Project Christmas Wish

Merry Christmas Eve Friends! This is it! The LAST RECAP of the season. I can’t believe I did it. I can’t believe I kept up with all 40 movies this year! I really didn’t think I could do it. But here we are. And all done before Christmas even! I like how they ordered the movies this year so we weren’t scrambling literally over Christmas to get through them all. But now, we don’t have any time to waste. Let’s dive in.

The movie begins with our lead, Lucy getting to the radio station just in time to start the show. She doesn’t even take her coat off. She is kicking off something called “Project Christmas Wish.” She also tries out a new slogan, which makes my husband say “barf.”

So after 2 minutes of work, she gets up and heads into a store. Oh wait, does she not work at the radio station? Does she work at this store? Her mom stops by with a custom “elf costume.” Lucy calls it “Christmas in Middle Earth.” But Lucy, the elves in Middle Earth wouldn’t be caught dead in that. They are a TOTALLY different kind of elf than the North Pole. I can’t even… Lucy. NO. Okay? I don’t have any more time to yell at you about how wrong you are.

Grumpy lead boy Lucas is already tired of Christmas. His parents tell him to be less of a grinch for his daughter…Max. It seems like they have just moved in. This is a pretty weird kid. She kind of just has this perpetual dreamy glazed look in her eyes. I don’t want or mean to be critical of a kid though so that’ll be that.

Back at that store or whatever, Lucy is begrudgingly wearing her NORTH POLE elf costume. A news reporter is interviewing people who received their wish last year. I don’t know what is going here actually.

Then Lucas and his daughter Max stop in this…retail space. There is a cute moment where Max calls him “Dad” and he corrects her and says, “it’s Dad-dy. When did I become ‘Dad’?” And that is cute because I CAN SO RELATE.

Then Lucy and Lucas bicker over whether a certain ornament is a horse or something else. Anyway, Max also makes a wish as part of Project Christmas Wish. I truly do not understand what this is. Is this a retail store? Or is it a straight up Christmas themed charity organization?

At home, Lucy and her mom go over some of the wishes.

Then little glazed Max asks her grandparents to take her to the radio station so she can make a wish for Project Christmas Wish. And she alleges that THIS, making a wish as part of this nondescript charity promotion, is all she wants for Christmas. The grandpa demands she keep her word on that and agrees to take her.

Lucy is at the radio station. The host suggests Max just tell her her wish on air! No parental permission necessary! Lucas hears it on the radio. Dang I didn’t realize people listened to the radio when they were just sitting on their couch like that. Max announces on the radio that her mom died and they don’t do many Christmas things. She wants a Christmas like they used to have. Well Lucy, that seems like something only Lucas can put together.

Lucas arrives at the radio station a little fired up that no one got his permission to put his child on the radio. AMEN BROTHER. Lucy seems surprised that Max didn’t have her dad’s permission. THAT’S WHY YOU GET SIGNED PARENTAL CONSENT FORMS LUCY.

Later, Lucas and Max have a heart to heart. Oof. I can’t take much more of this kid. I hate to say it but I do really mean it. I don’t think it’s this real kid’s fault.

Lucy tells her mom about Lucas and Max. THIS she has decided is her “BIG WISH” of the season. What are you talking about? This basically falls on Lucas’s shoulders. Like what does Lucy have to do with it now?

Lucas complains to his parents about the mess they created for him. He’s the talk of the town now. And also what is Project Christmas Wish? Does Lucy runs a retail store?

Anyway, Lucas arrives at the store or HQ or whatever to apologize to Lucy but he HONESTLY SHOULDN’T. Lucas agrees to let Lucy do one Christmas activity with his daughter. They agree to find a Christmas tree together. GUYS. I DON’T THINK I’M GOING TO MAKE IT THROUGH THIS ONE. I feel like I’m little crawling and limping to the finish line here.

Joan’s boyfriend arrives. He needs help coming up with ideas for her Christmas present. Colin, this boyfriend character, is a treasure. He may single handedly save this movie.

Lucas and Lucy chat a little. She calls him a robot. Okay so Project Christmas Wish IS a full time job and that means that store is their HQ. No, I’m still wrong. Stay tuned. Good news. There is also going to be a fundraising carnival at the end. YAY. More carnivals. Max finds a tree and wants Lucy to decorate with them. Lucy makes poor Collin, the likely impoverished tree lot owner, donate a tree to this wealthy software engineer.

They place Luke’s tree right in the center of their living room. I feel that is a bold choice. Lucas has a surprising amount of beautiful ornaments. Then Max wants to do more Christmas activities with this strange woman.

I am so bummed that of the likely dozens of Christmas wishes, their BIG wish they’re showcasing is just doing Christmas activities with a kid. They casually mention a woman needing a car to get to work and bringing a deployed troop home…but yes, this kid’s wish is definitely the big ticket item. Then EVERYONE thinks everyone should be dating again. Lucy, her mom, Lucas. Lucas’s dad is fantastic also.

Lucas and Max head to Lucy’s. It is decorated to the BRIM with Christmas. Ugh and she has a cat named “Mr. Mittens.” LUCY BE BETTER. They are making Christmas cookies. Then poor little Max gets emotional because she remembered making cookies with her mom.

Now it’s wreath making time. Lucy plays wingman to Max for friendship. They should be friends because they both like unicorns and rainbows. GIRLS. Then Lucy asks Cheryl, the woman who facilitates the wreath making event to tell a reporter about the event. She says she used to make wreaths with her son but he’s in the military so she doesn’t see him much. BUT THEN HE SHOWS UP. Christmas wish granted. I think her only restriction there though was being able to afford a plane ticket so that’s kind of underwhelming.

Later, Max goes on the radio to blab more about her dad’s personal life. So maybe we should do some prep before putting that girl on the radio. She says she wants her dad to find love. I just find these types of story lines to believe. Maybe my kids are just selfish bumble bees.

The next day, Joan and Lucy talk about putting on a dating event for all the wish makers that wanted love. Collin creeps in the window. He is trying to propose to her. GOT IT. Oh no. Lucy suggests proposing IN FRONT OF THE WHOLE TOWN. LUCY NO. NO NO NO. Lucy. That is a terrible idea. Collin is like, Lucy no that’s a bad idea. Lucy doesn’t listen to him. But Lucy, proposing in public is a TERRIBLE IDEA.

Lucy runs into Lucas at a coffee cart. Lucas offers to buy her drink so she makes it EXTRA EXPENSIVE. Also who is drinking just eggnog in the middle of the day.

So FINALLY we get some more intel on this retail space. Joan is an interior designer and Lucy uses that space for her charity and also works there during the year. That helps. They decide to sit and talk even though Lucy is holding a drink that Lucas purchased for Joan. So that’s rude. Lucy tells Lucas about her dad dying when she was young and how she and her mom really struggled that first year. It sounds like the whole town pulled together and took care of everything they needed that year. Well dang it, I still hate this movie but that’s sweet. That is why she started Project Christmas Wish.

Finally Lucy is like, I should get this now cold eggnog to Joan. As she turns to leave, Lucas wonders what Lucy’s Christmas Wish is. Lucy is like, I want a Peloton, duh! That’s right. I STILL DON’T HAVE ONE.

The next day, Lucy is back at the radio station giving an update on Project Christmas Wish. They are also pairing people up to be friends. That bums me out. Who has time for more friends?

I’m not sure where we are next. But Collin is here and I’m stoked about it. This is some kind of Hanukkah activity. Lucy continues to make the proposal WAY TOO OVER THE TOP. LUCY. I am team Collin the rest of the movie. Max and her new friend Sonya are just having a blast. What is this event though for real? Just a Hanukkah party?

Lucas asks if Lucy has a Christmas wish yet? No. Later they sit at a beautiful spread of…I guess Hanukkah food. Then they talk about the singles mixer. Lucy reveals she is divorced. Her husband had an affair! Dang that’s edgy for Hallmark. Lucas tells Lucy about his wife. They talk about Lucy’s hopes and dreams then but it’s too boring and I don’t listen very closely.

Later, Lucy and her mom have a heart to heart about grief. I think I LOVE the sweater she’s wearing. Lucy stops by Lucas’s house to make gingerbread houses. NO. LAME. Well actually this is cute. They make a big cardboard gingerbread house. Lucy and Max hang out inside. Lucy is way too ambitious about decorating the interior of the gingerbread house. Then Max gives Lucy a friendship bracelet. Then Lucy gives Max some grief counseling. I mean, kind of. I personally, didn’t find it that helpful. As she leaves, Lucy gives Lucas the horse ornament they argued over.

For some reason, Max helps decorate for the singles mixer. Lucy and her mom arrive. Lucy’s mom made her another dress. It’s much better than that first outfit. Much more like a Rivendale elf. They both agree to be open to finding love again.

Outside the mixer, Lucas and his mom have a nice little moment. Wow this is a FANCY mixer. Lucas’s mom continues to play wingman as she hands him two drinks. He brings Lucy a drink and they chit chat. Lucas says he’s okay with not mixing with other singles. SO HEY! She tells him that it wouldn’t be possible to make Project Christmas Wish a year round event. He’s like, dang that’s a bummer. Let’s dance! I don’t know. I wasn’t paying attention.

While they dance, Lucas asks to join Project Christmas Wish. What does that mean? And then Lucy and Lucas’s moms both look at them dancing like real creeps.

Lucy and Joan chat about LUCAS the next day. She LIKES HIM. Also Joan is a treasure. Then Joan says she thinks Collin is avoiding her or trying to break up with her. Well, Joan you just hold your horses MISSY.

Lucy calls Collin and tells him to CHILL. Also I hope he comes up with a new proposal idea. Lucas’s parents arrive with MORE DONUTS. Lucas has a whole new attitude on donuts and the holidays. He tells his parents THERE’S SOMETHING THERE. And Then Mrs. Pott’s starts singing. But Lucas struggles a tiny bit with his grief about Stephanie, his wife. Ooof.

Lucy and Lucas and Max meet up later. Lucy is wearing her bracelet. She’s painted a giant horse for some reason. Then Max asks if she can give a speech at the carnival. All the adults in her life should say NO. Then Lucas tells Lucy he is doing secret wish business as well. Whatever that means. THEN HE INVITES HER OVER FOR PIZZA THAT NIGHT. So things must be getting serious.

It looks like Max, Lucy and Lucas made marshmallow snowmen after their pizza party. Lucas asks Lucy to stay and hang while he puts Max to bed. Lucy heads out to his porch swing and fire pit. That’s cute.

Lucas tells Lucy about some Elmhurst horse mascot. I must have missed this. Anyway, the story he tells her is lame and I don’t care about it. Lucy does though. So that’s nice. He just made the whole thing up. That’s great, honestly. Then Lucas tells Lucy she is SO BEAUTIFUL and then asks to KISS HER. OMG what is happening. And then they didn’t even get interrupted. But then he gets pretty emotional about that and so she decides to leave. Oh that’s sad.

Lucy is wearing another fantastic sweater the following day. She watches a movie on her ipad in her living room for some reason. Her mom brings over a yule log and Lucy just dives right in on it. Lucy’s mom gives her a little pep talk about Luke. She’s right. Lucy seems a little bit understanding at least so that’s good.

That night Lucy finds Collin at the Christmas carnival. He has questions. The proposal doesn’t feel right. AMEN COLLIN. Joan arrives and Collin flees. Lucy runs into Lucas then. Lucas apologizes and explains a little. He says he has “a lot of feelings” for her but isn’t sure if he’s ready or if he’ll ever be ready. Totally get that. She can’t just WAIT AROUND though. That’s fair too. So then they seem to decide to just be friends since Lucas isn’t ready and Lucy can’t just wait around and see if he ever is! Totally get it.

Lucas and his dad have a heart to heart. His dad is like, WHY WOULD YOU END THINGS WITH LUCY! Lucas says he is just struggling with moving on from his wife. Wow his dad gives him some just really lovely and profound advice.

Later, Lucas finds Max hiding in her gingerbread fort. Max tells him that she heard he got into a fight with Lucy. Dude his parents have like NO CHILL. Lucas also reminds Max that they have a big Christmas surprise for her.

We are back for night 2 or something at the Christmas Carnival. Everyone is having a grand old time. Joan sees Collin hauling a giant snow machine up to the stage and she just has enough. She’s like DUDE WHY ARE YOU BEING SO WEIRD? Then he blurts out that he wants to marry her. So then he just proposes right there. THANK GOODNESS COLLIN. Oh I’m so relieved he didn’t do it in front of everyone. Then Lucas totally interrupts. He needs their help with something.

Lucy and her mom have a mini heart to heart. It’s fine.

So we’re still letting Max give her speech then. Okay, here she goes. Please make it stop. I know this is supposed to be nice but I’m just dying slowly inside. Then Max calls Lucy over. She hands Lucy a gift from “the whole town.” Apparently it’s like, enough money to run Project Christmas Wish full time? Or a charter for a 501(c)(3)? I’m not sure. Anyway, she’s touched. Then Lucas arrives with a “Christmas” horse. He announces to the whole town he wants to “go overboard” with her? I don’t know. Anyway, now the whole town is going to hear his whole private speech to her. And then THEY KISS. And he doesn’t cry about it this time. So that’s good news I guess. And then it starts snowing. So that’s it.

We did it! We made it through all the movies. I don’t know how I feel about this one. I really hated the beginning and most of the premise. But I did kind of like these two at the end. So maybe bottom middle? I just can’t believe this was the last one. Let’s rate it! I think it’s only 5/20 but maybe I missed something? Not sure.

  1. Single Parent
  2. Lead hates Christmas
  3. Christmas Carnival
  4. Christmas Baking
  5. A sassy and wise best friend

Cross Country Christmas

So, Rachel Leigh Cook is back in another Hallmark movie. I’m just over the moon about that. I actually really enjoyed her movie last year, though I might be the odd man out there. Anyway, I’m thrilled she’s back and I was so excited to watch it. Let’s dive in.

On a busy New York street, Lena makes Christmas plans over the phone with her family. Uh oh. Greg Cooper is coming to dinner. Lena seems concerned. Then her sister Sammie asks her to be a godmother. I suppose while you’re on the phone on a busy sidewalk is as good a place as any to be asked to be someone’s godparent.

Then, Lena meets her girlfriends for drinks. She bails on being the 5th wheel at dinner later that night. Max, who I thought was Greg, meets up with HIS FRIEND at the SAME BAR. His mom calls. He changed his flight to be “after the weekend.” Whatever that means. But she must have talked him out of that because then he says he’ll be there the following day. WE’LL SEE MAX.

The next day, Lena chats away on the phone as she gets to the airport. Max is also at the airport and they are both on the phone and I think they grab each other’s luggage. Then, they finally run into each other on the plane. They know each other from high school! And childhood! And instead of pretending not to see him like I would, Lena is just ready to chat away. Then Lena TOTALLY SUCKS UP to the flight attendant by giving her a little goody bag and remembering her name. Lena has a TOTALLY INSANE JOB. She is a “creative solutions specialist.” It seems like she’s actually non lawyer mediator. I’m fine with that-that is an actual job. I am not fine with her calling herself a “creative solutions specialist” and earning a living in New York City. Then, Lena and Max chit chat but as soon as Lena asks how is family is doing, he kind of shuts down and wants to go to sleep. Well SOMETHING IS UP.

Lena looks at pictures on her phone. Then the pilot tells them they are getting rerouted from Denver to Ohio. The Denver airport is closed! So now Lena has to find a way to Denver and also find her bag, which is just out there somewhere. And now I’m getting a flash back to my own family’s “adventure” trying to get visit family AND get home last year. Stranded all overnight and into the next day in Denver on the way there. Stranded in both Denver and Newark on the way back…with three children (Teens and littles! The worst!) To say it was a NIGHTMARE is an understatement. So, I will try to get through this without fully melting down.

Anyway, of course, all the buses are full. And it seems like all west coast flights are “grounded.” NIGHTMARE. Lena sees Max in line and approaches him to ask to share his rental car. But the rental car place is out of cars. Lena approaches strangers trying to find a ride. Max is going to try another way. He calls his mom and brother. Lena approaches a sad looking elf in the waiting area. This little elf was going to drive to Chicago so Lena kind of invites herself along.

They see Max in the parking lot. Max is weirdly against working together to get home. I don’t get it. I would probably work with my mortal enemy if we were going to the same town in this nightmare scenario. On the drive, the elf kind of gives them too much detail about her relationship. Lena gives the elf some advice, which results in them getting dropped off in the middle of nowhere.

They are at a Christmas tree farm. Lena says she has an idea. The Christmas tree farm offers free delivery. Do we think they deliver to Chicago though? Uh, NO. But then Lena sees an opportunity. The tree farm owner seems like his back is hurting so she offers to help him deliver trees in exchange for a ride to the train station in the next town. Lena kind of seems to make friends wherever she goes. After delivering all the trees, Max gets them all booked on the train! It will take them right to boulder. They will both get their own sleeper car. That honestly sounds lovely. I love a good train ride!

While they eat lunch, they realize they like to eat at the same place for lunch in New York. And they probably live near each other. What are the odds? Then they reminisce about high school. Then Max kind of puts a damper on that. I think maybe he doesn’t like his dad? Or didn’t like working on the farm. MYSTERY. Lena says that work is really busy so she hasn’t been home all year. He says he was home six months ago. Then they hear a train whistle and think their train is leaving.

They jump aboard and realize they’ve rushed to get on a cargo train. They don’t even know if they’re headed in the right direction. Then Lena realizes she might have left her phone at the train station! Oh no, I would be sick. Later, Lena resigns herself to their current circumstances makes a little bed for herself out of hay. Then Max pets the cow they are sharing the car with. I am just sick that their silliness cost them their lovely sleeper car ride to Boulder. How could they make that mistake!

At the end of the line and presumably the next morning, two children stare at Max and Lena sleeping in the now open train car. HEY! The guy from Extreme Days and Out Cold! They discover they are in Missouri. So…the wrong direction. And this is the last stop on the cargo line. So they are stuck here I guess.

This guy offers to bring them to their house to use the phone and get some pancakes. Lena heads inside while Max helps with the cow. The little girl gives Lena a sweater to borrow. It’s so cute. These farm people use the app Max invented! So that is neat! Max is given a lovely llama sweater. Then Lena agrees to help the kids with their nativity play later that night. It looks like they’ve got their dog playing baby Jesus. And Lena and Max are tasked with playing Mary and Joseph. Some goats are playing the three wise men. Then Lena holds the dog. The little girl takes a picture of them. I love all of this.

That night, Lena facetimes with her family. They are all wearing matching PJs. They are doing everything without her and she is so bummed. Greg is there. He looks to be a GIANT DORK. Lena and Max are staying one more night with this sad little Missouri farm family. Okay so the characters in this movie are “Greg HOOPER” and “Max COOPER.” Do I have that right? Max and Lena are sharing bunk beds at this house. They chat a little about her sister and GREG HOOPER. This movie is honestly so traumatizing after my own Christmas travel misadventures last year. I still haven’t recovered. I’m so stressed out that she’s missing all her family activities. Anyway, Max pretends to snore when they turn out the lights so that’s funny.

The next morning, Max helps the kids feed the animals. Lena arrives with a dog grooming van. Lena straight up BOUGHT this van. She apparently couldn’t pass it up. I’m getting some real Dumb and Dumber vibes from this movie. Dang I liked that cute little family. They hit the road.

Lena is so pleased with herself over this car. Lena asks Max about the app he made. It sounds cool if you like or need farm equipment. Then Max suggests they drain the battery on his phone by playing music. They make it to Kansas! But then Max grows concerned about a rattling in the engine. Lena suggests they press on. And she got them sandwiches. Max makes a profound observation on Lena’s life. And then the car seemingly breaks down. Then Lena kind of gets mad and starts to walk home… I guess?

So Lena walks in high heeled boots down the high way. Then her heel breaks. Yet she continues to limp along. Finally Max approaches on a tractor. He apologizes for making that observation. Lena asks if he stole the tractor he is using. He rented it on his app! They eventually arrive at Max’s cousin’s house. Max tells the tractor “nice job, old girl.” So that’s funny. So all this fuss and they’re only five miles from their broken down car.

Max’s cousin Darryl is a mechanic. The cousin happens to have a brisket going. Lena perks up when she hears about a fire pit. They all hang out and chat around their fire pit. Max reveals he voted for Lena for class president. Darryl’s wife Sheila offers to take Lena shopping in the morning. Darryl says it will be nice to catch up with Max after everything that happened. WELL WHAT IS THAT ABOUT MAX?!

The next morning, Lena and Sheila go shopping in the pouring rain. She asks Lena what is going on with Max. JUST FRIENDS SHEILA. Sheila gives some wise married person relationship advice.

Meanwhile, Max and Darryl have a little heart to heart while they fix the car. Darryl asks Max how he’s been. Max says “it’s been an adjustment.” WHAT HAS BEEN THE ADJUSTMENT?! Then the boys get the car working. Lena ends up getting a dress which is so impractical since she doesn’t have any clothes! She’s going to drive the rest of the way in a dress? I don’t think so. Darryl’s wife is about to finally share what has been going on with Max but they’re interrupted by the boys arriving to pick them up. Then Sheila spills that there is a Christmas caroling event that night. So Max and Lena decide to stay.

That night is the big Christmas sing along. Max tries to leave, but Darryl pressures them to sing a carol. It looks like Lena is wearing her new dress. So at least it didn’t go to waste. Max and Lena land on singing “We Three Kings.” So that is… a choice. Well that was cute. And weird. Then Max and Lena hit the road…IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT? What?

Max asks why they pick “We Three Kings.” Same girl! She doesn’t have a great answer. Lena asks Max what has been going on with him. Max says “just some family stuff.” Lena says she’s here if he needs him. Then Lena gives him the gift she picked out for him. It’s a Santa bobble head.

They stop at a gas station in the middle of nowhere. Lena heads into the store to get some snacks and she calls her parents. They are in Nebraska. So, I think they are close? He goes in and pays for the gas. She’s got all their snacks organized. Then Max wants to show her something. He takes her out to a cute little garden area. It’s a cute little gazebo. Right by a rundown gas station in the middle of nowhere. He says there have been reindeer sightings there. She looks away and he puts on a little reindeer mask. So that is really cute. They take a selfie with his mask on. Then they have a nice heart to heart. Then Max’s mom calls and is like GIRL YOUR DAD’S LUNCH IS AT NOON TOMORROW.

So they hit the road again. Lena asks if Max is okay. He says it’s nothing. It doesn’t SOUND LIKE NOTHING. She starts to get tired. She agrees to pull over if he tells her what’s wrong. She wants to help him fix it. This is a weird scene. It’s very dark. I thought he agreed to tell her what was wrong? They both lay down on benches in the back of the van. Then he tells her that his dad died six months ago. The lunch tomorrow is a special memorial lunch for him. He is dreading going home and feeling all the sad feels. So then after bearing his soul, Max is out cold.

The next morning Lena wakes Max up with coffee. She drove all night while he was sleeping. She got them all the way home! I can’t believe Max slept that hard on that cold van bench. Then Lena drops Max off at his house. They have an awkward goodbye. They have a long (probably very smelly) hug. And he leaves. And that’s the end! Just kidding. Lena heads to her own house. She finally makes it home. It looks they’ve decorated for Christmas and Hanukkah…? Or am I wrong about that? There was mention of latkes earlier too so…maybe? Okay Lena and her family are so cute. Poor dorky Greg comes wandering out of the house as well. He is a mega dork. Poor guy.

Back at his own house, Max looks at old photos of his dad. Max and his mom have a heart to heart. He felt like he never had a chance to make his dad proud. His mom says some nice things to him about how proud his dad was. It’s a nice moment.

Lena jumps right in with all the family traditions. That gingerbread house is INSANE. Lena asks why Greg is always around. Poor Greg. The women are desperate for them to get together. Don’t they know any better? Lena decides to be direct. She tells Greg she doesn’t feel “that way” about her now. Greg is like SAME GIRL. Then Lena gets a call from Joe from the Christmas Tree Lot! He found her phone and he’s going to send it to her. Amazing. I’m SO RELIEVED.

Max and his family sit down to eat a really nasty looking turkey. He tells his family a little about his adventure. Then Max makes a little toast to their dad. Then Max’s bag finally arrives! Or does it?

Lena has Christmas dinner with her family. But she seems a little zoned out. Then Lena said she met someone and she just really likes them. Then Greg is like, oh it’s not me. I’m just here for all this food! And because I’m so pathetic and lonely. It’s funny. Then Max is at the door. The airline sent Max HER suitcase because DUH. She invites him in. Then Max tells her to follow him. They walk out to the tree in her front yard. There is a little stocking on the front. inside are a couple of things from their trip. He framed the pictures they took! That’s cute. Then Max decides to tell her how he feels! Then she tells him she likes him too and then THEY KISS. Inside, they all eat together. But is there ANYONE for Greg? I guess not. And that’s it.

I really liked this one. It might end up being one of my favorites of the season. Lena and Max were really cute and fun together. There was a lot of silliness but it was just a FUN watch! Normally I hate a movie where everything goes wrong but I just didn’t mind it as much here. So, I don’t think there are going to be any of those traditional checklist items here but we can try I suppose.

No. It doesn’t have any items on the checklist!

Christmas Carousel

So this is our second Christmas Carousel movie of the season. So that’s something…noteworthy I guess. Is it also a time travel movie though? No. But it is our second ROYAL movie of the year. So that’s something.

Our movie begins with Lila, our leading lady, running an outdoor children’s program. She leads a group of children to her favorite childhood memory-a CHRISTMAS CAROUSEL. Her great grandpa built it and she and her dad restored it. A young girl selects the “wishing horse.” So she gets to make a wish on it. Apparently, all carousels have this? And then her boss or principle friend comes by to tell her that THE PROGRAM DIRECTOR JOB is available. OMG.

Later Lila does some woodworking or painting or something. Her dad wonders if she made a wish to find “Mr. Right.” She wonders if her dad might want to get back out there as well. IT’S BEEN EIGHT YEARS DAD. Then he asks her to get coffee and she makes a bad joke and he doesn’t get it at all.

Then Roy, Lilia’s dad gets a phone call. Seems like interesting news. The King of Ancadia has asked them to restore their royal carousel! So, now Roy and Lila are going to Ancadia (?) to restore a carousel. Then her friend calls about that JOB. She doesn’t know if she will apply for the program director job though. She wants to be able to still help her dad with his carousel restoration business. So anyway, these two are off to Ancadia!

They are greeted at the train by the royal assistant, Heidi. It’s all very lovely. Prince Whittaker will be overseeing the project. The assistant tells them that the restoration needs to be done in two weeks. Shouldn’t they have thought of all of this earlier? Like in the summer? Instead of making these two rush to restore a giant wooden carousel in two weeks in the dead of European winter?

When the carousel is clearly in sight, Heidi says, “almost there.” Duh. Okay so for real, Roy’s grandfather built like ALOT of carousels. And the wishing horse is his trademark. Lila runs into a man working on a ladder. He is very charming. They chit chat a little. Lila tells him she’s there to restore the carousel. He doesn’t let on that he’s actually the prince. But COME ON. He’s definitely the prince. They get all set up in the “royal cottage.” I am pretty sure it’s the same house as Glenbrooke Christmas.”

Later, Heidi fills the king in on everything. Then Mia, his granddaughter comes in singing. Who does she belong to? I never see her parents and I never hear what happened to them. Anyway, the king is a little stern with her. The king really wants to retire but he doesn’t think Whittaker is ready to take over. And he REALLY NEEDS TO GET MARRIED to do that.

Then Lila and Roy meet the king. DANG SHE IS SO TALL compared to her dad. And there he is, Prince Whittaker. LATE. Lila is surprised. And Whittaker doesn’t seem to care about royal protocol and all that. Then the Duke and his daughter arrive. They want to donate their “manor” to…something? Where are they going to live though? And Whittaker wants to use it for some kind of art program. The Duke is like, nah that sounds lame.

Then the Duke’s daughter, Margaret meets Roy and Lila. She is really sticking close to the prince. Roy and Lila get suckered into tea after that. WHAT EVEN TIME IS IT?! Heidi and Roy get a little friendly. Then Lila gets up very abruptly. It’s weird. She just wanders off. The prince followers her and apologizes for not telling her who he is. Then Margaret has to sidle up to the prince again. Lila tells them both she is also an art teacher. Whittaker lights up at that.

It’s finally time to get started on carousel. They are working on the whole thing outside. I feel like maybe they just wouldn’t do that in the winter. But what do I know? The prince shows up to work too! Lila finds an opportunity to subtly find out if Margaret is his girlfriend. Lila makes everyone uncomfortable when she digs in over whether Whittaker was trying to hit on her the day before.

Wow, these two are already taking a break eh? They leisurely stroll through the local Christmas Carnival. Roy tells Lila she should prepare to take over the family business. She’s like, no, yeah, definitely I will do that. Can’t wait!

There has just got to be a better way to restore the carousel than the way they are doing it. Lila struggles to make a horse’s leg look right. Whittaker takes her to look at some REAL horses. They have a nice moment with one of the horses. Whittaker tries to explain about all the articles in the “tabloids.” He is JUST FRIENDS with all those ladies, OKAY? Then Lila tells him about being an art teacher. She also tells him she is struggling whether to apply for the new job. Then Whittaker basically says he would also rather do art than be the king. So they’re the same in that sense.

Later, Whittaker just talks Lila’s ear off while she paints in the frigid outdoors with no gloves. But we do learn how much Whittaker likes art and why he wants to use the Duke’s manor for his art whatever. It’s boring. I’m not going to explain it all to you. Lila gives him some good advice to convince the Duke into selling or donating the manor to art I think.

Oh no. Now Whittaker and Lila want to put on a spontaneous Christmas pageant to help Whittaker convince the Duke to give them his manor. Oh, good grief. I don’t think I can take a Christmas pageant fundraising royal carousel movie.

Heidi stops by and invites Roy to their Christmas Tree Lighting. Then he and Heidi chat some more. Heidi gives him some good parenting advice too. Casual mention of her dead husband. So they’re both single. WINK. Roy asks Heidi if her kids ever try and set her up? Their kids both set them up on those APPS. It’s hopeless.

Lila and Whittaker strategize at a coffee shop. Whittaker teaches a monthly art class so he wonders if maybe he could showcase his student’s artwork. NO. DON’T DO THAT. Or, like you should have already planned to do that. What is the point of the art class otherwise? I don’t know actually. Then they need decide this MULTI DAY last minute art show needs music and also Whittaker should give a speech. OMG IT’S AN ART SHOW AND A CHRISTMAS EVE GALA. Time just flew by and now they are late to decorate trees at the palace.

Then Lila meets Mia. They light some candles around a small wooden carousel. This whole country is centered around carousels it seems. Wait, is THIS the tree lighting? The king wonders what kind of Christmas program Whittaker and Lila are cooking up. This is just nonsense. Then Mia pulls Lila away to pick out a SOLO for the Christmas program. Then the king makes sure Whittaker and Lila’s relationship is strictly professional. Also, is Mia trying to do an accent?

Later, we all have to hear Mia practice singing. Of note, Lila packed a lot of really nice clothes for someone who is supposed to be doing a lot of painting and woodworking.

Whittaker teases Roy and Lila about the wishing horse. But now Lila has to leave and do this silly art show nonsense instead of helping her dad do the job they were flown here for. And weren’t they planning to have to just work round the clock to get this all done in two weeks? Just wasting poor Ancadia’s tax dollars.

Instead of doing that work, Lila creeps on Whittaker’s art class. She gives some notes to the kids. Later, Roy doesn’t work on the carousel either. He goes to the Christmas Carnival with Heidi. Wait, did they already do the tree lighting? Was that candle business the tree lighting? They run into Whittaker, Lila and Mia. Who does Mia belong to? Where are her parents? Then Whittaker just stares at Lila for too long and she gets creeped out. Then Lila spots a necklace and says it’s “perfect for Christmas.” So then obviously Whittaker buys it for her. Then she gets a text about that gosh darn program director job. She really doesn’t think she could do it.

The king waits up for Whittaker and very sternly tells him they need to talk. He says Whittaker is spending TOO MUCH TIME with Lila. Art and Lila are getting in the way of the SERIOUS BUSINESS of being the prince. It is not a good talk. I think Whittaker cries.

The next day, Whit is painting away. He tells Lila that he and Heidi are going to hang the paintings. Lila thought they were going to do that together! NOT ANYMORE LILA.

At the art show, Heidi actually wonders why Lila isn’t there helping. Maybe because she has an actual paid job to do?!! DID EVERYONE FORGET ABOUT THE CAROUSEL or what?!! Heidi wonders if Whittaker’s dad talked to him about Lila. Heidi kind of gives Whittaker like, the opposite advice as his dad. That probably doesn’t help.

Roy notices Lila is pretty quiet too. Roy thinks Lila is just like her mom. Then he says something about Lila not speaking her mind or doing what she wants. I forget. Also, would they really just be using those little painter’s palettes to paint all these horses? Friendly reminder they are doing this OUTDOORS in the WINTER.

The next day, Lila and Whittaker decide to talk. They are FOR SURE looking out over the city and definitely not in front of a green screen. Whittaker wants to talk about “them.” Whittaker tells her that the king wants him to take Margaret to the Christmas Eve Gala. And basically marry her. He tells her that he’s avoided getting married because he is not quite ready to be king. Whittaker wants to tell Lila how he feels! She feels the same way?! What? We’re only an hour in. Oh, no she feels like they’re just friends. NO! Lila you idiot. Heidi asks how it went with Lila. It did not go as he hoped.

Whittaker whips out his phone to call Margaret and invites her to go to the Christmas Eve Gala! NO WHIT!

Okay so now it’s the stupid “Art of Christmas” event. Like, the carousel isn’t even part of this movie anymore? At least there’s no time travel. The Duke seems moved by some children’s art work. But will it be enough for whatever they’re trying to convince him to do? I don’t even remember anymore.

Then it’s time for Whittaker’s speech. Whit is totally melting down about it. Guys, NO ONE WANTS TO HEAR THESE SPEECHES. No one. Lila introduces Whit. I am not sure if she followed royal protocol at all. Whit heads on stage. He reads from his notecards. Just reads straight from the cards. It’s TERRIBLE so far. But then he thinks better of it and speaks from his heart. The king is surprised to hear people laugh at Whittaker’s jokes. The king seems to feel a type of way about his son’s speech. Then Whittaker catches up with the duke. It turns out that the prince’s proposal is still in the running. The king had a great time too!

Oh no. The king has never told Whittaker that he’s proud of him. I think that’s too heavy a subject for this movie. They are still concerned that the Duke hasn’t really FELT ART. So they think their best bet is to have Mia sing his favorite Christmas song. That will DEFINITELY work. Too bad Margaret can’t remember what it’s called!

Whittaker tries to to look through the Ancadia Christmas records to find the song. They wonder about the song called “The Coventry Carol.” Oh no. Now Lila sings the Coventry Carol first. And now she and Mia sing it together. Just staring at each other on Mia’s bed. It’s so painful to watch.

Whittaker tells Lila she was wonderful with Mia and wonderful in general. She feels the same about him! But wait, is she still friend zoning him or what? And he obviously bought that necklace. Then he makes it weird. And then she’s like, OKAY BYE!

Then Whittaker goes to speak to his dad. He is ready to talk about his feelings with the king. So Whittaker tells his dad he can’t take Margaret to the Gala. And his dad is like, totally. So Whittaker is like, wait what? The king said the art show changed his heart. The king actually says some nice things. So now Whittaker can marry Margaret. And then the king says he’s proud of him. So this is just lovely.

Margaret stops by the carousel. She is going to ruin everything. Margaret tells Lila that she’s going to the Gala with Whittaker. OF COURSE. So naturally, Lila has a little internal hissy fit.

Lila tearfully looks at her new necklace back at her cottage. She is just lounging in a bath robe. That’s not weird. Her dad comes in and Lila tells him she has an interview for the PROGRAM DIRECTOR JOB. She is going to leave TONIGHT to do the interview. He tells her he’s happy for her. She and her dad have a heart to heart about Whit. BUT SHE HAS EVERYTHING COMPLETELY WRONG.

Whit and Margaret have a heart to heart as well. He tells her he’s not in love with her. SHE ISN’T IN LOVE WITH HIM EITHER. Well, that’s good news. Also Margaret used the word “besotted.”

Whittaker looks for Lila at the Gala. She is talking to Mia before her performance. Mia says she’s going to miss her. Heidi and Roy have a nice moment too. Now it’s time for Mia’s solo. Oh no. She’s just singing it with no music. WHY. Anyway, the duke is very moved. Then Mia messes up a little bit. Then the duke joins her singing. That’s not weird. Lila is crying for some reason. Well that’s enough for the duke! He’s convinced. He is going to give the manor to the prince. Whittaker wants to go find Lila but Mia tells him she left already.

Whittaker is so confused and Margaret is like OH SHOOT. This is my fault. In the car, Lila keeps ignoring Whit’s calls. So like obviously this is really rude right? I mean, she should at least have said goodbye anyway and like, given them an invoice. Did they even finish the carousel? Or don’t we care about that anymore? Lila seems to have a realization in the car.

Whit’s last ditch plan is to make a wish on the wishing horse. Oh, help me Ronda. Nothing weird about a grown man in military regalia riding a carousel alone and then MAKING A WISH. How about drive after her? But well, no one learns any lessons because Lila came back. She wants to tell him how she feels. Then he tells her the wishing horse worked. And then instead of just turning around and leaving in light of THAT information, they KISS. But, I just don’t know what Lila expected. She told him she wanted to be friends.

Then Whit offers Lila the SAME “Program Director” job in Ancadia. Also, her dad can be the royal carousel caretaker. Well that wrapped up quite nicely for both of them. Just that small matter of MOVING ACROSS THE OCEAN.

Anyway, now it’s time to show Mia the carousel. The rest of the guests at the party are like, what are we? Chopped liver? Mia just totally short circuits when she sees it. And then they all ride on it together and have a lovely time. And that’s Christmas Carousel.

So this movie was honestly fine. There were some huge leaps in logic, certainly. And of course there is always trouble when you are trying to build out a fictional European country that is still actually governed by a monarchy. I also hated that they added in the “Art of Christmas” student art show story line but I suppose they needed some reason for the prince to be resistant to becoming the king some day. I guess it had to be because of “his art.” Doesn’t make me hate it any less. So that’s it! I don’t think it’s going to score very high on the checklist. There wasn’t many typical things happening in this movie. Total score 5/20.

  1. Clumsy Meet Cute
  2. Christmas Festival/Carnival
  3. Christmas Gala
  4. Christmas puns
  5. Nonsense drama

Swept Up by Christmas

It is the last weekend of the season! I can’t believe it. I can’t believe I made it through Thanksgiving week of all things. I am doing this week’s movies a little out of order as well because there was a lot of stuff going on this past weekend. We had two birthdays and a slew of other craziness. So I am going to try and still stay on schedule this week.

Gwen is ONE CLIENT away from taking over this whole business that takes clients. That is the business of fancy auctions of wealthy estates. That’s a first…this year Gwen’s current client, Doris, helps herself to a cookie at their meeting. They talk about staging the famous Hawthorne house for Christmas because it’s going to be put up for sale. It used to be all decorated for Christmas and they would have a Christmas Eve party OF COURSE. So Gwen is going to be responsible for selling all Mrs. Hawthorne’s STUFF. Her eyes turn to dollar signs and she happily agrees. Doris lets Gwen know that Mr. Hawthorne is a little grumpy.

Our lead boy, Reed, has his hair combed back and takes a call as he walks into a military office- DIRT FORCE ONE. They are actually a cleaning company so that’s a fun little pun situation. Also, I think they have a real veteran in this movie so that is really cool. Reed left the Air Force and wanted to settle down…with Melissa. We don’t know what happened with that. Reed’s business partner, Mike, is getting them all organized and there is also going to be a Christmas party.

Later, Gwen stops by her parents’ house with cookies. Her dad is busy with Christmas lights. They are going to have a lovely tree decorating evening. As per usual, her parents have a list of eligible men for her to consider. Her lack of interest in these men has NOTHING TO DO WITH HER BEING LEFT AT THE ALTAR. Sure, Jan. They encourage her to be less picky.

Instead, Gwen has very good career news. She could buy the whole auction house where she works possibly! They are more concerned with her settling down. Silly Gwen. It’s more important to be married. How could you not know?

The next morning, Gwen heads into her friend’s cafe for an americano. Oh boy, these grown women who are very obviously in their 30s are planning to have a Christmas photo shoot that night. Girls, it’s time to let that tradition die for SURE.

Vanessa flirts with Mike when he stops in to the coffee shop. She even has a special drink she wants him to try. Then he asks her to cater their holiday party.

Then Gwen arrives at her meeting at the Hawthorne House. Gwen meets grouchy Mr. Hawthorne. But call him Alan. He wants to get rid of everything that has value. Gwen offers to help in anyway they can. So they ask if she would like to decorate the house for Christmas too. Sounds like a NIGHTMARE. Truly.

Then Reed shows up. Dirt Force One is a cleaning company and they will be cleaning the house to get it ready for sale. Gwen has worked with Reed already. It sounds like perhaps she thinks he is “inflexible.” Outside, Reed reminds her that she takes on TOO MUCH. Interesting. That’s what her parents said too. She doesn’t like how he schedules his cleaning crew. Notably, Reed insists on using military time and also his cleaning crew only works 7.5 hours. That would be a bit insufferable. However, I don’t really understand how what either of them are doing makes any difference to the other. But I guess we need these two crazy kids to but heads at first.

That night, Gwen and Vanessa meet up at a cute Christmas festival. Vanessa tells Gwen that she is catering Dirt Force One’s holiday party. Gwen is aghast at this information. Then Gwen complains about Reed and his rigid schedule.

Gwen gets a little face time with her boss the next day. Gwen wastes no time asking about taking over when poor old Graham retires. Graham looks to be in his…fifties or MAYBE earlier 60s. What in the world is he retiring for? Graham tells her a big company wants to buy the auction house. Gwen is worried it will just become a big chain. Gosh I hate those chain auction houses. No originality. Just the same old menu of stuff to bid on no matter where you are.

The next morning, Reed and his crew are cleaning East to West. She would have preferred West to East. But she got there late so that’s her fault.

Then Gwen gets all the Christmas decorations out. Reed brings by some antique linens for her to sort or something. Gwen is already clearly overwhelmed. So then Reed offers to help put up some garland. Reed gives her a good team pep talk. I really can’t believe Alan and Doris wanted thought Gwen could go through

Gwen brings a small box to her car. Then Reed reiterates that she is going to need their help. She is finally appreciative and accepts his help.

Later, Gwen does some work at Vanessa’s coffee shop. Now Vanessa is hosing the Dirt Force One party at the coffee shop. Vanessa and Mike definitely seem to like each other.

Mike and Reed catch up at work. Mike casually mentions Vanessa again so Reed is like, YOU TOTALLY HAVE A CRUSH ON HER.

At the Hawthorne House, Gwen wears a very…interesting sweater. Gwen puts a record on of Mr. Hawthorne’s daughter, Isla, singing. She must be a professional singer now. Mr. Hawthorne says she’s not coming home for Christmas. He seems sad and lonely.

Gwen mentions to Reed that it’s strange that Mr. Hawthorne’s daughter isn’t coming back for Christmas. Reed is like, maybe it’s their OWN PRIVATE BUSINESS GWEN! Don’t be SO NOSY.

Vanessa and Mike get together to talk about the dessert menu for the party. They bond over food. They seem to have a lot in common. Mike shares what happened to him in Afghanistan too.

Gwen does some work in an uncomfortable chair near her Christmas tree later that night. She seems to notice something about the Christmas tree topper.

Gwen throws a wrench into Reed’s schedule the following morning. They need CHRISTMAS TREES. And his truck. Gwen has a very specific vision for the trees. But Reed doesn’t know anything about trees. Then Reed opens up about his childhood. It was just him and his dad growing up. And he also apologized for being such a stickler at the first job they worked together. They are having a MOMENT. Then Gwen finds the perfect trees.

Back at the house, Gwen and Reed decorate the trees. Gwen uses that beautiful tree topper on one of the trees. Reed shares that he would find it hard to get rid of family heirlooms. She is surprised he is such a sentimental person. Then they talk about his watch. It was passed down to him from his grandpa to his dad and now to him.

They have ANOTHER MOMENT looking at finished tree. Reed brings a box in from somewhere and finds Gwen passed out on the couch. Reed suggests they start later the following day. I’ve decided I like Gwen’s sweater today. Then Reed says Douglas Fir was his dad’s favorite tree. I don’t think my parents have a favorite Evergreen tree. And my favorite is…whatever one we finally decide on after hiking around in the mountains all day.

Gwen finds a cookbook in a box of stuff. Doris is so happy to see it. Gwen asks about Isla and why she’s not coming home. Doris tells her that Isla and her dad haven’t really spoken in two years. They grieved quite differently. Doris fills Gwen in on all the family drama.

Gwen spills the tea on Reed to her parents. They are like OMG YOU LIKE HIM.

Gwen has another great sweater the following day. Gwen tells Reed that she wants to own her own company to be as independent as possible. Again, this has NOTHING TO DO WITH BEING LEFT AT THE ALTAR. Why would you even ask?! Then Gwen’s coworker calls with some intel. He is cozying up to a potential buyer.

Later, Gwen stops by to see Mr. Hawthorne. Gwen asks him about the tree topper. I thought she put it on the tree? Gwen tells him that it’s very valuable because only 30 were ever made. She wonders if maybe he’d like to keep it. He tells her he bought it for his wife on their honeymoon but he doesn’t want it because it will make him too sad.

Gwen finds a little note on her car when she leaves. It’s an invite to the DIRT FORCE ONE holiday party.

Gwen stops by the office and sees the receptionist. They chat about I don’t know…who cares. Then they decide to go to the holiday party. Reed is happy to see her. It looks like a really lovely event. Mike and Vanessa are having a great time together! Mike is wearing a fantastic holiday tie. Then Vanessa puts MISTLETOE OVER THEIR HEADS and kisses him on the cheek.

Gwen discovers that Reed has hardly done any of the Christmas events in town. Tucker puts his foot in his mouth in front of Reed and Gwen. So “Melissa” is not dead. They just broke up. Reed fills her in on what happened with Melissa. They were both in the military and seemingly wanted to start a family. But Melissa changed her mind. Then Vanessa pulls Gwen away. REED IS GLAD GWEN CAME.

The next morning, Reed and Gwen arrive at the house at the same time. One brought pastries and the other brought coffee. That’s cute. It’s their last day working on the house. Alan stops by and thanks Gwen for all her hard work. Alan tells Gwen that Carol would have loved how the house looks. She shows him a box that she’d like him to go through before it goes up for auction.

After Gwen and Reed finish at the house, Gwen awkwardly invites him to the fire pits in town. So they agree to go. It’s so cute. So many cute Christmas lights. And smores…PEOPLE…which begs the age old question, ARE SMORES CHRISTMAS FOOD, YES OR NO? I say no. I say they are a summer food. But honestly, I don’t know what they’re doing here. Gwen is talking about filling up a tray of candy to make a smore person. I really don’t know what they are making. Gwen opens up about her past life. She had a fancy job in London with a fancy fiancé. THEY KIND OF SAY THEY LIKE EACH OTHER. Okay so they’re not eating that thing they’re making right? Those marshmallows are insane. What are they going to do with them? I don’t get it. The marshmallows they are using aren’t even toasted. So what are they doing with the toasted ones? WHAT IS HAPPENING.

The next morning, Mike and Reed gab about the ladies in their lives. Mike is working up the courage to ask Vanessa out. Then the San Diego office finally wants to schedule a meeting about expanding Dirt Force One there. Now Reed is unsure about all that.

Then it’s auction time. The big auction company is there too. Wow, and Gwen’s parents are there too. Vanessa is wearing SOMETHING CRAZY. It’s like half a blanket draped around her front. I truly have no idea what it is. And I HATE IT. Okay shush. It’s auction time. First up, a haunted Christmas violin. The final item is the beautiful tree topper from the Hawthorne House. Vanessa prattles on to Gwen about who knows what. Meanwhile, the bidding gets up to $20,000 before Gwen pulls it from the auction. Does she even have the authority to do that? Then her boss pulls her aside. He tells her she didn’t behave very professionally but the auction was a success anyway. Graham tells her that she would likely not be able to buy him out. The other company is simply willing to pay too much.

Reed approaches her after the auction. She kind of tells him what happened with Graham. VERY VAGUELY. He tells Gwen that he may have to move to San Diego on THE FIRST. They don’t get back to him forever and all of a sudden he needs to move next week? She congratulates him but he tells her he’s more attached to “this town” than he thought. Reed does not seem pleased by her reaction. Then he apologizes again. I’m not sure for what.

Gwen goes back to the Hawthorne house the next day. Alan asks if she was going to buy out the business and she tells him it isn’t going to work out. Then she gives him the tree topper. She tells him his daughter might like to have it. Then Gwen gives him some weird advice. Anyway, I hope the result is that he calls his daughter. We will see I suppose!

Then Alan sits down and writes a letter to Isla. On Christmas Eve, Mike gives Reed some cookies that he made with Vanessa. Well, I would have liked to see that montage. Then Reed realizes he forgot to wind his watch!! IDIOT.

Later, Alan listens to his daughter’s records I think. Then he hears the door open. He thinks it’s Doris. It’s ISLA! Well she got that package fast! Well, this reunion doesn’t make me tear up at all. Nope. This isn’t sad or emotional at all. Nobody is crying here.

Meanwhile, in a very lovely emerald dress, Gwen debates calling Reed. Then she takes a family photo with her parents. Then Doris calls. ALAN NEEDS TO TALK TO HER. So she heads to their house.

Alan is wearing a lovely Christmas sweater. And Isla is wearing a coordinating sweater. She meets Isla. Then wait, all these people show up out of nowhere. It is a surprise Christmas Eve party at the Hawthorne house. But it’s just a surprise for Gwen. So that is super weird. Then Alan tells Gwen that he bought the auction house and wants her to run it. He is going to move closer to Isla. Well that’s pretty nice. Then Alan gives a toast. Instead of rushing into the dining room for gingerbread, Gwen stares at the tree. Then she and Reed talk. He planned the party because he knew it would make her happy. Then Gwen decides to tell him how she feels. Oh wait, Reed isn’t moving. So Mike is going. And Vanessa too because she’s always wanted to travel! They have a weird annoying special moment and then they KISS!

So I didn’t hate this movie. It was a cute, different story line. I liked the two leads. I think their jobs were both a little silly but yeah, this one worked for ol Cal! Let’s rate it on the Checklist. I think there was literally only 1/20! That’s crazy! I need to add “pick out a Christmas tree” to the list though.

  1. A sassy and wise best friend.

Unlocking Christmas

So, another Sunday night, another “mystery” movie. Will this one be as disappointing as nearly every other attempt at creating a Christmas mystery? I hope not. Neither my heart nor my brain can take it. Let’s get to it.

Our movie begins with our lead, Kate moving into a new place. She is about to start a medical fellowship. Her doorbell rings and her neighbor, Maggie drops in unannounced. She thought it would be MORE FUN that way. It sure was, Mags. Maggie took the initiative and decorated Kate’s home exterior for her. That’s not nosy or imposing. Maggie wonders if Kate has any family coming for Christmas. Nope. Also, I love her sweater.

Then Maggie’s…son? arrives in a taxi. Why doesn’t anyone pick anyone up from the airport?

Kate was matched at this hospital for her fellowship but it was NOT HER FIRST CHOICE. Let’s be clear about that. She catches up briefly with her new boss.

Later Maggie and her family eat a big dinner. Kevin seems to have just moved back. Even though he arrived via taxi. He doesn’t have a job or a place to live or a car. SOUNDS AWESOME.

Kate and Kevin run into each other at a coffee shop. Kate is holding about 8 cups of coffee. Kevin notices her name on the cups. FUNNY.

Later, Kate gets introduced to the staff at the hospital. Kate meets one of the nurses. She seems very friendly. Kate just gets right to work. Well, what do you know. KEVIN is one of her patients. Kevin doesn’t need any help but his MOM made him. His leg hurts a teensy bit. He was injured in the military. He tells Kate how he got injured. His parachute malfunctioned. He has recurring pain every now and then.

After the appointment, Kate discovers that Maggie is Kevin’s mom. Kate’s nurse friend is planning lots of Christmas events for…the hospital? No. That can’t be right.

Kevin catches up with a friend at the hardware store. His friend is having a baby. The friend wants to set him up but DATING IS THE LAST THING ON HIS MIND RIGHT NOW. Kevin has no idea what he wants to do with his life.

Kate does a crossword puzzle alone at home.

Then, Kate and Kevin both get mysterious IDENTICAL packages. Could it be two pieces of a friendship necklace they have to return to their owners? Fingers crossed. No, it’s a key with a riddle inside. The keys seem the same and the poems are identical. SO WHAT GIVES.

The next day, Kevin and Kate separately try to solve the riddle and both wonder if they are really going to participate in this riddle game. It does seem like Kate is definitely going to a strange place at night because an unaddressed poem told her to. Kevin is game as well. Is no one worried about their safety and security? They run into each other at the mailbox in the Christmas Square. They are like DANG GIRL! Crazy running into you here! So the mailbox has two keys. The letter in the mailbox wants them to choose a Christmas memory from their childhood and do it to/for someone else. I HAVE A MILLION QUESTIONS at the moment. Also there was an envelope that said do not open? Anyway, they’re not doing the activity…YET.

The next day, the Christmas band the nurse reserved DOUBLE BOOKED ITSELF. As happens so often this time of year. Then Kevin talks to his dad about how DANG STUBBORN Kate is. Then Kate comes into the hardware shop and they agree to keep at the mystery.

The next day (?) Kate deals with a hypochondriac at work. That night Kevin and Kate talk about their favorite Christmas traditions. They share their favorite traditions and then land on a great idea. They are going to decorate ornaments. Or make ornaments. Something with ornaments. Kate calls Liz to set it up.

The next day, Kate share this ornament tradition with kids and their families at the hospital. Kate goes to run interference between a frustrated kid and his mom. He has a broken arm. Kevin notices the airplane the kid is holding and shares his injury story. So their ornament decorating even was a big success.

After the event, they open the second envelope. It is another mystery! They both have things to do so they agree to meet up later. Kevin has a meeting with the job center. Then he helps his friend set up a crib. They talk about being afraid and being brave in the military and in parenthood. Because those are the same types of risks.

Later, Kevin and Kate walk and talk. It seems their brains work the same way! They both like puzzles. They end up at Juniper Square. They run into Maggie. Maggie is elated to see them together. Then Maggie forces Kate to come over for dinner the following night. Someday, when I’m past the prime of my life, I’m going to become a nosy extroverted neighbor and force all the single people in my neighborhood to eat too much food at my house. Or I will watch TV for hours on end in blissful silence. Either way.

Kate and Kevin agree to compete in the “Annual Reindeer Race” at the festival. It’s a potato sack race but the potato sacks look like Santa bags. Also they need to wear reindeer nametags. I think Kevin won but really, did anyone? Then, they have a MOMENT. Then Kate realizes the answer to their riddle. They head to the museum!

The hypochondriac runs the museum. Wow there is a “Kevin” and a “Mr. McCallister.” VERY CLEVER. Anyway, Mr. McCallister has a few new suggestions for ailments he might have. And then Kate makes a casual HIPAA violation. But no matter! They are on the case! They find a little miniature city in the museum. Kevin’s grandpa built it and the donated it to the town or the museum or whatever. Kevin used to help his grandpa build it. They also see a carriage. Then, they find ANOTHER CLUE. Two envelopes again. They have to send a message of Christmas Cheer to someone they don’t know.

Kate sees Mr. McCallister again the next day. She asks his advice for a Christmas message. He tells her Christmas is the last thing on his mind. WONDER WHAT THAT’S ALL ABOUT. But no, let’s not ask any questions about that. Let’s just keep patting this silly old man on the head about his pretend ailments.

That night Kate goes to Kevin’s for dinner. She presumably hears TONS of stories about Kevin. Then Maggie and Arnold share how they met. It’s cute. Then it’s time for a stroll down memory lane near the Christmas tree as they look at old family photos. Kevin had frosted tips! Then Kevin tells them that he loved getting cards when he was stationed overseas. So Kate suggests sending cards to troops overseas for their Christmas mystery assignment. Well that is a great idea! Because of the time limitation, they decide to do a video message. It’s going to be from the WHOLE TOWN. Better get to work.

The next day, Jackson gets the video stuff all set up. People do individual messages and a big group one. This is a really lovely idea. Later, Kate and Kevin review their work with the video message. They send it off to Kevin’s friend in the military who will distribute it I guess? Kevin talks about what he wants to do next. He doesn’t want to take over the hardware store for his dad. Kevin doesn’t seem to know what he wants to do next. Who cares? It’s time for the second envelope. But Also is NO ONE SUSPICIOUS of this yet? Their next clue is a codex. Kevin has never heard of such a thing. HAVE YOU NOT READ THE DA VINCI CODE KEVIN?!! They try a few words to open it. No luck No matter, Kevin wonders if she’s going to the tree lighting that night. They agree to meet there.

They try to work on the codex a little more but then run into Jackson and Carol. They can’t agree on a nursery theme. How about NO THEME. Carol suggests “clouds” as a theme. With smiley faces on them. CAROL. WHAT. Also, Jackson and Carol are having an ugly sweater party the following night. Then the…mayor invites Kevin up to light the tree. He must be the only troop in town. I’m just glad he didn’t call Kate up to do it. This tree has fireworks! Otherwise, it’s pretty pathetic. Why are all these town Christmas trees so tiny!

After the tree lighting, Kate and Kevin do some more walking and talking. They share more Christmas memories. Then they try more words on the codex. No luck. Kate invites Kevin and his family over to decorate her tree with her. So that is very sweet. Kate tells Kevin that her first choice had been in Chicago but she matched here. They talk more about their dreams; namely Kate’s. They’re both glad to be in each other’s company.

The next day, Mr. McCallister is back at the doctor’s office with new ailments. ASK HIM HOW HE’S DOING MISSY! PAY ATTENTION. Here we go. Mr. McCallister shares that his wife died this year and there’s no point in celebrating Christmas this year. So NOW WE’RE GETTING TO THE BOTTOM OF THINGS.

Later, Kevin and Jackson have some bro time and talk about Kate. Now Kevin doesn’t want to get involved because she’s leaving in a YEAR. And what, Kevin, you’re so rooted here? With your zero job, driving your dad’s work truck around? And a year is a perfect amount of time because by the end of that year they might be in a place to make decisions about next steps together. KEVIN. GET IT TOGETHER.

That night is the ugly sweater party. Kevin and Kate both wear appropriate sweaters. They reiterate that they had a nice time the other night. She also had another idea for the codex. They try another word-giving. IT WORKED. He just like wrenched that thing apart. I think it would have opened either way with how hard he pulled on it. Their next challenge is to donate to a toy drive. But then Kevin notices that they’re standing under mistletoe and POINTS IT OUT like the AWKWARD LUNATIC he is. Then that VA staffing agency calls Kevin late at night. That employee is really burning the midnight oil for ol KEV. She has a good job for him but the job is in California. He agrees to let her submit his name.

Kate gets some positive feedback from her boss the next day. So that’s nice. He wants her to think about staying beyond her fellowship. It’s only been what, a week? Let’s just slow it down a little boss. Later, Kevin interviews with the disaster relief organization.

Kevin and Kate meet at the Juniper Square toy drive. They find a gift clue in the mix of boxes. Luckily no one else found it first! Now they have to create a meaningful memory for each other? That gives Kate an idea and she’s off. She runs to Mr. McCallister’s office. She tells him his pains are just from missing his wife. I am not sure she truly understands him and his grief. And I’m not sure she gives him very good advice. Mr. McCallister looks at some pictures of his wife and tears up a little bit but that DOESN’T MAKE ANYONE CRY. Personally, I am outraged that they included this emotional scene. AND THIS MINI STORYLINE ALTOGETHER, FRANKLY.

Later, Kate decorates her Christmas tree and Mr. McCallister wanders around Juniper Square alone. Then Kate gets a call that she actually could go to Chicago for her fellowship. Then Kevin gets a call that he got the job! So wow this is all LOTS OF INFORMATION.

The next day Mr. McCallister is waiting for Kate in the lobby. She tries to apologize but he says it’s not necessary. He said doing Christmas things actually made him feel better. He gives Kate some candy canes to say thank you. Oh that is so sweet.

Later, Jackson Facetimes Kevin and shows him the nursery. Do people really FaceTime that much? Kevin tells Jackson about his interview in California. He was offered the job. But he hasn’t told Kate yet. His dad overhears that Kevin may have gotten a job in California. His dad is like COOL! That would be awesome. Kevin is like, who is going to take over the hardware store? His dad is like, what are you talking about? Am I dead? Anyway, he couldn’t care less.

Kate catches up with her nurse friend Liz about the fellowship. Kate doesn’t know what to do. Then Carol stops by and spills the beans about Kevin’s job. Carol unhelpfully leaves out the bit where Kevin didn’t know whether he was going to take the job. Little miss nursey-nurse gives some sound friendship advice that largely centers around COMMUNICATING.

Kevin gets a video message from a military base thanking the town for the video. Kate overhears Kevin talking on the phone to the Disaster Relief company but walks out BEFORE HE REJECTS THE JOB OFFER. KATE! HALLMARK! YOU IDIOTS. EAVESDROP BETTER.

Later, Kevin arrives at Kate’s house. He notices all of Kate’s boxes getting packed. He’s like, what! You’re going to just take that job and not even tell me? Why doesn’t Kate say, aren’t you going to California? Good Heavens these people. He gives her some kind of horse riding ticket for the Christmas memory gift. I don’t really know what that’s about but she seems touched. Did she even DO ANYTHING for him?

The next morning, Kate heads to Kevin’s house. Maggie tells Kate that Kevin is staying in town. Don’t you feel like a REAL DUMB DUMB NOW, KATE? Later, Kevin talks to his dad about an idea-building homes for local families in need. His dad asks if he’s told Kate about this. Arnold thinks Kate will forgive Kevin after they do the Christmas morning memory. FORGIVE HIM FOR WHAT first of all. These two dummies are only guilty of not updating each other with what’s new in their personal lives.

Then Kevin is like, wait I never told you about the Christmas morning memory business. And finally, the jig is up. Arnold and Maggie were behind it. Someone else apparently did this same weird bit to THEM and they were just hoping they could do it for Kevin some day. That’s just a little weird. It’s very weird but I don’t have the time nor the energy to ask the many questions I have.

Kate and her pal walk and talk about the mess she made with her bad eavesdropping. She has no idea what to do for Kevin. Then she gets a good idea. She needs Mr. McCallister’s help though. Good thing she cured him of his grief and sadness!! As Kevin closes the store that night, Kate pulls up in the carriage from the museum. Kevin tells her that his parents were behind all the mysteries. So that’s cool, right Kate? Not weird at all? Then they apologize for being silly gooses and agree to stay in whatever this town is called. Then they KISS of course. And that’s how these two unlocked Christmas.

So yeah I kind of liked this one. Lots of silly moments of course. But I thought it was a fun scavenger hunt mystery concept and the big reveal at the end was not underwhelming like some of the other “mystery” movie. I liked that a characters that were actually apart of the whole movie were behind the mystery rather than a stranger introduced for one scene. So, yeah! This was an enjoyable one. Let’s rate it. Total score 6/20.

  1. Clumsy Meet Cute
  2. Christmas Tree Lighting
  3. Christmas puns (I think)
  4. A sassy and wise best friend
  5. nonsense drama
  6. Christmas-y montage

Christmas Comes Twice

It’s our annual Mowry Sister Christmas Movie! I am not sure which one was in this one and whether it was the same one as last year. And I’m not bothering to look it up. But anyway, last year’s Mowry sister movie was a little silly, what with her “Jr. Staffer” promotion on the line. The preview to this movie suggested it involved time travel so I think we’re in for a real treat. It is also worth noting that this movie is our second time travel movie and our FIRST (of 2) Carousel movie of the season. Hallmark is nothing if not consistent. Let’s get after it.

Cheryl, our lead, is at her company Christmas party. She runs into a Senator and her granddaughter there. This may also be the Senator’s Christmas Eve party but I’m not sure. And I would really hope this Senator would be back in her home state celebrating Christmas with her family but maybe she just takes her work very seriously. LOL. Cheryl used to be an astronomer but now works…::gestures:: here? Cheryl reviews grant proposals now instead of astronimzing. She’s trying to finish up so she can take the train somewhere for Christmas. Also a group of Norwegian scientists just confirmed a comet she discovered maybe? So, what a disappointment her life has been.

Her sister Trish meets her at the bus stop. They talk about astronomy. Trish tells her she’s opening up her own restaurant. Cheryl is a little nervous about Trish starting a restaurant (again.) Cheryl keeps insisting that it’s SUCH A BIG RISK. To be fair, I would be reserved too if my sister wanted to open another restaurant after her first one failed. But anyway, they catch up on other stuff the drive home.

Their parents go ALL OUT decorating, of course. At home, Cheryl looks at a picture and remembers her science teacher. She died five years ago. She feels bad not spending more time with her.

That night, Cheryl and her sister go to the Christmas festivities in town. WHAT TIME IS IT? It was dark when Cheryl left. It was dark when Cheryl got home. And now they’re going BACK OUT? It’s the middle of the night ladies!!

At the Christmas Carnival, Cheryl tells Trish she went on a date with the mayor once. It didn’t go well. Then Cheryl runs into George and his TREE. He is wearing a Letterman’s jacket for some reason. Don’t worry, it’s just a jacket from the MIDDLE SCHOOL where he works. Why would they even make letterman style jackets for that school? Anyway, they seem really competitive with each other. After running into George, Cheryl wonders what her life would have been like if she hadn’t run into Phillip, her boss five years ago. She feels like a failure right now because she doesn’t get to do any personal astronomy. Then Cheryl sees a carousel. She wanders towards it but no one seems to be around. For some reason she gets on it. And then it starts moving!

Then she comes back to Trish. Cheryl tells her she got dizzy from the carousel. Trish is like, what carousel? Also, BYE. Then Terrence, the mayor, comes by and wonders about their date on Friday? Also, he’s not the mayor. Then she sees a poster that says “2015” on it. She sees George and he’s pretty sassy to her. And then she sees her old teacher Mrs. Nelson! And then she passes out. George catches her. He takes her to a cot in maybe a medical tent. Then she decides to tell George what’s going on. She thinks maybe she’s gone back in time. Naturally, he thinks she’s a crazy person.

Cheryl storms away and he follows her. She wants to find the carousel but George says there isn’t one. Doesn’t she notice he’s not even wearing the same jacket as before? She decides to walk home to clear her head. She sees city hall under construction. She heads to her parents’ house, not decorated for Christmas. Another person answers the door and doesn’t know who her parents are. She walks to their OLD house and sure enough, they’re there. Her mom wonders if she wants to bring some cookies to Mrs. Nelson. Cheryl gladly does it.

Cheryl is so happy to see her. Then she asks Mrs. Nelson if time travel is possible. Why don’t you ask her to go get her heart checked CHERYL!! Cheryl has absolutely zero chill about Mrs. Nelson.

Back at home, Cheryl seems to have resigned herself to this new reality. She and her mom reminisce and talk about getting a chance to do things different if they had the chance.

The next morning, a much more upbeat Cheryl comes down for breakfast. She strolls down the street and gives lots of good advice to people with her 20/20 vision. She runs into Terrence and promises not to wear an angora scarf because now she knows he’s allergic to it. Then she catches up with Mrs. Nelson. TELL HER TO GO TO THE GD DOCTOR CHERYL. Mrs. Nelson wants to check in on George and the science club. They walk in in the middle of his lecture and say “don’t let us disturb you!” But, well damage done, ladies! And then they keep whispering. Then Cheryl gives a very strange lecture to the kids. And them Mrs. Nelson suggests George and Cheryl work on the science club together. So then George suggests they go run errands together.

George asks her about her time travel dilemma. She is still back in time, of course. Then Cheryl tells George she has a date with Terrence. Later, Cheryl picks up her sister for brunch. They ALMOST run into Dr. Phillips but Cheryl dodges him. While they wait for their food, Trish asks her if something is up. Cheryl tells Trish she should try something new that isn’t restaurant related. Cheryl tries to talk to her out of opening a restaurant, knowing this first attempt will fail. Why can she try and talk Trish out of the restaurant stuff but not tell Mrs. Nelson to go get her heart checked?!! Then Cheryl heads to science club.

That day, the kids make rock candy with George. Now it’s Cheryl’s turn. They are trying to outdo each other. Unfortunately for Cheryl, she does a terrible job of explaining electrons. She is too smart. After class, she goes to Mrs. Nelson’s to debrief. She is trying to get Cheryl and George TOGETHER. TELL HER TO GO TO THE DOCTOR.

Later, she and George pick up a Christmas tree for Mrs. Nelson. They keep kind of competing with each other and trying to one up one another. She also tries to convince him she is from the future by telling him about an upcoming snowstorm. Then…a large gust of wind? Or maybe the tree itself? knocks them over. How about predicting Mrs. Nelson’s imminent death you’re doing nothing about?!

Later? The next day? The science club take a field trip to the Christmas Carnival. George says he was failing at school until he got into class with Cheryl. Competing with her helped him get his grades up. That’s cute. Then they play a carnival game and she wins a prize. Then Dr. Phillip accosts her. He is RELENTLESS in trying to meet with her. With George’s help she gets forced into meeting Dr. Phillip for coffee the following day.

Later, Cheryl gets VERY DRESSED UP for her date. I’ve never been that dressed up for a date. She apparently also left some brochures about real estate around for her sister. SUBTLE.

So then Cheryl and Terrence are on their date. Cheryl is so excited but I think she quickly realizes that Terrence is probably not the right fit. Terrence seems very focused on voters and supporters and all that. He is a politician THROUGH AND THROUGH.

Cheryl runs into George on her way home. He accompanies her the rest of the way. She tells him what a disaster the date was. George tells her how he became a teacher instead of going to med school. She tells him she’s dreading the interview the following day.

Cheryl interviews with Dr. Phillips the next day. She tries to botch the interview. But she actually just looks like she’s playing hardball. So he says he’s going to go back and sweeten her offer. Outside, she runs into Trish. She asks Trish if she’s looked at the real estate pamphlets yet.

Later, George and Cheryl go shopping together. George needs a gift for Mrs. Nelson. She tells George that changing the future is harder than she though. George wonders why she’s trying to fight fate? Then she finds a snow globe for Mrs. Nelson. What about sending an appointment reminder in the mail? George tells Cheryl he missed competing with her. And also just straight up MISSED HER. Cheryl has a confession too. She might also have missed him!!! So that’s where we are. She likes arguing with him. Then Cheryl’s weather prediction comes true.

More science club the next day! Cheryl is getting better at teaching. Then they both head to Mrs. Nelson’s house to decorate her tree. She’s spent more time with Mrs. Nelson than her own family! That is a very chubby litte tree they’ve selected for ol Mrs. Nelson! Then George hands her the gift they bought and gives Cheryl some of the credit. Then Cheryl says a very strange sentence-she points to some framed pictures and asks, “are those some of the students you taught science to?” How about, are those former students? Then Cheryl asks her about the future and time travel. Mrs. Nelson tells her to be present. Then she gives Cheryl a cute little ornament. I do think she’d probably want to know about a latent heart condition though, Cheryl. I don’t think that’s what she meant by just living in the moment.

Then George and Cheryl walk home. Cheryl says she enjoyed teaching. She says she was wrong about a lot of things this week, but mostly George! They are about to kiss but then she gets an important text from Mr. Phillips. He needs to meet ASAP. They promise to meet after. Cheryl finally is honest with Mr. Phillips. But he says he really thinks she could make a difference. He gives her until the following day to decide. She meets up with George and tells him she has to take the job. He is bummed but understands.

Then Cheryl apologizes to her sister and promises to be supportive of her inevitable restaurant failure. Then she goes to Mrs. Nelson for more advice. Well, what’s she supposed to do about George! Mrs. Nelson encourages Cheryl to tell George how she feels. Then Cheryl tells Mrs. Nelson how much she means to her. It’s a nice moment but Cheryl is basically now complicit in her death. Then Cheryl runs to the carnival to find George. Then she sees the carousel again! She tells George to come with her to see it. He sees it and follows her. She gets on and George doesn’t. As it spins around, Cheryl shouts that she’s falling in love with George. He is just standing there holding two ice creams looking confused.

She gets off the carousel and George isn’t there. She heads to her parents’ old house. Someone else lives there. They moved. She heads to their condo. Trish of course, notices that she changed her jacket THIS TIME. Then they all sample some desserts from Trish’s restaurant. She goes outside and sees the new city hall.

Then she just looks through a telescope on a sidewalk instead of trying to find George. Luckily he approaches her. He held on to her scarf for five years…but then like nothing happened between them in those five years? But he remembers everything so she really did time travel. But why didn’t they just start dating? Since now past Cheryl would have liked him, they could have started dating. Why would he have waited five years? I don’t understand. I mean, aren’t they both like in their late 30s or early 40s? They don’t have five years to dilly dally for heaven’s sake!!! Anyway, they go to the carnival together and ride the Ferris wheel and will probably be together now.

So overall, I enjoyed this movie. Time travel movies always get a little tricky but I feel this ending really did a disservice to the rest of the story. Also, I am placing the blame for Mrs. Nelson’s untimely death squarely on Cheryl’s shoulders. I hope she lives with that guilt for the rest of her life. Let’s see how this one ranks on the checklist. Dang, only 4/20. Unless I missed something?

  1. Clumsy re-meet cute
  2. Christmas Festival
  3. Someone working a corporate job instead of pursuing their dream
  4. A sassy and wise mentor

Glenbrooke Christmas

I knew absolutely zero about this movie going in. I was just hoping against hope it wouldn’t be outright terrible.

Our lead, Jessica is a VERY wealthy person. She has this beautiful sketches she did in the car but she tells the wait staff to toss it. There are like a thousand servants. Jessica wants to help with everything but nobody lets her. She tells the woman doing her hair for a Christmas party that her parents died a long time ago and her grandfather took care of her. She is wearing a very cute pink glittery dress.

Meanwhile in Glenbrooke, a firefighting crew scope out smoke coming out of a church. They get it all figured out. OR DO THEY?

Back in California, Jessica and her grandpa host a Christmas party at his house. Her grandpa is really nice. Then a stranger approaches Jessica. A cute guy? He is really trying to pick her up. I DON’T LIKE HIM. I DON’T TRUST HIM. Jessica is much more polite to him than I would be. Also, this indoor tree lighting is the best one I’ve seen all year. Then we find out that guy wasn’t hitting on her. He was trying to do a business deal with her. She is disappointed. People only want her for what she can do for them apparently.

After the party, Jessica looks at an old picture of her parents. Then she tells one of the wait staff the story of those church bells in Glenbrooke. Then Martha tells Jessica the story of how her dad proposed. Jessica wonders if she should go to Glenbrooke. She’s been dying to go there for a while. She tells her grandpa she’s thinking of going before she starts her new job. She could stay in the house her mom grew up in alone at Christmas! That makes sense right?! Jessica decides to go by her middle name so no one will know who she is. She is apparently that famous as a busy business person. She also decides to drive, but promises to leave after the bells chime at midnight and then be back on Christmas Day. But now that I type all that out, it makes absolutely zero sense. She is driving from Los Angeles to somewhere in Colorado and posits it will take her over a day to get there. But she also posits it will take her a few hours to get back. So I think she’s done that math wrong. But no matter. Which one of those very fancy cars will she take?! She decides to take one of the servant’s Acadia’s.

Jessica sings her way to Colorado. Then she hits our lead fire chief, Kyle, with her car. He wonders if she was texting. She’s a bit huffy about the implication. But really, like it’s probably his fault? Wasn’t he jaywalking? Anyway, there are gingerbread cookies everywhere! She makes it to her mom’s house in one piece. It is decorated to the gills with Christmas. She meets the owner, Wyatt.

Wyatt gives her the run down of the house and all the town events. Wifi is at a coffee shop around the corner and they just got “speed dial”! So good news all around. Wyatt even made her a little welcome basket. Jessica gets out her sketch book. Then Jessica starts a fire and fills the whole house up with smoke. The fire alarm goes off. Instead of opening the doors and windows, she waves a towel at the fire alarm. So then ol Wyatt calls the fire department. And doesn’t cancel it. Then, Kyle, the guy she HIT WITH HER CAR, arrives.

So, yeah it’s just smoke. But Ruth, Kyle’s little fireperson helper, is just ready and willing to be his wingman. He lectures Jessica on opening the flue. Ruth says his seriousness is “kind of a bummer.” Then she introduces Kyle to Jessica. Also is Ruth 15?

Kyle asks Jessica what she does. She stutters a little and he’s like, oh never mind, that’s rude to ask polite questions about people you just met. Then Jessica’s grandpa calls to see how she’s doing and also WORK STUFF.

So the coffee shop Jessica stops into is definitely from Christmas Town right? Anyway, she’s there to do some work. Then the coffee shop owner assumes she wants hot chocolate. First thing in the morning?! The “art center” director, Terry, stops by too. She describes what an art center is which is a relief because I truly didn’t know. Terry offers to split her cinnamon roll with Jessica. I would be uncomfortable. FOR SURE. Everyone in town knows about her running into Kyle and the smoke filled house though, so that’s embarrassing. Doesn’t anyone realize she’s there to work?

Later, she tries to take a selfie in front of the church. Kyle stops by and offers to take it for her. Kyle tells her the bells still aren’t working. He has an engineering degree from MIT but decided to come home and be a fireman. As you do. So then she and Kyle walk and talk their way into town. Then Jessica walks into the art center. Some of the kids think she’s the art instructor. She DID get an art history degree though. Why did she get that degree if she was going to take over her grandpa’s real estate company? She does know ALOT ABOUT ART THOUGH! But she doesn’t want to teach the classes for the week.

Back at her house, she does some drawing. ARE THERE NO TVs? The next day, Jessica tells Wyatt about her parents. He knew them. He promises not to tell anyone. Jessica says she’s going to get a Christmas tree that day. So she has to go to the fire station for the tree. Ruth tells her to check out the VIP section, which is just where Kyle is standing. All the trees have snow on them. She picks out a tree and she and Kyle walk it back to her house.

Kyle helps her get it all set up. She has her ornaments all ready to go. Kyle says his mom is on a Christmas cruise with some girlfriends. His dad died. They have a moment. Then he spills that he had a fiancé but it didn’t work out because they came from completely different worlds. Jessica wonders if he would like her if he knew she had millions of dollars. He laughs because he said she’s too normal. Then she invites him to stay and decorate her tree with her. He jumps at the chance. He grabs her sketchbook and notices her drawing. Kyle seems like a very awkward human. They plug in the lights and blow the transformer. Kyle heads out to fix it. Then he texts her to turn the lights back on because he also just left? Then he says she needs new lights. Does that make a difference? He gives her LED lights. So that helps? Then they text a little. Kyle tries to use some emojis. Nice try, Kyle.

The next day, Jessica strolls around shopping and then ends up at the art center. Terry tells Jessica that the art teacher bailed. Terry is going to try and do it all. Terry tries to get Jessica to teach the class. Terry shows her a picture one of the kids painted, based on Jessica’s suggestion. Jessica finally agrees. Terry said teaching a beginner art class if about following your heart. But is it?

Later, Jessica overhears Kyle on the phone. It is going to cost $10,000 to fix the bells! But who has that kind of money?!! Kyle tells her that night is a big night at Wyatt’s house. So she needs to go. Doesn’t she like live there?

Now it’s time for Jessica to teach her first class. She actually has a good idea. Dawn, one of the students, struggles to get started. Jessica gives Dawn a pep talk. Then Jessica silences a work call!!

She finally takes her grandpa’s call. She tells her grandpa that she delegated a few things even!! She mentions the bells. Her grandpa tells her to just write a check. But she doesn’t want to do it like that. Why not? Her grandpa and her driver think she sounds reinvigorated. Then Kyle shows up. Jessica asks if tonight is supposed to be an ugly sweater thing? Kyle is like, this is my nicest sweater? Haha. Anyway, he has some choices for her. She cooperates and they head to the event. Why are people passing out gifts?

Then Jessica shares what happened to her parents….kind of. She says she needs to hear the bells. Also, she has an idea for fundraiser. Jessica wants to try and talk people from the next town over “with money to burn” to participate in this fundraiser. So this is a terrible idea. So the town of Brantley hasn’t done any charitable giving this year? They’re all just dying to donate money but have no idea where? How about some random town’s church bells? And some children’s artwork? Yes! We’re dying to burn our money on that.

After the event, Jessica tells Kyle what happened to her parents. And she tells him she’s staying in her mom’ old house. Jessica wants to tell Kyle the truth about her job too. But then Terry interrupts. Of course. TERRY! Then Kyle gets his bee in his bonnet about rich people. So of course then Jessica chickens out. Anyway, it’s caroling time.

So then Jessica gives everyone a pep talk for the fundraiser. Poor Billy wonders if he gets any of the money from the proceeds of his painting. Everyone just laughs at silly old Billy. It’s an involuntary donation Billy! You know, for the “greater good”? Get with the program BILLY.

Later, Terry tells Jessica she’s on to her. Terry is nice to her but tells her she needs to tell Kyle the truth about herself. She agrees to tell him after the fundraiser. Then Kyle ropes Jessica into story time at the art center. She tells the kids they can call her “Jessie.” Kyle asks if he can call her Jessie. She says she’ll see. He reads “The Night Before Christmas.” Jessica helps him turn the pages.

While setting up for the fundraiser, Terry tells Jessica the phone has been ringing off the hook. People are dying to participate/burn their money on children’s artwork. Then Kyle asks if they’re still getting together that night. Terry gives Jessica a TALKING TO. She does not want to see Kyle hurt.

Kyle set up a lovely dinner for them outside at night in December in Colorado. And he’s not wearing a coat. Then Jessica drinks a beer without a glass. She is so rugged! And relatable. Jessica brought some dessert in some very elaborate packaging. And where did he get those plate covers? Then Kyle walks her to her door. Jessica says she wants to talk to him after the fundraiser. Kyle wants to talk about “us!”

Later, Wyatt stops by to give her something her parents left behind when they moved. It’s an old angel tree topper.

The next morning, people are just lining up to go to the fundraiser. BRIDGET recognizes Jessica. Jessica pretends to be there buying stuff. Terry is like GIRL. Then it’s fundraising time. All these people with MONEY TO BURN on crappy student art and homemade baked goods. These poor students are not getting any of the benefit of their artwork selling for high prices. Then Terry announces they raised the money. Kyle heads off to call the people who can fix the lights.

Jessica comes outside to catch up with Kyle. Something seems wrong with him. Kyle spills that he was trying to find some old photos for her of her parents and discovers she’s Jessica Morgan. So then Kyle has a freak out. Kyle, every time money comes up you TOTALLY FREAK OUT! And actually Jessica does say that to him. SO GOOD FOR YOU GIRL. But Kyle digs his heels in on being a DRAMA QUEEN and GIANT CRYBABY so that’s that.

The next day, Jessica packs up and decides to leave instead of hearing the bells she came for. She packs up and heads to the coffee shop. I hate the way the coffee shop owner says “cocoa.” But I hate the way everyone says “cocoa.” But this coffee shop owner says it about 16 times. SOMETIMES PEOPLE WANT COFFEE CHERYL. Everyone is sad to see Jessica go. Even Ruth is at a loss for words. Then she almost hits Kyle with her car but she doesn’t. TRICKY. Wyatt stops by the coffee shop and shows the girls the notebook Jessica left at the house. All her sketches. Ruth decides she needs to show them to Kyle.

Ruth heads to the fire station to show Kyle the notebook. She says it’s a collection of art called “Kyle’s an Idiot.” I agree with her assessment. Ruth talks some SENSE into that dum dum’s head finally.

Jessica’s drive is interrupted by an avalanche. Again I ask what magical universe this is where it only was going to take her a few hours to get home. I mean, she would have had to have left on Christmas Eve anyway to get to LA at SOME POINT on Christmas Day!! She calls her grandpa but can’t get through. And then Kyle shows up and gives her a speech about how much of a little baby he was. Then Jessica apologizes for doing nothing wrong. Then the road magically clears and Jessica decides to go back to Glenbrooke. Then her grandpa arrives! Kyle meets her grandpa. They talk briefly about her happiness. If she tells him she wants to quit and teach art in Glenbrooke I’m going to lose it. Okay no she wants to be CEO of the company and the foundation and to focus on art. Aren’t those two full time jobs? She couldn’t actually do both right? Anyway, forget about that. It’s bell ringing time. Kyle gives Jessica a gift. To be the person that gets to ring the bells! I would be a little disappointed if that’s all I got. Then Kyle gives her another speech. Then it’s time to ring the bells. Kyle tells Jessica to make a wish and then they kiss! And that’s it.

So this one was perfectly fine. It is very much a spin on the same old same old. But I did enjoy watching it. I mean, this is what we’re all here for right? Let’s see how it did on the checklist. Only 4/20! Crazy.

  1. Clumsy Meet Cute
  2. Christmas fundraiser (not as fancy as a gala but still)
  3. Christmas puns
  4. Nonsense drama

Lights, Love and Hanukkah

Like many, I was anxiously anticipating this one. It is the only Hanukkah movie of the year and of course it stars BEN SAVAGE. However, after last weekend, I tried really hard to keep my expectations in check. So, did it meet my expectations for a Hallmark Hanukkah movie? Let’s find out.

Our lead, Christina is celebrating her first Christmas without her mom. Her friend, Janet tells her she looks just like her mom; even though she’s adopted. Her friend is very sweet to her. Christina is coping by doing tons of decorating and going all in on her mom’s recipes at her restaurant. Christina took over her mother’s Italian restaurant when she died.

While out grocery shopping, Christina tells Janet she wants some family and people to love for Christmas. I AM NOT CRYING YET. She is dreaming of having a big family because it was always just her and her mom. Then Christina tells Janet she took a DNA test to see what her heritage is. This conversation is interrupted by a phone call informing them is an emergency at the restaurant. There is a water leak and the restaurant is going to be closed for 2-3 weeks. Christina asks Eddy, the contractor to promise her that they’ll be back open in time for Christmas Eve.

Later, Christina eats dinner alone in her beautiful kitchen.

The next day, Christina reveals that she ended a “four year engagement?” With a phone call? What in the world? Anyway, she got her DNA test results back. She is 50% Jewish and 50% Italian. Her reaction is…underwhelming in my opinion.

Our lead is allegedly overwhelmed with learning about a new culture but so excited about meeting some new family. Oh I am really trying to keep it together. Then she immediately gets an email from a DNA match, Becky. This DNA match wants to meet her! Christina is nervous and afraid Becky won’t like her.

Christina meets Becky. They both agree that meeting is a big deal. Becky has been trying to meet DNA matches for a while but none of them have agreed. Well, okay. That’s a little suspicious, right? Why is she so eager to meet DNA relatives? Is she trying to commit a crime? Then Becky introduces Christina to her brother, Scott. They both own restaurants. Then BEN SAVAGE arrives. His name is David in this movie. David meets Christina. So David is a food critic. Becky and Scott try to get his opinion on new stuff they make at their restaurant. Christina recognizes his name because David actually wrote a review of her restaurant and said the food was “predictable.” So OOPS, David.

Scott has a couple of “fun” takes on latkes he wants David to try. While he’s trying the latkes, David looks over at Christina again. Scott’s restaurant is named “Lenny’s” after their dad, who died. So they have so much in common!! Then Becky invites Christina to brunch the next day so she can meet her mom and maybe fill in the blanks about how they’re related. That’s a normal thing to do with someone you just met and that might be related?

The next day, Becky and her mom talk about a collector’s dreidel. Then Becky drops the “Christina” news on her mom cold. Becky’s husband is not going to brunch because the kids have sports practices. Seems like a bad time to schedule family brunch!

Outside Christina arrives at the same time as David for brunch. David is staying with Becky’s family. Christina makes a little joke about cannolis. David promises not to tell her if they are predictable.

David says she couldn’t do better than this family for meeting online.

As everyone sits down to brunch, Christina spills about David’s review. Everyone kind of laughs about it. Silly David, not liking Christina’s food. Then David shares that he is on his way to Europe at the beginning of the year. David’s dad and Lenny were best friends. When Christina shares that she was adopted, Ruth gets really interested. She gives her a look and kind of zones out as Christina shares about the day she was born. So Ruth is definitely her mom. Scott asks Ruth what’s wrong. Then David asks. Ruth gets very quiet. Then she spills the beans. She was an exchange student in Italy and got married but got it annulled right afterwards. Then she found out she was pregnant when she got back to the United States.

Christina’s reaction is…underwhelming. But the siblings kind of freak out…as you would when you find out your mom had another child over thirty years ago! Despite how Christina is behaving, she tells everyone that this is too overwhelmed and decides to leave. She is not giving us ANYTHING here. Outside, she just sits in her car for a few minutes. David runs out to check on her and offers to drive her home. Okay, I just noticed that they have lights on their house. And then Ruth says, I don’t even know her but I already love her. SO NOBODY CRIES ABOUT THAT AT ALL.

The next day, Eddy and Janet check in on renovation progress. The friend invites Eddy to Christmas Eve dinner so OKAY. Then Christina tells Janet that she met her bio mom and half sister. Christina and her friend talk about it all. Her friend is so encouraging. I still find Christina’s reactions to everything very underwhelming. I don’t know what I’m expecting….but what I’m getting is not it. Her words say one thing…her face says…nothing.

Ruth and her kids talk too. Ruth tearfully gives them more information about her history before their dad. They wish she had told them sooner. But they are very understanding. And their reactions all seem appropriate!

Back at the restaurant, Christina doesn’t want to change anything because it all reminds her of her mom. Janet meets David. Everyone knows him now as the guy who didn’t like her lasagna. Christina is a little sassy with him. Or at least, I think she’s trying to be sassy. David says that Ruth was worried about her. Janet plays a GREAT wingman. She tells her to just “whip up” some lasagna for David. They eat at the bar 4 hours later. David tells her it’s really good. She tells him the review came out a few weeks after her mom died so I bet your feel REAL BAD NOW, DAVID. Christina learns a little about David and how he became a food critic. He says he’s going to write a book but he keeps getting distracted.

That day, Christina is having a statue placed in the courtyard to honor her mom. David says the nicest thing he did for his mom was a golf cart. But I think that’s nicer than anything I’ve given my mom.

Christina thanks David for stopping by. He encourages her to call Ruth. David is just hamming it up. And he is getting absolutely NOTHING BACK.

Later, Christina decides to call Ruth. They meet in person again. Ruth tells Christina about her father. Christina seems happy that he’s Italian because her mom is Italian. Ruth tried to contact him after she was pregnant but couldn’t because he was in the army. Ruth says she always wondered about her. Christina tells her she was happy and loved with her mom Sofia. NOBODY CRIES AT ALL. NOT ME, CERTAINLY. Then Ruth invites her to their first night of Hanukkah. Christina accepts. Well this is all VERY SWEET and I CAN’T HANDLE IT. Then ol David shows up. Christina excitedly tells him that she’s going to the first night of Hanukkah. He is excited about that as well. But neither of them move out of each other’s way. David continues saying goodbye in a bunch of different languages. He is just KILLING IT.

Christina packs up a little dessert for Hanukkah. She is greeted by everyone right at the door. Christina meets Phil and her nephew and niece Max and Molly. Aren’t they the most polite children? The brother’s fiancé is with her family in London. SURE JAN.

So then they all explain Hanukkah to her. They sing a song before they light the first candle. Phil gives David some unsolicited life advice. I am sure it’s very appreciated. Eyeroll. Oh, Phil is a real estate agent so he’s just trying to sell houses. The kids give Christina some Hanukkah information as well. Then Ruth tells Christina about her dreidel collection and explains what the marking on the dreidel mean. Then they look at a photo album. Then Christina invites them to her house for the last night of Hanukkah.

The next day, Christina wears a lovely sweater. David stops by her restaurant and says he thought of her while he was outlining his new book. He suggests she try some kind of artichoke dish but she totally freaks out. She apologizes because she just said everything in the restaurant just reminds her of her mom. Then she invites him to go with her to get a Christmas tree.

They haul the tree back to her house. He comments on her lawn ornaments. Inside, David doesn’t recognize the music playing. He is not familiar with the musician. I actually am not either. Lee Monty?

The next day, Ruth and Becky are out shopping and wonder what they should get for Christina…and for Hanukkah or Christmas. Then Ruth and Becky gossip a little about Christina and David.

Christina and David go to a very Christmas-y store. Christina wants to buy more Christmas decorations. They must be at an indoor market thing. They go to a Chinese stand to eat lunch. David says he knows how to make kugel and he usually makes them with his dad. Christina says she doesn’t know anything about her dad. They read their fortunes and decide to switch. Then David says he likes that their futures overlap. Well he is just trying SO HARD. And truly getting nothing back.

Ruth pulls David aside later to DEFINITELY NOT MEDDLE like she promised. Oh, she asks David what she should get her for a gift. And also his intentions. David suggests something related to her dad. Ruth seems excited about helping her connect with her dad.

Christina and Janet walk and shop on the same street as Becky and Ruth did earlier. Christina wants to get her new family really great presents. She struggles with wanting to get perfect gifts.

Later, David goes to Christina’s house and makes “noodle kugel.” He says that kugel is actually popular in Italy too. Then he tells her about his book. Christina gives him some good advice about his book. Then David has a surprise for her. She walks with her arm in his. He takes her to the city Menorah lighting. Is that a thing? I mean, you can’t have a Hallmark movie without some kind of public illumination event. David pushes his way to the front where the rest of the family is. Look at all those people just packed into that place, touching each other and not wearing masks. What a wonderful magic land that would be! Not for me though, obviously. I didn’t like those types of activities BEFORE COVID. Anyway, they invite her to brunch the next day. Dang Hallmark is obsessed with brunch. Also, the whole family is excited about David and Christina! ME TOO.

The next morning, the whole gang builds a snowman. Becky tells Christina how they keep their dad alive-through sports stuff. Christina says she feels the same way doing things for her mom. Then Christina says, this must be what it’s like to have a sister. AND NO ONE CRIES ABOUT THAT EITHER OKAY.

Outside, David wants to take a family picture with Ruth and all her kids. Christina tries to walk out. But they all force her to stay. Then David takes one with just Ruth and Christina. So that’s nice.

David helps Christina decorate her restaurant Christmas tree. Wow that is a big tree. And then the power goes out. It is apparently out all over the city. Then, they hold hands in the dark. David teases that she made the power go out to hold his hand. Then they have a lovely dinner with a bunch of candles. Then they chit chat and get to know each other. David says he loves to travel. And he doesn’t want a typical 9-5 job. Oh, so maybe this relationship wouldn’t work out. WE WILL JUST SEE, WON’T WE?

The next day, I think Christina makes latkes with Ruth. She says she wanted to make them together. NOBODY CRIES EVERYONE IS JUST IMPACTED BY THE ONIONS THEY’RE CHOPPING.

David tells Becky and Scott that he was able to track down Georgio, her dad. Later, David gives Ruth Georgio’s number. Ruth decides to call Georgio. Wow she doesn’t even need to take 3 days to psych herself up or anything. GEORGIO ANSWERS. He seems happy to hear from her. She finally spills the beans. This poor man.

Christina and David decorate ANOTHER Christmas tree. She puts the topper on the tree and David helps her down the ladder.

Later Janet and Christina go grocery shopping. Christina is stressing about all the meals she has to prepare. Janet gives her some SPOT ON GOOD FRIEND advice. Then Christina gives herself some good advice, thinking that Janet would say it anyway.

Later, David stops by with a gift. He gives her an Italian menorah for the following evening when she will host the last night of Hanukkah. I notice that she already has two light up menorah’s on her mantle so that’s cute. And a Happy Hanukkah banner too. Then David tries to teach her the prayer.

The next night the whole family is there and make noises when she says David got her the menorah. Then she leads them in the prayer/song and lights the candles. Phil has to take their kids to his parents for dessert. Becky says the latkes? or the donuts? Not sure, anyway they’re as good as Ruth’s! Then Christina says she found the right family.

Then it is gift opening time. She got the kids personalized jerseys and tickets to a Cavalier’s game. Christina got Scott a signed baseball from his favorite baseball player. Well dang Christina is a good gift giver. She gave David the special bottle of wine that he got from his parents. And he asks if she wants to open it with him in 21 years!! Her reaction is so cute. And then she gives Ruth a lovely dreidel.

Now it’s Becky’s turn to open gifts. They got her framed pictures of her new family. So that is just so sweet. Oh and then one of her dad in his military uniform. Then Becky asks what he was like. She lines up all her new pictures on her coffee table. Then Ruth gives her his phone number. SO NOBODY IS CRYING OR WHATEVER THIS IS DUMB. Then Christina invites them all to her restaurant for Christmas Eve.

At the restaurant, Ruth stares at a recipe from a recipe box. She and Janet have a nice heart to heart about all the things she’s feeling. And Christina says she really likes David. So she is feeling overwhelmed. Also I think someone should fire Christina’s make up artist because her eyebrows do not look even at all.

David stops by the restaurant. He invites her to do something fun that night. She says she’s too busy. She kind of barfs up all her feelings to him. She says she’s not ready. Her heart can’t keep up with all the changes right now. He is understanding. BUT I’M NOT.

Ruth and David have some kind of hot beverage on her front porch. David says he and Christina aren’t going to be seeing each other anymore. Ruth is like, you idiot. She’s just scared. PS, they’re drinking tea if you were still wondering. Ruth says that Christina might be “the one” for him. Ruth gives him really good advice! She tells him to just be her friend and give her time. I actually think that’s great.

Later, Christina and her crazy eyebrows tell Janet that David asked her out and she said no. Maybe it was for the best. NO. IT IS NOT.

Christina stares somberly at the photo of her and David on her mantle. David shows up at her house! He forgot to say something earlier. He needs her to know how much she matters to him. He says he’ll be back in six weeks and then he’s going to buy a house and write his book. He wants to be wherever she is! And then they kiss! She says this holiday is turning out really well. And that makes me tear up a little because she originally thought this would be a really sad and lonely one.

Then Christina calls Ruth and asks for some help to call her father for the first time. He is just waiting by the phone for her call. OKAY NOBODY IS CRYING. He invites her to Italy. She agrees to go. Maybe she should go with David?

Then it’s Christmas Eve dinner time. She tells David about her call with her dad! Then Christina gives a speech. And then David and Christina just KISS in front of everyone! Sheesh. And again! Geez Louise.

Well, so this was pretty cute. I normally don’t like to criticize acting because, who am I? But I felt like some of Christina’s reactions just did not line up with what was happening around her. I don’t really know what was going on but like, when Ruth says she’s her mother…I don’t know…her reactions and face just didn’t seem to line up with the words she was saying. But, overall, I liked this movie! I would love to see more Hanukkah movies thrown in the mix next year. What did you think?

A Little Christmas Charm

Well, here we are. At the end of another Hallmark movie weekend. This was a particularly low point in the season, in my opinion. I could have survived on 36 movies this year. I really could. I would take all the bad movies I’ve seen this year if it meant that these four were not made. They were too boring to be fun bad, as many of these movies are. They were just…bad. So, shall we dive in?

Holly (who’s name is not said for a full TWENTY MINUTES) works at a vintage clothing store in NYC run by her pregnant friend Megan. Holly gives Megan a pair of plain (but handmade) earrings as a baby gift and her friend is so elated. Oh! Ashley made them for her. Now she’s off to meet her dad for dinner.

Greg (who’s name I also don’t learn until shortly before I learn Holly’s) complains over time phone during work hours to customer service about cancelling their gift wrapping service. Then he pitches a journalism idea to his editor. She wants the readers to be inspired by Christmas so can he weave that in? Greg doesn’t want to do the Secret Santa but it seems mandatory at this place of business. I do sympathize with him not wanting to participate. Who wants to spend $20 on someone they barely know? You end up just swapping Starbucks gift cards. I’ll just buy myself a Starbucks gift card and be done with it.

At dinner with her dad Holly says she is going to work more at the Vintage store when her friend has the baby. Her dad wants her to quit this stable job and focus on her jewelry. Ashley’s dad doesn’t drive her home which I think is really weird.

Greg is trying to write a feel good story for his article but it doesn’t go well. Then Greg literally runs into Holly and she drops her dessert. Greg wonders how he is going to clean it up. Just…pick it up and put it in the trash? It’s a solid piece of cake. He offers to buy her a new one or take her on a date. Even though he doesn’t like labels. She declines. I probably would too but Holly, he’s cute!

Back at the Vintage store, Megan’s mom comes by. Oh dang, this woman is playing a grandma now? Holly goes through some stuff on a table and finds a charm bracelet that says “Baby’s first Christmas.” Megan astutely observes that the charm bracelet belonged to a woman….because it looks like it would go on a small wrist. Not that only women wear charm bracelets. They wonder how they can find the owner of the bracelet. Megan takes a terrible photo of it to get started.

Holly takes the charm bracelet to her dad. He seems to either own a pawn shop or a jewelry store. No wonder he wants her to make jewelry. Her dad gives her a lead on the charm bracelet.

Someone at Greg’s work plays Christmas music loudly at his cubicle. Holly somehow has a photo of herself as a child on her computer…and is able to zoom in on the photo. So it is not a scanned photo of her young self. It’s an actual digital photo. So that is so unlikely…unless she like under the age of 25. THINK ABOUT THAT.

The next day, Holly goes into the fancy jewelry store. Greg notices her in the window and goes inside. He asks her about the jewelry. The shop owner tells Holly that the charm on the bracelet from their store is worth like 3k. WHAT NOW. Is this for real? Do people spend $3,000 on one singular charm?!!! No way.

Holly is so passionate about charm bracelets. She gives a very impassioned speech to Greg about how much people love them. But do they, Holly? Is it really so serious? Greg followers her and wants to help. Guys we’re 18 minutes in and I still haven’t heard anyone call these people by their name. Holly rejects his help. Greg thinks this is the perfect Holiday Hero story for his article. Yes, the story of how a vintage store employee returns an expensive piece of jewelry to its wealthy and careless owner is the heartfelt holiday story we all need right now. Anyway, Greg pitches the idea to his boss. When he says it out loud it sounds even worse. But his boss loves it. I audibly shout WHAT at the screen at this point. She thinks it could be the cover. WHAT IS HAPPENING. This might be even more boring than that stupid ring mystery.

Anyway, super sleuth Greg figures out where Holly works. He shows up at the store. I finally hear that her name is Holly. And his name is Greg. So that’s that. Greg is inspired by the effort she is putting into it. She is truly a Holiday Hero. The coworkers talk her into accepting his help. My husband says, “she must have been hurt in her past.”

They go have a working lunch at that same German place Holly went with her dad. Greg begins a “formal interview.” Holly says she got her degree in in jewelry design. She describes her jewelry making style. She says “funky” but that is definitely not how I would describe it based on what I’ve seen so far. Also, she says her dad owns “an engagement ring store.” WHAT. Did she forget the word jewelry? Then her dad calls and has another lead for her.

Their investigation takes them to a Christmas market. Greg hates Christmas. HE’S NEVER BEEN TO THIS MARKET. He shops online for all the gift cards you guys. Holly is AGHAST. Holly even loves picking out the gift wrapping. Poor Merle, the man they’re there to see, has fallen on hard times. He once ran a successful jewelry store and now he’s a Christmas market Santa. Holly wants to get a gift for her dad while they’re at the market. Greg has a terrible idea for his gift. Greg’s dad is much different than Holly’s. Holly grabs a random teal journal for someone. EXCELLENT GIFT HOLLY. Then we get the do you have a boyfriend issue out of the way. Later, they fight over a plain cinnamon roll.

Greg and Holly talk about what they know about the bracelet. Santa takes a look on his break over a big old bowl of chili. He tells them some of the charms were made in Germany.

The next day, they hit a dead end in their search for German jewelers. I pause typing to eat some Dot’s pretzels. Oh, you’ve never tried Dot’s pretzels? I feel SO SAD FOR YOU. Greg used to be an investigative journalist. He changed careers because he messed up BIG TIME. He wrote a story that pretty much ruined a doctor’s career because his two assistant’s lied to him. Then Greg’s mom calls. She needs his help. He has to go home and help load some massive gingerbread displays into a truck. Holly agrees to come help.

So Greg and Holly are at his mom’s church I think? Anyway, I thought they just had to load the houses up. They have to construct them. WHAT IS THAT GINGERBREAD VILLAGE. Greg claims the frosting sets really quickly. NO IT DOESN’T GREG. Greg’s mom tries to tell old family stories to Holly. Greg loved Christmas as a kid but it’s too much work as an adult he says. After they’re done, Holly hands Greg a gingerbread cookie. Holly says you can’t have a gingerbread cookie without milk. But I disagree. You can have hot chocolate, coffee…anything really. Then Holly reluctantly says goodnight to Greg in the middle of the day.

Holly does some internet searching on that popular search engine “reacher.” Then someone comes in and says she thinks Holly found her bracelet. The girl tells Holly she loves the bracelet and spent so much money on the charms. Holly wises up and asks her to describe one of the charms. But Holly, this woman is your age…she obviously DID NOT HAVE A CHILD IN 1984. HOLLY.

Later, Holly puts together a beautiful hot chocolate charcueterie board. Then she and Greg realize they need to find people who buy charms to find the person instead of asking jewelers. Later, Greg eats a cookie in the privacy of his own home. He tries that crazy idea Holly had about dipping a cookie in milk. I’m surprised he even knew how to do it.

Holly is wearing a fabulous sweater. She seems to be just sketching alone on the couch. Does nobody watch TV anymore?

The next day, Greg asks his boss if she knows anyone who collects charms. Holly is back at Greg’s house working. She talks him into decorating his apartment so he can put his little train under his tree. He seems to act like he doesn’t know how to decorate his tree. Greg invites her to his holiday party. She agrees. UH OH. She’s letting her guard down. My husband is WORRIED for Holly’s emotional safety.

Greg picks Holly up and sees a beautiful sketch of the gingerbread house his mom made. Then Greg remembers he needs a gift for his editor, Shayla. Holly asks him about her taste in jewelry. Her questions are SO particular and I’m absolutely certain no one would know this much about their boss’s jewelry preferences. I’m not even sure my husband would know. Anyway, Holly picks a necklace out for him to give to Shayla. I was busy pounding more pretzels.

At the party, Holly and Greg talk to Shayla’s friend, the charm enthusiast. The charm she recognizes is a Russian Christmas one. She thinks the German nutcracker is actually painted to be Russian. They think they have something to go on but I…don’t. They really think this person was in the ballet. I personally think that is quite a leap. So someone who likes nutcracker charms MUST have been in “The Nutcracker” ballet? Is that how it works? Greg is going to check the “ballet records.” So GOOD LUCK WITH THAT GREG.

It’s time for the Secret Santa. Shayla goes first. She is very moved by Greg’s gift instead of feeling extremely uncomfortable like I would be. Greg and Holly walk home together. She says she is too scared to sell her jewelry.

Greg tests out his own “reacher” skills and searches for trains. He discovers the Long Island Christmas train.

Holly goes over party plans with Megan’s mom. Greg stops by Holly’s work to take her to the Christmas train. They have to dress up like they’re in the 1930s. OKAY THIS FOR REAL SOUNDS FUN. They arrive at the train station and they are looking for an old boy named Buddy. They decide to dance while they wait. Then they find Buddy. OMG. They are hoping he would recognize the bracelet?! Or the scratching on the inside of one of the charms?!!! YOU GUYS. No. Buddy is not going to remember the face or jewelry of someone from 35 years ago. For real this was Greg’s whole plan? But from 6 feet away he can see the tiny inscription is an infinity symbol. So, great job Buddy.

The next day, they just go through records upon records of Russian names. They are like super sleuths figuring out the vantage point of a charm of New York city. On the charm, they can make out the Hudson river and can tell that it was in midtown. They head to the building where the charm must have been purchased. I think Greg was going to kissed her but the moment ends. So that was a bust all across the board.

The next day, Greg calls the gift shop for the building. They’ve never sold charms like that. Greg considers a back up plan for his story. He calls Holly and says he’s going to head to the Hamptons for the day. They agree to get dinner later. Holly seems bummed. Holly stops at her dad’s shop to help make a necklace for Greg’s mom. Holly is bummed that Greg isn’t helping her today because it’s more fun with him. He makes dinner for her later! So that’s cute. He has a pretty nice apartment. He is making ham? Greg. Friend. Ham? Wait, and gravy? Greg, what are you doing? Holly sets the charm on the table for him. Then Greg’s phone reads his text message out loud (doesn’t everyone do this?), which reveals his plan B. So Holly thinks he’s bailing on the search and stuff. So she decides to leave. So I would categorize that as an extreme overreaction.

Back at home, Holly somberly looks at a photo of her and Greg on her phone. At Greg’s house, he notices the pendant/charm Holly made for his mom. It’s kind of big for my taste, personally.

The next day, Shayla is upset about the much better article Greg wrote for her. So Shayla extends his deadline. She still wants him to write the story. And she’s wearing her cute new necklace.

Finally it’s time for the gender reveal party. Megan has to give a speech. Her poor husband just stands there uncomfortably. We all know he didn’t want to have this party. He just wanted to find out at the doctor’s office. Wait WHAT?!!!! NO. NO NO NO NO NO. She did not just learn AT HER OWN GENDER REVEAL PARTY that she is having twins. At 20 weeks gestation. NO. YOU GUYS. NO. This is not the ditzy bio mom of Chandler and Monica’s children on Friends. She would have been told right away!!!! And HOLLY KNOWS? But no one else? The doctor is like, this high risk pregnancy is just going to our fun little secret Holly. Wink Wink. FOR HEAVEN’S SAKE. I should just turn this movie off. I’m going to need more pretzels. THIS IS SO DUMB. That’s why she got earrings, eh? Because they’re a pair?! NO. FOR GOODNESS SAKE.

Meanwhile, Greg listens to his interview with Holly in the dark like a real creep.

The next day Megan’s mom wonders why Greg didn’t come to a gender reveal/child reveal party for people he doesn’t know. Then Holly gets an idea from where one of the charms came from-A charity that uses a creep elf on its logo. They are having a gala TONIGHT! Maybe that person still goes. This is quite a long shot, I must say.

Greg keeps trying to work out the clues too. He uses “reacher” again like a real pro. He figures it out too.

Holly tries to get in to the Gala. She does not have a solid plan. There is just no way she is getting in. Greg approaches with press passes. She very obviously covers up Shayla’s face as she shows him the badge. Holly and Greg make up when Holly tells Greg “don’t do it again.” DO WHAT AGAIN! A woman overhears what they’re saying to all the donors. She thinks they’re running a scam but then she gets curious about the bracelet. She doesn’t recognize the bracelet but there are photos of every gala on a wall! So you could definitely see a bracelet in there. So they find the people on the wall because Holly recognizes the SWEATER that was donated. But Holly says John and Ylena Davis 1998 but the placard says 2008. So what’s up?

The next day they arrive at John and Ylena’s house. Ylena says John will be so happy to see them. Will he though? Oh good. John has stories for all the charms. So then John tells them their love story. Everyone agrees their story is magical. Except me. I don’t agree.

Shayla thinks Greg’s article on this “adventure” is the most inspiring thing he ever wrote. Honestly we should all be a little bummed out for Greg. And also she found him a new job where he would be a better fit. She’s still wearing the necklace she got him.

That night, Holly spends Christmas with Greg’s family. Oh they are all spending it together. Holly is going to open a jewelry store right next to Megan’s. But why doesn’t she just sell her jewelry at Megan’s store or at her dad’s? Seems a lot better than having to pay rent. Then Greg gives her a charm bracelet with a piece of cake on it. I’M HERE FOR CAKE THEMED JEWELRY. And then they kiss. And that was one of the dumbest movies I’ve watched this year.

Guys this movie was so bad. It might be the worst movie of the entire year. I would watch Christmas Tree Lane 5 more times if it meant my memory of this movie would be erased. Can we be done with the Christmas jewelry mysteries? They are not interesting. They are not mysterious. And the big reveal is always incredibly underwhelming. Remember that movie where the nurse finds out that her supervisor actually delivered her when she was born? That was actually a lovely little twist ending. So anyway, this movie was terrible. I cannot get over the fact that they thought it would be okay to include a scene where a woman surprised her friend at 20+ weeks pregnant with the news that she was carrying twins. NO ONE, literally NO ONE stopped this scene from playing out the way it did. I just cannot. Okay, that’s enough of this. Let’s rate it I guess. Total score: 6/20

  1. Workaholic too busy for Christmas
  2. Clumsy meet cute
  3. Christmas Gala
  4. Christmas puns
  5. Nonsense drama
  6. Someone not chasing their dream

Christmas She Wrote

Okay so this is Danica McKellar’s movie. I didn’t love Christmas in Dollywood last year. I liked the scenes at Dollywood. Did not care for that movie. Also, seeing the movie “posters,” I was a little skeptical at the pairing for this movie. Would the story convince me that these two work together? Spoiler alert: NO. Let’s just get into it, okay?

The movie begins at a store where Kaylee tries on dresses for her office party. She is with her coworker and friend, Steven. They both work at the newspaper or magazine? She gets stopped outside by a woman who loves her column. She really helped this woman get ready to host her in-laws. So, good job, Kaylee.

Kaylee and Steven arrive at the office party. A guy at the party steps on the edge of her dress and rips it a little. There is a whole moment of wondering whether he should pay for the dress. She says no so he’s like OKAY BYE. Her boss, Malcolm, shows up and immediately notices Kaylee’s ripped dress. Malcolm tells Kaylee that he is retiring…not by choice.

Malcolm gives a speech and announces his retirement. The guy that stepped on Kaylee’s dress whispers to her that he heard Malcolm was great. She’s like, do you work here or something? But then he’s gone.

The next day at work, a bunch of people are clearing out their desks. They’ve all been fired. Then Kaylee’s new boss wants to talk to her. Oh, well look who it is? The guy that ripped her dress. His name is…Trip? For real. He tells her he had to make a bunch of layoffs. “Corporate” says! He tells her he is retiring her column because she makes too much money. She asks to write a goodbye column. Steven worries that he is next. Kaylee doesn’t think so because “entertainment” is important.

Kaylee types up her goodbye column in a MASSIVE apartment. She sits with perfect posture on her couch, much like I am doing now, with a massive plate of perfectly decorated Christmas cookies next to her. Kaylee opens some of her Christmas cards and then picks up her phone. She talks to her sister Amy. She’s coming home for Christmas! Tomorrow!

Back home in snowy California, Kaylee reunites with her sister Amy and her niece Charlotte. Amy wonders what happened to her Aspen plans. She grumbles about TRIP and getting fired. She doesn’t want to start her therapy practice because she loves writing too much.

Back at the newspaper, Trip gets an angry call from the hat guy in Christmas in Evergreen about cancelling Kaylee’s column. They need Kaylee’s column back because their readers were so furious about it getting cancelled. Trip didn’t do ANY research before cancelling columns willy nilly. And apparently all the newspaper subscriptions hinge on reading Kaylee’s column. I feel like maybe she should capitalize on that and like, start building her own brand instead.

Trip calls Kaylee. Kaylee just immediately hangs up on him. What in the world? Then Kaylee and Amy chit chat. Amy is so busy she can hardly keep up with the bakery. There is just NO TIME FOR LOVE. Kaylee tries to play matchmaker for Amy anyway. Kaylee rejects another call from Trip.

A few days later, Trip is still trying to call Kaylee. So instead of taking the call or reading the email, Kaylee deletes the email without reading it and then blocks him. Okay that is insane right? Rob, from the local paper asks her to do a guest post for them. She is TOO BUSY Christmas shopping and working for her sister I guess. So does she want a new job or not?

An exasperated Trip gets an all caps chat from his boss, Mr. Grantham. His assistant tries to make a pitch for Kaylee. So Trip decides to head to Pine Berry to track Kaylee down. The Inn owner, Mary, has NO CHILL and asks Tripp like 1000 personal and super nosy questions. Anyway, at the end of all that, he finds out where to find Kaylee.

Trip shows up at the bakery. He finally gets to offer her the column back. She now doesn’t want to do it? Really? Wait, why didn’t she just take her job back? I don’t understand. So Trip says he’s not leaving until she accepts the job. Kaylee says she is going to write for the Pine Berry newspaper. WHAT IS HAPPENING.

Now Kaylee has a bunch of ideas for a local column. Kaylee pitches her idea to Rob. He’s on board. Rob wonders if Amy likes the idea. SUBTLE. Then Kaylee writes her first column. Also, each column will also coincide with spur of the moment town events that everyone will hopefully be free to participate in. So let’s hope that works out.

Kaylee runs into Tripp the next morning. She invites him to the first event from her column. I believe she said the event is at the tree farm. So last night she wrote this new column that sends everyone in town out to the tree farm. Because everyone is reading the column and nobody has anything else to do.

Kaylee leads a group of people through a…meditation exercise? I’m not sure. I’m not sure why any of that was necessary. Why does she have to give a speech? Did all of these people really just read her column and say, well I guess we better head to this tree farm in the middle of a work day? After that FUN group activity, Kaylee and Trip wander through the trees. Who are they picking one out for? Are people really not getting their tree until two weeks before Christmas? Anyway, Trip reminds her that a fake Christmas tree would save quite a bit of money. Trip spent Christmas at the country club every year and got some new tech gadget for his gifts. Then they find their tree. Neither of them know what they’re doing but Trip won’t let her cut down the tree. Then Trip gets the tree all loaded up.

Trip sits in the lobby drinking and reading Kaylee’s column like a real life villain. My mom grumbles about Kaylee’s pajamas. Then Steven calls and says he’s coming home for Christmas too.

Amy wonders how Steven is doing. Then Amy mentions that Kaylee hasn’t been home in five years, ever since Dan left two weeks before their Christmas Eve wedding.

The next day, Trip compliments Kaylee on her second column. He asks if she ever got her dress fixed. Who cares? Is she ever going to wear it again? No. Then Kaylee invites Trip to go ice skating that night. Because that is the second impromptu Christmas event hosted by the newspaper. Trip actually already knows how to ice skate. Then Trip says he actually read her column. He tries to explain what he was thinking when he cancelled her column. She tells him how she got the column in the first place. Then she says she wrote a romance novel too. He offers to introduce her to the company’s “book publishing arm.” But she doesn’t want to be introduced.

Then Amy calls because Charlotte hurt her arm on some ice while performing at a retirement home. She runs into Dan there. Oh no. Dan is the doctor that helped Charlotte. Tripp seems like the villian first boyfriend that Kaylee dumps for this guy, Dan. Then Dan apologizes. Then he asks her to go out for coffee. In a different movie, they would get back together. Back at Amy’s, Kaylee invites Trip in for hot chocolate. I AM ROOTING FOR DAN at this point.

Outside, Trip asks Kaylee about Dan. Kaylee opens up about what happened with Dan. Then he says anyone would be lucky to have her…for WORK PURPOSES.

Trip gets a call from Mr. Grantham. He is the weirdest villain. He wants to cut all the other columns to once a week to make up for Kaylee’s column. How much are they paying her? So now Trip is calling everyone and giving them the bad news…in the lobby of his hotel instead of in the privacy of his room.

That night, Kaylee runs into her high school English teacher. He is very proud of her. He encourages her to call him by his first name but NO WAY. Creative writing comes up again. Then Kaylee and Trip skate around and laugh and laugh. Trip wonders how she stays so positive. He tries again to talk Kaylee into working at the paper. She asks why he picked her column to cut. Instead of saying what was likely the truth…that she was probably paid the most, he says he thought the content was pretty trivial. Then Kaylee mentions Steven. That seems to send Trip into a panic. But he doesn’t have a chance to explain before Kaylee gets up to see Steven.

Kaylee runs over and hugs Steven. He has some news. His column was cut to once a week. So now they’re both mad at Trip again.

Back at Amy’s house, Kaylee and Steve talk about the newspaper. Kaylee wonders if she was too hard on Trip. Steven thinks she wasn’t HARSH ENOUGH. But actually she was being too harsh. She is a hysterical lunatic. Then they brainstorm for their next column idea. They have to ask Dan’s friend if they can host the third impromptu event there the next day. Dan stops by. I am STILL TOTALLY ON TEAM DAN. Dan tells Kaylee he is at a crossroads in his life. He could potentially stay in Pine Berry. So wait, who is the lead in this movie! Dan says he blamed her for not following him to Haiti. Steven connects with Ben, the bar owner. Ben flies to New York ALL THE TIME. Well, then.

That night at the party, that everyone in town is available to attend, Kaylee gives another speech. Trip takes the mike and offers to pay for drinks for the first 30 minutes. And then Dan take the next hour after that.

Ben and Steven chat over “Clause-mopolitans.” They decide to get dinner the next night! Kaylee’s teacher found love too with the super nosy Inn manager. Trip approaches. He apologizes about Steven. Trip says he’s been questioning his current job because its all busy business and not personal. Trip said he always wanted to be a reporter. Then Tripp and Dan both buy Kaylee a drink. Then Dan whisks her off to catch up with friends from high school.

That night, Kaylee works on the final chapter of her novel. Again, perfect posture. Amy is proud of her.

Trip talks to Amy at the bakery the next morning. He isn’t sure what to do. Trip tells her that work is piling up but he really likes it there. Amy invites Trip to dinner at their house that night.

Kaylee freaks over this information. Whatever Kaylee is planning to make sounds horrible. Amy does not think she can handle the menu she is planning. Kaylee says she is supposed to get out of her comfort zone…but you also shouldn’t serve new recipes for guests Kaylee! Trip arrives for dinner. And then Dan arrives. So Kaylee invites him to stay too. FUN.

They all sit down to dinner. They all ask what they are having. Dan chokes it down. Everyone else pretends to like it too. Then Amy says she made pie and everyone is so relieved. But Amy didn’t actually put them in the oven, Kaylee did…at 475… so the pies literally catch on fire. AMY, you should know better. Then a night of Christmas hilarity ensues. Singing, ugly sweaters, and charades. Kaylee walks Dan to the door. He is moving back to Pine Berry and he wants to give “us” another shot. Yeah I definitely want him to win. Let’s make it work this time Kaylee! Then Kaylee walks Trip out. He reiterates that he likes their house. They sit down and talk more. The novel comes up again. Trip wants her to work on getting it published. And he wants to read it.

So Trip reads it. And now he wants to publish the novel. Mr. Grantham wants to syndicate the column and offer her a book deal. So…Kaylee is mad about all of this. Kaylee thinks he used the novel to keep his job. WHAT. Kaylee. If the novel sucked it would have been very embarrassing for him. It wouldn’t have been leverage. So what in the world are you doing Kaylee! She is furious that he basically came up with an amazing opportunity for her in less than a day.

Trip checks out the next morning. There is some kind of breakfast event at the Inn so Mary stops by to tell Kaylee that Trip actually quit the Globe too and thought she was really special. So what do you have to say for yourself now, Kaylee?!

That night there is some kind of Christmas party. Amy and Rob seem to have connected as well. Rob asks her on a date even. Then Steven arrives with Ben! Steven asks Kaylee what she’s going to do to? She is going to clear out her apartment and stay in Pine Berry. But why? I do honestly feel like that came out of nowhere. At this point, there is literally no reason for her to move home. Steven plans to come visit next month since Ben can get him tickets for free. So that works out.

Kaylee gives another nonsensical speech to the group. Dan shows up. So okay! Are they going to get back together! Well never mind. He’s going back to Haiti. Ugh. I really wanted them to work out. Steven pops back by. Then Trip shows up. She and Steven can both have their columns back. They can work wherever they want too. Trip wants to be a business reporter now! In San Francisco. So he isn’t even going to be their boss. Also, what about the rest of the columnists. Also, how many columnists are there? I’m beginning to think these cuts were necessary. Also, Kaylee has finally come to her senses and WANTS to publish her novel. And probably stay in Pine Berry. So then Trip and Kaylee dance and then they Kiss.

Whew. Guys. This movie was terrible. I hated it from almost top to bottom. I do like the concept of the lead actually falling for the busy business boy rather than the hometown ex boyfriend but I just didn’t think it worked here. I didn’t see the two leads together at all. Trip just seemed way too old and just…not a good fit for her. He just looks like he is supposed to be the bad guy in this movie! And I liked Dan. Also, I thought Kaylee was pretty irrational from start to finish as well. So that was frustrating. Let’s rate it, shall we? Total score: 6/20

  1. Workaholic too busy for Christmas
  2. Clumsy meet cute
  3. Winter Athletics
  4. Christmas puns
  5. Nonsense drama
  6. A sassy and wise best friend