It is the time of year for Christmas movies on television and streaming services.

Irish author Melissa Hill has had a number of her books adapted for the small screen and says the films can make for magical Christmas viewing.

"One of the Hallmark rules is, you have to have Christmas in every scene."

Ms Hill had her novel A Gift to Remember adapted as a Hallmark Christmas movie in 2017 and has gone on to work on a number of seasonal films for Hallmark and other channels.

She says although the typical Christmas film has a romantic plot, that is only part of the story, and issues like community and family bonds also come into play.

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The films also tend to have a distinctive look, with lots of snow, decorations and twinkling lights.

"There's an element of wish fulfilment," Ms Hill says, "with no cynicism and very little conflict, or conflict that is easily resolved by communities or families getting together. Maybe that's why people are loving them so much at the moment because that's something we haven't been able to do for a long time."

Ms Hill has now worked on three films with the Hallmark channel and is working on other projects with that company, while she has also just completed a film with Up TV called Christmas Beneath the Stars.

The author, who is one of the best known Irish commercial fiction novelists, says working on these movies and being able to escape into Christmas was a "balm for the soul", particularly in recent years.

Ms Hill is also ending 2021 on a high note as she is currently in the US where her book Something From Tiffany's is being filmed by Hello Sunshine, the production company founded by Reece Witherspoon.

"It's an absolute dream," she told RTÉ News.

"Sometimes it feels like I'm in a Christmas movie myself and I'm loving every minute of it."