Hey, everyone. Did you know that it’s six months til Christmas and we should all be shopping? HOW ARE YOU NOT SHOPPING?! Thanks to capitalism, Hallmark saw an opportunity and created its “Christmas in July” series where it shows only Christmas movies for two whole weeks. Seeing as outside of greeting cards, this is the company’s greatest achievement, Christmas in July should come as no surprise.
While I’d love to review all the films it has produced in 10 years, I don’t have the time nor the mental fortitude to do so. In light of this, I’ve decided to cover just a few based on their absurd titles. So let’s begin with…Hats off to Christmas!
Mia, the loyal and hard-working manager of her small town’s Christmas hat shop, is blindsided when her boss of over 10 years asks her to train his son, Nick, for a vacant upper-management position that Mia had been coveting. Although Nick is a handsome, successful New York City business consultant, Mia finds training him frustrating until Nick takes an interest in Mia’s son Scotty (Sean Michael Kyer), helping Scotty with a pumpkin carving contest. However, Mia’s faith in Nick quickly diminishes when Nick fails to show up at the contest. To protect her son from further disappointment, Mia tries to keep Nick out of her and Scotty’s fragile life and Nick must decide if staying in the small town of Wilsonville is worth giving up the big-city perks he once had in New York. As Mia struggles to find a way to convince Scotty to return to physical therapy so he can walk again, she soon realizes that Nick may be the Christmas miracle she has been waiting for. Does he stay or does he return to the Big Apple? Starring Haylie Duff and Antonio Cupo.
Big city douchebags, small-town single mothers, and Christmas hats? Sign me up!
We meet our heroine, Mia, attending to shoppers at her Christmas store. She shows them various versions of the same Santa hat.
Her boss arrives to thank her for her hard work and cryptically mention some “news” he needs to run by her. She thinks it’s a promotion.
Mia returns home to her nerd child, filled with glee. She thanks her friend Ellie for minding her son Scotty while she was at work. Ellie mentions a potential job that isn’t hat related, but Mia refuses as she thinks she’s climbing the corporate hat store ladder.
The next day, she practices her acceptance speech while heading to the boss’s office. You see, Mia has been in the hat biz for ten years, so she’s due some sort of promotion. The boss congratulates her for her dedication to headwear.
He then flips and starts freaking out about how the banks are breathing down his neck. If Hats off to Christmas doesn’t “turn it around” this Christmas, it could be their last. His remedy for fixing things? He hired his son, a hotshot Columbia MBA and business consultant, to whip the place into shape. Mia will have to teach him the ropes. The music gets very dramatic.
Back at the store, Mia tells her friend that she didn’t get the job and that she’ll be training this Nick character instead. The friend goes nuts. She knows Nick and calls him “the prodigal son of Hats off to Christmas” which is a thing, I guess. He was super popular in high school and very arrogant.
Mia meets Nick in the parking lot of Hats off to Christmas HQ. After finding out that there might be an issue receiving an office and the necessary financial documents, Nick storms into his father’s office and they have a shouting match. It’s incredibly uncomfortable. Dad wants his son to learn the true meaning of Santa hats and not just review spreadsheets.
Mia takes Nick into the warehouse where Nick runs into an old high school friend who is now the warehouse foreman. He invites the prodigal son to dinner and to “throw the football around.” This is a very weird proposition from a grown man. Nick declines.
At the store, Mia and Nick butt heads. He’s not warm enough to the customers, and she just doesn’t understand that the store needs a website. Mia receives a call that forces her to rush out of the store, leaving Nick to run it by himself.
She meets with the boss who laments that his son doesn’t want to take over a hat store. He should have never paid for an Ivy league college. This is a pointless meeting.
When Mia returns to Hats off to Christmas, she finds it devoid of both Nick and customers. Only her son Scotty and Ellie are there.
Mia rolls her eyes and check outs what her son is doing on the interwebs. He’s looking up ideas for the annual pumpkin carving contest. Nick enters the room with the warehouse foreman. Upon seeing pumpkins, the warehouse foreman tells Scotty that he should enlist Nick’s help as he won the contest three years in a row. Mia then tells her son to hurry up for a doctor’s appointment.
Scotty asks for Nick’s help in carving pumpkins. Nick, his jaw still on the floor, awkwardly says yes. When Mia leaves, the warehouse guy pats Nick on the back for being a good guy. Nick says that it’s no big deal to which warehouse man replies, “it is to a single mom and a widow.” Moving on…
At the doctor’s office, Scotty isn’t recovering as well as Mia hoped from the accident. The doctor says he should be able to walk in time, so his issue is mainly emotional.
Nick is adapting well to hat life. He greets a customer who turns out to be an old high school flame. She’s now a banker who has taken over the Hats off to Christmas account and explains that there might not be a cheery future in store for them. She also expresses that she wants to bang Nick.
Nick arrives at Mia’s house to help Scotty carve some of them pumpkins while Mia makes cookies. After they finish carving, Mia complains that they’re getting pumpkin innards all over the floor. Nick chuckles and takes off his shirt, revealing a regular white t-shirt. Mia blushes. It’s been so long since she’s seen a white undershirt. Nick bonds with the wheelchair bound boy and lets him know that he’ll be there for the contest.
It’s the day of the pumpkin carving contest. Scotty is excited to show the judges his entry. I hope he put a hat on the pumpkin. The only thing missing is Nick. The boy waits for his new friend like the dog from Futurama. Unfortunately, Nick is wading through paperwork with the banker woman.
The pumpkins are unveiled. Scotty wins. But it is hollow for, alas, Nick is nowhere to be seen.
Nick and the banker lady take a quick break. It’s then that Nick realizes that he’s missed most of the pumpkin event. He races over to see his winning creation and I guess Scotty, too. He tries to apologize to Mia, but she’s not having it. She tells Nick to back off because he’s not a “small town pumpkin carving kind of guy.” She wheels Scotty away from the bad man.
A few weeks pass and we find that Nick and Mia haven’t patched things up. Nick buries himself in paperwork while Mia occupies herself in the store. But fate intervenes. Dad wants Nick and Mia to work together to make a window display. THIS is why the place is tanking. You shouldn’t be forcing your finance guy make a display for your hat store.
They become friendly again and go for dinner. The couple talks about dead relatives. Nick drops Mia off at home where Scotty bamboozles him into making a soapbox derby car.
Nick starts becoming a small-town guy. He accepts warehouse guy’s invitation, plays football, makes a Christmas tree, and joins the soapbox car race. And thanks to him, Scotty decides to go back to physical therapy.
Things are going well until…
Mia and Nick are set to go out on a date. However, when Mia comes to meet him in the office, she overhears him say that the business will need to cut staff and benefits if it wishes to stay afloat. She runs off. What she doesn’t realize is that Nick was only repeating something that the banker lady said. He doesn’t agree with it.
He tries to meet with Mia for dinner, but she refuses him. Nick takes the banker lady out instead and once she realizes that she’s not gonna get any, she cuts a deal with Nick. She’ll keep the bank onboard if Nick stays on as management.
Dad sees a sad Nick. Instead of offering a hat, he sneezes on his son.
At Mia’s, she cries again. She just sent off her letter of resignation to her boss. Ten years of hat knowledge goes down the drain.
It’s the day of the company Christmas party! Nick is dressed as Santa, and the boss rambles on about who knows what. The gist is that he’s handing over the CEO reins to his son. Although both Dad boss and Nick have seen Mia’s resignation letter, they ignore it completely and Dad boss announces to the whole company that she is being made Vice President of Sales and Marketing (who knows who the President is). Nick’s next act as CEO is to give everyone in the company shares in Hats off to Christmas. A nice gesture, but is it a sound business decision?
Nick brings Scotty up to sit on his lap.
Santa grants Scotty’s wish. Nick and Mia make up. They kiss. FIN.
Oh yeah, and Scotty walks again. Whatever.
As with most of these films, most everything feels unearned. I don’t see why Nick fell for Mia. In fact, I’m fairly certain that he fell for Scotty and Mia was more of a convenience thing. His obsession with the boy was really odd. If they made a sequel, it could easily turn into a Lifetime film.
Additionally, the threat of the “other woman” was also needless. They barely touched upon that thread and then threw it in the bin. I mean why even bother?
Overall, I watched it. I give this film 1 Santa hat.
- High school is a recurring theme in these films. Did no one get over their teenage experience? Is the audience the kind of people that peaked in high school, therefore, Hallmark makes its characters reflect that?
- There are about 4-5 montages in this film.
- Nick puts on a weird Santa accent.
- I tried my best to shoehorn a “Scotty doesn’t know,” but failed.