a cheerful christmas header

Hallmark Countdown to Christmas: A Cheerful Christmas Recap/Review

We’re in the home stretch. I don’t know anything about this film. The header and title offer up nothing. I’ve not even seen a preview of the thing, so my first intro to it will be in this here synopsis:

Lauren and her best friend Colleen think they have landed their dream job – giving people the best and most magical Christmas ever as their personal ‘Christmas Coaches.’ This holiday season promises to be their biggest ever when they land a royal client, the Anderson family, who has moved from England. When Lauren meets James, the eldest son, he wants nothing to do with planning Christmas as he’s busy negotiating a big acquisition for his father’s company. But Lauren won’t be thwarted in helping this royal family embrace the true spirit of Christmas. The more she prods James about their family holiday traditions the more he opens up. Sparks start to fly but she faces competition in the form of an old childhood friend and business colleague of James. Now Lauren must win his heart while giving the Andersons their best Christmas ever.

This sounds stupid. Hopefully it’s fun stupid rather than boring stupid.

RECAP

Our Hallmark Heroine Lauren is chatting with her friend Colleen about their great careers being “Christmas Coaches.” I think they plan Christmas events for people. The ladies reminisce about their very first client: the McCoys. They planned a dinner that included cabbage rolls and Christmas pudding. That sounds disgusting and hopefully there were fired for this.

Apparently, this type of great idea is perfect for a famous royal family. Colleen happily announces that they’ve just won a contract with the Anderson family, 53rd in line to the British throne and featured in Style’s Royals Living in America article. Are you even a royal if you’re that far down the line?

This is the (semi) royal son. He’s actually never been to England, so they just pasted a photo of some castle in the background.

Lauren calls her dad to share the good news and plan for his visit. Dad says that he’ll probably be late and alludes to a DEAD MOTHER™.

The next day, the Christmas Coaches visit the Anderson estate. The Andersons aren’t actually in the country, so the two women can’t consult with the family. They have to plan everything using only a list. The housekeeper Joyce tells them they have free reign of the house. The family has poor security measures.

They start to wander around the joint to get some ideas.

Lauren daydreams throwing loads of wreaths and crap into various rooms.

James just so happens to still occupy the house and surprises Lauren. He pooh-poohs her concept of making Christmas like this totally super cool thing and says it’s a straightforward planning job. Not sure why the family hired these two.

The girls head to Colleen’s family home to gather themselves. Colleen’s mom offers some advice and the girls get back into the Christmas planning spirit.

This is Colleen’s mother. She is probably the youngest mother in Hallmark. She also looks like she’d be a lead IN a Hallmark. I’m sort of surprised here.

Back at the Andersons’, Joyce makes James his favorite foods for breakfast: black coffee and blueberry pancakes. He takes the meal to his home office so that he can continue closing some deals.

Fun fact: this is a typical English breakfast – maple syrup and everything. All those tea stories are lies.

Lauren noisily arrives at the estate with boxes full of Christmas crap. The clamor irritates James so much that he heads downstairs to confront Lauren. He tells her to keep Christmas to a minimum.

She is so chipper that he can’t help but hate her.

Lauren receives a call from Colleen who has some news: they’ve gotten two more clients! However, this means that the very important royal client will have to be handled by Lauren alone. Sounds like good business sense.

The solitary Christmas Coach cozies up with Joyce. She informs Lauren that the Andersons used to love Christmas until they came to the States. Not sure why they just don’t go to England for Christmas? No one is preventing that.

A woman named Miriam arrives at the house to do business with James. They snark on Lauren in front of her which is pretty rude (and kind of funny). Miriam then tries her best to hit on James by suggesting that they have “a few too many ciders” again at this year’s Christmas party.

The coaches gossip about James’s lack of Christmas spirit and how they’re gonna change everything for the Andersons.

Lauren invites James to build a snowman knowing that he loved it when he was a child. He eventually joins and tells her to put his grandfather’s hat on it – as is tradition. The snowman comes to life.

Ah, sorry, wrong film.

James’s frozen Christmas heart begins to melt. He then plays polo in the snow because Hallmark wouldn’t allow a fox hunting scene.

He later goes shopping with Lauren to buy gifts and a Christmas tree. He’s got a lot of spare time for a serious business man. He starts rejecting the advances of Miriam so that he can spend more time with Lauren.

They steal cookies that the poor housekeeper had just made for her cookie exchange.

Lauren goes back to her office to gossip with Colleen some more about James.

Colleen serves up some steaming cups of hot water, a Christmas favorite.

Things are going well. Lauren even finds a ballroom that she has never seen before. We watch a daydream of Lauren in a fancy gold dress (with black office pumps) being asked to dance by James. The dream is interrupted by the real James who asks why she is talking to herself.

They go ice skating where Lauren gives James business advice and we find out his favorite movie is The Santa Clause. They return home to dance in the ballroom and do the obligatory almost-kiss.

Mother and Father Anderson arrive a day early. They ask Lauren how things are going and she informs them that she changed up their venue request for the Christmas party. Lauren decided to change it to the house ballroom without conferring with anyone. She THOUGHT it would be a great surprise. In case you haven’t noticed, Lauren is stupid and a bad business person. They seem perplexed but are ok with it.

“I told you Joyce should have done all the Christmas planning.”

Later, Lauren cries after finding out that Miriam is going to go to the party with James.

It’s the night of the party and things are going well.

Lauren wears a red dress to this party where the dress code is funeral realness.

Miriam keeps asking James for a drink which leads me to believe she has a problem. It’s been a recurring request throughout the film. James dances with her instead of feeding her habit.

Lauren sees this and runs off. She is quickly followed by James so that he can say thanks and bye. Lauren leaves.

It’s Christmas Day and James discovers that Lauren acted weirdly because she thought James was into Miriam. He races off to find her.

James arrives at Colleen’s house where she is spending Christmas. He even flew in her dad as a Christmas present.

James tells her he likes her which is Lauren cue to jump on his mouth. They kiss again outside in the snow. FIN.

I’m so glad this is over.

REVIEW

If this recap read way more like a list of things that happened, it’s because this film was irritating to watch. As you might know, I’m not a “royalty” person (nor a romantic, but that’s another thing), so this was never going to be high on my list. Lauren was obnoxiously chipper. It wasn’t fun or whimsical. It was just annoying. James falling for her didn’t track.

Then there was the cliché with Miriam. She’s constantly after James and there’s basically a fight between her and Lauren on who will get James. It’s boring.

I continually forgot James’s name when writing this. I kept writing Jake and once, Gavin.

Rating: 1 out 5 royals who are 75th in line for the throne.

STRAY THOUGHTS

  • “Royalty” that is also a business man? Be still my beating heart.
  • Lauren puts a mat on their door that plays Jingle Bells every time someone steps on it. This is tacky to the highest degree.
  • Lauren puts decorations on James’s desk even though she’s been explicitly told that his office is off limits. They should fire her.
  • Lauren is awful. She goes overboard talking about Christmas every time she talks to James. It’s stupid as hell.
  • James and Lauren make two snow people and call them William and Kate. Eye roll emoji.
  • I think James has a One Plus brand phone which means he loves rooting and customizing phones.
  • Miriam has a terrible accent.
  • James’s favorite film is The Santa Clause?!

NEXT UP

Up ahead is Double Holiday. Get ready, folks. It’s Hanukkah time!