It’s that time of year, dear readers.

You know what I’m talking about. The one for pulling on your coziest slippers, sipping your peppermint-flavored drink of choice and catching up on the latest oh-so-sweet-it-hurts-your-teeth holiday movie.

'Tis the season for high-powered executives returning to their small hometown, running into old flames and receiving that sage advice from a resident who may or may not be a Claus. Throw in Lacey Chabert (or Candace Cameron Bure or Danica McKellar) finding love and the spirit of Christmas in 90 minutes or so and boom — holiday movie magic.

When it comes to the cheesy Christmas rom-com, Hallmark is still the GOAT. Just this year alone, there are 36 new originals airing on the Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries. The Countdown to Christmas has been well underway for weeks — before Halloween to be exact — and now that Thanksgiving is over, it is the channels’ time to shine. There's even an app so you can track which ones you've seen and which ones still await.

All of you holiday movie diehards are probably well aware of other viewing options on Freeform, ION, TVOne and Lifetime (Anyone see the “One Tree Hill” Christmas reunion special – err the “The Christmas Contract”?). Even Netflix is making its way into the Christmas-themed content market. Last year, the streaming service made headlines for the so-bad-it’s-good “A Christmas Prince.” This year, it’s back with a sequel "A Christmas Prince: The Royal Wedding," which drops on Friday, along with three other holiday originals already streaming.

And if you didn’t know, now you do!

I’ve seen more of these movies than I’d like to admit, so I’ve been tasked with explaining their appeal. To me, the popularity rests in what is missing just as much of what these films provide. In holiday movie world, the protagonist’s problems are big, but not too big. The snowstorm always ends in time for the holiday tree lighting festival to go on as scheduled. Or the investor finally has a change of heart and the family inn is saved. The love triangle usually features a Mr. Right and Mr. Not Right, But Still A Really Nice Guy. There’s all of the joy and nostalgia of the holiday season with none of the real-life stress.

These specials are so formulaic that every year my mother insists that we write one. We haven’t done that yet, but now here’s our chance — and yours, too.

Behold the build your perfect holiday movie graphic below. We’ve come up with some Hallmark staples and put them in six categories. Read the story, pick from the particular categories (or, hey, write in your own, we won’t judge) and, voila, you have created your Hallmark-like masterpiece.


Click the above image for a larger, printable version.