MINNEAPOLIS — “You couldn’t pay me to watch 24 Hallmark Channel holiday movies,” is a sentiment some of us might share.
But what if you loved Hallmark movies? And someone did want to pay you for it?
Edina, Minn., resident Jasmine Stringer and fellow fan Sharon Gifford have found themselves in this improbable scenario. After casually discussing their love of Hallmark movies at a recent book club gathering, they decided to throw their hats in the ring for a wacky contest they’d seen advertised online: $1,000 to watch 24 Hallmark Channel holiday movies in the 12 days leading up to Christmas.
Out of nearly 219,000 entrants, Stringer and Gifford’s video — in which they don Christmas pajamas, hold cups of cocoa and expound on their love of Hallmark movies — was selected by the judges.
The “Hallmark Christmas Movie Dream Job” contest was not administered by the Hallmark Channel itself, but by CenturyLinkQuote.com, an authorized reseller of CenturyLink products.
(The Hallmark Channel has come under fire recently for its decision to pull a television ad that showed a same-sex couple kissing. When Hallmark later reinstated the ad, the group behind the original complaint, One Million Moms, threatened to boycott the channel.)
But it isn’t all cups of cocoa and lounging on the couch. The Dream Job comes with a list of responsibilities, including documenting their experience on social media and watching all 24 movies by Christmas Day. They also have to choose the best movies in eight categories: best overall movie, best romantic comedy, best Christmas comedy, best family drama, best ending, best female lead, best movie featuring a pet or animal and best love story plot.
“I’m not quite sure how to distinguish between some of those,” Gifford admitted. “Aren’t they all love stories? Don’t they all kind of have the same plot?”
The two are also tasked with completing a Hallmark holiday movie scene bingo.
“For each movie we have to keep track of whether or not there was a scene of shopping for a Christmas tree, baking cookies, building a gingerbread house, building a snowman, having a snowball fight, kissing under the mistletoe and caroling,” said Stringer.
Stringer and Gifford hand-picked 23 of the Hallmark movies for their watch list, while fellow fans selected the 24th movie by casting a vote for their favorite from the Hallmark repertoire. The pair will make their way through all two dozen movies by watching some of the list separately, and coming together for a few scheduled binges, when they’ll cruise through six movies in a row. They haven’t decided what they’ll do with the cash prize yet.
Gifford says she’s most excited about Christmas at Dollywood, while Stringer is gearing up for A Gift to Remember 2 and Christmas at Graceland: Home for the Holidays.
“It’s happy, sappy,” Stringer said. “I don’t want to say ‘mindless’ but it’s an easy, joyful holiday tradition.”
“You know what’s going to happen,” said Gifford. “You know everyone’s going to be happy.”
Here’s their final Hallmark Channel holiday movie list:
Write Before Christmas
Christmas at Graceland: Home for the Holidays
Merry & Bright
A Christmas Duet
A Christmas Love Story
Christmas Under Wraps
A Royal Christmas
Christmas in Rome
A Family Christmas Gift
Jingle & Bell’s Christmas Story
The Christmas Consultant
Christmas at Dollywood
Battle of the Bulbs
Rocky Mountain Christmas
Every Christmas has a Story
A Heavenly Christmas
Two Turtle Doves
Christmas in Evergreen: Tidings of Joy
A Gift to Remember
A Gift to Remember 2
Switched for Christmas
©2019 Star Tribune (Minneapolis)