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The Sister Swap movies, Hallmark’s most confusing Christmas flicks

Image source: TV Insider

In a more subtle way, Hallmark has earned a reputation for being as formulaic as the MCU.

Online jokes claim that the main character in Hallmark movies is usually a career-driven person who visits an old town for the holidays, runs into an old flame, and finds themselves torn between their profession and their newfound love for the simple life.

In the end, they embrace the Christmas spirit and give up their jobs.

Two Hallmark movies were recently singled out for having nearly identical stories.

The Sister Swap movies

Sister Swap: A Hometown Holiday and Sister Swap: Christmas in the City were two movies released by Hallmark last year.

Kimberly Williams-Paisley and Ashley Williams, real-life sisters, played the same characters in both movies, which were set in Christmas-themed plots.

The same editor, Kristi Shimek, also worked on the Sister Swap films, which had some of the same speech and scenes but were filmed from different perspectives.

Read also: 10 Christmas movies you need to watch this holiday


Some people can find it confusing when searching for the plot summaries of the Hallmark Christmas movies.

The synopsis of Sister Swap: A Hometown Holiday reads:

“Jennifer and Meg Swift are two sisters wanting to find a new sense of purpose.”

“During the Christmas holidays, they decide to swap homes and end up discovering what they both truly need in life.”

The same summary will appear if you open a different tab and search for Sister Swap: Christmas in the City.


Dan Harmon, the creator of Community and Rick and Morty, found the identical Hallmark movies.

On Instagram, he posted about his discovery and wrote:

“Okay. I don’t know how to start or finish discussing this so we should start discussing now and take our time,” wrote Harmon.

“There are two Hallmark movies called “Sister Swap.” One is called Sister Swap: Christmas in the City, the other is Sister Swap: Hometown Holiday.”

“So we thought oh cool it’s a franchise and there’s a sequel, which Sister Swap do we watch first? Well HERE’S THE THING. Both Sister Swaps are released in 2021.”

“They are not sequels.”

“Both Sister Swaps are the same story, about sisters – played by real sisters, who have to swap… cities.”

“It should be noted that the sisters AND the cities AND the MOVIES are, so far, indistinguishable. It’s not like one is a hillbilly and the other is a millionaire, that doesn’t matter, we don’t go to Hallmark for conflict.”

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“The crazy thing is that we also don’t go to Hallmark for experimentation on this level. Nothing in the description of the movie says “here’s the thing everybody.””

“The descriptions of each movie are honestly mostly excited that two real life sisters are playing sisters.”

“We found an article called “how to watch the Sister Swap movies” and got so excited and then it turned out to be instructions on how to find Hallmark on your streaming service.”

“I can’t keep talking about this, we just started watching, I can’t spend all night posting about it.”

“We keep going back and forth between the movies.”

“The same conversations are happening in each one but there’s no “Rashomon” or “Peep Show” angle, the dialogue in each version is identical but the scenes are cut differently because I assume they just had different editors.”

“In one of the movies, one of the sisters has a full flashback about her relationship with the other sister.”

“In the other sister’s movie, you don’t get a different version of the same flashback. You just don’t get a fucking flashback in that one.”

“In both movies, they spend 1 minute trying on hats but in ONE of the movies, they also try on glasses.”

“We’re freaking out and I can’t keep typing about it I will come back later i fucking love Christmas though.”

An explanation

More than 33,700 people liked Dan Harmon’s post, and in the comments, fans discussed the movie and provided their own theories.

Others were inspired to watch the movies from his post, and one commenter said that she and her boyfriend had gone all the way down the rabbit hole.

Kimberly Williams-Paisley, the star of the movie, also noticed Harmon’s post and commented, “HERE for this,” with laughing emojis.

Williams-Paisley explained:

“We wanted to do something outside the box for the genre but also stay in the genre, and my sister came up with this brilliant idea of two films that take place in the same time frame and sometimes overlap.”

“[And] it took us years to figure out the puzzle, and then, Hallmark finally let us DO IT.”

The justification offers a distinctive perspective on the direction, and the Sister Swap films’ distinctive strategy is likely to help them develop a sizable cult following.


Hallmark is being mocked for releasing two nearly identical Christmas movies