Christmas at the Plaza premiered on Thanksgiving night, November 28, 2019 on the Hallmark Channel. This movie was really filmed at the Plaza! Just like Home Alone 2. Let’s get this done.
The movie begins with our leading lady walking into the plaza through the revolving doors which is always my nightmare. An errant child dumps her hot chocolate all over her. So she makes a rookie mistake. Don’t go in one of those sections with anyone. It’s always too tight of a fit.
Anyway, she immediately meets Reginald, a bellman at the Plaza. She says she is going to be working at the Plaza. She’s an archival historian! Working on Christmas history of the Plaza… So that’s a job someone is paying her for. She says she doesnt feel very important. Reginald says nothing unimportant ever happens at the Plaza! She gets a phone call from her boyfriend who confirms their tickets to see his parents on Christmas Eve in Florida. She walks by a ladder which is somehow in her way so she moves it. She fails to see that there is a person standing atop the ladder. He’s like, I hope that phone call that impaired your vision was important. And she’s like, you should put up a sign if you’re going to have a ladder that is so gigantic that I can’t even walk around it. And he’s like, well first of all just walk around the ladder. You are in a big open lobby. Second of all, there is a sign right there. Oh. She appears to feel much less stupid than she should.
She then goes to the concierage and he plays a fun game with her where he attempts to guess all the things she might need. Theatre tix? No. A car? No dude, chill. I need to see Amanda. And Amanda walks up behind her and is like, let’s get started.
Amanda takes her to the big oak ballroom. Neither of them have any ideas fo the big Christmas archival history project. And Jessica only deals in facts; not Christmas stories so she can’t really do that. She takes them do a shoddily organizes file room. Probably 100 years worth of random files? They are NOT categorized by season though. She’s like where are the Christmas files? And then she says it will take her a year to go through all the files. That’s only three weeks! Then she meets the person she’ll be working with; the Christmas decorator. Oh, it’s the guy who’s ladder she moved.
Jessica lists all her pointless history degrees. Nick is like, hey if you focus too much on the past you don’t focus on the future. He grabs a photo off the shelf and she’s like hey! At my school we call that an “artifact” so don’t touch it. He’s like, well it’s a newspaper clipping so just chill.
Jessica’s sassy friend, Cassidy helps her bring in a tree to her house that is entirely too large for someone who has a completely pretend job. The friend is like, you know, your boyfriend Dennis is a real wet sandwich. You should dump him. Neither of you want to commit. But Jessica is like, well actually we are both super committed! We are going to see his parents for Christmas. The friend wonders who bought the tickets? His parents or him? Why didn’t Jessica by her own gd tickets? The sassy friend leaves to go get an elf costume on.
Jessica waits for Dennis, who arrives wearing a full on turtleneck with a blazer. She gets up and leaves immediately. Just kidding. She pretends he’s not wearing that. Dennis doesn’t seem to care what she’s talking about. Same, girl!
The next day, Jessica is using a box as a computer stand and staring into space. Okay, the boxes are labeled by month and year.. so what else do you need Jessica? Couldn’t you deduce that December boxes would have information on Christmas? How about the internet? She is overwhelmed by where to start. Reginald pops down to check on her. He shows her a picture from 1968 of himself and a girl he used to know. He says the girl loved the Christmas tree topper from that year. He promised to give her her own someday but he never did. He’s like, do you want to borrow this pic? No, I’m good. Actually, this is too hard so I’m going to quit. How did she even get this job without an idea for what to do? Or wouldnt the Plaza be like, we want to do a specific history display but we need a history display expert to help. No. No vision across the board.
Jessica tells Nick she is going to bail. Nick seems more upset than he should be. This girl is totally boring. She deserves her wet sandwich turtleneck wearing boyfriend. He gives her a scrap of his decorations as a parting gift. She politely takes it and shoves it in her purse.
She goes to tell Amanda that she’s quitting and waits in the lobby. She stares at the tree topper on the assistant’s desk. It has a fancy name but I’m not bothering to look up the correct spelling. The assistant tells her they have a new tree topper every year. It’s a tradition. Oh, now we’re cooking with oil, thinks Jessica. She’s back on board!
The concierge is being super perky and Jessica asks for help getting office supplies. We have an office set up montage. FUN! Why didn’t we do this on day one? Ol Reg even brings her a single use plastic water bottle. She types one sentence on her “NOT APPLE” laptop. She finally remembers she can use the internet and starts searching for pictures of old tree toppers.
Sherpa wool vest wearing Nick gets a call from a girl named Alicia. She is so stoked that he’s decorating the Plaza. Maybe they can get a drink after she comes to see the decorations? He’s like nah, I’m good.
Jessica puts garage sale stickers on various boxes in the filing room. Then she finds one of the tree toppers in one of the boxes. Nick seems stoked that Jessica stays. Did you know that the Plaza has a handmade tree topper every year? She freaks about the historical significance of this. Nick wonders why she likes to nerd out on this so much. She gives him a very academic answer. Nick is like, I’m too dumb to understand what you’re saying. So she tells him a nice story about her upbringing. I realize that this actor is not American because her accent isn’t quite right.
Reg comes down with a beautiful coffee pot. She has some tree toppers set out on a table next to her makeshift workstation. Nick finds another tree topper! And they all touch and handle it. They’ve found 5 so far and only…95 more to go! I would guess all the boxes titled “December” would be safe bets.
Lots of shots of New York things, including the sassy friend saying “you lookin at me” to someone who stares at her Christmas sweater. She makes a comment about Jessica and Nick working together on the project. Also, I might suggest Jessica part her hair a different way.
Jessica sits at home in her bathrobe looking like a frumpy old woman looking at random memorabilia through a microscope.
Oh no! Turtleneck arrives to pick her up for the work Christmas party! She definitely didn’t forget. She’s just in the middle of getting ready. Why does she live in a two story house all alone…in New York. How many times are they going to make the tree topper joke? There is a mystery about one year of tree toppers. There wasn’t one in 1969! Also, how do people not realize they’re wearing slippers and not uncomfortable shoes? Jessica decides to wear the decoration scrap Nick gave her.
At the party, everyone thinks Jessica is a ridiculous human being. They literally laugh out loud when she explains what she’s working on. And well, same. Turtleneck is reluctant to call her his girlfriend after two years of dating. He leaves with some old dude to talk about their actually important work. She is about eat something when Dennis chastises her for bringing up her silly assignment. In turtleneck news, his work is going really well. She decides she wants to bail, but then is insulted that he doesn’t agree to go home too. This is basically a work function for him so why would he leave? I don’t understand why she’s upset that he calls her a car instead of leaving. The Uber driver is awfully chatty for my taste. She is super weird to the Uber driver and now he’s the one feeling uncomfortable. She decides to go back to the Plaza. How much was that drive? Who cares! Turtleneck is paying.
She stares at the giant tree in the lobby and sees Reginald. Does he live here? He likes to just hang there at night and that isn’t creepy. Nick is there too messing with all the lights. Decorating the Plaza is a game changer for his business. Reginald feels uncomfortable and leaves.
Jessica tells him she’s going to look for the missing tree topper. She shares the devastating news that she didn’t get to eat at the party. Nick suggests they go eat dinner together and she’s like, oh I have a boyfriend. Still gotta eat!
At a very fancy restaurant, Nick says he took over his dad’s business but he focuses on Christmas decorating. Boy, I’m sure that just rakes in the money. She tells him what turtleneck does for a living. And he says she has a few fancy degrees too. But then she says something about when she was “at university” so we KNOW she’s a foreigner. She always thought she’d be doing something more important with her life. He tries to make her feel better but honestly, no this is not very important work. Nick is like, what is more important than the Plaza’s Christmas memories? Probably almost anything. Oh! She says that her parents were in real estate so she got the house when they retired. I appreciate the explanation. He gives her his business card in case she wants to decorate her house for Christmas. Even though she is a strange and boring wet sandwich, Nick seems to really like her. He gazes longingly at her as she walks to her door.
The next morning, Jessica shows Amanda photos of all the tree toppers and significant Christmas events each year. But there is just a big red and green question mark for 1969. Amanda is just irate about this. We can’t have a GAP!! Amanda says it’s Jessica’s problem. But it sounds like the Plaza’s problem. Cassidy tells her to just buy a random tree topper and call it good. Jessica tells her friend Cassidy that she’s not going to lie about something as important as Christmas. Nick gave her a Christmas pep talk at dinner. Cassidy is mad that Jessica has two guys falling all over her even though she’s the most boring person in the world. Cassidy needs a new accountant.
Dennis calls Jessica and says he got a grant. He has an important question to ask her but not over the phone. They need to meet tonight for dinner. Ugh. Jessica finds a receipt for the tree topper the Plaza ordered for 1969. The number is unsurprisingly out of service. Why don’t they go to the address? She mutters “finial drobre” to herself and Nick is like, what? Let’s go, weirdo.
They stroll near the neighborhood and see a train through the window. Nick is like LET’S TAKE A PICTURE WITH THIS CUTE TRAIN!!! Christmas only comes once a year. Then Nick’s super sniffer leads them to some roasted chestnuts. Jessica has never had them. She thought they were pretend. Why did they park so far away, Jessica wonders. Probably because it’s New York City? Why are they driving anyway?
We see dumb dumb hotel clerk from Merry and Bright? Who runs a cute Christmas decor store. His dad and uncle used to run the store. His uncle stopped designing and quit the whole family business a while back. He shows them an old picture of his dad and uncle. His uncle is REGGIE THE BELLMAN. Jessica finds Reg and says she met his nephew and is like, girl you’ve been holding out on me. She asks where the tree topper is from 1969. He’s like, I am very busy and I can’t help you. BYEEE.
Nick is like what are you going to do? Jessica struggles with her American accent. Nick is like, let’s drown your sorrows with linguini. Jessica is like, no I have an important dinner with Turtleneck. Amanda asks for a status update. Amanda has no time for nonsense.
Cassidy helps Santa in the park. Jessica stops by. She tells her that Dennis has something important to ask her. Cassidy thinks he’s going to propose. Jessica is like, nahhhhhh.
At dinner, Dennis is like, hey do you want to stop doing your silly project and work on this biology paper with me? It doesn’t matter that this is not in your field of expertise. She is very surprised. He’s like, what did you think I was going to ask you? She speaks in her weird dreamy code again and leaves without eating. She heads back to the Plaza and asks if Nick still wants to eat dinner. He’s like, I have a better idea. She falls asleep on the drive. Or no, she just sits there with her eyes closed. Not weird. She asks, how are you supposed to know if you want to marry someone after 2 years! They pull up to his parents’ house, which is beautifully decorated for Christmas. He shows her the star he put up. Some decorations he does for money and some he does for love. He puts a big expensive star on the house he loves. He hands her an ugly sweater. He is wearing the same sweater I got all three of my kids last year.
This is a working party. The men wrap presents for charity and the women bake cookies. Jessica is up to neither task. Jessica and his mom get personal real quick. The mom mentions Alicia and practically curses. Nick says baking is like riding a bike. It’s not. Oh boy, and now they’re singing karaoke. This is not great. Hallmark, stop doing these karaoke bits. Nick and Jessica have to participate. What a horrible thing to do to a guest who knows zero people in that home. I die of embarrassment for her. She is a good sport. Jessica says she had “such fun” tonight. And overshares with Nick’s mom. She is nice and polite in response.
Jessica tells Nick she had a great time with his family. Nick tells Jessica the whole story about Alicia. She was not stoked about his career. To be fair, it is very niche. I can’t imagine he makes much money. His phone buzzes and he tells her he has to take a detour. The lights aren’t working at the Plaza so he has to figure it out. Nick says a bunch of nonsense where he concludes that someone just unplugged the lights. He shares some history of the Plaza building with her. She says she doesnt know who Sinatra is. He says, you’re kidding right? And she says “a little.” What does that mean? Nick tells her about his grandparents while they dance to no music. He tells her he comes there every year on Christmas Eve by himself. He asks what she’s doing on Christmas Eve. She panics and flees. Reggie sees all.
Reggie goes to the old shop and sees his nephew. He is looking for something. They go downstairs to the workshop. He digs out an old trunk and gets all his old tools. And then he digs out the lost tree topper. He tells his nephew to crank up the Christmas music and put on some coffee so he can get to work.
It’s time to set up for the archival history display. Nick shows up and it is a little awkward. He apologizes for being so forward. She’s like, I’ve been with turtleneck for two years and we are going to meet his parents for the first time. So I can’t let my feelings get in the way. She says she still has his Christmas sweater and he says to just keep it.
She sits outside and takes a call from Dennis. And then he shows up. He talks to her about the paper again. She’s like, oh turtleneck you don’t get it. She finally asks who bought the tickets. He says, it’s only fair because it was their idea. Is that fair? They’re both in their thirties and seemingly have great jobs and low expenses. She gives him a little come to Jesus speech about commitment and how they aren’t getting any younger. He is still confused. And so is she. He’s like, are we breaking up? She’s like, is there anything to break up? I’m a wet sandwich and you’re a turtleneck sweater. There was never a future for us. They pat each other’s heads and part ways.
She heads back to the Plaza to see a bunch of people standing around the tree. The concierge has a package for her. It’s the missing tree topper. She thanks Reggie and asks why he quit making them or art or whatever. He tells her a story of lost love. He had a special little lady and her parents said they couldn’t be together because he was just a poor artist. Probably a pretty weird dude also! He made things with love back in those days so he couldn’t make anything again. He tells her he’s been at the Plaza all these years and he’s never seen love like her and Nick. So I feel really bad for him because, as I mentioned before, she is a wet sandwich. Nick is more like pizza by the slice.
Alicia stops by after spin class. But she doesn’t look like that’s where she came from. She gets real handsy with him. He’s like, it’s been like 3 years, girl. What are you talking about? Jessica sees and misinterprets the exchange and leaves. Nick’s like, I have to work so bye.
Jessica packs up her stuff that she was working on at home and scrolls through pics of all the tree toppers. We see the sweater. She stresses over deleting the selfie with Nick in front of the train. WHAT DOES SHE DECIDE!
Amanda announces the History of Christmas display to a room full of people and she introduces Jessica. Jessica wears a great burgandy dress. She gives Reg a special shout out and sort of outs him for hiding the tree topper for 50 years. He gets fired. Nick shows up and she pauses. She continues with her boring speech that I don’t care about. I need to add an item to my list…Does one of the leads say the line “I guess what I’m trying to say is…” because any time one of these people gives their end of the movie speech they say that. We see some shots of the displays. Not too bad for three weeks of work. Reg stares at his tree topper. He decides to start making ornaments again. Jessica is like, that’s the best gift you could give me. Really? Then, Reggie’s long lost love approaches him!!! She’s like, my parents are dead now so we can be together! It’s a nice moment. She sees the tree topper and says, it’s beautiful and he looks at her and says, it sure is. And Okay, fine. That is a nice moment.
Nick catches up with Jessica after all the festivities die down. Jessica says she saw him and Alicia the other day. He’s like, no no there’s nothing going on there. He thought she knew how he felt about her. She says she and the turtleneck broke up. Nick is like, let’s each get some perspective. Jessica is like, yeah that sounds good. And then he kisses her on the cheek and leaves.
Amanda is stoked about her work.
The next day she talks to Amanda again at the Plaza. Amanda asks her to stay on as the Plaza’s permanent historian. What? There can’t be enough work for a full time person. She says she’s going to teach somewhere else. That seems right.
Back at home, Jessica is packing up to spend time with Cassidy’s family. She sees the Christmas decor scraps in her bag. Cassidy is like, nice exterior lights. Jessica is like, what are you talking about. Nick as somehow decorated her entire house while she as inside without her noticing. And he even put a star on the front.
It must be Christmas Eve at the Plaza because Nick is there drinking a $20 cocktail alone like a weirdo. Jessica shows up wearing a great hunter green dress but is still super committed to the that middle part. They dance. They have some cringeworthy conversation where Jessica struggles through her American accent and then THEY KISS. Whew. Let’s see how we scored:
- Clumsy meet cute
- Christmas Gala
- Christmas baking
- A sassy (but dumb) best friend
Total score: 4/20 Not many traditional tropes in this one.