Hallmark Madness: Awarding our 2018 Holiday Champion


Welcome back to the final round of ‘Mark Madness! In this edition, the top two Jolly Jobs movies and top two Small Town movies will compete against one another until I declare a top winner!

BATTLE OF THE JOLLY JOBS Christmas at the Palace vs. A Gingerbread Romance

Let’s review some of the top qualities and competitive edges for each of the top two job-related movies, shall we?

Christmas at the Palace:

Royal romances are always fun, but thanks to Harry and Meghan they are an EXTRA popular trope this year!

Ice Skating, a major holiday tradition for many, factors in heavily.

This one might be perfect for people who loved last year’s breakout Netflix hit, A Christmas Prince.

A Gingerbread Romance:

The holiday tradition of baking cookies is a beloved pastime that is central to the plot.

I mentioned it in the first post, but it bears repeating: A handsome single dad who is a professional baker? What a dream!

Hallmark movie plots (much like other love stories) often repeat key devices. But you’ve got to admit, building a to-scale gingerbread house is kind of a new twist!

So, who is true champion of the Jolly Jobs bracket? Well, popularity can be a bit of a double-edged sword, and unfortunately for Christmas at the Palace, we are almost at a royal romance saturation point. Even though it features the creative twist of ice skating, it’s not quite enough to make it stand out against the swath of similar titles in our environment these days.

Plus, there’s something about the concept of A Gingerbread Romance that makes me crack a smile literally every time I think about it.

A Gingerbread Romance comes out on top, and will be the sole Jolly Jobs-themed movie to face off against the Small Town bracket winner!

BATTLE OF SMALL TOWNS, BIG HOLIDAY SPIRIT: Christmas at Pemberley Manor vs. A Majestic Christmas

Small town romances are a top trope in the world of Hallmark movies. Let’s see what some of the top small town movies of this year are bringing to the table!

Christmas at Pemberley Manor

It cannot be stated enough: This one has the built-in romancelandia advantage of a Pride and Prejudice theme.

There’s a cute-sounding holiday festival that amps up the small town factor.

Though he doesn’t sound unbelievably alpha, this version’s Darcy does have the potential to satisfy fans of billionaire romances!

A Majestic Christmas

This story centers around deciding whether to update or maintain the integrity of an old-timey theater—a magnificent plot point for any small town romance!

Much like A Gingerbread Romance, this movie brings much-welcomed diversity to the world of holiday tv movies!

This is a personal bias, but this movie’s heroine is played by Jerrika Hinton, who I have always enjoyed on Grey’s Anatomy. It’s fun to see her as the main star of this production!

So, who wins the battle of the small town? Well, even though Christmas at the Palace was doomed in the Jolly Jobs round because of the potential over-saturation of royal romances, the same rule can’t apply here. It is a truth universally acknowledged that romancelandia can never seem to get enough of Pride and Prejudice, so I have to give the win to Christmas at Pemberley Manor!

THE FINAL SHOWDOWN: A Gingerbread Romance vs. Christmas at Pemberley Manor

The good news? Both of these movies will be fun to tune into no matter who wins!

That said, I have to really look at the descriptions and think about which movie will most capture the feeling of a happy holiday season.

Christmas at Pemberley Manor won its round due to the Austen advantage, but if I’m honest, A Gingerbread Romance just sounds more like a fun rom com that has the potential to be silly and sweet (literally!) all at the same time.

It is my great honor to announce that A Gingerbread Romance is the winner of the very first ever 2018 Frolic ‘Mark Madness!

Thanks to everyone who came back to see how the competition would turn out! As I’ve written these summaries and debated the merits of 16 different movies, I’ve also spent time thinking about what it is that makes Hallmark Movies such a holiday staple in our culture.

Perhaps it has something to do with how the holidays are a time for traditions. From baking cookies to ice skating to decorating trees, these movies promote a pop culture view of the traditions we love.

Or maybe it’s the opposite: the holidays can be a tough or dark time for many of us, and these movies provide a warm, safe place to retreat to when we need it.

Whatever the reason, Hallmark movies and similar holiday fare show the rest of the world what we in romancelandia already know: no matter how predictable the plot may seem or how wacky the setting may be, Christmas stories are always more fun when they end with a Happily Ever After.

Happy Hallmark Movie Watching, Frolic Readers!

All photos from Hallmark


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