Holiday for Heroes premiered on November 8 on Hallmark Movies and Mysteries. Just in time for Veterans Day. Hallmark seems to do at least one military movie a year these days and well, here we are. I really loved this movie, actually.
Okay so we have soldiers and Christmas happening in this movie. Am I going to cry in this movie? Definitely not. Not going to do it.
So the movie starts with Audrey putting on a record and roasting coffee in her barn. She sends a box of coffee to her brother overseas. A sergeant walks by and makes a comment about it. Devin, the solider, throws the bag to him. He decides to write her a letter to thank her. And then they start writing letters back and forth. All year! And then, well what do you know. Sergeant Evans gets stationed in Branford, CT for his last month of service. Then he can retire if he wants. He sends Audrey a letter but she doesn’t get it. I tell my husband this is kind of like his favorite Hallmark movie, “The Christmas Card” and he says, well why are you watching it without me? But I don’t have the time or the energy to wait for him.
So, he just shows up at the coffee shop she owns. The decorations in this coffee shop are absolutely out of control. More decorated than any place should be. There are like 6 trees out on the sidewalk. That can’t even be allowed!!
He first tries some lines on an employee and she is being very professional. And then Audrey comes around the corner and they realize who each other is and that doesn’t make me tear up a little bit. They catch up and then Audrey gets a phone call. Oh no. Devin, her brother, is going to be stuck overseas longer! He’s not coming home for Christmas. She tears up. And then another phone rings at the coffee shop and Audrey’s business partner answers. Her husband is in the same group stuck overseas. She passes the phone to her son and there is so much dust in the air in my house I need to clean up real quick.
Matt has agreed to help coach the hockey team so he is at practice. At this point, my almost 4 year old son says, “so, this a Christmas show but it hockey?” Yeah dude. It is. Aren’t we lucky? Matt knows that Jade’s son, Nathan is having a tough time at practice because he just got some sad news. He agrees to do some one on one coaching.
The next day, Matt is looking for Audrey but she is already at…THE CHRISTMAS TREE lighting. He walks over with Jade and Nathan. He sees Audrey talking to Luke, her realtor. Luke is really trying to do more than just get Audrey a lease on the vacant space next door to her coffee shop if you know what I mean. So anyway, Matt sees this so he hangs back. The tree is a long and skinny whoville tree and as far as Hallmark Christmas tree lightings go, it is underwhelming. The mayor is up at the podium announcing all the Christmas activities coming up. But she forgets to mention the “Holiday for Heroes” party! (Hey! That’s the name of this movie). It must be a mistake. Audrey asks her about it after the event and sure enough, it is NOT a mistake. Since the unit isn’t coming coming home, the town isn’t sponsoring the event. Oh and they’re not matching donations to the toy drive. Soldiers aren’t coming home? Then those poor parent less kids don’t need any presents either! The mayor is basically like, girl, bye. And then she walks off. My almost four year old then comments-So, you like girl shows? And boy shows? Yeah, man. I do.
So then, Audrey gets up on stage and says, hey they mayor totally sucks but we’re going to have the party anyway! And this time it’s not going to be government funded! So the party is going to happen and the city government of Branford can suuuuuuuuck iiiiiiiiit. Luke the realtor sweeps back in and Matt really feels threatened.
The next day, Jade and Audrey go to look at the space next door for their possible expansion. It is empty…except for Christmas decorations of course. They talk about adding a bakery which seems like an excellent idea. But dang, this space is expensive. They’ll have to crunch some numbers.
Back at the coffee shop, Audrey keeps looking at the door. Where’s Matt? Well he’s helping all the kids. He’s doing extra hockey practice and tutoring in history and just really getting plugged in. Audrey calls him and kind of asks him on a date. Audrey stops by the ice rink to bring him a flyer for the planning party and it is surprisingly decorated for Christmas. But also, she says it’s at a 4 out of 10 for Christmas enthusiasm. Well again, it’s a Christmas show, but it’s hockey. Matt is helping Nathan with his shot.
Later, Audrey is FaceTiming with Devin and he tells her that some of the soldiers don’t get any care packages from home. She decides to turn the planning party into a care package party and asks Jade to make 12 dozen snickerdoodles. Again I must ask, WHAT IS HALLMARK’S OBSESSION WITH SNICKERDOODLES.
So they are making care packages for all the soldiers from town. Matt gives a lovely speech about how much it means to get a care package, especially since he never got any. So that is not sad and I don’t do any crying about that. So everyone is volunteering for different projects and bless Luke the Realtor’s heart. He offers to make flyers. Matt offers to help do all the logistics before Luke can.
The next day, Matt is helping do the logistics. He does not know anything about party planning. Audrey is furious at this betrayal. Just kidding. She is not surprised. Carlos, the restaurant owner brings over some Egg Nog for them. He added Mexican hot chocolate. So that sounds gross across the board. Audrey can’t try it because she’s judging an egg nog contest. And well, what is wrong with these people? I try not to throw up as Matt tries his. It’s fine I guess. They bond over their love of history and Teddy Roosevelt. Then Audrey invites him to a Christmas event in town that night. Then she makes a s’more pun and he decides he’s not interested anymore.
So they show up to this s’mores event. And well, this actually looks really lovely and I would like to be part of it. Last year, we went out to this cute new part of town and they had a place where you could buy s’mores for $2 each and my husband and I felt that was too expensive. So, anyway, I hope these guys enjoy their $10 s’mores. Matt says he’s going to make her one but it’s a surprise so she has to leave for ten minutes and meet back up with him. And wouldn’t you know it, but he makes a really great s’more combo for her. I was really worried he was going to feed her the s’more and then I would have had to just turn the whole thing off. Luckily, he lets her eat it by herself. So again I say, this is a really lovely idea and I would definitely participate. But I would also probably bring my own s’more accoutrements. And yet, I must ask-since when are s’mores a Christmas thing? She rates his s’more a 10 on the Christmas scale though so I must be wrong. Remember the hockey rink was a 4.
The next day at work, Matt is talking to his commanding officer about his next steps. He has a job interview at a military school in Virginia. But his commanding officer wants him to re-enlist for three more years. He then calls Audrey and asks her on a date. She is with Jade and tries to say she’s too busy with all the Holiday for Heroes planning. But Jade is a great wingman and encourages her to say yes.
She heads to the rink and it is COMPLETELY decorated. Trees on the ice and all. She asks how he did all this and he said he owes it all to the hockey moms. I feel that is a pretty big favor to ask of those women. Anyway, the result is the hockey rink decorations receive an 11/10 rating. As they walk back through town, Matt shares that he has an interview with the military school. She offers to to make dinner for him when he gets back. He really missed home cooking.
He gets the job at the military academy and seems excited. Meanwhile, Audrey and Jade go look at the potential new coffee shop expansion space with the contractor. And Audrey asks him to if he could play Santa Claus at the party. Back at the coffee shop, Matt’s letter finally arrives! Oh no He’ll only be here for 30 days. She didn’t realize how short their time would be and it really bums her out.
At dinner, they talk about it a little bit. And then she invites him to do a special Christmas activity with her. Get the Christmas Tree for her barn! Back at the barn I realize how insane this place is. It’s decorated sort of like it could be a cutesy antique shop but also like a hang out place for ladies. So like, a giant she-shed. I’m sure the wasted barn space really bums Matt out but he doesn’t say anything. Also, is this the same barn from Blue Ridge Mountain Christmas?
They put up the tree and she gets emotional. This was the last thing they did with her parents before they headed out to a Christmas party and got in an accident. And she usually does this with Devin but he’s not there. Matt takes her hand and I don’t find this emotionally captivating whatsoever and again, there is no tearing up happening IN THIS HOUSEHOLD, that’s for dang sure. He puts on a record and they start dancing. And I use every ounce of strength not to die of embarrassment on their behalf.
The next morning, Matt and his coach bro are out jogging and they chat about Audrey and his job options. He doesn’t know what to do! He wants to stay here but there isn’t anything for him to do in this town after his contract is up.
Audrey and Jade are also having a nice talk about relationships. Jade is very wise. She is not sassy though. That’s fine. Not everyone needs to be sassy.
Out doing MORE CHRISTMAS ACTIVITIES. They are waiting in line to ride the horse drawn carriage. Audrey tells Matt they don’t have anyone to do the march of the toy soldiers without the deployed guard unit. Matt says that he and some of the old boys at the base can step in. Matt then does the robot and everyone in town collapses in the street of embarrassment. Matt wastes no time in the carriage. He’s got his arm around Audrey immediately. I high five my screen.
The next day, they are setting up at the hotel. Matt shows up and wants to talk to Audrey. Zoe walks up with an EMERGENCY and interrupts them. Well, it turns out that the hotel double booked the event space and a corporate event is in the room for the same time. Paying customers trump free customers so they’ve got to move. Matt is very encouraging to her while she’s at an 11/10. After they move all the stuff out, Matt finally tells her his news. He was offered an officer post if he re-enlists so he’s thinking about it seriously. Audrey kind of freaks out about this and says she’ll talk to him later. She just wants to watch “It’s a Wonderful Life” and recharge. So that kind of bums everyone out.
Back at the barn, Devin calls. He gives her a great idea-she should hold the Holiday for Heroes event at the barn! And well, yes that is a great idea. She feels weird about bringing the whole town into her she-shed.
The next day, she receives a flower arrangement from Luke to congratulate her on the lease. But Audrey and Jane decide to put the money they set aside for the expansion into the Toys for Tots drive so that all the kids will have toys.
Matt and the hockey coach are out jogging again and the Coach tells him to tell her how he feels. He agrees.
Oh boy, the moment we’ve all been waiting for. The eggnog contest. Luke and Audrey are judges. What kind of dirt does this town have on these two to force them to participate in such a challenge? Carlos and his Mexican hot Chocolate eggnog wins but really, everyone loses because this contest exists.
Audrey needs to tell Luke the bad news about the lease. Matt stops by the coffee shop looking for Audrey and the employee tells him she’s at the eggnog contest. He sees the flowers and the card that is actually worded super weird. Like he’s so excited about what they’re building together and looking forward to tonight? I don’t know. I didn’t write it down but that is the gist and it was pretty imappropriate coming from a realtor!! Matt walks in to the restaurant and sees Luke and Audrey at the bar. He appropriately misinterprets the situation because Luke puts his hand on Audrey’s. He walks out.
After that, donations start rolling in. Luke has put the word out about Jade and Audrey’s sacrifice and that has really tugged the ol heart strings. Audrey and Jade talk about her feelings for Matt again. Jade is like, you should tell him and also tell him you’d like it if he stayed.
At the office, the coach walks in and Matt is grumbling about Audrey liking Luke and the coach tells him to get it together. It’s a real tough no nonsense lecture and well, THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE, SIR.
They’re getting the final pieces together for the party and Audrey sent Matt a text inviting him to help. Jade says that’s not good enough and she sends him a more direct text-get your butt over to the coffee shop girlfriend!!! Matt says okay.
They meet at the coffee shop. And there is too much time left so I don’t know what is going to happen. Audrey tells Matt she is not interested in Luke. He spends too much time adding that salt to his salt and pepper hair, you silly goose! They do that silly thing where they “literally start over”. Matt tells her that her letters made him feel like he had someone to come home to. So don’t worry about me after he says that. I am JUST FINE. He gives her a box of twelve ornaments that has some loose connection to them saying they celebrated Christmas every month. Then they say a bunch of weird one liners to each other. But they DON’T KISS. He has some surprises up his sleeve, he says.
He then calls a meeting from the usual gang in the middle of the night. And it looks like he and Luke have paired up. Luke’s playing the long game.
Alright, Holiday for Heroes is finally happening at the barn. Audrey and Jade have great dresses on. Matt is there in his military dress uniform. He asks if he can embarrass her for a minute. He gives a speech about how great Audrey is and how much she and Jade do for the troops. And then he announces that the town all pitched in to cover the cost of their expansion and the first year of the lease.
Now it’s time for the march of the toy soldiers. These ol boys sure can march. But wait a minute. OMG THE GUYS ARE ACTUALLY HOME! They turn around one by one and it takes their family members a minute to recognize them. And I am definitely just fine and not crying about this massive surprise solider homecoming. The rest of the unit trickle in from outside. So, now, will the city reimburse the cost of this party? And guess, what? They still DON’T KISS.
After everyone leaves, Audrey and Matt slow dance. He tells her he’s taking a teaching job at the school. And they finally kiss. Whew.
- Let’s see how this movie does against our checklist:
- 1. Small town person
- 9. I’m counting the holiday for heroes party
- 10. Christmas Tree lighting
- 12. Winter Athletics-ice skating
- 14. Christmas Puns
- 19. A wise best friend
Total Score: 6/20