Twelve Days of Christmas is such a quaint concept. Now, thanks to television, it’s 55.
Hallmark Channel leads the post-Halloween haste to celebrate the Yuletide. Its first of 17 new original holiday movies airs on the first day of November. Twelve of those 17 films premiere this month.
The network’s annual Countdown to Christmas lineup will feature more than 1,300 hours of Christmas-themed content over the next two months.
Last year’s Countdown to Christmas brought 74 million viewers to Hallmark Channel in November and December. The programming stunt has become “a beloved and important holiday tradition for families nationwide,” says Michelle Vicary, executive vice president of programming.
Hallmark Channel executives consider the “Countdown to Christmas” programming “a beloved and important holiday tradition” of its own.
Plus, on a more cynical note, it’s the perfect platform for retailers/advertisers to promote the spirit of shopping and spending.
Other networks, such as Lifetime, ABC Family and Food Network will get in on the action in due time.
Here are some of the earliest Christmas TV offerings. We’ll be back next month with the rest:
‘Tis the Season for Love (7 p.m. Sunday, Hallmark): Feeling like a failure, a struggling New York actress returns to the small town she left behind, reconnecting with former high school friends and also finding unexpected romance. Sarah Lancaster and Brendan Penny star.
Holiday Baking Championship (8 p.m. Sunday, Food Network): Season 2 features 10 talented bakers competing to create the most irresistibly delicious Thanksgiving and Christmas treats. The winner pockets a $50,000 grand prize.
Rodeo & Juliet (8 p.m. Friday, UP tv): Krista Allen stars as a big-city girl who visits the family farm, where she bonds with a special horse and a handsome young cowboy, guaranteeing that she’ll have a Christmas she’ll never forget. Tim Abell and Buck Taylor also star.
Ice Sculpture Christmas (7 p.m. Saturday, Hallmark): During a Christmas ice-sculpting competition at an exclusive country club, romantic sparks heat things up for the mismatched members of one team. Rachel Boston, David Alpay and Brenda Strong star.
Christmas Trade (6 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 8, UP): William Baldwin stars as a career-oriented single father who is forced to see the world through the eyes of his 11-year-old son when some Christmas magic switches their bodies. Denise Richards and Tom Arnold also star.
In the Food Network’s “All-Star Gingerbread Build,” airing Nov. 28, celebrity chefs spend 72 hours building a spectacular gingerbread abode.
Charming Christmas (7 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 8, Hallmark): Department store employees are not in a festive spirit as Christmas approaches. But the store’s new Santa Claus brings joy to all — and romance to the no-nonsense manager. Julie Benz and David Sutcliffe star.
Cake Wars: Christmas (8 p.m. Monday, Nov. 9, Food Network): In this series, seven teams (consisting of a cake artist, a sugar sculptor and master food carver) create outrageous cake displays. The winning team takes home $50,000.
I’m Not Ready for Christmas (7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 14, Hallmark): Alicia Witt stars as a career-driven woman on the fast track in the advertising world who has lost touch with the caring person she once was. But her niece’s holiday wish to Santa turns things around.
A Dogwalker’s Christmas Tale (6 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 15, UP): A college student works during the holidays walking a real-estate magnate’s dog — and she discovers that development plans will mean the end to a quaint local dog park. Lexi Giovagnoli, Dina Meyer and Patrick Muldoon star.
Christmas Incorporated (7 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 15, Hallmark): When a young woman is hired after a case of mistaken identity, she hides the truth so she can help her boss save a town at risk of losing its main source of income during the holiday season. Shenae Grimes-Beech stars.
Northpole: Open for Christmas (7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 21, Hallmark): A businesswoman, devoid of holiday spirit, plans to sell an old inn she has inherited. But a handsome local handyman and a cheerful elf intervene. Lori Loughlin, Dermot Mulroney and Bailee Madison star.
Angels in the Snow (6 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 22, UP): Kristy Swanson and Chris Potter star as bickering, overworked parents who hope a special family getaway will ease the tension. The trip doesn’t go as planned when a blizzard forces them to stay with another family.
Merry Matrimony (7 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 22, Hallmark): An advertising executive lands her dream assignment organizing the perfect Christmas wedding for a fashion magazine. There’s one snag: The photographer is her ex-boyfriend. Jessica Lowndes stars.
Murder She Baked: A Plum Pudding Mystery (8 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 22, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries): Alison Sweeney is baker-turned-sleuth Hannah Swensen, solving a holiday murder mystery and finding time for some Christmas romance. Cameron Mathison co-stars.
Once Upon a Holiday (7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 25, Hallmark): A princess runs off from her official obligations to see how the other half lives and winds up falling for a good Samaritan who’s unaware of her true identity. Briana Evigan and Paul Campbell star.
The 12 Gifts of Christmas (7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 26, Hallmark): Katrina Law stars as an aspiring artist who puts her talent for gift-giving to use as a personal shopper. Her client is an advertising exec who uses one of her paintings in an ad campaign. Donna Mills also stars.
Crown for Christmas (7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 27, Hallmark): Danica McKellar stars as a maid, fired from a ritzy New York hotel, who takes a job as a governess to a hellion European princess. While connecting with the girl, she also finds romance with the widower prince.
All-Star Gingerbread Build (7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 28, Food Network): Some of Food Network’s biggest stars join forces to create the most breathtaking gingerbread abode in just 72 hours in this one-hour special.
A Christmas Detour (7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 28, Hallmark): Two New York-bound travelers find themselves linked when a snowstorm leaves them stuck in an airport hotel. They can’t stand one another at first, but eventually there are sparks. Candace Cameron Bure stars.
A Gift Wrapped Christmas (7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 28, Lifetime): A personal shopper, disheartened by a workaholic client’s neglect of his 8-year-old son, makes it her mission to bring father and son together. Meredith Hagner, Travis Milne and Beverley Mitchell star.
Christmas Cookie Challenge (8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 28, Food Network): Five talented bakers compete to prove their holiday cookie-making skills. The winner of this one-hour special goes home with a $10,000 prize.
My One Christmas Wish (6 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 29, UP): A young woman who grew up abused and abandoned turns her life around, becoming a straight-A college student. But the holidays are a lonely time for her, so she advertises for companionship on Craigslist. Amber Riley stars.
Angel of Christmas (7 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 29, Hallmark): Jennifer Finnegan stars as a newspaper staffer who writes an article about her family’s heirloom Christmas angel, an object that has the power to bring people together. Jonathan Scarfe and Holly Robinson Peete also star.
The Christmas Gift (8 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 29, Lifetime): Michelle Trachtenberg stars as a journalist who remembers being moved by a Secret Santa gift when she was 10 years old. Now she sets out to track down and thank the gift giver.
The Christmas Note (8 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 29, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries): Jamie-Lynn Sigler stars as military wife and mother whose life is in disarray until she discovers a new purpose when she helps her neighbor find the sibling she never knew she had.
A Prince for Christmas (8 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 29, ION): A charming European prince has cold feet about his upcoming arranged wedding, so he steals away incognito in search of true love and meets a diner waitress whose holiday needs brightening. Viva Bianca and Kirk Barker star.