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Hallmark Countdown to Christmas: Christmas in Evergreen: Tidings of Joy Recap/Review

For today’s feature film, we return to Evergreen, the town at the center of the Christmas in Evergreen series. Last time we visited, two people fell in love. Who knows what’s in store this time?!

Synopsis:

As the town searches for a rumored Christmas Time Capsule, a skeptical writer arrives in Evergreen to get the story on the town’s “too-good-to-be-true” Christmas-fever.

I hope the film goes for a sci-fi element!

RECAP

The film starts with an unseen narrator (Santa) flipping through a book and talking about Evergreen. He gets interrupted by a female voice who just so happens to be our Hallmark Heroine, Katie.

Her love journey begins on a quaint train that is not too dissimilar from a toy train. She stands up for no reason and literally falls into a man named Ben. He is an inhabitant of Evergreen and is on his way to back to celebrate Christmas. They get to talking about what Christmas in Evergreen is like.

Katie is a writer on a break and is just visiting the town for fun. She comments on wanting to see some nice scenery and Ben tells her that the place definitely obliges. Katie looks around and lets out a big “WOW!” as if Ben has just opened a curtain to a magical new world. Mind you, the snowy scenery hasn’t changed. If she just looked out the window, she would’ve seen pretty mountains 15 minutes ago.

I rewound the film twice to pause on this. Before she says “WOW”, the camera does a literal three second cut to this. It’s a look-away-and-you-miss-it moment that is probably important, but they don’t give it enough time to register in your mind. I thought the editor messed up and left in a rogue piece of footage.

The couple arrives at their destination and part ways. Katie wishes him a “Merry Christmas” and a bunch of strangers shout it back to her in unison. Stupid.

We’ll be seeing more of this clown later.

Katie gets a call from her mother, the head of a business magazine. Unfortunately, the writer for her cover story dropped out and she needs help. She offers the opportunity to her daughter.

Katie, the freelance writer who is struggling to come up with an idea for a novel, sort of refuses. Her mother tells her to consider this job as it might lead to a more stable position in the writing industry. Before Katie can reply, the phone dies and she has no charger to fix the problem.

Meanwhile, the citizens over-decorate the town. This particular shot is a nod to the previous film.

While wandering in Evergreen, Katie sees characters from the other installments of the Christmas in Evergreen series. She asks the new mayor for help and is directed to Daisy’s Country Store where she can find all of her electronic needs. Katie engages with the leads of the last two films. Daisy (the Letters to Santa heroine) gives Katie a free charger and hat. Economics don’t come easy to her.

Our vacationing writer soon arrives at her destination: Barbara’s Country Inn. Nothing says country like wealthy part of Vermont. Katie overhears something about a Christmas time capsule and that sparks an idea in her head. Mom calls again and Katie lets her know that she’d like to write about Evergreen for a business magazine. She gets the writing gig thanks to good ol’ fashioned nepotism.

Katie visits a local bookshop and finds Ben reading to children. You can only find altruism like this in small towns.

Ben overhears Katie talk to the bookstore owner about doing “research” and butts in. He doesn’t like reporters, especially if they make Evergreen look bumpkin-y. He tries to block her from joining the historical society meeting, but she makes it anyway.

The history group discusses a time capsule no one knows much about.

The historical society blah blah blahs about their families who lived in Evergreen for however many years. The flashback is sepia colored like this is in frontier times, but it’s actually 1969.

The gang breaks up because one of the previous female leads is going to spend Christmas OUTSIDE of Evergreen. Random townfolk see her off.

While somewhat impressive, Santa seriously needs to do something about the length of that mustache.

Ben and Katie have a little chat where Ben calls Christmases in the city “cynical.” The conversation is interrupted by a loud scream. The couple races across the road to find out what happened. One of the townspeople broke a snow globe. If this is how they react to a snow globe, I dread to see how they react when someone dies.

Moving past that “crisis,” Ben and Katie continue to get to know each other. He used to be a journalist in Chicago, but found that Evergreen was more authentic than the big city. He also has DEAD PARENTS™.

Katie returns to her hotel to take part in a baking montage.

However Christmassy the place is, Evergreen cannot overcome the power of product placement.

The breaking of the snow globe actually sets into motion a series of events that ultimately leads to the discovery of the time capsule. It’s going to be filled with like ration booklets or something. Anyway, thanks to the snow globe, the gang finds a mysterious key.

Ben and Katie do some writing at Ben’s library. Katie accidentally prints a page of the article that her mom wants for the business magazine. It’s about how Evergreen uses Christmas to boost its economy. Katie doesn’t like this idea (she wants to write about the time capsule), but penned a short overview to appease her mother. However, she forgets the page in the printer.

Meanwhile, the town uses the key to find the time capsule. This monstrosity has been hiding in Evergreen for 50 years.

Ben finds the scathing article and unleashes his lukewarm anger on Katie. Katie explains that she loves Christmas so far and maybe even loves Ben, too! He shows her the door.

To make it up to him, she leaves a note in the library asking him to meet her at the skating rink. He obliges and teaches her how to ice skate. They talk about how the town practically celebrates Christmas all year round (for instance, they don’t take down their trees until Easter) and since the dating pool is really small, they have to ensnare tourists to keep the population up.

Anyway, time to cue the montage of journalist research cut with opening the each day of the time capsule advent calendar.

Katie has become so enmeshed in the culture of Evergreen, she gets the honor of opening an advent box. She is tasked with dictating the activity the town should do for the day. She picks building snowmen.

Unfortunately for Ben, Katie’s vacation has come to an end. They kiss on the toy train before it takes off. She arrives in the disgusting Big City and visits her mother’s friggin’ mansion.

Mom saw Katie’s article about the heart of the town and says that it’s not meant to be printed in her business magazine – she should instead adapt it for her second novel.

Back at Evergreen, Ben’s grandmother tells him to follow his dreams and become a legit journalist.

Although they’re separated, Ben and Katie keep texting. He even gets an interview in the city! They get a fancy lunch together and go to her mother’s company’s Christmas party. After a magical night, Ben has to go, but before he does, they suck face HARD.

I often use that phrase as a joke, but this time it very much applies.

It’s the final day of the time capsule, with the last box to be opened during the Christmas festival. And who so happens to be there? Krampus! Sadly, nah. It’s just Katie. While disappointing for me, it makes Ben happy. They kiss AGAIN.

Katie announces that she plans to spend Christmas with Ben. She even brought her mother who also has a Christmas surprise for Ben: she loved an article he wrote so much that she intends to put it in her magazine. Not only that, but invites him in for a job interview. Some weird ass networking this is.

The final advent calendar box is opened. It’s a letter that tells the town to fill up the boxes and have people open it 50 years later. LAME!

And the kid who had to read it was also forced to wear a dumb hat.

Katie narrates the ending. Ben moved to the city and she wrote a book about the previous movies of Evergreen. Ben and Katie kiss AGAIN. FIN.

Ben really landed on his feet here.

REVIEW

This film had too many story lines to manage. First there was the love story, then there was another, then there was the time capsule, then there were some other little threads. While I understand that we know the characters of Evergreen, it gave us little space to work with when it came to knowing our leads.

Evergreen continues to be cultish, but at least two people escaped its grip.

Rating: 2 out of 5 easy-to-come-by journalist jobs

STRAY THOUGHTS

  • The reason the original cover story writer dropped out is because he broke both of his hands researching a new sport. Terrible Christmas for him.
  • I’m desperate to watch Chernobyl BUT I had to make it through this movie first. THIS IS WHAT I DO FOR YOU!
  • The guy who looks like Santa? His name is Nick and he comes from Burlington!
  • There’s a secondary love story that’s truly cringeworthy. Both parties wish on the snow globe once it’s fixed to hook up with the other. There’s also a sort of third love story line where there’s a marriage proposal at the end.
  • The time capsule takes up so much time that this film barely qualifies as a love story.
  • This film has about 14 montages.
  • There was excessive kissing for a Hallmark film but probably the right amount for people who are into each other.

NEXT UP

Christmas Town. It’s about a town that celebrates Christmas, I guess?