Time for You to Come Home for Christmas premiered on Hallmark Movies and Mysteries on Sunday, December 8.
So, I can’t just dive into this recap without pausing to reflect on the title of this movie. First of all, it is truly a terrible movie title. And I thought “Time for ME to Come Home for Christmas” was bad. But here, Hallmark has doubled down in the most aggressive way possible. And spoiler alert, this is actually a line in the movie later.
The movie begins with a flashback to a cute girl working away in a bakery. Her boyfriend shows up and she realizes she missed his whole band concert because she was so focused on baking. They turn the radio on and dance in the empty store.
Flash forward twenty years, and Alison Sweeney (Kat) is dragging a Christmas tree several blocks with her son. They finally get it up in their house. Her son Will has an unusually deep voice for a child of that size and a hair cut that is so 90s I press pause to check the date on this movie. Her mom calls and asks her if she’s coming home for Christmas. She’s like, it’s been two years since your husband died, Kat. It’s TIME FOR YOU TO COME HOME FOR CHRISTMAS. Kat is like, nah. I’m not ready. We are going to just stay in the city. Will overhears and is so disappointed since they didn’t go home last year that he decides to go to bed at 3pm.
Later, she collects his drawing materials and the picture he must have fallen asleep staring at. Is that duvet from pottery barn? I think my boys need it. No, mom please don’t buy it. Kat changes her mind and calls her mom. She’s like guess what, it IS time for ME to come home for Christmas. Her mom is like no, only I can say that in this movie otherwise it would be too confusing.
At the train station, they see a guy playing the guitar with a coffee cup in front of him. She puts a dollar in his cup and he’s like, no that’s just my coffee. He tries to give her the wet dollar bill and she’s like nah I don’t want that anymore. He’s like, well what am I supposed to do with a wet piece of currency? She’s like, just don’t spend it on alcohol or drugs. And he’s like no I’m not… ugh. She just keeps walking towards the train.
Inside the train, they realize they are seat mates. I wonder if they are on the Hogwarts Express because a cute little cart comes by with holiday drinks. The man pays for their drinks and Kat is like, no you don’t have to do that. And the man is like, no you’re paying for this. It’s your money. The cart lady is like, why is this bill wet?
Will and Jack get in a heated discussion about what the tenth item is in the song “The 12 Days of Christmas.” They are both wrong. Then, Kat notices him playing solitaire wrong and scoots next to him to help. He says he’s going to see an old friend for Christmas and she says she’s going to see her family but it is complicated and she doesnt want to chat about it with a stranger. They chat a little while they play. Why is this train all cutely decorated for Christmas? Is that a thing? Then, she falls asleep on him and is like, appropriately mortified. He’s fine about it.
Will wakes her up after like, the entire train has emptied out to get off the train. We see Jack looking at a map and then he walks away. Her parents meet them at the train station that is just decked out for Christmas.
They get home and Kat sees a photo of her and Tyler, she gets distracted when she goes to set it down and it shattered on the floor. Her dad is nice to her about it. She heads into her room and sees a super cute recipe book in the top drawer of her dresser. I want one of those! There are even pictures next to each recipe.
She heads to her family bakery. She overhears her mom agree to take another pre order for Christmas, even though the deadline has passed. This lady is like, my husband’s been DYING for your croissants since Thanksgiving. But like, then WHY DIDN’T YOU PRE ORDER ON TIME, KAREN?
Kat flashes back to dancing with Tyler while she’s in the bakery. Then she runs into her old friend Maggie. Maggie was in the band with Tyler. She’s running the Snowball, which is a Christmas Dance for adults in their town. Her husband Teddy isn’t filling in for Tyler though. He’s deployed through the new year. She invites her to hang with some old friends at the bar later. Then she sees her sister and they have a nice sister moment.
In Jack’s hotel or wherever he is, he is talking to a woman on the phone about missing Christmas. He has something he needs to do. She’s like, if you don’t find..and he’s like, I’m going to. Wait, is he Liam Neeson? Is he there to avenge someone’s death?
At the bar that night, Kat learns that Jack is the guitarist that is filling in for her deceased husband. Small world, indeed. Jack quotes Casablanca and Kat pronouces it “BLAYNKA” instead of “blahnka”. He says he was in the army. She asks how his friend was that he says he was coming into town to meet. He’s like, I haven’t seen him yet. Kat is like, boy that is super weird. Then Roger, the other original trio member shows up. After Jack leaves, Kat is like, isn’t it super weird that he’s here?
The next day, Kat asks Will to help decorate for the Snow Ball. It would give him a chance to be artsy. He’s like, I truly would rather do anything else. He agrees anyway. Maggie sets out painting stuff to paint some Christmas trees. Will is like, this set up is really cramping my creativity. I only have green and white paint for HEAVENS SAKE. Kat goes to find some more paint colors or something in a supply closet. She runs into Jack, standing alone in the hallway, staring at photos of servicemen. Not creepy.
Back at Kat’s, they are all stringing popcorn on fishing wire or whatever you string popcorn on. Her dad takes one bite of popcorn and her mom is like, you’re going to spoil your dinner. What? He tells them there is open skate at the rink this week. Yay! Kat goes outside to find Will. He is building a snow fort like he and his dad used to do. He doesn’t need any help from his mom though.
At the event hall or rec center or wherever this Snow Ball is taking place, the new trio practices. Maggie can’t remember the words. Okay, so are they paying Jack to do this? Otherwise, he answered an ad on Music Craigslist to travel at least eight hours to spend a week in a hotel in a town where he doesn’t know anyone. So, that is actually REALLY CRAZY. And anyone who accepts this job does so with the true intention of murder.
Kat brings Will over to see his other grandma. She’s been in town for two days at this point and she’s just now bringing him to see her? Rude. And she has a dog! Kat flashes back to another memory. She has a nice chat with her mother in law. They’re drinking tea though, which bums me out.
Kat heads to the bakery to do some work. She’s got her hair up so you know she means BZNS.
Tyler’s mom spends time with Will; sharing stories about Tyler. A weird cut and we’re back to the bakery. Kat says she is going to help Maggie gets trees. Jack is there waiting for her instead. He says she was busy so he volunteered…to murder Kat. Maggie says she needs as many as can fit in the truck. Jack notices that they play movies in the nearby barn. Tomorrow they’re playing one of his grandma’s favorites. She raised him. Then Kat shares that her husband passed away two years ago. He knows this already though because Roger told him at practice. He pretends that this is brand new information which is at once polite and creepy.
They bring the trees back to the event center. Will is painting away. Kat introduces Jack to her dad. Her dad pulls out a pocket watch. Jack notices. John, the dad, says he got it from their town bicentennial. Only the volunteers from that event got one. He apparently still uses it to tell time because he’s from the 1800s.
Jack goes to the library looking for old newspaper articles about the bicentennial. He snaps some pics on his phone. This B storyline is DEFINITELY NOT CREEPY.
Kat’s mom is working at the bakery and her hands start hurting. She and her husband have a nice old couple moment. He tells her it’s probably time to give this all up.
Kat takes Will to the ice skating rink. Jack shows up too. He asks the woman taking tickets something. She writes down a bunch of info for him. He asks if any of the men are still in town. She’s like, why do you need all their names? Jack is like, oh just for a Christmas gift…for me. Because murdering people is like a Christmas gift to me. Will notices Jack and invites him to skate. He talks Kat into joining him. She is terrible at skating and almost takes him down several times. At one point she almost like totally blows out his knee. He’s like, it’s fine. Worst, case scenario, I have a casual four day hospital stay to fix my ACL. Then he decides to skate backwards so he can just pull her. Then he and Will both pull her. They pay for skating after they’re done which is weird. She notices a photo of a woman and child in Jack’s wallet.
Later, Jack is at a hardware store inquiring about the owner. The employee smartly takes his info instead.
Maggie and Kat are back at the bakery. They chat about Teddy and then, Jack. Kat asks if he’s bringing anyone to the show. Maggie is like, I think he’s single. Kat is like, okay, again, isn’t this all super weird?
Back at the rec center, Jack is now helping with decorations for the Snow Ball. He makes a big blank canvas for Will to paint a mural of whatever he wants. The first non serial killer act he takes! He gets a picture message from his sister. Kat sees the picture and recognizes her as the one from his wallet.
Will invites Jack over for dinner. Kat is helping in the kitchen but Jack is outside helping Will with his fort. Frankly, it looks awesome and I want to be part of this. But he is doing it all in the dark and that is miserable work. Also, does it actually snow enough to make a fort anywhere in Virginia? I just don’t think that’s right. But you know, in Hallmarkland, it snows that much in Tennessee so anything is possible.
Kat goes out to check on them and ends up helping. But then they have a snowball fight instead. Stay focused guys! They go in to eat dinner. After dinner, Jack gets a call. He needs to head to the hardware store right away to follow up on his mysterious but DEFINITELY NOT MURDER project.
He heads to the hardware store and asks the guy a few questions. Again, we don’t know what in the word he is doing. He seems focused on people who volunteered at the Bi-Cenntenial event. Back at his house, he crosses another person off his list and looks at a pocket watch from that bicentennial event.
Kat walks in on her son watching old videos of Tyler playing in his band. They have a nice mother son convo and then they watch the rest of the video together.
The next day, Kat walks into the rec center? And sees Jack practicing all alone. She is horrified at the croissant he’s eating. I am horrified about how he keeps pronouncing it. He’s like this croissant reminds me of my grandma. She’s like no dude. And she throws it in the trash. He’s like but…my grandma. She’s like, if your grandma liked those, she was a garbage person. Come with me.
They head to the bakery. Instead of giving him a premade croissant on display in the bakery…that is seemingly closed in the middle of the day…she’s like, we’re going to MAKE croissants. Hope you didn’t have anything to do for the rest of the day! He’s like, you know, I would really just prefer to dig that other croissant out of the garbage and go about the rest of my day.
They work on the croissants and talk about…probably everything because they are there for conservatively, six hours. She says she wanted to take over the bakery but her husband got a job in Boston so that was the end of that. She asks why he’s there and he’s like, oh I’m just meeting a friend. And then doesn’t elaborate. And honestly, is he actually just there to murder everyone in that town? At least Kat will die wearing a great sweater. Isn’t that all any of us can hope for? That as a jury reviews crime scene photos of your murder, they’re like, well dang that is a cute sweater. It’s too bad those blood stains won’t come out. Jack finally says he is trying to repay someone who saved his life. Then the croissants come out of the oven and they do look beautiful. Jack is like, awesome. I haven’t eaten ALL day so I’m so stoked about these. He says thank you so much for throwing my croissant from earlier in the garbage because these are great. You should do this for a living.
Then, as they leave, for some reason there is mistletoe hanging from a light fixture right by the main entrance. I find this to be highly inappropriate in a place of business and baking. Jack notices and Kat feels awkward. They leave.
Kate walks back into her house. I remind myself to take notes about the garland because you better believe I’m stocking up on that stuff the day after Christmas. She goes and gets her recipe book and starts flipping through it. She then heads BACK to the bakery so she can try something with a recipe she has.
Jack talks to another guy about the watch.
Kat’s mom shows up while she’s baking and makes some comments about her being there.
Back at the event hall/rec center, Kat brings the cookies she made to Jack. Why? I can’t remember. She notices Will painting some of the stage with her sister and comments about how she hasn’t seen him this happy in a long time. Then Jack invites her to see a movie that night.
At the bakery, Kat and her sister chat about this movie situation over coffee. Kat notices a couple talking to her mom. Her sister says they’ve been in several times asking about buying the bakery. Kat is very shocked to hear this information. Kat is upset. Apparently these buyers want to turn the bakery into… A GASTRO PUB. I don’t even know what that is. I’m guessing it is a bar that also serves food? Anyway, it sounds horrible. Are they planning to have croissants? But the mom is like, dude I’m so old. Can’t you see how my hair is gray? I have no business running a bakery anymore. Then the mom asks her to frost some unbaked gingerbread cookies.
The mom is like, well you know, I always thought you were going to take over for me. And then Kat is like, oh yeah but now I am a bank teller so my career is pretty established and I can’t just leave Boston. This place isn’t my home anymore. And the mom is like, girl please.
That night, they head to the movies. It looks exactly like when the Gilmore Girls go see a movie in Stars Hollow. Like just a small collection of folding chairs set out in some big open room. Apparently Jack has a very specific spot he has to sit in at the movies. This is weird though because this is a very unusual and particular set up for a movie screening. Look, I’m picking the same spot or general area every time in a regular movie theatre. But in this setting? It is uncharted territory. How many small town make shift movie theatres has this guy been to? How many senseless murders have occurred by his hand? Anyway, they sit down and eat popcorn in the most polite way I’ve ever seen. Am I the only one who shovels handful after handful into my mouth before the previews are over? You’re telling me I’m the only person who eats the popcorn that falls on the counter after the cashier sets it down? Alright, fine. So then of course, they accidentally touch hands. Oh boy. Things are HEATING UP. After the movie, these animals still have like, most of their popcorn left. Then, Kat says she wants to write a Christmas card to one of the local soldiers currently deployed. They have booths all over town with a list of soldiers and cards. That is a really great idea. Jack eyes the list for his creepy NOT MURDER side project. Kat shares that Maggie’s husband’s full name is “Edward” not “Theodore” even though he goes by “Teddy”. I will never understand the history behind how certain men’s names get shortened.
When Kat gets home, she finds Will freezing his buns off in his fort. She lays next to him. She’s like, why didn’t you build a roof. And I’m like, Kat have you ever tried to build a snow fort? It is very difficult to built a roof. You need a lot of snow, and frankly some water too because you are not using any other structural support. Will says, that’s how his dad did it and again, I imagine his dad did it this way because it is very difficult to enclose a snow fort. But Tyler tells Will it is so they can look at the stars. Great work, Dad.
Back in his lair, Jack reviews his list of prospective murder victims. He notices Edward’s name and this seems to be a revelation to him.
The next day, Will is doing more backdrop painting with his aunt. Jack shows up for practice and they’re like, didn’t they tell you that practice is cancelled? And well, apparently they did not; which seems incredibly rude. But practice is cancelled because Teddy is coming home! Then we see Maggie greet Ted at the bus stop.
Back at the event hall or whatever, Will makes Kat close her eyes so he can reveal his mural. It’s pretty cute. Then Kat’s mom asks if Jack is coming over that night. Kat is like, well Maggie and Teddy will be there. And Jack is stoked because as we all know, he’s fixing to murder Teddy so, great!
Jack is sitting at the bar alone, being a total creep. Roger walks in to pick up some cider for the party. Jack is like, oh yeah, I didn’t plan to bring anything because I’m going to murder everyone there. Roger notices the pocket watch Jack is holding. It looks like the same one John had. He says it belongs to the man who saved his life. And now he’s here for revenge. Roger is like, what? And Jack is like, oh nothing.
Back at Kat’s, her sister says the couple made an offer on the bakery. And then she gives her a gift. It is a new frame to replace the one she shattered.
Jack arrives at the party; empty handed. Everyone is wearing great Christmas outfits. Will and Jack are hanging. Her sister suggests that Kat invite him to the dance. Maggie introduces her husband Teddy to Jack. Maggie leaves. Jack is about to tell Teddy that he thinks Teddy is the person who saved his life. But then, he looks over and sees the framed photo that Kat just got. He’s like, who is that? And he realizes that TYLER IS THE ONE WHO SAVED HIS LIFE. He walks outside.
Kat goes outside to find him. He shows her the watch and she recognizes it. The back says “until”. Kat is like beyond freaked out. She should be. She’s about to be murdered. Jack starts to explain why he has it. She explains the backstory behind the inscription. While they were both deployed overseas, Jack must have gotten injured pretty badly and Tyler saved him but was gone before he could get his name and he dropped the watch. Jack is sorry he waited so long to find him. Kat’s sister calls for her inside.
Kat goes to a church to light a candle, presumably for Tyler. Is it Christmas Eve? She is there alone. Her mom shows up. They have a nice conversation about grief. The Kat tells her mom about the watch and Tyler.
I realize for the first time that Jack is staying at a place called “The Cozy Inn”. YIKES. Jack talks to his sister about how it all went down.
It’s dance time. Kat looks great. She hands Will a box. It’s the pocket watch. She tells him about Tyler owning the watch. Will seems very happy to have the watch. They have a nice little moment together. Is Kat’s mom not going to the ball? Then Kat tells her mom she wants to help her run the bakery so don’t sell it PLZ! Her mom is like, I told you it was TIME FOR YOU TO COME HOME FOR CHRISTMAS.
At the Snow Ball, the band is playing and it’s decorated super cute. Where are these town dances in real life? Oh, a slow dance. Apparently, they don’t need the guitarist for that. Oh, Teddy is standing in for Jack. Everyone has orchestrated this so Jack can ask her to dance. Jack is looking his least serial killer. She seems uncomfortable. but guess what? He didn’t end up murdering anyone so you can chill. They have a really weird like lead up to their kiss. But then THEY KISS. And that’s it. Let’s see how we did.
- Single parent
- Clumsy Meet Cute
- Christmas Gala (dance)
- Christmas Baking
- Winter Athletics
- Snowball fight
- Someone working in a nondescript corporate job instead of chasing their real dream
- A sassy and wise best friend
Total score: 9/20