Christmas Town

Christmas Town premiered on December 1 on the Hallmark Channel. It stars MY GIRL Candace. I love Candace Cameron Bure but honestly, her Hallmark movies can be hit or miss. Let’s not forget an actual movie Hallmark made last year- A Shoe Addict’s Christmas. But let’s let the past stay in the past. Let’s dive in!

We start right away with a flashback of a little girl at Christmas opening up a Christmas present. It’s an angel tree topper. Cooool. Great present, Dad. But then he immediately drops the angel and it breaks. He was feeling a little dizzy. He says they’ll send it back to Grandon Falls and get it fixed.

Flash forward to present day. Candace (Lauren) is wearing a great skirt in Boston. But she’s moving. She got a teaching job in Springfield. Apparently there aren’t many jobs in Boston. At that moment, my husband did a job search of teaching jobs in Boston and found over 1500 so, come on Lauren. Her boyfriend Eric is so busy in London that apparently she hasn’t even had a chance to tell him about this major life change.

At her house, all packed up, she sees letters from her dad and a broken angel wing from that tree topper. She stops by her boyfriend’s house and he’s home. He got a new job! He’s like, come on in and let me tell you about it. She’s like, well I have a cab waiting so I can’t stay. But I wrote you a letter so figure it out! He apparently has not been paying attention to her at all. Or has she not been telling him this information? So I guess that’s it for them.

This is the year of trains for hallmark movies. This is the third movie featuring a train and I know there are more on the way. She rides the train that is all decorated for Christmas. The train needs to make an unexpected stop overnight because of an obstruction on the track. They are stopping in Grandon Falls. Hey that sounds familiar. At the station, she sees a guy waiting under a Taxi sign and assumes that he is a cab driver. She has all her luggage and makes him carry it. She is surprised to see his truck outside. Oh, now she feels bad. I don’t want to inconvenience you she says as she puts more stuff in the truck. He introduces himself as Travis. Then the train conductor also asks to hitch a ride with Travis. So they all ride in together in the single bench of the cab.

There are a butt load of Christmas activties in this town. Just overflowing with decorations. It’s my favorite kind of Hallmark town. And then we learn that Travis is a foster parent to a boy named Dylan. And then we find out there is no room at the Inn. Where is Edgestone when you need it? He takes her to this other strange man’s business where she can stay upstairs. It appeared to be a junk shop. What about all the other train passengers? Where are they supposed to stay? Rod takes her upstairs to a creepy loft. She tells her cat this is so much better than a hotel but… is it?

She heads next door to the Christmas cafe. It is so cute I die. Aunt Zelda (Betty in this movie) works there. She hands her a free gingerbread cookie. No fair! On the wall there are a bunch of photos. She sees a picture of her dad holding the angel tree topper. Betty asks her if she’s okay. She’s like, that picture of my dad on your wall! She then remembers she’d heard of the town before. He passed away when she was six, seems like maybe the same year as the flash back. She wonders where she could go to find the part of the angel that her dad sent away to be fixed. Well at the place she’s staying! She gets a text from Eric and ignores it. Travis is stringing lights on a tree outside. She tells him about the photo on the wall. Travis says it was nice to meet her.

Her cat is being a nice cat and just sitting on her bed. She asks Rod, the junk shop owner, about the Christmas Angel. She carries the broken wing with her. Rod says it looks familiar but he’s not sure why. He has a store filled with old junk though so she is welcome to rifle through it at her leisure! She goes through some of her dad’s letters. He somehow had already written letters for her for for all her birthdays for after he died.

No luck at sorting through all Rod’s junk. She takes a break at Betty’s. Betty calls the other passengers “Train Folk”. Lauren offers to help clean up plates at the cafe. Soon she has an apron on and is helping Betty out. Travis shows up to fix the sink. Betty has approximately 70 trees in her establishment. Travis introduces his foster son to Lauren. Betty is just passing out cookies. Betty must not actually offer them for sale. She just gives them away. How is she making any money? Travis sees Lauren all aproned up and is like, cool are you staying! Betty looks on and sings that song Mrs. Potts sings in Beauty and the Beast.

Rod sells random boxes of junk to people. This woman gives the one she picks out to Betty. Oh it’s Betty’s silent partner, Gloria. Gloria is actually an elementary school teacher too. Lauren offers to watch the store while Betty takes a break because apparently Lauren just works there now? Lauren passes out more free cookies to two little boys. One is Dylan’s and the other is Liam. They are both there with Liam’s mom. She talks to the mom about the fires in the neighboring town of Rocklin. Apparently, a fire burned down their entire city so they are all staying in the Inn in Grandon Falls. Look, you guys, make it a flood. That makes more sense for Massachusetts, right? A fire destroying an entire town? In that climate? Doubt it. Dylan says that Liam is joining the hockey team. Dylan keeps giving his coats away to all the kids from Rocklin who don’t have coats. He wants to find more clothes for kids. Lauren says she was in foster care too growing up.

Betty and Gloria sort through the box of junk and see the ANGEL. She selects a bell for Lauren’s cat. Betty decides to throw all the rest of it in the trash.

Betty tries to pay Lauren for her work. Betty is like, I need someone to help out around the holidays. Why don’t you stay and help me? She sees Travis again and he smiles at her.

There is a Salvation Army bell ringer and Lauren donates money. Lauren seems to get a good idea. She runs back in the cafe to tell Travis that she wants to do a “charity drive” and encourage people to donate all kinds of things. Lauren is like, I’d definitely stay and help. Lauren is like, I’ll just stay for a couple more weeks helping! And she agrees to stay on at Betty’s. She tells Travis they could meet tomorrow. Travis is supposed to get a tree while Dylan is at hockey. He invites Lauren to go chop the tree down with him. She’s like I’m more of an inside cat than a woodsy dog.

They walk through the woods and Travis says he used to be an architectural engineer…I think? Anyway he says he gave all that up and moved to Grandon Falls. She shares her story too.

Travis tells a little bit of the back story of Dylan. He’s lived with Travis for 8 months but has been in foster care for four years. He got close to being adopted but the families all kept moving away before the adoptions were finalized. This is actually really ridiculous. I would not necessarily be surprised if it turns out that this happens a lot. But adoption, even from foster care is such a long process that I would just find it strange that a family would go through all that just to be like, oh we have to move before the adoption is finalized. I got a new job while we were in the process of adopting our kids and I literally just pushed my start date back so we could finalize our last adoption before we moved. There are plenty of other reasons that adoptions fall through though. Often it is because the state finds a biological relative of the child. Lauren was in foster care her whole life after her dad passed away. Let me also give a special shout out to end of life planning! Designate a caregiver for your children in your will, especially if you don’t have a bunch of family that will immediately step in. Message me and I can help find someone to put together a will or something. Alright, back to the movie.

Lauren comes up with a few names for their charity drive and they settle on Rebuild Rocklin. Travis lives in a beautiful huge house with a WHITE PICKET FENCE. Her dream. He bought it as a fixer upper and he and Dylan have been living in it while he works on it. How does Travis make any money? He has a tool chest in the living room. Lauren is wearing a great sweater and necklace. Travis tells her it’s the law to help decorate the tree. And we have a Christmas Tree decorating montage! Travis offers Lauren to put the topper on the tree but she lets Dylan do it. He gets on Travis’s shoulders and does it.

Later that night, Travis drops Lauren back off at Rod’s junk shop. Her cell rings. It’s that dummy Eric. She ignores the call.

Travis shows up to Betty’s and she asks him to take out the trash. They see the box of junk on the trash can and Dylan notices the broken angel. He wants to fix it up so Travis lets him take it. Lauren re reads another letter from her dad. Her eighteenth birthday.

She calls Eric back finally. He is drinking coffee out of a cute mug. He says he read her letter so many times. He had to tell her that things had changed for him about having kids and all that. He’s like, I’ll write you a letter! Text me your new address. She’s like, well I’m in Grandon Falls but I’ll text you an address.

Back at Betty’s she sees Liam’s mom. She is so grateful for the charity drive that Lauren put together. She wants to help. Lauren meets Dylan’s case worker. Later, she offers to help Travis finish decorating his house if he gives Betty a discount on the re wiring of the cafe. He’s like, okay but you have to sing carols with us also. She agrees.

They all sing Silent Night together outside. Later, while they put the lights up outside…at night, Dylan says it is like making the house look happy. Travis says his dad said Christmas lights are like landing lights for people in heaven. Dylan decides to make a snowman. In the dark. Travis invites Lauren to go ice skating the next day. She says, you’re going to miss him when he gets adopted. And he says, it’s not about me. It’s about him and finding him a forever family. Lauren says they need a picture. Why can’t ol Trav adopt him? Guess what, if you are a foster parent, you CAN adopt the kid you are fostering. Especially if they are legally free as it appears Dylan is.

Lauren looks through the junk shop some more for the angel. Travis walks with Dylan to school. Dylan says, if someone wants to adopt me, am I going to lose you? And Travis says, never. He then asks him to fix the angel for him. Travis is like, but that was kind of your project so… Dylan runs off into school. He asks if he’s still up for Lauren’s surprise. But I don’t remember her telling them she had a surprise.

Lauren shows up to “work” and Gloria and Betty are putting more ornaments on her bazillion trees. Betty tells the story of how she came to own the cafe. Lauren flips through a Balsam Hill catalog and tells them how she dreamed of living in a big house and having lovely Christmases like in that catalog. Wouldn’t be a CCB movie without some Balsam Hill plugs!

Later, they go ice skating. Dylan shows off on the ice. They both seem just fine at ice skating. Dylan invites her to the Christmas dance that weekend. Then he skates off. Travis and Lauren have a nice skate and chat. He shares about a failed engagement with a woman named Kayla. Kayla decided she wanted to move to Miami so they broke up. That is a weird decision, frankly. That night, the boys drop her off at the junk shop. And we have another Balsam Hill plug. Oh, Gloria and Betty set up a gorgeous tree in her room. I am touched. Dylan and Travis were in on it. Oh, the surprise was FOR Lauren. Dylan hopes there are snacks. Same, bro-ham. And now we have a Christmas cookie eating montage. Oh the very best kind of montage. The cat is like can you guys be quiet? I’m napping. She finally starts purring when everyone leaves. She ignores a call from Eric. He’s supposed to be writing a letter anyway!

There is a big donation barrel outside the cafe. Gloria is inside crunching numbers. She’s supposedly on school break. Betty passes out cranberry muffins. Is she making any money? Lauren asks Gloria if there are any openings at the elementary school in town.

That night, Lauren watches Dylan. He’s like, could you watch me more often? Even if you live in Springfield? He says he likes having her there and wishes she wouldn’t move. Then he asks her what her foster care experience was like. She says it was mostly good. She is super vague though which is probably appropriate for Dylan’s age and the fact that it’s bedtime. Did she ever have someone try and adopt her and then stop? Twice, she says. He is a little sad about the Conrads, who backed out of adopting him. But he’s okay because he likes Travis. Lauren’s dad wrote her a nice letter about God always giving us hope, even when doors close. Even when we don’t understand. And well, that is a nice message for that sad little boy. And I don’t get emotional about that moment at all so don’t worry about that. And then he prays and asks to keep Lauren from going to Springfield. Travis gets home and they meet on the stairs. He looks like he’s about to kiss her and she flees down the stairs.

Travis tries to fix the broken Angel. He puts it still broken on Dylan’s bedside table which isn’t going to be terrifying to wake up to at all. Lauren reads more letters from her dad.

The next morning, she waits outside the family services office for Dylan’s case worker. She wants to talk to her about Dylan’s future and hers.

The case worker says she’s been Dylan’s case worker the whole time. It seems like Lauren is inquiring about adopting Dylan. The case worker says that first she needs to secure housing that has room for Dylan, complete the foster care classes, get licensed, and complete a background check. She will also be required to foster him for at least six months. Just kidding. She doesn’t say ANY OF THAT. She just says it’s not guaranteed and they can’t say anything to anyone. Gloria tells Lauren there is a job opening at the school and she has an interview at 4. Betty is like, what did you do, Gloria? Gloria doesnt say anything.

At the school, the principal tells her that if she passes the background check, the job is hers! Okay so we are going to have a more rigorous process for the teaching job than taking legal custody of a minor child. Great. The job opened because Gloria announced her early retirement. She wanted someone she trusted to take over for her.

She goes into the cafe looking for Gloria. She’s like, I don’t want to take your job! Gloria is like, I worked for 30 years so I’m stoked about retiring and, Betty keeps giving away the store for free so I have to keep an eye on things. Gloria offers to help smooth things over with the Springfield principal and stuff. Lauren says they feel like family to her.

It’s the night of the big dance and Lauren is getting ready. She talks to her cat some more. The cat is indifferent as per usual. She looks super cute and is Travis wearing a green suit? Get it, girl.

It’s dancin time. Dylan asks Lauren to dance. Travis holds her purse. Dylan asks if she remembers her parents. She says she remembers her dad but not her mom. Rod dances over to Travis. Lauren tells Dylan the good news about her job. Then Dylan wants to go get a cookie. Travis asks Lauren to dance. Travis says his mom taught him to dance. Lauren tells Travis that she made a couple of big decisions but she can’t tell anyone yet.

Travis is like, it’s you isn’t it? He is informed anytime someone is looking into adopting Dylan. He just walks off. He seems stunned. She’s like, why are you upset? And Travis is like, it’s just too soon. You’ve only known him for two weeks! He doesn’t want her to change her mind and bail. She gives a nice speech about her motives and then walks off. But why doesn’t Travis consider adopting Dylan? I don’t understand. Lauren goes home and reads another letter.

Betty and Gloria are at the cash register and then they want to know what happened with her and Travis. She’s like, it’s a long story. Travis comes in with a box of chocolate to apologize. They go outside and talk about the adoption again. He realizes that wasn’t what made him upset. He’s just not ready to lose him…or her. So again, why hadn’t he considered adopting him? Single dudes can adopt kids, you know. She’s like I’m not moving to Springfield you silly goose! I’m taking over for Gloria. And he’s like yay! Betty walks right into them when they almost kiss.

That night, they are walking to a gingerbread making contest? Lauren slips and falls. Travis tries to help her up and falls too. Dylan throws a snowball at them. They are having a great time. They have a snowball fight and she hits…Eric? What is he doing here? Oh boy. He tried to write her a letter but no one writes a letter like Lauren so…he decided to come in person. Eric is like, oh did my showing up announced interrupt something? Just a gingerbread house contest? She’s like, I better talk to Eric. I mean, I did basically ghost him two weeks ago.

I am not totally clear why they broke up or what happened and their conversation sheds no light on it. Eric says, there’s no one I would like to eventually start a family with. Lauren is like, I’m over 40. Eric is like, I’m ready to change for you! Lauren is like, what? No thanks. Lauren is like, I found something here I’ve always wanted to experience-family. Eric wants to go through all that change with her. Give us a chance Lauren! She doesnt answer.

Dylan lays in bed sad. Was that guy her boyfriend? He tells Travis to fix it. Travis is like…oh boy where do I start? That’s not how this works pal. Dylan looks at the broken angel. He prays again.

The next morning, she and Eric walk into the cafe together. She takes him to the wall with all the pictures and shows him her dad. Travis shows up. What is going on there? He tells Betty she owes him nothing for the re-wiring work. How do people make any money around here and pay their bills? For real. Lauren goes outside after Travis. She apologizes to him. She’s like, I didn’t plan any of this. He’s like, I know. Upstairs, Lauren is wearing a great dress.

Karen calls about the adoption. I think she got approved. She gets a text from Eric who is at the gazebo. The gang asks if she is going to the tree lighting tonight as she’s on her way to meet Eric. She’s like yeah probably. At the gazebo, Eric asks to speak first. He says he re read her letter last night. He says, she was right. He knows their lives are taking them into different directions. It is a nice break up moment.

It’s the tree lighting. She seems to be looking for Travis. Oh good, she found him. Where’s Eric? Oh, he left. But she’s staying. Because of the holidays and Dylan’s age, they approved her application for Dylan’s adoption. Well that was insanely fast. I am going to just keep it moving though because there is only a few minutes left in the movie. But I will say this-age would definitely let you cut through a little red tape but the holiday season actually slows things down because no one is working! Anyway, I am just going to pretend that this is all prelimary and she will get through all the requirements later. She says he was the first person she wanted to tell. And then they kiss. She sees Dylan and gives him a hug. Rod is giving the announcement. He invites Lauren up to do the tree lighting. She has to make a little speech. She shares they reached and exceeded their goal for the charity drive! She says, let’s hear it for Dylan Hart since he was the inspiration.

Back at home, they sit Dylan down. Lauren tells him she’d like to adopt him. He tears up. She says, only if it’s okay with him. What about Travis though? He says he’d like to be part of the family too. Well what does that mean? Hope they don’t plan on getting married until after the adoption is finalized. I think you have to be married a certain number of years before you start fostering too. Dylan runs up to get a present for Lauren and she and Travis kiss. He gives her the angel. She gets very emotional. He is very confused. She pulls out the wing piece she carries with her. They put that one on the tree. And then it actually lights up! Okay Let’s see how this stacks up.

  • Small town person
  • Lead stranded in a small town
  • Clumsy meet cute
  • Christmas Tree lighting
  • Christmas Festival
  • Winter athletics
  • Snowball fight
  • A sassy (cat) and wise (Betty) best friend
  • Christmas montage

Total score: 9/20

I also just want to reiterate that if you are at all interested in foster care or adoption, please shoot me an email! I would love to share more about our experience and answer questions you might have. Email me at hallmarksthespotmovies@gmail.com.

Leave a Reply