Holly has the unique and obscure job of selecting the enormous Christmas tree that is displayed at the world-famous Radcliffe in Chicago (think NYC’s Rockefeller Center). Finding the perfect tree year after year is stressful, as evident by her busy, frenzied state when we first meet her in her office. Today is the day that the tree is getting cut down and begin its journey to Chicago, but things go array and suddenly a big portion of the tree is accidentally butchered rendering it unusable. Now it is down to the wire and girl has got to find a tree. So she takes to a box of letters sent from people all over who think they may have the next Radcliffe tree. Hope seems lost until she receives a note from a little boy named Joey from Klaus, WI with a photo of the most perfect tree Holly has ever seen. So this city dweller packs her bags and heads to the small, quaint town of Klaus.
When she arrives in this charming, snow-covered town in her stiletto boots and short, sweater dress adorned with Christmas earrings and a pin, she stumbles upon the whole town setting up for the famous Klaus Christmas festival (yes!!!!). She quickly collides with a grumpy, but charming Sam who calls her out for being a city girl and overly excited about Christmas. Their bantering and chemistry is instant! Holly heads to the Bed & Breakfast to check in and see if she can find this Joey kid and get that tree. The B&B owner turns out to be Joey’s aunt and takes her out to the family farm to meet Joey and see the tree. When she gets there she is surprised to find the same curmudgeon she met in town, Sam, is Joey’s dad and is not interested in giving up the tree. Turns out, this tree was the first tree (or something like that) that Sam’s parents planted when they first bought this farm as a young couple; they even carved their names in a heart into the tree. Sam’s mom died last Christmas, so he is not willing to let the tree go.
And so begins Holly’s mission of trying to get the tree. In order to get to the tree, she needs to make a case for the tradition of the Radcliffe being a symbol of community togetherness. As she pursues her goal, she ends up getting to know Sam and his family. Sparks between the two of them are flying everywhere, but still at the center of their relationship is the tree she seeks. This movie, which debuted on November 5, is littered with HCM standards (which I will get to in a moment), but it is so, so charming. I was gushing the whole time I was watching it, knowing what I was seeing was shaping up to be a home run. Everything about this movie should have made it a cheesy mess, but the actors were so endearing I couldn’t help but get wrapped up in the story. I was so into it–I am almost ashamed that Hallmark got me, but I loved the movie so much I don’t care! Holly was so over-the-top into Christmas, and yet it some how didn’t come off as over-the-top to me, but rather heart warming and likable. She has an enormous collection of Christmas jewelry, which she wears with each mini sweater dress and even has Jingle Bells as her ring tone, but it came off as cute and quirky as opposed to unrealistic and silly. Brooke D’Orsay, who plays Holly, really makes the movie. She is full of warmth and charisma. I think she actually generates her own tears and it makes all the difference. She also starred in one of my favorite non-Christmas HCM, How to Fall–I legit like that movie. Brooke stars opposite Marc Blucas, who way back was in the later years of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. He is super likable, especially as a dad to his cute son Joey. He is a little grumpy, but also kinda sweet. The two of them together worked really well. I actually felt the romance brewing between them!
Let’s take a look at some of the HCM standards that were featured in this movie. Just a reminder, I thought this movie was a high quality HCM, so don’t let this lengthy list turn you away from enjoying it.
- Main character leaves the big city for a small town – ✔
- The romantic leads physically run into each other for their meet-cute – ✔
- Adorable little kid – ✔
- Opportunities to showcase how sweet a character is via interactions with a kid – ✔
- Interrupted kiss – ✔
- A festival takes place – ✔
This might stand the test of time and become my favorite HCM Christmas Movie of the season! I hope you get the chance to see this movie, and know that you won’t get any judgement from me if you tear up or get swept away in the romance and Christmas spirit.
Have you seen it? If not and would like to (do it! do it!) you can see the schedule for Miss Christmas here.