Okay! I was looking forward to this one. Aside from the VERY AGGRESSIVE name, it looked like a fun premise. And I love the lead actors. So let’s dive in to this puppy.
Maggie is a second grade teacher and is wearing a great sweater dress. School lets out for Christmas break. Her student, Reed hangs back to chit chat with Maggie and her daughter, Ellen, about winter break. He is missing his dad but excited about some kind of Christmas camp.
Ashley is going to be alone for Christmas. Her-ex husband will have her daughter for Christmas. They are maybe…walking home from school. They happen upon Lucas, who is wearing an outrageous ugly Christmas sweater. His son falls at the playground. Ashley steps in to help. Ooof. I love her jacket too. Mint. Joey, the little boy, is perfectly fine. It is much ado about nothing.
They go to the military base. It is CHRISTMAS CENTRAL. Oh this must be where the Christmas camp is. The have about 45 trees but the camp director needs a live one. Maggie offers to go get one. She is wearing another great sweater. I’m so pleased. You know I love a movie with great sweaters. This is going to be Maggie’s first Christmas without her daughter. She and her friend talk about ALL THE STUFF Maggie is going to do in the next two weeks. She does so much for others. Will she ever do anything for herself?
Maggie gets a tree…we don’t even see the selection. The tree lot helpers are all busy so Maggie decides to take the tree herself. Lucas is out jogging and Maggie totally knocks into him with her tree. She panics, legitimately thinking she killed him. Did he fall that hard though? He does seem out of it. She calls an ambulance. What a WASTE! Just load him up into your car, you silly goose.
Maggie decides to wait at the hospital and it turns out he broke his wrist. Maggie decides to stay until they track down his family. She apologizes to him while he’s out cold. She promises to apologize when he’s awake. A woman and the child from earlier arrive. Maggie thinks they are his wife and kid. But NO, it’s his sister-in-law. Oh dear. Lucas is supposed to leave tomorrow to go skiing in Aspen. That is not going to happen. I think he also has a concussion. Is this going to be an Overboard situation?
She chit chats with her friend at home. Maggie seems to be a bit of a hobby painter. Now we get the friend lecture-Maggie spends too much time on others, not herself. She also hasn’t “moved on” from her divorce. He has.
She goes back to see Lucas and brings him flowers. She apologizes again and says over and over how it was all her fault. Someone from her insurance company jumps out and hits her over the head with a mallet. He remembers her. Sounds like his trip is totally dunzo because he has a follow up appointment after Christmas so he can’t leave town!
Lucas is tired of sitting in his room so they go and chat outside in the courtyard. Maggie asks him about his ugly sweater. He tells her he was participating in an ugly sweater party. But, Christmas isn’t really his thing, which is why he wasn’t planning to stay. Then, a friend arrives from architecture school. He offers to let him stay at his house so he doesn’t have to spend all his money on a hotel. No, he likes his own space. And his pal Cam has…newborn twins? So Lucas is like, no really, thanks but no thanks. Hotels…blah. It’s all too expensive. Wait a minute, MAGGIE has a guest house! Wait, what is happening in the shots of Maggie over Lucas’s shoulder? They are so weird! Like a split screen! What’s up with that?
Oh, Maggie has ANOTHER great shirt. She fills her friend (Elizabeth) in on the latest development with Lucas. Maggie’s friend is both a Grade A stalker and a typical best friend. Oh, Maggie says the name of the movie.
Lucas arrives and gets himself all settled in. Maggie invites him over for dinner that night. She is quite overeager to be a good hostess. He doesn’t want to come over for dinner. Oh good. A Christmas grouchy grouch. Lucas’s brother and sister in law tell Maggie that he is pretty prickly. They stopped by to bring him groceries. Maggie seems to think he’s prickly because he’s mad about that whole knocking him out with a tree business.
Maggie comes by later with a plate for dinner…and an architecture magazine. The girls invite him to decorate the tree with them. They are really coming in hot. He turns them down.
The girls get the tree decorations all ready. Okay what is the deal with this house?! On an elementary teacher salary? Lucas stops by because the internet isn’t working. They rope him in to helping with the top of their tree because he’s tall. He asks if this tree is his nemesis. That’s great. They ask whether Joey tattled on him for falling. (He did). Maggie asks about his trip. (Postponed). Then Maggie shares that her daughter is spending Christmas with just her dad for the first time. Maggie is like, way cool about this whole arrangement and her step-mom and stuff. I find this all to be a pretty intense conversation considering he only asked them to fix the WiFi.
After Lucas helps with the lights, he sprints back to the guest house to watch his movie. That giant porch! Maggie gives him some unsolicited advice about getting out of his little funk. She tries to cajole him into volunteering with her tomorrow.
The next morning, Ellen’s dad and stepmom come to get her. Everyone is really adult and cool with each other. Then Lucas wanders out. Maggie is tearing up a little. Lucas invites her to breakfast. Oh dang she already ate. But what about second breakfast MAGGIE? He goes out with his pal, Cam instead. Lucas says it’s not bad over at Maggie’s. The pal talks about…”what happened in New York.” He got burned out and oh! Shannon called off the engagement. He is on sabbatical and he might want it to last forever. Or maybe do something else. Cam still loves architecture. But Lucas is pretty dang burned out. Burnt out?
Maggie fills Lucas in on the place where they volunteer. It’s a camp for kids whose parents are deployed. He finds the tree that he knocked into. OH NO. They changed the theme of the Christmas Eve party for children FIVE DAYS before the party. How dare they. Oh, the theme was Winter Wonderland. SO LAST YEAR YOU GUYS. The theme now is Gingerbread Houses. (Cryface emoji). Lucas helps reinforce a girl’s gingerbread house. Well, he is an architect. This is the third Hallmark movie THIS YEAR with an architect.
Maggie and Elizabeth bring up the title of the movie. Is this an old saying or not? I think… NOT.
Then, it is time for an organized snowball fight with the kids. Whoever is dryest wins! Good strategy. Lucas and Maggie are about to leave when he gets roped into building a giant gingerbread looking house for the Christmas Eve party. All the kids offer to help. He can’t say no.
That night, they strategize about the big gingerbread house. He comments on her paint supplies. She says she wants to turn that guest house into an art studio. He says she’s good. She should paint more. Okay, but don’t quit your job please. I just love that outdoor porch situation. Luke’s brother and sister-in-law stop by and Maggie gets invited to the ugly sweater party too. She says it sounds fun. I panic thinking about going to a party where I only know the hosts. Oh and it’s a white elephant gift exchange. That part is fun for sure. I love those.
Maggie is inside just staring at her tree, thinking about how it’s important that we do what we want to do, which is something Lucas said to her. She really wants to change how the tree is decorated. He offers to help her redecorate it.
Okay THIS HOUSE. I love it. There is no way she can afford it though. She must have gotten it in the divorce or something. She talks about how she did everything in her marriage while her ex-husband was growing his insurance company. And pretty soon, she and Ellen were second to the company. She always wanted to go to Paris. He tells her she should go! She says maybe when Ellen graduates. WHY! If you can afford that house, you can afford a trip to Paris. Then Lucas shared how he got into architecture. He kind of abruptly changes the subject to ask about her job though. Maggie loves her job. She asks him what brings him the most joy? He doesn’t know!
Another day, another great outfit. Maggie talks to Elizabeth about Lucas some more. Maggie is concerned that Lucas is just like her ex-husband.
Lucas brings some blueprint paper to the camp. He gets the kids’ input and starts drawing up the plans. Okay, now we’ve got a little montage situation. He isn’t too bad drawing with that cast. Reed wishes his dad could see the house. Lucas tells Maggie he’s worse than that tree…his nemesis… for being so self-focused when there are so many kids missing their parents at Christmas.
They head to a coffee shop with Elizabeth to strategize ideas. They suggest having the deployed parents MAKE GINGERBREAD HOUSES that represent where are. GREAT IDEA they all say. NO, it is not. I don’t have time to explain why. They smartly decide to meet with the Colonel on the base to see if that would be possible. She’s like, you guys, this is an idiotic idea. Oh, okay, only 5 families. That might not be too bad.
They head back to the…camp headquarters? Maggie heads out to do some shopping. Lucas gets a call from Aaron, at work. They want him to be the lead on some big new project. He’s not ready.
Maggie does some work at home. Oh, she is looking for an out of print book for Lucas. He arrives in his ugly sweater. Lucas waits for her on the couch flipping through a magazine. Okay, Maggie’s sweater is actually CUTE. Wait, is it a dress? With a great necklace. I for sure want it. Lucas wonders if it might look like they’re on a date. They quickly decide it’s not a date.
Okay THIS PARTY. Even introverted Ol Cal would love to sit on a coach out there and drink hot chocolate and not talk to anyone. If I see I dog, I might jump through my screen to participate for real. They can’t believe grouchy old Lucas came to the party willingly.
Lucas chats more with Cam (his name is Cam, right?) Lucas is like, my life is in New York you silly goose. His brother and sister in law think he’s doing everything because he likes Maggie. Maggie gets a sloth mug in the white elephant exchange. NOT BAD. Last year, I got an old shirt. Oh and now we have a video chat white elephant participant. Maggie gets an idea. She says they should do a live video of the deployed parents at the party with their gingerbread houses. Wait, isn’t that what they were doing? They both say they are too scared to ask the Colonel. THEY SHOULD BE.
They chat on their way home about the fun they had and Maggie missing her daughter. Blah, Blah, Blah. Lucas reminds her that they have to do things that bring them joy.
The next day, they head to chat with the Colonel again. She is going to try and help coordinate all their nonsense because she appreciates how much their doing to make Christmas special. Back at Christmas HQ, Lucas’s brother and Cam are helping. Lucas looks over to see Reed sitting alone. Reed is missing his dad. He coaxes him into helping build the big gingerbread house.
Ellen calls Maggie. She feels like she is missing so much. Maggie tries to give Ellen a pep talk to hang in there to stay with her dad. They get in the car and Lucas asks how she’s doing. Lucas wants to drive. He is taking her somewhere! We don’t know where it is. Looks like… a horse drawn carriage ride. They chit chat with Santa, the driver.
On the carriage ride, Maggie asks what Christmas was like for him. He said he would spend time with his ex fiancé and then go back to work. Has only dated a little bit since. Her too. Oh, they like each other. She is enjoying spending the Christmas season with him. And he is even glad he’s not skiing. THEY KISSED. OMG.
Maggie fills Elizabeth in on the night before. So, now what? They don’t know what it means yet though. He still lives in New York. Maggie seems excited about it.
They do more work at the children’s center. Maggie says he’s doing architecture work he enjoys.
That night, Lucas stops by. She tells him she got the video chat all set up. Lucas has another surprise. AND a Christmas present too later. He brings her into the guest house and sees he’s set up her little studio. Oh, he organized everything for her. It must have been a disaster before. I think she said that earlier.
The next morning, Lucas is sitting on a park bench drinking coffee and Maggie spots him while she’s out running…no headphones…not sweating. They talk about him going back to New York. He still doesn’t know that he wants to go back to work there. That street is lined with so many Christmas trees.
Later Elizabeth and Maggie talk more about Lucas. Maggie thinks he’s going to go back to his old life in New York. Elizabeth tells her to tell Lucas off his feet. Then they need a good dress for the party.
OMG I love her dress. 10/10 for Maggie this movie. She says he looks nice but I didn’t realize he was ready to go. It’s party time. Covid me clutches her pearls about the buffet. The giant gingerbread house looks great though! Ellen shows up with her dad and stepmom. The Stepmom looks lovely. Maggie really appreciates them all coming. What a modern, mature crew.
I cannot believe all these deployed parents made gingerbread houses.
Maggie only overhears the part of Lucas’s conversation with his pal where he says he booked his flight. She misses the part where he says he’s hiring movers!! Lucas comes up to her and she is very cold to him. COME ON MAGGIE.
Maggie gets up and gives a little speech. Lucas comes up and speaks too. Then they show the livestream of all the parents share the gingerbread houses they all made. The kids all love it.
After the party, Lucas says he is going to get a ride back with his brother. Oh no. These crazy kids. Can’t they just figure it out? Maggie tells Elizabeth that he’s leaving. She was right. NO YOU WEREN’T, MAGGIE.
Lucas seems to wait around for her to get home. Then he gives up. In the morning, Maggie take her coffee outside. No Lucas. Ellen comes home and they open gifts. Then Lucas shows up! He has a gift. And he came to say goodbye. His doctor said he was cleared to fly. So…he has to leave on Christmas Day Night?! Lucas has a gift for Ellen. Oh! Maggie has a gift for him. They tell each other they can open their gifts later. He wants to tell her something but Ellen is still creeping at the door…HELLO ELLEN READ THE ROOM. Go Get a cookie or something!!
Ellen sits down and plays the piano. Finally, Maggie opens her gift from Lucas. It’s an ugly sweater and…tickets to PARIS. Ellen says she wishes he wasn’t leaving. Maggie says she is going to make a quick phone call. UH..YEAH YA BETTER. He doesn’t answer.
Cam drives Lucas to the airport. He asks why Lucas didn’t tell her how he feels. Because he’s a big dum dum. Cam tells Lucas to open his gift. It’s that book! Alright, now we’re cooking with oil. He tells Cam to stop the car. They’re going back home. I just notice Cam is wearing driving gloves. Lucas comes back! She is wearing the ugly sweater he got her. Now it all comes out. He tells her she misunderstood the whole conversation. UGH IDIOT. OMG YOU GUYS. They kiss again. She invites him on the trip to Paris. Well, that’s a little soon. He comes back out and gets his suitcase. That’s cute. And that’s it! We did it.
Okay. I loved this movie. It is probably in the running to be my favorite of the season. There was lots of funny dialogue and it was a fun twist on the classic Hallmark set up. Let’s see how we did. 9/20! Our most Hallmark movie yet.
- Workaholic who is normally too busy for Christmas
- CLUMSY MEET CUTE
- Lead stranded in the small town
- Single Parent
- Christmas Party
- Snowball Fight
- Nonsense Drama
- Someone working in a corporate job instead of pursuing their dream
- A sassy and wise best friend
- Christmas montage