**Update — added one more Christmas movie the night of 12/28… “Christmas in the City”!
I was so fortunate to be able to take two (yes, two!) WEEKS.. not days, WEEKS.. of time off this holiday! Work completely understood my desire to spend time with Mumford (and, my boss was out of the office as well.) The week before Christmas was time off, and this week (the week between Christmas and New Years) I’m beyond fortunate enough to work at a place that is closed to give us all time to spend with our families.
I haven’t had two weeks vacation in.. well, ever (I don’t think??) and it’s been simply amazing. I’ve gone from working two jobs up until about a month ago, when Mumford got his diagnosis and I asked for time off from the weekend job, to now having more free time than I could imagine. I’ve cleaned, I’ve organized (the closet, the “catch-all” drawer, every space of the car that was holding onto junk), and most importantly… I’ve sat on my butt watching Netflix.
As a lover of all things Christmas, I was pretty disappointed when I saw the selection of Christmas movies available to stream. Sure, there are a few classics, but nothing close to what I had hoped. So, over the past week, I’ve made it Mumford’s and my mission to watch through as many of the made-for-TV cheesy chick flick Christmas movies as possible and review them. They’re definitely not our normal TV fare, but, they’ve totally grown on me and are kinda’ like Christmas-themed visual junk food. They’re just feel-good and, again, super cheeseball. I’ll take it.
Here’s how they stack up so far, order from worst to best:
A Holiday Engagement
“A Holiday Engagement” originally aired on the Hallmark Channel. I had noticed it in Best Buy before due to its Love Actually-esque cover. It’s nothing like Love Actually, but it was fairly cute. A woman is dumped by her fiancee’ just days before she travels home for Christmas, and she’s too scared to tell her family – so – she hires an actor to play her fiancee’. It’s highly predictable, the acting isn’t great, and of course it’s far fetched. 2/5.
Naughty and Nice
“Naughty and Nice” aired on “UP,” the Uplifting Channel (which I’ve never heard of.) It involves a DJ being reassigned from Los Angeles to Colorado to assist with a Love-Advice radio show, hosted by Haylie Duff. This movie actually took me a couple tries to pay attention to and get through, but once I got into the movie, it wasn’t half bad. Haylie definitely makes the movie, but it’s not terribly unrealistic, even if it is predictable. 2/5.
The Christmas Card
So many people seem to have enjoyed “The Christmas Card.” It had been recommended to me a few times, to which I’m sort of surprised. It’s another Hallmark Movie, which was released in 2006 (to its credit, I hadn’t realized it was as old as it was until I checked IMDB.) A US Soldier receives a Christmas card from a town which mails them to troops – and it ends up being greatly meaningful to him. So, he visits the town once he has returned from deployment. He eventually meets the woman who sent the card and falls in love with her, despite her dud fiancee’. My favorite part was Ed Asner – who plays the father – and his very cute desire to matchmake the soldier, Cody, and his daughter, Faith. My biggest gripe was that Cody was bland. Don’t get me wrong, he was decent to look at (which I’m sure is a prerequisite for these movies,) but boring as all get out. This one gets a 3/5.
A Christmas Kiss
“A Christmas Kiss,” which I believe was from ION Television, was super unbelievable and corny – but I really liked it and thought it was cute, if you can get past some of the ridiculousness. sub par acting. Wendy, an up-and-coming designer, falls in love with her boss’s boyfriend after a spontaneous elevator kiss. It helps that Wendy is played by Laura Breckenridge, and her boss Priscilla is played by Elizabeth Rohm. Brendan Fehr, who plays Adam, falls a bit flat to me. All in all, this one gets a 3.5/5.
Christmas in The City
“Christmas in The City” is a Lifetime movie that revolves around a single mother, Wendy, who takes a job at a department store in the city to help save her late father’s business back home. Ashanti plays the antagonist, Teanna Musk, hired by the department store to turn around profits. In doing so, she removes the real Christmas from the store – and it’s up to Wendy, with some help from Santa, to restore it. In classic chick flick fashion, Wendy starts falling for the heir to the store, the handsome Tom. This movie was very cute, not terribly far-fetched as far as these movies go, and the acting was pretty decent! I laughed out loud at a couple parts, and Ashanti plays a good villain. 4/5.
12 Dates of Christmas
12 Dates of Christmas is a close second to the number one pick. Of course, it’s very unrealistic, but it was actually very cute. It took me a little while to get into the movie, but about 30 minutes in, it started to hook me. Stay with it to the end, and I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. Suspend reality, and enjoy a cute holiday story. This one was produced by ABC Family, so it has a slightly higher production value than any of the other movies. Oh – and it’s got Mark Paul Gossler as the love interest, so how can you go wrong? With Amy Smart delivering a very cute performance as the lead, this one was a win (as far as made for TV movies go.) 4/5.
The Spirit of Christmas
Ahhh, the Spirit of Christmas. This movie was quickly disregarded when I read the synopsis on Netflix. However, I had multiple friends recommend it – so, why not? And it moved into the #1 spot on my Christmas list. The movie revolves around an old inn which is in needing of being appraised upon its owner’s death. With no heirs, lawyer Kate travels to the inn to ensure its sale after multiple appraisals fall through under the pretense of the inn being haunted. An unbeliever herself, she quickly is convinced that the ghost is real (and real hot.) She takes it upon herself to help the ghost, Daniel, solve the mystery behind his death and why he is cursed to spend 12 days a year trapped at the bed and breakfast. It ends up being very charming and sweet. It actually, and unexpectedly, ends up being the least corny of all the movies. I really enjoyed it and will watch it again next Christmas. 5/5.
Overall, I think the only one of these movies I probably wouldn’t re-watch next Christmas is “A Holiday Engagement.” All the others were good enough for a repeat viewing – even if just to have on in the background while hanging up Christmas decorations. Each is festive enough to get you into the holiday spirit, and are lighthearted and enjoyable. Cheers!