When Calls the Heart” fans still feel aglow from the warm and wonderful Hope Valley spirit conveyed in every frame of “When Calls the Heart: Home for Christmas.” There was everything that any faithful “Heartie” could long for in the story that centered around baby Jack's first birthday and the community coming together for a German Christmas celebration.

Themes of home resonated for Elizabeth Thornton (Erin Krakow) and her son (Lincoln and Gunnar Taylor), as those near and dear to them sought to give the most perfect birthday gift possible. The devoted, widowed mother, and dedicated teacher, had to grapple with the lingering sense of all her son’s father would miss in his son’s life and still wanting to give her one-year-old a beautiful birthday and Christmas.

The true value of the home came home to Constable Nathan Grant (Kevin McGarry), who saw what home truly meant through the eyes of his niece (Jaeda Lily Miller). He made the choice to let go of a career promotion to create memories of home to live forever.

Saloon owner, Lucas Bouchard (Chris McNally) realized the kindness and unity of his new home when Hope Valley hosted guests from far and near for a “family-style” community feast. In turn, he gave a spectacle never seen in the Northwest Territory, as Chinese lanterns filled the Christmas night sky.

Last but not least, it was the kindness from, and kindness to strangers that brought Dr. Shepherd (Paul Greene) and his nurse, Faith Carter (Andrea Brooks) together for a few precious hours as their gift.

Diehard fans always reserve the evening of Christmas Day for the traditional “When Calls the Heart” movie treat, but a Christmas treat came to the drama that couldn’t be carried on a sleigh, as reported January 8 by Programming Insider. It wasn't only the “Hearties” who didn't move from their screens. Loads of new viewers put the drama at the top in scripted series, with only weeks left before Season 7 debuts in February.

Top numbers again

Last Christmas, in 2018, “When Calls the Heart” set ratings-records, for Christmas Day, with “When Calls the Heart: The Greatest Christmas Blessing.” That storyline pivoted on the birth of baby Jack in a remote hunting cabin after a shopping trip. The power of pulling together was in force as Rosemary (Pascale Hutton) and Abigail (Lori Loughlin) supported Elizabeth through the arrival of her healthy, beautiful son, before being found in the wee hours of the morning by men on a mission.

In a very real sense, a “Live + 7” gain in raw viewers is a rare feat. Especially for scripted series, which often garner the greatest numbers during only prime time. The +7 calculation takes into account all the viewers of episodes after the initial airing for a full week. “When Calls the Heart” was the top scripted series gaining raw viewers and number two overall in total viewers, behind “The Curse of Oak Island: First Look” in total viewers for the Top 50.

Fans should never feel disconcerted that “When Calls the Heart” has numbers that mix in with the “Real Housewives” franchise, “The Walking Dead,” and other not-so-family-friendly fares. The fact that the Hallmark Channel series competes, and often beats, the other viewing heavy hitters proves the lasting market for family viewing.

Of course, “When Calls the Heart” exhibits the best in its on-screen efforts-- from the cast to the directing, writing, and its set, even down to the items in Ned’s Mercantile. As Kavan Smith, who portrays Leland Coulter, says, “Everybody wants to live in Hope Valley.” That spirit keeps viewers coming back.

Mom gets the best

The leading lady, Erin Krakow, has not been giving anything away regarding her character’s future with either of the two suitors who make superlative, if very different, romantic possibilities in Season 7.

Nothing stops Erin’s followers from sharing their favorite moments with her favorite leading man.

The most precious scene from “When Calls the Heart: Home for Christmas” is when little Jack speaks “Mama” looking into his mother's eyes. Fans can't resist sharing and sneaking in another favorite, too, with the baby boy offering a tender hug. Mother and son are also pictured blowing out birthday candles, but the baby actors didn't want any cake.

First words and hugs can never be topped as Christmas gifts, but good ratings are always good news, and everyone involved with “When Calls the Heart” has a reason for a warm and happy celebration to stretch all season long.