It’s Beginning to Look A lot Like Christmas premiered on Sunday, December 22 on the Hallmark Channel. I know, I know. I’m behind. But nobody wanted to watch these movies with me over Christmas break, which I found quite surprising because these are the very same idiots that claim to LOVE Hallmark movies. So now here I am after even NEW YEAR’S watching Christmas movies. I started BEFORE Halloween and am still here. Let’s get to it. I’ve got two more of these to write for heaven’s sake!
The mayor of West Riverton, Liam, talks to his parents about the Christmas spirit competition with East Riverton. He’s getting cookies for an employee of a candle company. The competition kicks off with the towns decorating the mayor’s house. He has known the mayor of East Riverton since childhood but he loves the competition.
The mayor of East Riverton, Sarah, is holding DIFFERENT AND BETTER cookies and talks to some pals about the competition. She is a single mom so she already has a leg up. Her son asks what she wants for Christmas. And wait, they run into his dad. Who is now in his third Hallmark movie of the season. He seems to be remarried and they get along just fine? Wow Hallmark. This is your edgiest movie yet.
Liam talks to the President of the Town Council about decorations.
Sarah wears an amazing green dress and talks to her assistant about round 1 of the competition. How much money do the towns put in to all this? Oh, they’re all gunning to be the location of a candle company. They think whoever wins the competition will have a good shot at getting the candle factory. So the factory is most concerned about which town has the most Christmas spirit, which is apparently something you can objectively determine, instead of tax incentives.
Sarah and Liam run into each other at the coffee shop, which is apparently split right now the middle. They even have a sign. And somehow this coffee shop as the “best” fruitcake in the world and both mayors seem to care a lot about this.
Oh, the candle company HOSTS the Christmas Spirit competition. And it is something that TOWNS compete it. 28 towns compete in it. It is not for private citizens to compete. It is for municipalities. That is a little weird, right? Oh! The winning city gets a CANDLE. And a cash prize towards their parks and rec program. Well that’s nice. Hope it offsets the cost of competing.
The mayors talk to the candle employee. They try to bribe him with cookies from their respective towns. He’s like, yay! I love cookies.
Later, Liam’s family has dinner at the local Italian restaurant, Enzo’s. Enzo wasn’t expecting them but he has one table left. He has a famous Christmas Tree shaped pizza. Sarah and her kid show up. So awkward. He can’t seat both of them. Instead of waiting, Sarah is like no we’ll just take it to go. But Liam’s parents insist that they all squeeze into the last remaining table. The parents reminisce about Sarah and Liam’s high school days. Sarah’s son is pretty chatty. And apparently the towns are in constant competition about EVERYTHING. Including Christmas spirit. Sarah’s ex-husband and her son are going to help Liam decorate his house though. Sarah tries to be subtle and wants to talk to Liam about something the next day. He truly has no idea what she’s talking about.
They meet the next morning at the town square because it’s the dividing line of their towns. She doesn’t want her son to be put in the middle of the competition. I feel she could have just called him up after dinner or pulled him aside instead of making such a big show. She is more concerned about her son being in the middle of the mayor competition than being in the middle of a parent conflict. Interesting. They decide to bet on the competition. He wants the losing mayor to host a party in the other’s honor and she suggests a nice dinner. At least they’re not betting money!
It’s mayor house decorating time. This is a pretty convenient town task for the mayors. Justin asks Liam for tips on ideas for a Christmas present for his mom. He thinks it needs to be something a mayor would like. They talk about how Riverton got split into two towns.
Liam talks to the town council president who also assists him with personal Christmas shopping? Seems weird. They’re treating her like an assistant.
At Sarah’s house, she stresses about what Liam’s house looks like. Her assistant is like, we should spy on him. And she’s like oh yeah I’ll just go over and check on Justin and see what his house looks like. Liam is way less subtle and just stares at Sarah’s house with binoculars. Excuse me, they’re birdwatching.
They both catch each other and blame their sidekicks. And they decide to just play fair.
That night, Sarah’s son Justin and her exhusband are leaving Liam’s but the ex-husband has to do some work. Liam offers to take him instead. But first he needs to go shopping for his mom. Liam seems to know his mom pretty well! Liam shares that when there is a big snow storm, they flip a coin to see which town shovels the town square. Why don’t they just take turns?
He drops Justin off at her office. She’s wrapping presents there for some reason.
At home, she is so busy with work, she doesn’t have time to watch a Christmas movie with her son. Why didn’t she just do her present wrapping there and her work at her office? Hello.
At Liam’s house, he has hot chocolate with his parents and the president of the city council.
Sarah notices these cute lit snowmen on her mantle. So the city pays for all her decorations? Must be nice. She’s so stressed about the contest that she goes to the coffee shop to decompress. She eats slice after slice of fruitcake which really bums me out. Liam shows up and starts pounding fruitcake as well. Boy this is the most depressing moment of my life. They decide to tour each other’s houses tomorrow with the judges. And then they shovel more depression cake into their mouths.
Liam freaks over Sarah’s decorations. I can’t believe she just lets all these random people not only know where she lives but INSIDE HER HOUSE. Where her son sleeps. Yikes. Sarah chats with the candle factory employee about the decorations. Her son crushes it, generally.
Now it’s Liam’s turn. Sarah panics. I like Liam’s stuff better. It’s way more Christmasy. OMG. He has GIANT outdoor versions of the snowmen she had on her mantle. Dang.
Later, they meet in town square again. They’re both panicked. Thy reminisce about a Christmas spelling bee when they were 11. What a ridiculous and not real thing. Sarah’s assistant comes running up to tell her that they made it to the second round of the competition. Liam’s NOT assistant made it to the second round also. I realize that Sarah is like 2 feet taller than Liam and 3 feet taller than everyone else.
A sign written in “Comic Sans” font hangs outside a church type building where the East Riverton Christmas carnival is being held.
At West Riverton’s Town Hall, Liam fills his parents in on their plans for the second round. His dad is optimistic. His parents say some nice encouraging things to him.
Sarah storms into the coffee shop. She accuses Liam of stealing her ideas. He booked the string quartet she used last year at the pageant. The coffee shop owner can’t take their whisper arguing so she takes them into her storage room and wants them to hash out their arguments. Oh they’re locked in. Oh she leaves them in there for a while with the help of their assistants.
Inside the storage room, they start decorating a Christmas tree that’s in there for some reason? Liam mentions that her son thinks they’re friends. Could they ever be friends?!! They’re rivals for heavens sake! They have a heart to heart about their jobs and work/life balance. The coffee shop owner finally lets them out and they decide to spy on the other towns together.
They head to Dover Lake, the town that won three years in a row. They’re sitting on a bench reading newspapers. They are truly terribly at spying. But they’re having a great time.
Later, she shops with her assistant. She tells her assistant that she has more in common with Liam than she thought. Her assistant is like, oh do you LIIIIIIKE him? And she’s like, that is an inappropriate conversation for work. Now keep helping me with my personal shopping!
Later, Liam walks around with Sarah’s ex-husband, Frank. They talk about his competitive relationship with Sarah. Frank says that he’s proposing to his girlfriend Linda soon. Frank thinks maybe Sarah could be the one for Liam.
Later, Liam brings Justin home for Sarah again. She’s making cookies. Justin wants to help but he has Spanish homework. Liam offers to help her bake. Sarah is just so breezy about her ex-husband getting engaged. Neither of them are dating each anyone. They have a moment.
Wow, Liam is like, an amazing cookie decorator. Truly, the best of all the ones they hold up. I would pay $2 for that cookie.
Back at the Comic Sans Christmas Carnival, Sarah is dressed as Mrs. Claus and people are walking around singing. Liam stops by.
Sarah’s assistant wants to talk about her personal life again.
Later, at the other Riverton’s carnival, LIam is dressed as Santa Claus. Sarah stops by and tries not to laugh. They put on a little show and Sarah has a front row seat. Liam reads the Night Before Christmas.
The candle company guy announces which town is making it to the final round. The towns now have to each put on a Christmas party . They both made it to the final round! They hug. The candle employee takes a picture of them. WHY IS SHE SO TALL. I looked them up on IMDB and they are supposed to be a half inch apart and she just TOWERS over him.
The next morning at the coffee shop, Liam and the city council president brainstorm about the party.
The two mayors meet at town square again and Sarah wears a great green coat. Neither of them know what to do about the final round. They don’t have any good ideas. They both share that they like talking to each other about ideas.
They all go to Enzo’s. They tell Enzo that Dover Lake is having FIREWORKS. They can’t compete with fireworks. They decide to have a big potluck party.
They share the idea with the towns. They all love it. They will have two separate events so they can still compete but everyone should go to both!
It’s party set up time. The assistants decide to include recipe cards for all the potluck recipes. Love it. They all work together to get ovens fixed and get everything set up. Sarah says, this is what we can accomplish if we stop with this silly rivalry. They all try to keep their brains from exploding.
Later, Liam takes Justin shopping again. They finally come up with a good idea for a present for Sarah. Why doesn’t he make her a macaroni necklace?
Later, Justin tells Sarah he is staying at his dad’s tonight. Justin gives her some tips on what to buy Liam for Christmas.
It’s party time and they are both very wowed by how they each look. Duh. They both say how much they’ve loved working with each other. They are both pulled away by mayor duties. Liam says they should both be proud of what they’ve accomplished.
Later, they have a candlelight moment with everyone. They each give speeches.
Later, Liam chugs hot chocolate on the EAST RIVERTON side of the coffee shop. Liam says Maureen left so he was going to close up for her. They wonder if they did enough to top Dover Lake’s fireworks show. Sarah shares that if they don’t win, she is not sure she would stay on as mayor which is truly an insane reason to stop being the mayor.
The next day, they wait to meet with John, the candle store employee. They have a BIT OF A SITUATION. They have a THREE WAY TIE. This has NEVER happened in 50 YEARS. In the event of a tie, ol John has to cast the tie breaking vote.
Back in Sarah’s office, Sarah sees the photo John emailed of her and Liam hugging. She calls him.
In Liam’s office, he calls John too. What could they possibly have to say to him I wonder.
They meet at the coffee shop again. Must be too cold to meet in the town square. Liam shares that he called John but that Sarah should trust him. Sarah says she also talked to John. So he needs to trust her too. They both feel betrayed I think?
The next day, Justin shovels Liam’s walkway. For some reason, Liam’s dad is there. Wait, does he live with his parents as a single man in his forties? His dad gives him some nice dad advice.
Later, Sarah has a heart to heart with her ex-husband. Apparently, them not working out is not her fault. WHAT HAPPENED TO THEM!
They get a phone call. John has made his decision!! He calls them both to meet someplace. They both have something they want to say. Liam shares that Sarah makes him a better person. He says he needs her. She says, oh you did it again. You took my idea. John arrives. The two assistants come running in because the mayors just HAVE TO SEE THIS. The two towns are celebrating. Both towns wanted to come to their shared town square and celebrate Christmas together. The candle employee who is just holding both these towns together, decides to make his announcement to the whole group. It turns out that Sarah pitched that Liam should win and Liam said Sarah should win. And John voted for just “Riverton” and presents them with a fruitcake candle. They’re going to put the distribution center there too. Wait, right in the middle of town or are the towns going to merge? And don’t they have to vote or you know, like some paperwork? Sarah is like, you’re the man. You should be in charge. And he’s like, no, you’re taller than me you should do it. And then Sarah is like, no actually this is America so they do actually need to vote for this one. And then they kiss! No one cares. Oh good, Justin interrupts them. That’s not awkward. And then we never see what he picked for his mom! Oh well, it’s over. Let’s see how we did.
- Single parent
- Christmas Contest
- Christmas Festival AND Party
- Christmas Baking
- Christmas puns
- A sassy and wise best friend
- Christmas montage
Total score: 7/20