‘Tis the season to be merry and watch every new holiday movie as it debuts. Each Monday, we’ll take a look back at the previous weekend’s premieres to celebrate the most wonderful time of the year with a new list of superlatives.
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Sitting down with someone you mistake as your blind date, as Amanda (Erica Durance) did with Travis (Brennan Elliott) in Hallmark Movies & Mysteries’ Ms. Christmas Comes to Town, is a classic meet-cute. And yet, Travis being totally charmed by her rambling monologue and letting her know it was refreshing; not every movie has to start with both people disliking each other intensely.
Most Welcome Trend in Endings
Bravo to characters realizing long-distance relationships can work in the short-term, so no one needs to sacrifice a dream for a chance at love. In Hallmark Channel’s Mystic Christmas, George Bailey-esque Sawyer (Chandler Massey) embarked on his long-awaited year-long European adventure, while jet-setting seal rehabilitation expert Juniper (Jessy Schram), who realized she wanted to be part of a team and family, took a full-time job in Mystic, Connecticut, and used vacation days to meet up with him.
Obviously all corporate holiday events must take place the week of Christmas for dramatic effect. But not only is it cruel for a department store to schedule its annual fashion show-contest on Christmas Eve in Hallmark Channel’s Christmas By Design, it also makes zero business sense to put the winner’s holiday-themed ensembles in stores in January!
Most Infuriating Rom-Com Cliché
If TV movies have taught us anything over the years, it’s that one should never stop eavesdropping on a conversation until it ends. Had Christmas By Design mechanic Spencer (Jonathan Keltz) learned this lesson, he wouldn’t have aborted his staircase snooping too soon and made false assumptions about fashion designer Charlotte’s (Rebecca Dalton) feelings for him. See also: a similar stairs-set misunderstanding for model Cali (Ash Tsai) and driver Jack (Joey Heyworth) in Great American Family’s Journey By Christmas.
Who doesn’t love a destination movie filmed (at least partially) on location, as Hallmark Channel’s Joyeux Noel was in Rouen, France? So we’ll just accept the premise that a newspaper in today’s short-staffed, budget-strapped world would send two employees abroad to investigate the untold love story behind a painting of a holiday market where legend says soulmates meet. Also making us LOL: the pint-sized vintage carousel Lea (Jaicy Elliot) and Mark (Brant Daugherty) thought it was fun to ride.
Best Event Planner
Because of Mystic Christmas, we want to go to a lighted boat parade (the actual event is scheduled for November 25 this year!) and we’d like to incorporate the Icelandic tradition of Jolabokaflod into our holiday (you exchange book gifts on Christmas Eve and spend the night curled up reading with hot cocoa). Beyond that, we appreciated the historic lantern tour, Christmas bar trivia, private planetarium northern lights show, and Gilmore Girls-style town meetings for the Christmas Party and Toy Drive.
Nothing shakes up a Christmas movie formula like adding some spy intrigue! In Great American Family’s Bringing Christmas Home, military intelligence officer-turned-military history professor Caroline (Jill Wagner) somehow realized the WWII love letters she was analyzing were coded to include intel for the sweetheart at home to pass along to the American government, and for the soldier and his love to plan their disappearance together after the war.
Sexiest Xmas Sweater
Yes, it helps that Joyeux Noel’s Mark is wearing this chunky grey knit fireside in a French bed and breakfast.
In Christmas By Design, Spencer saved the tow truck Charlotte’s late father had used from being sold for parts — a far cry from her ex, the town’s mayor, canceling funding for the Elfcapades festivities her dad had started 30 years ago. We were just as shocked as Charlotte that her pop’s coveralls were still in the truck to inspire her contest-winning pajamas. (The movie was based on the Robyn Neeley book Jingle Jammies.)
Most Restrained Decorating
We suspect there was a debate about the amount of holiday décor they could get away with putting in terminally-ill Holiday Shopping Channel host Gale’s (Barbara Niven) hospital room in Ms. Christmas Comes to Town, ultimately opting for a simple bouquet and the tiny pop-up tree her long-lost ex was conveniently hawking. It was the correct call to not distract from Niven’s moving performance. Although even on Ms. Christmas’ decked set, Niven shined brightest.
2023 Christmas Movie Schedule
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