Hallmark Countdown to Christmas: Christmas She Wrote Recap/Review

After many a mishap and delayed viewings, I’m back to watching Countdown to Christmas 2020. I will continue publishing a Countdown to Christmas every other week or so, so get jolly. My commitment is unyielding!

The next on the list? Christmas She Wrote starring Danica McKellar, number three in the Hallmark Heroine actress roster.


When writer Kayleigh has her column cancelled before Christmas, she heads home to reconnect with family. Sparks fly when she gets an unexpected visit from the man who cancelled her column. Stars Danica McKellar and Dylan Neal.


We meet our Hallmark Heroine Kayleigh who is showing off that hot bod to her childhood friend, Steven.

He comments that she’s going to the office Christmas party, not the Met Gala. The Met Gala?? In this?? I don’t think.

Kayleigh brushes him off by merrily mentioning that she’s booked their trip to Aspen for Christmas. They high five. I cringe.

Our heroine leaves the department store and is accosted by a rabid fan. Actually, it’s just a lady who likes Kayleigh’s “Living Your Best Life” newspaper column. The woman stops Kayleigh to explain how she now knows how to celebrate Christmas and Hannukah at the same time.

“I put a menorah on the top of the Christmas tree!”

Later that evening, Stephen and Kayleigh attend the Christmas party. Sadly, a guy stands on her new dress and rips it. They have a “moment” before he waltzes off. Kayleigh gets some news from an older colleague that he’s been forced out of the company which feels a bit like an omen.

The next morning, everyone is fired. It’s a newspaper so it was bound to occur. Kayleigh is summoned to the new boss’s office who happens to be the man who ruined her dress! Tripp Windom is his name and gutting newspapers is his game!

He tells her that corporate has tasked him with “cutting the fat” which is a cool thing to start doing a few days before Christmas. Kayleigh is part of that fat and is unceremoniously dismissed. She can’t even return that dress for some quick cash.

Kayleigh tells Steven that her job is kaptuzky and she’ll be dumping Aspen to sit at home and sadly eat Christmas cookies.

Will there be any commentary on the death of the local paper and the causes behind it? NOPE! We ain’t here for real life, man. We’re here for gingerbread and gazebo kisses.

However, instead of binging on sweets, Kayleigh decides to head home for Christmas.

While Kayleigh catches up with her sister and niece, Tripp Windom is in the office like a good corporate shill. He gets an irate call from his boss, demanding Tripp to reinstate Kayleigh’s column. Dude clearly is a fan of living your best life.

Tripp Windom immediately calls Kayleigh to talk her into coming back. Before he can even speak, she hangs up.

While helping at her sister’s bakery café, Kayleigh is offered some work with the local paper. She says she’ll think about it. After all, she’s being inundated with calls from Tripp Windom and has to deal with that somehow. Her current plan is to completely ignore him.

Tripp Windom, not one to take no for an answer, promptly decides to take the harassment show on the road and drop into Kayleigh’s hometown of Pineberry.

Tripp Windom ambushes his former employee at the bakery. Kayleigh is understandably shocked and gives him the cold shoulder. Having had enough of his interrogation, she tells him she’s already employed with the local paper. This doesn’t deter Tripp. He extends his stay in the charming town.

With seemingly nothing to do over Christmas, the big boss threatens Tripp with unemployment if Kayleigh isn’t hired back.

Having summoned herself into a job, Kayleigh starts concocting a new idea for a column. Brace yourselves. The idea is: “Discovering Your Best Christmas Self.” She meets with the guy who offered her the column and begins writing immediately.

Meanwhile, Tripp wanders aimlessly around town.

Kayleigh finds the lost executive and invites him to join her Christmas spirit rodeo. Part of her column idea involves coordinating events for the readers to take part in.

She drags Tripp to the woods and gives a speech about the smell of pine. Tripp responds by saying an artificial tree saves you $700 over a decade. (There’s an interesting environmentalist argument here but no chance we’re getting into that.) Despite his sassy comments, Tripp and Kayleigh bond in the woods.

Kayleigh calls Stephen who hasn’t been fired. He’ll be heading to Pineberry, too. Might as well have held the Christmas party there. I hope they had flexible bookings for that Aspen trip.

The next day, Tripp tells Kayleigh that he took too long to propose to a lady, so he’s single. She tells him that she is also single after a broken engagement. Their conversation is interrupted by news that Kayleigh’s niece injured her arm. They race over to check on the girl and run into Kayleigh’s ex, Dan. When Tripp takes a phone call, Dan asks her out to coffee.

Her ex is a doctor who opens field hospitals in Haiti. Sooo…

Once they get the niece home, Tripp and Kayleigh continue their “failed relationships” conversation. It’s pretty unprofessional. Anyway, Tripp keeps getting harassed by his boss who tells Tripp to drop the other columnists’ frequency in order to save money.

That evening, the couple goes ice skating. How Kayleigh does all this AND writes her daily column is beyond me. I can barely write a thank you card in time.

Tripp tries once again to convince Kayleigh to come back. This is interrupted by Steven who informs Kayleigh that he has been made into a freelancer.

Tripp has feelings now and realizes that he actively sucks.

Kayleigh and Stephen angrily skate away to bake cookies and brainstorm another event for the column. They decide on a cocktail evening which is probably not a terrible idea. However, creating and marketing an event the day of is the insane part.

Not as insane as these decorations though!

Kayleigh meets with Dan for not-a-coffee. Dan breaks the news that he’s about to start a new chapter…at home, not Haiti. He’s also still into Kayleigh. Steven interrupts the meeting with even more decorations and Dan splits.

The film shows us that Stephen ends up nabbing a Christmas love with this pilot/bar owner/handsome man. He has hit the jackpot especially when compared to the bland love stories going on around him.

Kayleigh holds another speech at the cocktail event with both her suitors in attendance. Tripp takes the mic and tells everyone that drinks are on him for the next hour. Doctor Dan matches that by also announcing free drinks for an additional hour.

Hmm, handsome doctor who’s coming back home and has shown some personal growth or weasel man that fired you and your best friend?

Kayleigh and Tripp end up next to the bar where Tripp spills his daddy issues. He wanted to be a reporter, but Papa said that there was no money in it. And so, he became a guy who fired people. They begin another bonding process, but Dan interrupts to take Kayleigh away.

The story rumbles on and the competition for Kayleigh’s heart is heating up. She holds a disaster dinner with everyone and their love interests. It’s a who’s who of hooking up.

Will they? Won’t they?…

Kayleigh burns a pie and Dan eventually tells her that he hopes that she’ll take him back. He doesn’t put pressure on her and asks her to think about it. Once he’s out the door, Kayleigh tells Tripp that she’s finished her unfinished novel because of him. She even gives him a copy to read.

The next evening, Tripp surprises Kayleigh by saying that he sent her manuscript to the publishing arm and they want to make it into a real book. If she comes back to work for the newspaper, the media company will give her a syndicated column and publish her book. Kayleigh is peeved. She sees this as a ploy to get her back to New York and refuses all of Tripp’s offers.

She festively kicks him out.

It’s the final day of the Christmas column-event thing that Kayleigh concocted. She makes one last speech about love.

The camera cuts to Dan while she’s talking about all this which is just rude.

Dan approaches Kayleigh and they hash out their non-relationship. He’s gotten more money to build field hospitals in Haiti, so his plan to stay in Pineberry is out the window. They amicably part ways.

Stephen gives her a pep talk for being a great gal. This is interrupted by Tripp and his dry cleaned suit. He apologizes to Kayleigh for his presumptuousness and mentions that he’s quit his job to become a reporter in the nearby city of San Francisco. Kayleigh decides to take the New York job remotely from Pineberry. They kiss.

Kayleigh can just do whatever she wants.


Let’s just put it out there: there is NO murdering in this which automatically makes this a disappointment. Not even a mystery. Why give this film this title?!

Kayleigh made some sensible decisions apart from MAYBE Dan. Tripp sucked. Plain and simple. He’s stealing a reporter’s job with his unskilled labor. Kayleigh deserves better and I say this as not a particularly huge Kayleigh fan.


  • Support local journalism, folks!
  • Kayleigh’s niece joins the school newspaper, starting her journey in the exciting world of precarious employment.
  • Everyone in Hallmark who is fired finds a job almost immediately.
  • Everyone hooks up in this film. Kayleigh and Tripp. Kayleigh’s sister and the newspaper boss. Steven and the pilot/bar owner. A random teacher and hotel lady.
  • I like that finally the “gay best friend” is actually gay and gets a love interest.
  • The reason that she doesn’t end up with Dan is because he “wants to save” the world. It’s kind of put down?
  • How is Tripp going to be a reporter?! How does this happen?!
  • Can anyone identify the photo in the frame on the desk? Looks like a header from another Hallmark movie.