From War Correspondent to 'A Christmas Prince': Meet the Woman Behind Our Fave Holiday Movies

Rose McIver and Ben Lamb in A Christmas Prince ; Christmas Karen Schaler
Netflix; Courtesy of Karen Schaler

In a world full of chaos, tragedy, heartache, pain, and just bad news, we need an escape in the form of a feel-good movie with a happy ending. Christmas movies make us happy. They're fun to watch, give us something to look forward to, and allow tired moms of the world a chance to insert ourselves into a magical small town full of gingerbread houses and the cleanest of homes with no laundry to fold.

  • There are tons of Christmas movies to fill up our DVRs and queues, and we have one woman to thank for some of our newest faves.

    A Christmas Prince satisfies our Hallmark-loving hearts! This Netflix movie is so good, it has not one but two follow-ups to enjoy on days we wish we could whisk ourselves away to Aldovia to cover a press conference, meet the man of our dreams -- who happens to be royalty -- and live out our happily ever after.

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  • Karen Schaler -- better known as "Christmas Karen" -- is the woman behind lovable holiday films such as 'A Christmas Prince.'

    Karen wrote the original screenplay for the Netflix Christmas hit that's since inspired A Christmas Prince:The Royal Wedding and A Christmas Prince: The Royal Baby. So if you find yourself in love with all things Aldovia, you know who to thank (wink).

  • Her journey into the world of Christmas comes years after being a war correspondent in places like Bosnia and Afghanistan. 

    Karen Schaler war correspondent
    Courtesy of Karen Schaler

    "My background is a news reporter, mainly crime, investigative," Karen Schaler tells CafeMom. "About 11 years ago, I wanted to do a 180, lifetime switch, where I wanted to start covering positive, inspiring stories that made people happy -- and made myself happy as well."

  • Karen looked to travel as a form of "therapy" as well as Christmas movies that later had her eyeing Hallmark.

    Traveling across the world for work, Karen's personal travels inspired her to create Travel Therapy TV, a series all about the most "inspiring and empowering" places around the globe that can inspire people to enjoy a happier life.

    "I traveled to 68 countries over the last 11 years, doing these Travel Therapy TV segments that are inspiring, empowering, and telling stories that will hopefully bring enlightenment, and empowerment," Schaler explains to CafeMom.

  • "I would get back from covering difficult stories and escape into these films," she tells CafeMom. "I always wanted to write a Hallmark movie."

    Ashley Williams Christmas in Evergreen
    Crown Media United States LLC/Photographer: Ryan Plummer

    "I started watching all of the Hallmark movies I could," Schaler adds after having her "aha" moment. "I started writing down notes -- like '18 minutes is where the first act break is. This was when they first meet. This was the near miss kiss.' I just studied it, and people laugh, but I brought that journalism side in, and I said, 'OK, I'm going to do this.'"

  • With a script written, Karen decided to take a leap of faith, refusing to take "no" for an answer.

    "I didn't have any connections -- no Hollywood agent, no Hollywood anything," she mentions to CafeMom. "Of course the agents would say, 'We can't represent you until you have something to represent, until you are somebody.' I had this screenplay, but when I sent it out I couldn't get anybody to read it."

  • After navigating denial after denial, Karen finally found a producer who liked her script ... except he wanted something more royal.