Boyfriends of Christmas Past

Okay so here we are again, back for more. No warming up. No time to get acclimated. We have just literally and figuratively dove (dived?) head first into Christmas movie season. Do you see me complaining? Maybe. But again, WE. DON’T. HAVE. TIME. So let’s go.

Our movie opens in a very cute House with nice tall ceilings and enough Christmas decor to kill a horse. A group of friends are playing Christmas themed charades.  Lauren and Nate are on a team.

Everyone is really competitive but Lauren and Nate as a team are next level. They are GOOD. And Nate has gone to the trouble of making some championship hat that note they’ve won this sacred competition for third years running. Wait, they are not dating? One of the guys asked Lauren about her date. Lauren tells them she was too busy and cancelled the date. Apparently he didn’t get her sense of humor. She is a fan of PUNS and he just let himself out.

Later, Nate and Lauren (lots of Nates this year, it feels) walk home together. Nate invites her to some big party. He is TRYING IT. Minutes in and he is at WORK to get out of the friend zone. Lauren agrees to go with him. Oh poor Nate. Lauren is just oblivious. Reminds me of my sister. All through high school and college that dumb idiot would befriend these perfectly nice guys and before she knew it, they were confessing their undying love for her and EVERY TIME she would be just AGHAST that such a thing could happen. And then they all sadly sat around a table at her wedding commiserating together about what might have been.

Nate gets serious. But just as soon as he begins, he chickens out and then pretends to feel passionately about pepperoni and pineapple on pizza. I don’t remember where we land on that. For the record, if anyone is keeping a record, my husband is pro. This is his literal go to order.

At Lauren’s office the next day, the girls are tasked with rebranding for a bakeware company. Well, well, well. The company wants to hear new pitches by Christmas Eve. Everyone needs to submit their own pitches and the best one will be submitted to the company. I wonder if they shouldn’t submit all of them unless one is truly terrible? Let the company decide? But I don’t know how marketing works.

Her friend at work, SUZE (is what I’m calling her) is like hey you and Nate are a great team and he shares your sense of humor, in that the only thing you find funny is puns. Lauren is like as if!

Then Lauren does some marketing work from her standing desk. She calls it a day at 1 pm to go Christmas shopping with Nate. I guess that Christmas Eve deadline isn’t holding her back. No, I guess it’s just her lunch hour. Sweet Nate is planning a Christmas party for some underprivileged children. I don’t know what the circumstances of these kids are but this seems great. Boy these two are just cracking jokes right and left. They have the same sense of humor! Did anyone mention that yet? Nate says he ordered pizza the way she likes it and got her favorite Pinot. He tells her it would just be them decorating the tree at the community center and so she feels weird and bails.

Later, she helps her parents decorate their tree. Well, her dad and stepmom. Her dad asks if she’s talked to her mom lately. Her mom is not present. She spends her time traveling from one place to another. Her stepmom seems Christmas obsessed and loves to do all the things that moms like to do-bake, wear Christmas aprons; you know, traditional MOM STUFF. Lauren’s dad asks if Nate will be joining them for Christmas. He grew up in foster care and now helps foster kids. We don’t have time to dwell on this because Lauren is really digging in on Nate being a friend and nothing more. EVERYONE AROUND HER IS TRYING SO HARD. Lauren will you learn?

Later, Lauren prays to a muffin tin, asking its spirit to speak to her for marketing purposes. Nate facetimes her and shows her the tree he sadly decorated all by himself. He asks how the pitch is going and she says the bakeware gods have remained silent. He said he sent her something to help her work. Gingerbread and hot chocolate, which basically arrives at the door on queue. What a guy, this Nate. My husband-is this a friendzone movie? Me, pausing the show so he can see the title. KEEP UP SIR.

Back at Lauren’s a blonde youth arrives and tells her to chill. She doesn’t recognize him. He’s like dude I’m your first boyfriend. As a YOUTH. But guys, if my boyfriend from when I was 15 showed up as his teenaged self, I would CERTAINLY be alarmed. BUT I would for sure know who he was. He basically looks the exact same. We learn she broke up with him AT WINTER FORMAL. Lauren. Honestly! Anyway, he’s here to help her in his little beanie perched delicately atop his blonde little head. I don’t know how hold Lauren is supposed to be but in my day, the teens wore their beanies fully on top of their heads. Tyler the teenage ghost tells her she’s about to be visited by 3 ex boyfriends before Christmas Eve. Hahahaa bless his little teen heart. He doesn’t remember his whole speech so he reads it from a text he wrote. Again, youths from my day and age were not typing out notes on our flip phones. Wait, am I an elderly person? Tyler disappears to make it home before his curfew and she wakes up. Jay pipes up and says, I feel like this has been done before. I say, hello have you ever heard of “A Christmas Carol?” That’s not it he says (not as politely as I typed, I might add.) But I think he’s thinking of that Jennifer Garner movie and it is the reverse.

The next day, Lauren tells Nate about her experience. Guys, I love that teal/hunter green suit jacket. They both ask each other why they haven’t dated in a while. They agree to “put themselves out there.” Wherever THERE is. Nate privately does NOT agree to this.

Back at work, Lauren decides to stalk ol Tyler from high school. Wow he has a cute little family and a cute dog. Then SUZE arrives and has a super cute outfit on too. Seriously I need a whole separate credit list of links to all the outfits at the end of each movie.

Suze leaves a toy for the toy drive with Lauren because she is too busy to go. The bakeware gods remain silent on marketing ideas.

That night at the community center, Nate wears a festive elf hat and demands the same from his employees, wait maybe it is the youths themselves. HOSTILE WORKOUT ENVIRONMENT. Then he does an embarrassing little rap for them. Lauren arrives with the stupidest toys in the entire world. Nate, visibly disappointed in her toy selection, puts Lauren to work wrapping other gifts and tries to quietly find a dumpster to stuff that giant ancient teddy bear. A woman arrives that seems very glad to meet Nate. She tells Nate she wants to get involved. YEAH SHE DOES. Lilly can’t be all bad. She has a lovely lavender jacket and sweater combo. Very into it. Lauren looks on and smirks. Nate seems happy to meet her too. Nate tells Lauren her toy is better than Lilly’s. Yeah, better in the trash!! Lauren stops wrapping her singular present to say high to some of the kids that hang at the youth center. These youths have LESS CHILL THAN A HALLMARK MOM. NO CHILL. Lauren hears a skateboard and wonders if Tyler is back. Nate is like, other people skateboard. Why don’t you lie down, crazy lady.

The next day, the muffin tin refuses to speak to Lauren so she texts Nate to meet at a lovely Christmas market for coffee. They both reach for a piece of the pastry at the same time. Nate thinks they are having a MOMENT but Lauren is actually just finally hearing from the Spirit of the Muffin Tin. HORRIBLE TIMING, MUFFIN TIN. Nate tries to take her to a romantic restaurant to celebrate her pitch. Lauren shuts him down HARD. Lauren, you idiot.

That night, Lauren’s guitar playing college ex boyfriend, Jake, wakes her up at 2 AM. She is prepared to knock him unconscious with a muffin tin. There’s a pitch for a rebranding!

Anyway, Jake tells her to follow him. They are transported to their college library. Lauren looks at herself and while I wonder how she could look OLDER in the past, Lauren thinks she looks young. She reminds herself not to get bangs again. GIRL, SAME. I am not allowed. Jake arrives with a bunch of cookies. Jake asks if her mom is just as crazy about baking and Christmas. Lauren says she’s not that kind of mom but shuts down any more mom cat. Then they transport ahead one year. Jake is playing a Christmas song for her outside and reveals he’s wearing an ugly Christmas sweater. His mom got her one too! That’s cute. Jake says his mom already feels like she’s part of the family. He invites her to come home for Christmas with him. She doesn’t want to go. Apparently this is the first time he’s said he loves her. And obviously she says she is not ready for any of that. She then has a full on meltdown and breaks up with him. Current Jake asks why she really broke up with him. Lauren is like no it was just that I was super busy and not the deeply rooted trauma of my mom abandoning me. JUST BUSY. They transport to their old dorm. Good ol Nate arrives with gingerbread cookies and hot chocolate. Guys, the backwards hat is not going to make Nate look 21. Lauren says she’s looking forward to seeing her dad. Nate wonders if she’ll see her mom and Lauren says her mom doesn’t care about the holidays and left their family right before Christmas. Nate doesn’t have anywhere to go for Christmas. Jake makes some observations to present Lauren. Like how she totally shut Jake out when he asked about her mom but she opened right up to Nate. Lauren learns nothing.

The next morning Lauren tells Nate about the Jake ex boyfriend dream. Nate has no comment as to whether he liked Jake or not. Nate says he’ll see her tonight and she’s forgotten about decorating the town square.

Lauren tells Suze about her pitch. But SOMEONE ALREADY SUBMITTED THAT IDEA. Lauren tries not to panic. She shoves a few free office pastries into her mouth while she thinks. Lauren heads to her stepmom for more baking inspo. I am on the fence about Lauren’s sweater. Yung shares that she baked with her mom growing up and that is why she loves to do it now. Lauren tells her she wishes she has memories like that with her mom. Lauren’s dad is fantastic. That’s all.

That night, Lauren and Nate decorate the town square? I am not sure how that is any of their jobs but here we are. And then they have the saddest Christmas tree lighting Hallmark has ever seen. That tree is only like 10 feet tall? Where is this? Then, LILLY shows up. She is just shooting her shot at every opportunity. She wants to get coffee after the holidays. Lauren stands back and watches. IS LAUREN AN ACTUAL IDIOT. How can she not see that he likes her. Or that she likes him. Anyway, she says she just wants him to be happy. And he’s like but DO YOU REALLY.

As Lauren gets into bed I realize there is garland covering every square inch of her bed. So yeah I’m going to need to order more apparently. And the Christmas lights stay LIT. She prays to her muffin tin that no ex boyfriends visit her. Her prayers are ignored and a busy businessman is standing in her living room. Henry is here. Lauren is not interested in learning any lessons. Also how many pairs of actual pajamas does Lauren own?

Henry takes Lauren to a Christmas party in the past at his house. The first party they hosted together. Henry says he thought she could be “the one.” And present Lauren bristles. Also she is still rocking those bangs. Wow he asks her to move in with him. That is VERY EDGY for Hallmark. She tries not just melt into a puddle of anxiety. Nate arrives at the party with a girlfriend. She tells Nate about that whole moving in business and she tells Nate she thinks its too soon. Henry asks present Lauren if she notices anything about that little exchange. Lauren is still not learning any lessons. Henry then takes her to their ice skating date a few days later. She tells him she’s not ready to move in with him and she doesn’t see a future with him. Henry thinks she’s running away and then she literally skates away and crashes. Ghost Henry says he’s not surprised that she immediately calls Nate as she panics and sprints out from the ice rink. Henry reminds Lauren that she’s not learning ANY LESSONS. I’m glad SOMEONE IS SAYING IT. Will she learn anything from that teen and that muffin tin?

The next day, Lauren rehashes the dream with Suze. They are making gingerbread houses to impress her in-laws. Good luck doing that with a gingerbread house. They are apparently Christmas crazy. Suze wonders if she has a problem with commitment. UM HELLO. Where have you been all movie, SUZE? I like both their turtlenecks but I don’t think I could pull off the one SUZE is wearing. Suze is also like hi, have you met Nate?

That night they are all at some Christmas festival. I don’t remember what this is all for but there is a sad little banner that says “Winter Wonderland.” So I guess that’s what that is. Nate talks Lauren into a carriage ride. Poor Nate. When is he just going to give this all up? Oh and Lauren calls her self a hot chocoholic and says that doesn’t work does it? But Word doesn’t even think “chocoholic” is misspelled so I think it DOES work.

They have a nice chit chat on the ride and then hit a bump and she goes flying into him. She stays RIGHT UP IN HIS PERSONAL BUBBLE for entirely too long, But this gives Nate the courage to talk to her about his feelings. BUT AGAIN that is when the spirit of the muffin tin decides to speak to her about marketing. And then she comes up with her second unoriginal pitch idea. Lauren, maybe we should think about whether you have any other marketable skills.

Lauren has yet ANOTHER great set of pajamas and went an entire night with no visits from her ex boyfriends. Lauren tells her friend her got her idea in just under the wire. Lauren’s dumb idea wins the marketing pitch (even over her first unoriginal idea). Suze again brings up Nate. Lauren is now at least aware that Nate likes her. So that’s something. Suze does a little sneaky psychology to get Lauren to admit what a great guy Nate is. I still don’t understand what Suze’s job is. Anyway, now we have a montage of Lauren taking pics of her dad and stepmom in their kitchen to prepare for the big Christmas Eve pitch. Lauren and I are on the same page regarding whether we should say no to cake or not (The answer is-you never say no to cake).

Later, Nate has a great Christmas sweater of his own down at the Community Center. He texts Lauren asking whether she is still coming that night; to whatever it is that is happening down there. No, I think she is working late on her marketing pitch. Suze gets her whole presentation on a thumb drive. After chit chatting with Suze, she realizes she is WAY late to Nate’s thing. She rushes down and gives him the Christmas cards. What are the cards for? It’s the day before Christmas Eve? Nate is pretty bummed. He really lays into her and FOR ONCE a Hallmark lead DESERVES IT. And this sweet angel of a human, in spite of all she put him through today and every day FOR YEARS, he works up the courage to tell her how he feels. And then he says he can’t spend Christmas with her family. ARE YOU READY TO LEARN YOUR LESSON NOW LAUREN?!

Back at home, Lauren sits on her couch while sad music plays. She texts Nate and asks to talk. READ THE ROOM, LAUREN. She asks the muffin tin and Tyler not to send another boyfriend to visit. She plans to stay up all night to prevent it from happening. She obviously falls asleep and wakes up to WILLIAM. These poor ghosts are just quietly raging at the task they’ve been given. They head to the forests or mountains or something. She’s got a great coat on. Oh they went on a winter zip line trip! KILL ME. She hyperventilates up on the platform just like I would. She traveled a lot with ol William. And she apparently did tell William she loved him. Uh oh. I think William is going to propose to her on this zipline ledge. To be clear, this would not have gone over well for Ol Cal. I would have been in too much of a state of personal crisis at the idea of plunging to my death to consider a proposal. Guys, do not propose on a zipline ledge. It is a truly terrible idea. And, what do you know? I was right. So anyway, William gives the whole proposal speech to her but is all hooked in and can’t get down on one knee. She says she’s not ready to get married. William actually pushes her a little. He’s like, we’ve been together 3 years so when would you be ready? And then he accidentally falls or something and plunges down the zipline. Lauren “wakes up” and all the boys are there in the living room. They want to know whether she’s learned any lessons. Oh she did! Kind of.

They point out that she broke up with them all at Christmas and that Christmas seems to be a big trigger for her commitment issues. Lauren asks our little street youth a question about changing her ways before its too late. Sweet little teen Tyler has forgotten all the wisdom he’s imparted so far. But is capable enough to transport her one more time. The boys take her to the future. They are here to show her Nate on a date at that restaurant he wanted to take her to. And he is proposing to Lilly. He calls Lilly his best friend and Lauren yells, wait, I’m his best friend. So now Lauren has a mini panic attack about that. Why does she actually care though right now? Two days ago she was like yeah take her on a date! Marry her for all I care!

The next morning, Lauren meets her dad for coffee. She’s wearing a great teal dress. She tells her dad she’s been thinking and reflecting about her failed relationships. Now she’s worried she’s becoming just like her mom. He gives her some solid dad advice.

Back at her office, she looks at a picture of her and Nate. And then it’s time for her pitch…at 4 PM on Christmas. Is there ANYONE or ANY WORK being done at 4 pm on Christmas Eve across the US? I highly doubt it. But here we are, working in basically the middle of the night on Christmas Eve for the muffin tin and the bakeware gods. Lauren has a bit of an emotional crisis in the middle of her pitch. And then obviously has to leave righthissecond to tell Nate how she feels.

I’m not sure why she had to leave work for this party that was clearly in the evening but here she is with her lipstick a little smeared and a very lovely Christmas party dress. She tells him she doesn’t care about losing a client, but I wonder if the company she works for does? I’m wondering if literally everyone else who put their holiday plans on hold might be a little bit frustrated that she fled the meeting (and yet still went home and got TOTALLY READY) to tell her friend she liked him. Will there be consequences? Will the bakeware gods forgive her? We never know.

Anyway, in terms of her personal life, She FINALLY GETS HER HEAD SCREWED ON STRAIGHT and tells Nate he’s the love of her life. And they kiss right in the middle of all the youths. The youths all cheer and die of embarrassment. Then they had out Christmas presents to all the kids. Lauren wonders what happened to the giant stuffed bear she brought? Nate is like, Lauren, none of these teens want a stuffed bear.

Then, thankfully, Nate is at Lauren’s house for Christmas. Nate has a gift for Lauren. If he proposes after one day then I don’t think anyone will learn any lessons. WAIT HE IS. How much time has passed? OMG. Okay even I am a bit panicked at the speed of things at this point. But this crazy gal says yes! And I must say, Nate-dog picked a much better ring than William. And then Lauren sees her old boyfriends creeping outside, finally able to rest in peace or whatever they are going to do now.

Guys, this movie was a lot of fun to watch. I had a lot of fun yelling at Lauren while my husband snoozed away, blissfully unaware, on the couch. But, I do feel that Nate was too quick to forgive what at that point was a LIFETIME of selfishness on Lauren’s part. I think showing up late to that very important party was just not enough. And I do hope Lauren gets some professional help to deal with the trauma of her mother’s abandonment or are we considering Tyler the teenage ghost’s intervention as sufficient? Anyway, best of luck to those crazy kids. What did you think?

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