Hallmark Countdown to Christmas: Christmas Wishes and Mistletoe Kisses Recap/Review

Welcome to Hallmark’s Countdown to Christmas 2019. This year, the channel plans to release 24 all new original movies that bring bland love, badly decorated living rooms, and mysterious characters who are actually Santa together for our viewing pleasure. Join me as I embark on this long journey covering all of these films.

I’m looking forward to Christmas at Dollywood because that’s bound to be awful in many good ways.

The film that kicks off this year’s batch is Christmas Wishes and Mistletoe Kisses. I believe that is what you call a slant rhyme.

Synopsis:

Weeks before Christmas, Abbey is hired to decorate the estate of businessman Nick. She must break down the wall between her and Nick, all while keeping the holiday spirit alive. Starring Jill Wagner, Matthew Davis, and Donna Mills.

We begin the film with our heroine Abbey forcing Christmas ornaments to make out while two nursing home residents look on in disapproval.

“Maybe if I had loved my kids more, I wouldn’t have ended up here.”

Abbey moves on from sexually harassing the ornaments to help the retirement home owner Caroline with decorations. Abbey ties a ribbon around the tree and Caroline is absolutely floored. She tells Abbey that she is super talented and offers the woman an interior design job for her son’s big gala event. Abbey says she’ll think about it.

While on her way to a Christmas light ceremony, a man runs into Abbey – literally. He’s a big business guy who can’t understand why all the shops would close early just to see a tree get all lit and junk. Abbey tries to convince him of the magic of the Christmas spirit, but he combats that with “Hong Kong never sleeps” and leaves Abbey so that he may presumably have breakfast with Hong Kong.

He’s probably referring to some Wall Street business in Hong Kong, not the protests.

Abbey meets up with her father and son at the ceremony. Dad sees the “twinkle” in Abbey’s eyes and asks her what’s up. She informs him that she might have a job, but hesitant to take it.

Back at the old people’s home, Abbey chats with a group elderly folks playing dominoes. The conversation is interrupted by a resident’s grandson who happens to be a handsome doctor. Granddad hatched a scheme to hook him up with Abbey.

“Grandpaaa, you KNOW I’m not the male lead in this film!”

Abbey excuses herself to go home and make a bad gingerbread house with her son, Max. She tells him that she may get a new job which will likely make her an absent mother. Max doesn’t seem to care much.

The hopeful interior decorator arrives at the mansion for an interview and who should open the door? It’s Hong Kong businessman extraordinaire and Caroline’s son Nick!

“Why, Abbey! Come on in so that we can begin the journey towards our inevitable love affair.”

Nick invites Abbey in for the interview. He also has his colleague Kate join as she’s a no-nonsense biz lady who is good at hiring.

Top tip to everyone who is job hunting: I highly recommend watching Abbey’s interview because she is the perfect example of WHAT NOT TO DO. She willingly showcases her shortcomings, doesn’t provide good examples of her experience, and makes vague promises.

Kate is clearly unimpressed and thanks Abbey for coming. Abbey, sensing her own blood in the water, panics and berates both Kate and Nick for not hiring her. She planned so much for the interview and they just won’t give her “a shot.” Never mind that when they asked if she had a landscaper contact, she had no idea what to say and just kinda said, “I’ll find someone real good, pinky swear!”

Abbey storms off, but Nick chases after her. He has mistaken her tantrum for moxie and decides to hire her on the spot.

“Maybe it’s your chutzpah or maybe it’s because I only got two and half hours sleep after spending all night talking to Hong Kong, but you’ve got the job, missy!”

Abbey returns home to bring good tidings of great joy. While her father beams with pride, Abbey’s five-year-old couldn’t give a damn. He’s got 200 ornaments to make for his school. This probably qualifies as child labor. His mother chooses to ignore her child’s inability to congratulate her on the career move and helps him make those ornaments.

The next day, Abbey heads to her new job. She is greeted by a cold Kate who informs Abbey that Nick won’t really be available to provide input; he’s much too busy what with those pesky protests in the Middle Kingdom.

Fortunately for Abbey, she catches Nick in between phone calls. He politely tells her that has three minutes to spare for her. She asks if he can give her more information on his likes, dislikes, or what direction he’d like his estate to take. Nick simply states that she should do what she does best. If you have ever worked for clients, a vague brief is an absolute recipe for disaster. Abbey is understandably worried.

“You are a terrible businessman.”

Abbey uses her lunch break to visit her doofy son who is prepping for the school Christmas pageant. Hot Doctor appears to casually tell her he’s available for dinner anytime. Abbey says she’ll keep that in mind and walks over to her dad. She laments her misfortune and characterizes Nick as a “imperious” fellow who thinks she’s a nuisance. She’s clearly projecting as Nick has not given that impression at all. He’s been very polite although a bit stupid hiring this woman. Dad tells her to roll with the punches.

Back at the mansion, Abbey has put garland all along main stairwell which delights Nick. He spies an old ornament he made when he was nine years old and begins to happily reminisce. Abbey uses this opportunity to convince him to work with her a bit more. While Nick exits the scene, Kate enters to tell Abbey that she’s “in over her head” and should quit.

Abbey moans to her father on the phone about how this job is going. It’s only been a day (?) and she’s really panicking. Nick overhears the conversation and appears to have some thoughts.

“Jeez, she’s really in over her head.”

The following morning, Nick decides to join Abbey on a three-hour antiquing spree. Nick begins to warm up. That’s the whole point of this scene.

The next day, Abbey joins a gingerbread house activity with her son at the old folk’s home. She even invites Hot Doctor and his niece. Unfortunately for Abbey, Caroline has also invited Nick.

“Why can’t there be TWO male leads?!”

Nick notices that Hot Doctor is not only hot, but he’s also being very nice to Abbey, so he’s either going to have to go hard or go home when it comes to wooing the woman.

The businessman decides to go hard. He takes Abbey on a cold walk and they get all will they-won’t they in a boathouse. Abbey mentions that she has a DEAD MOM™.

Abbey shares her romantic woes with her father who tells her to start banging around. Abbey is inspired. She bypasses Tinder and asks Hot Doctor out to dinner.

“So are we sure I’m not the love interest in this?”

Although Abbey shares a few moments with Nick, she still goes through with the Hot Doctor dinner.

Unfortunately, her assistant and Nick’s event planner convince her to go dressed as a 12-year-old from the 90s.

Nick learns of Abbey’s freedom to go out on dates thanks to his loose lipped events planner. He shares this information with his boss for no real reason.

Rather than ask her out on a date himself, Nick uses this intel to crash Abbey’s date. He even goes so far to join their dinner (with Kate in tow), thanks to Hot Doctor being too nice. Nick practically hits on Abbey the whole time.

This is a really bad dinner for poor Kate.

Nick and Abbey have more “moments” and bond. Nick even likes Max. However, a business emergency makes Nick go back to his old “Hong Kong never sleeps” ways. He tells Abbey he can’t get distracted anymore, meaning he’s gotta stop seeing her.

“Top billing here I come!”

It’s the night of the big gala. Everyone is there including Max which is pretty weird. Hot Doctor and Abbey dance. Hot Doctor tells his dance partner that he never had a chance and that she must go to Nick. Abbey complies. Hot Doctor is hot, a doctor, and perceptive. Good job, Abbey.

He playfully tells Abbey that he’s going to dip her so that he can make Nick jealous. Oh, Hot Doctor. You were too good for this world.

Nick sees Hot Doctor and Abbey having a good time which gets his boxers in a bunch. Meanwhile, Kate tells the gossipy event planner that she’s going to present an offer to Nick that he can’t refuse. The event planner then turns around and tells Abbey that Kate is going to propose to Nick. Putting aside the modernness of this potential proposal, this event planner needs to learn to keep his trap shut.

Kate tells Nick that she wants to be CFO which will not only make the business into an even greater success but also give Nick the space to canoodle with Abbey. Nick agrees. A happy Kate goes dancing with Hot Doctor.

Nick chases after Abbey who has gone home with Max. He brings two violinists to play in a gazebo next to Abbey’s house. The businessman tells the interior designer that he wants her for Christmas. They kiss. FIN.

I hope those violinists got paid the big bucks for coming out on Christmas Eve on short notice.

REVIEW

The actress that played Abbey has a kind of deep voice. Women of this sort are usually casted as ball breakers. It was a little weird to have her not be self-assured, but that’s down to me being primed for tropes on TV. Anyway, Abbey as a character was nice though she needed to work on her presentation skills.

Nick wasn’t the typical Hallmark businessman character. He seemed like he had a soft side to him and was more of a reserved type of person as opposed to the usual wheeler dealer. I think the actor did a pretty good job of making him sort of likeable. Still, he was a bit bland.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Hot Doctors who should have their own Hallmark film.

Next week? Merry and Bright featuring Jodie Sweetin who is sure to take a larger role in the Hallmark Heroine roster now that Lori Loughlin is out the door.

STRAY THOUGHTS

  • I follow Hallmark on Twitter. They’re retweeting everything that people are saying about their films. The level of devotion to this card company’s films is cult-like and I honestly can’t understand it. Also, too many OMGs.
  • The male lead looks kind of like Taran Killam.
  • Last year’s kick off film for Countdown to Christmas also featured a business man with a mansion. I smell a theme.
  • Abbey is “one of those people who plays Christmas music before Halloween.” She’s Hallmark material.
  • I kinda want Abbey to get with Hot Doctor. He’s sort of more interesting. However, Nick has money and she already gets on with his mom which is half the battle.
  • Actually, I now want a three-way couple. Let’s get this polyandry going!
  • After the disastrous dinner, Nick and Abbey audition bands for the gala and they end up dancing to I’ll Be Home for Christmas. I cringed. I hate this kind of stuff.
  • Uh, I weirdly like Nick’s voice.
  • I’ll be honest, I don’t know if Abbey did work in an old folk’s home. It just looked like it.
  • Follow me on Twitter where I’ll probably live tweet when I can.
  • Catch up with all of Hallmark’s Countdown to Christmas here.

Next up

Merry & Bright which features a company that only produces candy canes. ONLY candy canes.