names. But if a person prompts an emotional response in any way, I won’t forget it. Hallmark’s entire Christmas movie model is created to stimulate warmth, familiarity, and connection. These are all positive emotions and they appeal to a wide range of age groups.

Hallmark’s entire Christmas movie

From the very young to the very old, Hallmark is guaranteed to be a place where you can be entertained while feeling pretty darn good for about two hours.

5- Location is key to the successful holiday backdrop Hallmark requires for each one of its Christmas movies. That’s why they shoot a huge number of its Christmas films in Canada.

holiday backdrop

Canada has the small-town feelings required in most Hallmark movies as well as some pretty big tax breaks. Remember that strict budget? Filming in Canada helps every dollar go a little bit farther.

6- While Canada seems to be the perfect place to film, there can only be so many towns that will tolerate the disruption of filming for so long. How does Hallmark do it?

holiday movies in Canada

Hallmark recycles the same locations over and over again. And the secret to this is redecorating. By utilizing snow and decorations, Hallmark has mastered the art of disguise to create completely new-looking towns over and over again.

7- There are two kinds of people in the world. One group of people firmly believe that you don’t do anything Christmas-related until Thanksgiving is over.

The second group of people believes that if it’s cold, it’s time to bring on the Christmas vibes! I’m most definitely with the second group of people and so is Hallmark.

If you’ve been a fan of their Countdown to Christmas for any length of time, then you know the celebration starts before Halloween has come and gone.

Movies from previous seasons play from late October while new movies are liberally peppered to premier throughout the countdown.

To be honest, I don’t want to live in a world without Hallmark’s extended Countdown to Christmas. And I still think that the first group of people are good inside. They just haven’t been able to accept the joy that a nice, long holiday season can bring.

8- Predictable and safe content on Hallmark defies what the rest of the world thinks we want for entertainment. Maybe I’m just sensitive, but I don’t feel very good after watching something intended to bring extreme, stressful emotions to the surface.

Hallmark movie

I’m constantly leaving media that I don’t want to consume and returning to Hallmark. Even if the main character of a Hallmark movie has some kind of struggle, it’s relatable and isn’t likely to shock or horrify a viewer.

It’s safe and good. We want to connect with those kinds of things. And Hallmark has mastered the art of bringing the good to us.

9-  I like to imagine what the world would be like if every single profession was able to find employees who genuinely care about whatever it is that they do. The kind of happiness and satisfaction for employees would surely be felt all the way down to the consumer.


Hallmark started focusing on hiring people who wholeheartedly care about their products a long time ago, and it shows in the way viewers connect with their Christmas movies. The more everyone involved in a Christmas movie believes in their purpose, the more it comes through in the finished product.

I’d say with Hallmark’s continued success, this is a plan more workplaces need to pay attention to.

Hallmark Holiday Movie is Magical

Even without knowing these fun tidbits about how Hallmark makes their movies special, fans have already picked up on the magic that comes with watching them.

Hallmark knows that its intent on every level matters, and is smart to stick with it. The proof is in their almost unexplainable, miraculous success.

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