Like ugly Christmas sweaters, terrible holiday movies are an inexplicable part of what makes this season so wonderful. Credible plots, big-budget sets, and actors who can just say their damn lines with a little feeling can wait until the sled-dog days of February. Now is the season for a big city gal to head back to Smallsville just in time to save the Olde Time-y Festival and make Christmas The Way it Used to Be. At the end of Act III, her false eyelashes will flutter up at a doughy-faced hero whose only defining characteristic seems to be “looks like he’s probably never started a bar fight,” and you’ll take another satisfied sip on your drink as the credits roll.
The worse the movie, the more potently delicious your potable should be, so we’ve got some pairings that should knock your holiday socks right off. They’ve been carefully selected to provide the perfect complement to your viewing, derived through an intense review of plotline, location, and also what might sound good right about now. Cheers!
Try not to think about how Laura Osnes and Aaron Tveit are both Tony nominees or worry about the circumstances that landed two incognito royals in “Kentsbury” during a snowstorm. Please don’t notice that the “rustic lodge” looks like the great room of a timeshare condo in Saskatchewan. Just wait for the obligatory gazebo scene (what is it with these movies and gazebos, anyway?) and take several long, calming sips of Mr. and Mrs. Romance’s Kir Royale, a cocktail that’s fit for royalty, even if this film is a little less so.
Lacey Chabert has appeared in more than 20 Hallmark movies. Is it her worst outing? Or is it her finest performance? After enough cocktails, you might not care. In this particular run up the chimney, she plays a pastry chef who’s competing in the finals of the American Gingerbread Competition, because of course there is one of these. And in the spirit of “Christmas accidents are extra romantic,” she falls off a ladder while decorating a Christmas tree—into the arms of her culinary school sweetheart, Nick, a man about whom it can be said, “Welp, that’s a strangely symmetrical hairline.” The synopsis tells us that Lacey “must embrace the Christmas Spirit or risk losing both the contest and her new love.” The only thing you have to lose is here is time, so tip back a Gingerbread Martini from the Eat. Drink. Love. blog.
A woman decides that the vibrancy of metropolitan living suits her perfectly and she stays in town over the holiday to get some work done. Just kidding! Of course our heroine, Brooke, heads home to her small town to help a struggling local winery by using her business lady brain. She falls in love with the winery’s stubborn owner, who might have oppositional defiant disorder or who might just need to meet The Right Woman. If you mix channels and watch a Lifetime movie while drinking Hallmark Channel wine, will you get a headache? Drop a straw in that bottle of Jingle (Cabernet Sauvignon) or Joy (Sauvignon Blanc) and you might find out by the time you get to the bottom.
Dermot Mulroney plays a has-been with a secret—and no, it’s not that he peaked in 1997 with My Best Friend’s Wedding. He’s a once-great journalist with an assignment to take a cross-country train ride at Christmas (people cannot get enough of those train-related feature stories these days, obviously). The synopsis says he has “no idea this journey will take him into the rugged terrain of his own heart.” If that sounds like a recipe for cardiac arrest, no worries. Sip along with this Absolut Train Wreck recipe from Dirty Drinks, and all will be revealed.
Shakespeare liked to use the device of mistaken identities in his comedies. Hallmark does that too, with a bit less success. But there’s a lot more hot chocolate, so take that, Bard of Avon. In this offering, there’s a baker named Molly, a single dad named something else, a Christmas market, and a few more things you don’t have to worry about. But be on the lookout for a possible plot twist when, as the synopsis says, “a special wish to be delivered by Christmas could help determine who will win Molly’s heart.” If you’ve mixed yourself a Baker’s Tarte from Difford’s Guide, your special wish might be for another drink right about now.
Hannah Harper has come to the town of Cookie Jar (okay, sure) to buy Aunt Sally’s Christmas Cookie Company and shut down its factory, because No Christmas Spirit. After just a few hours in town, she goes completely rogue, skipping out of evildoing and spreadsheet-reading in favor of sledding, snowman-making, and securing a hot date to the Christmas dance with a guy who looks vaguely like a Members Only jacket model, circa 1997. (Hey! Maybe he knows Dermot Mulroney!) With this kind of work ethic, she’ll be on unemployment come January. While you watch her make a career’s worth of bad choices in a mere 84 minutes, tip back your own Christmas Cookie Cocktail from Salt and Lavender’s recipe.