- Rose Kennedy For the AJC
Made for watching by the roaring fire, cocoa in hand, slippers on feet, the delightful, wintry scenes of Hallmark Channel holiday movies are not typically fit for Southern settings. It only makes sense: how are you going to have the Christmas Festival of Ice and similar “Winter Wonderland” themes set in Charlotte, or Atlanta or Rocky Top, Tennessee?
What's surprising is that there are some wonderful Hallmark holiday movies that were either filmed in Southern locations or set in some of the beautiful places of the South.
Here are some Hallmark holiday favorites that are set elsewhere but filmed in the South:
The movie takes place in the fictional "Christmas-obsessed town of Homestead, Iowa," but the 2016 romantic comedy was filmed on location in Dahlonega, Georgia. Setting a Christmas movie (about a famous actress who falls in love while shooting a holiday movie in a small town) in Dahlonega wouldn't have been all that far-fetched, either. The town is fairly Christmas-happy itself, hosting a month-long gala each year with an old-fashioned Christmas parade, visits with Santa and a Christmas market on Candy Cane Lane.
In this oldie-but-goodie filmed in Austin and Bastrop, Texas, a mysterious man helps a fellow rediscover joy after a long-ago tragedy. If it doesn't air during the season, catch it on DVD. It features a star-studded cast of music heavyweights, including Harry Connick, Jr. and Willie Nelson.
This Hallmark Hall of Fame film doesn't need snow to tug at the heartstrings. Set in Conway, South Carolina, it was filmed in Wilmington, North Carolina, and debuted in 2013. The premise: a sweet husband pulls out all the stops to give his ailing wife a ride on a Ferris wheel in their backyard for Christmas.
And two Hallmark holiday movies only set in the South but filmed elsewhere:
It's common knowledge that so many Hallmark movies are filmed in Canada and British Columbia that perennial co-star Danica McKellar is considered to have honorary citizenship in both places.
This instant Hallmark holiday classic is a prime example. While the fictional Ashford Slate where McKellar's character takes up residence as a nanny and party planner is in Virginia (and certainly portrays the host family's First Family of Virginia/Junior League/debutante attitudes correctly), don't look for any Virginia landmarks on set. "Coming Home for Christmas" was filmed at a multimillion-dollar mansion in Canada.
Still in her 20s, the heroine of The Christmas Cottage has given up on love to concentrate on her interior design career in Raleigh, North Carolina. While most of the romantic action takes place in a family cottage nearby, renowned for its romantic and Christmas magic, the film was made in British Columbia.View full experience