Love them or hate them, Hallmark holiday movies are obsessed with Maine


For those who love them (or who won’t openly admit they love them) the arrival of the Hallmark Channel’s annual slate of holiday movies is its own kind of holiday. This year, the channel will premiere a whopping 40 individual movies, alongside many more such movies from platforms like Netflix and Lifetime.

They all present a cozy, romantic fantasy of what the perfect Christmas could be, complete with hot cocoa, ice skating, cookie baking, caroling and kisses under the mistletoe. And every year, a number of them are set in Maine.

Not that any of them are filmed here — they’re almost always filmed elsewhere, often in Canada. They’re generally set in picture-perfect fictional Maine towns, with names like Hampton Meadows, North Bay, and Bedford Harbor. There are a few holiday movies that have actually been filmed here, like “The Preacher’s Wife,” a 1996 film starring Whitney Houston and Denzel Washington, and “Holly Star,” a 2018 indie flick, both filmed in Portland. But they’re certainly few and far between.

This year, Lifetime will premiere the Maine-set “Under the Christmas Tree” on Dec. 19, in which a woman finds the perfect Christmas tree to set up for the Maine governor’s holiday celebration, and finds love in the process. In 2019, there was “Nostalgic Christmas,” in which a woman comes home to Maine to her family’s toy shop, and finds love in the process. Last year, Lifetime premiered “A Sugar and Spice Christmas,” in which a woman comes home to Maine to compete in a gingerbread bake-off, and — you guessed it — finds love in the process.

Cookie-cutter plots aside, the question is: Why set these movies in Maine?

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