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Hallmark Countdown to Christmas: Check Inn to Christmas Recap/Review

There are too many Hallmark movies to review right now. I might faint. Today, we watch Check Inn to Christmas which I hope features a quaint bed and breakfast or else I riot.


When New York City lawyer Julia Crawley returns to her Rocky Mountain hometown and her family’s lovely inn for the holidays, she finds herself at the center of a generations-old feud with the family that runs the town’s other inn. As the ongoing competition between the two inns escalates, “forbidden” romance blossoms between Julia and Ryan Mason, whose family runs the inn that is her family’s big competitor.


The film begins with our Hallmark Heroine Julia Crawley racing up the steps of what is possibly the worst interior decorating for an office that I’ve seen in one these films.

“Less is more” is clearly not a concept in the Hallmark universe.

Julia arrives in a meeting room and greets her co-worker friend. They’re both there to find out who is getting the big promotion. While they wait for the meeting to start, they discuss their careers and Christmas. Julia is going home to Colorado. Co-worker Friend is going to work through Christmas. This worries Julia, but she’ll get the job in Act III, course.

The dad from Sister, Sister who also happens to be their boss arrives to tell his employees that no decision has been made.

With that out of the way, Julia is free to travel back home via old-timey train.

Julia’s sister Lexi happily meets her at the station. She also informs Julia that she is in the running for Grand Marshall of the town’s Christmas celebration. This is apparently a big deal.

They also discuss the family’s ongoing feud with the Mason family. The Mason family runs a competing inn and the Crawleys are not into it. They plan to be better by over-decorating their inn.

Julia arrives home to find that her father is Al from Home Improvement. He is also a former host of Family Feud which makes his appearance in this film so much more appropriate. He’s so happy to meet her and immediately asks if the decorating job they’ve done is good. He’s obsessed with beating out his rivals.

Speaking of the Masons, we switch scenes to meet the rival family. One of the Mason boys hands out buttons to the hotel guests. He’s also running for Grand Marshall because, yes, it’s a thing.

He’s doing it for that sweet button swag.

Patriarch Mason and his elder son Ryan gather the decorations. Ryan is back from a conference, one that has filled his head with ideas. He’s happy to help the family with running a business, but he’s not very supportive of the feud with the Crawleys. He thinks they should be more worried about big developers coming in and pushing the little guy out. “I run this is inn the way my dad did and the way his dad did,” says Dad Mason, clearly still living in 1950s small-town America.

Ryan heads to a nearby diner and runs into Julia. They reacquaint themselves. She’s a lawyer and he’s got an MBA. They keep running into each other and flirt like they’re happy to FINALLY see someone that isn’t a blood relative.

They attend the annual Snowball Toss (I don’t know what this is either) where the prize is a spa day at a nearby uber-cool resort. This unnerves Ryan. His developer warning is coming true.

Ignore the woman in red and look at the guy in black next to her. He’s the evil resort developer which is a delight. Just look at his slick-backed hair and arrogant chin!

The Snowball Toss takes place. Basically, you try to throw snowballs into some holes. The Crawleys and Masons tie for top place. It comes down to a final toss between Ryan and Julia. Before he tosses his ball, Ryan asks Julia out on a date. Julia plays coy which I guess causes Ryan to miss his shot. The snowball one, I mean.

Later that night, a terrified Lexi races into the Crawley Inn to inform her family that the Masons have put up their decorations.

To be honest, I expected way more lights from Hallmark.

The Masons come round to see. This gives Julia and Ryan the opportunity to have a private conversation about the history of the family feud. It’s not that interesting.

The next morning, Al rushes into Julia’s room to rudely awaken her from her slumber. He wants to put up more decorations and enlists both of his daughters’ help. The girls have a bit of girl talk regarding all the mega flirting Julia is engaging in. Julia denies this.

At the Mason’s, Ryan tries to convince his father to adapt the inn and bring some of it into the modern age. Dad Mason rejects the idea.

He’s more interested in nailing the annual Christmas quiz. Not so much the future of his business.

Julia secretly meets with Ryan to address the elephant developer in the room. They manage to insult each other and get offended. She’s too big city to care about a small town. He’s too small town to have left the tiny town.

They make up by Ryan throwing snowballs at her window and eating a sexy meal together. The couple conspires to bring together the Masons and Crawleys at a Gift Basket Making event for the troops.

America’s troops demand baskets filled with Jell-O cups and Swiss Miss cocoa mix.

The troops thing helps thaw the feud a bit as Al gives Dad Mason a hot tip for the Christmas quiz that night. At the end of trivia night, the owner of the hosting restaurant announces that he plans to sell his place to the developers, so that he can move to Florida. The music turns ominous.

To speed up the family’s reconciliation, Julia cuts the power to the inn while her family is in the middle of baking for the annual baking competition. She then convinces them to ask the Masons for help. This is absolute insanity. Has she been celibate in New York and is now going off the deep end because she found a hot piece?

It sort of works as each family member bonds with their counterpart while making a yule log. The Crawleys even give the Masons some credit when they win the baking thing.

This is followed by an early kiss between our two leads.

Unfortunately, it’s a premature kiss as the two dads manage to fight again.

It’s time for another damage control meeting between our discount Romeo and Juliet. They come up with a plan to have BOTH their families outbid the resort developers and build their own upscale hotel. Plan B is a go.

The next morning, Julia gets a call from the dad from Sister Sister who tells her that she’s got the promotion. Good news, but she needs to go back to New York earlier than anticipated. Romeo may kill himself over this.

The next scene has us at a barn dance of some sort? I don’t know. There are too many “traditional events” in this movie. Anyway, Julia dresses up real good and Ryan wears a three piece suit with no tie.


The couple uses the high of this barn dance to present their proposal to their families. Julia also uses this opportunity to tell Ryan she outta here come Boxing Day. It’s taken VERY SERIOUSLY.

The families decide to make up and go for the kids’ proposal. They plan to make Ryan the guy who runs the place, too. I suppose they have loads of money to be so confident that they’ll outbid a company whose sole purpose is to make resorts.

Later, Julia shares a tender moment with her Grandmother in a fire hazard house.

After the film’s main problem is solved, our heroine arranges to meet Ryan in a romantic area. She informs him that she won’t be going to New York; she plans to open a law firm in town. Ryan is happy. They kiss. FIN.

Kissing is when you blow into the other person’s mouth.


Julia left her high paying job in New York for this dude. They try to paint it as if she did it for her family, but she did it for this dude. How can two families that have been feuding for ONE HUNDRED YEARS get over it in the span of a week and then go into business together? That stinks of a failing business. What if it doesn’t work out with Ryan? She’ll have started a law firm in a tiny town and will be stuck with Ryan forever. Unless the hotel fails.

Rating: 2 out of 5 90’s television shows.


  • The camera work in this film is kind of weird. They keep zooming in on the sister’s face.
  • Small town love interests are either still very smart (has an MBA but using his wisdom to build the local community) or good with their hands (carpenter, fireman).
  • One of the MANY Christmas trees in the Crawley’s inn has a Santa hat. Is this something people do? I’ve never seen that outside of a Hallmark movie.
  • The Crawleys won every competition except for the decoration one. That went to a random bakery.


The Christmas Club. Hoping for a holiday themed Fight Club.