A Holiday in Harlem

A Holiday in Harlem

Okay you guys. We did it. We made it through another week. Just in time for the marathon that is Thanksgiving week. It’s crazy, right? Okay let’s get into it.

Our grandma, Mama Belle, has a fabulous red coat and a Christmas broach situation. I love it! Also, we get a long shot of the happiest mailman in the land, Eric. He arrives at Mama Belle’s as she’s on her way out. He is delivering a package to her. She tells Eric the mailman that her granddaughter sends the same thing every year and never includes a note. AND MAMA BELLE HATES IT. She decides to reject the package so Eric can take it home.

Our leading lady, Jasmine and her boss have dinner and the conversation is definitely not ADR. She is offered a promotion RIGHT OUT OF THE GATE- Vice President for North America. Jasmine is not sure she wants the job. She doesn’t want to be in New York, even though her whole family is there. She tells her boss its complicated. GUYS. It turns out to NOT BE THAT COMPLICATED.

Back in Harlem, Mama Bell is supervising Caleb hanging lights in his own hardware store. Jasmine calls her to see what’s up with rejecting the package. Mama Belle is like, the annual fruit basket with no card is basically no gift at all so I don’t want it. Then, Jasmine inadvertently reveals she’s in New York so “Mama Belle” basically guilts her in to coming by before her flight to the Virgin Islands that evening.

Caleb’s pregnant sister, Katrina dumps her kids with him before heading to a doctor’s appointment.

Jasmine heads to Harlem. She stops at a little stand selling holiday clothing so she is dressed for “Yuletide Yoga” with her grandma. She really goes big. On her way she peeks into Caleb’s store. She comes in and meets Katrina’s kids. And we learn that she and Caleb were best friends. They have a weird little exchange and then Jasmine is off to Yuletide Yoga.

This is a yoga class I’d be in to for sure. It’s not Christmas themed POSES though to be clear. I WISH IT WAS. Jasmine struggles to make the pose and Mama Belle tries to help her for some reason. They obviously fall and Mama Belle hurts herself. They wind up at the hospital but Mama Belle doesn’t want to slow down or be impaired by this injury. They get to her apartment and realize she can’t get up the stairs as she’s wheelchair bound. The whole Christmas Jamboree planning group huddles around the stairs. Are they supposed to have a meeting or what’s happening? For some reason, Jasmine agrees to stay and help chair the Christmas Jamboree. I’m not sure what has moved her between Yuletide Yoga and now but whatever. Mama Belle agrees as long as Caleb helps her. I don’t really know why Mama Belle can’t chair this committee with a sprained ankle, but what do I know? Then, they turn on the lights of the apartment building.

Jasmine and Mama Belle finally get inside her house. Jasmine remembers it as the “neutral zone” for her parents to drop off and pick her up after they were divorced. Whew that’s a bummer. Caleb has fixed up a lot of things around the house for her. Mama Belle tells Jasmine that her mom is also in town and that Jasmine will need to draw a name for Secret Santa. I don’t understand this family dynamic yet.

On his way out, Jasmine thanks Caleb for looking out for her grandma. He adds her to the super official group text for planning the Jamboree. This is much less organized than Jasmine prefers.

The next day, Mama Belle is furious because Jasmine has cleaned up her office. But then she is quite pleased with what Jasmine’s done. Then Jasmine’s mom shows up. THIS WOMAN COULD BE JASMINE’S SISTER. I’m not sure Mama Belle is old enough to be her grandma either, to be clear. Jasmine’s mom wants to tell them all about her trip with her “special friend” which seems like Jasmine’s queue to leave. Oh her dad is also back from his trip in case anyone was wondering.

Jasmine holds the first meeting for the Jamboree team. They are all SASSY. She is very no nonsense business and wants to mix everything up. EVERYONE HATES IT. The man in charge of the fashion bash wants no part of the poetry slam. When Jasmine pushes it by trying to suggest he bring his “je ne sais quoi” to the poetry slam, he just says no. I laugh out loud.   

Caleb reminds her that she shouldn’t try to fix something that isn’t broken. I mean, it’s basically all planned and the wheels are in motion. Jasmine is NOT NEEDED. So, Jasmine tells the gang to forget everything she just said. Back at home, Mama Belle is baking. So, why can’t she chair the Jamboree business? Doesn’t seem to injured to me!

Jasmine picks a name out of the gold bag for secret Santa.

At the basketball court, Jasmine runs into her old basketball coach. The coach is now a city council person? Jasmine runs into her dad and apologizes for not calling him. He, much like her mother, alludes to the fact that they are in communication now. So what’s up with that? Also she seemed genuinely happy to see each member of her family so what about that is complicated?

 She seems to get along with everyone but she doesn’t keep in touch with them very well. I am not sure what’s going on here but we’ve now begun a shooting competition for children. After the competition, she runs into Katrina for the first time since arriving in Harlem. After the event, she and Caleb play basketball. He tells her he used to watch all her games and keep her stats.

The next day, Jasmine and Katrina catch up at the store. She is looking for Caleb. Outside, Katrina tells Jasmine that Caleb carried mistletoe in his pocket to try and kiss Jasmine. WHAT. Jasmine is surprised. That’s cute and weird. They get a tree for the store. At the hardware store, the whole gang does some reminiscing and then she and Caleb head out to eat.

Caleb introduces her to the owner of the restaurant and he tells her its all on the house. Jasmine asks if this is a date. She reminds Caleb she’s leaving after Jamboree. The owner of the restaurant really wants to host the Christmas Eve dinner, but he never wins the lottery that Mama Belle established to choose the restaurant.

Caleb asks what happened to their friendship. He basically didn’t hear anything from her after she left for college. I don’t really understand what her explanation is. IT’S NOT GREAT. That’s FOR DANG SURE.

Caleb and Jasmine stroll home and talk about the Jamboree.

Okay now it’s poetry slam time. This seems like the silliest component of the Jamboree. Great, now, Caleb is reading a poem. Help me, Ronda. Jasmine sees her parents at the poetry slam. TOGETHER. I still don’t believe this woman is her mother. Jasmine is SHOCKED. And not very happy about them getting back together. Also, their reason for divorcing was basically that they didn’t want to ever argue in front of her? I think?

Later Jasmine gets home to hear Mama Belle on the phone with that restaurant owner that wants to host the Christmas Eve dinner. He’s started a rebellion against the lottery. AND EVERYONE IS REVOLTING.

Jasmine gets a call from her boss and vents a little about her family. That seems inappropriate, right? Also, what’s there to complaint about? Everyone is really nice and she is happy to see them and the only work for the Jamboree is work she’s creating herself. Also, what was that boss calling about in the first place?

Back at Mama Belle’s, Jasmine’s mom is pounding a cup or either coffee or hot chocolate just FILLED with marshmallows. At this hour?

Jasmine heads over to Caleb’s and learns about his furniture restoration and design hobby. They head over to talk to Sam and his little social media rebellion. She gets Sam to back down by threatening to post a scathing review on social media to her 100k followers. She admits to Caleb she may have added a few zeros to her follower count. Back at home, Mama Belle has changed her tune about the lottery. So now, Jasmine is stuck trying samples of meals from chefs all over the neighborhood.

Tonight it’s time for the “Fashion Bash,” Mr. Je Nais Se Quoi is all over this. Jasmine’s dad just like does his THING up on that catwalk. Caleb says something that Jasmine thinks is brilliant but I can’t hear over the clapping. Jasmine tells Mama Belle that she thinks everyone should cook for Christmas Eve. It will be a block party-food trucks, etc… I LOVE IT.

The Jamboree committee is STOKED. They are all on board. Jasmine hits a snag at the city office. She didn’t file the required permits on time. LUCKILY her old basketball coach is on the city council and pulls some strings.

Alright, it’s BLOCK PARTY TIME. Well, it’s time to set up anyway.

After the prep work, Jasmine and Caleb head back to his apartment. She suggests he sell the furniture he refinishes or whatever. Caleb gets a little salty because he feels like he needs to take care of his family and Jasmine is being judgy…or something. Mama Belle knows she’s sad when she gets home.

Caleb tells Katrina about his fight with Jasmine. Katrina is like, well Jasmine is right. We should expand the store and you should sell your furniture here. JUST DON’T QUIT YOUR DAY JOB, GIRLFRIEND.

Jasmine talks to her mom about Caleb. Well, her mom sniffs it out of her. Jasmine tells her mom what it was like for her while her parents were going through their divorce. Her mom acts like this is the first time she’s ever realized that the divorce impacted her daughter in anyway.

It’s time to head to the block party. Jasmine realizes she forgot to get her secret Santa gift. No worries, she’ll get some overpriced knickknack at the party! (Spoiler, that is JUST what she does.) As they walk outside, they don’t see many people mingling. Jasmine decides to play some music but the speakers aren’t working or something. Jasmine meets Katrina’s husband finally. He agrees to DJ the block party because that is his actual profession but NO ONE LAUGHS when he tells them. Caleb wonders if they’re going to talk or if he’s going to get the silent treatment. They apologize and then he tells Jasmine that he and Katrina are considering expanding the store!

Katrina’s husband really cranks the party up with his DJ skills. I feel like Jasmine’s one contribution, to plug her iphone into speakers, was the stupidest part of this plan. The party didn’t come alive until they had a professional DJ. Now the whole street is dancing, including Jasmine and Caleb. Mama Belle pulls Jasmine away for a moment. She asks Jasmine what her plans are after Christmas. She tells her she’s really missed Jasmine. And she warns her not to lead Caleb on if she’s not planning to stay. She’s pretty tough!

Jasmine is emotional now when Caleb asks if she wants to dance more. So, she tells Caleb she’s going home. He gets kind of snippy with her.

The next morning, the whole family is together for Christmas. Jasmine is wearing the BEST sweater! Jasmine’s mom and grandma wonder if it’s time to share their family mac and cheese recipe. Um, yes please I would like that recipe as well. I’m keeping my eyes peeled for any secret ingredients but I haven’t seen any yet. After it goes in the oven, Jasmine inspects the Secret Santa bag. ALL the names are Caleb which means her grandma HAS been fixing the Secret Santa exchange FOR YEARS.

She is so happy about this that she tells the ladies about her promotion and that she’s going to take it. Later, Jasmine’s dad shakes his gift to see what he got. He tells her he’s excited to finally spend Christmas all together. They just OPEN a random present for some reason?

Then the whole crew arrives. Jasmine wants to talk to Caleb but he says they should do it later. At dinner, Grandma Belle announces Jasmine’s new job. NOW Caleb wants to talk. Later, Jasmine sits outside by herself. Caleb finds her. He wonders why she decided to stay around. She says there are too many reasons INCLUDING HIM. Then she gives him her gift. It’s an ornament. OH it’s a mistletoe ornament. That’s kind of cute. And then THEY KISS. Oh that’s cute.

This movie was just fine. I feel like it’s mostly your standard Hallmark movie with a few fun twists! Definitely worth a watch while you’re baking or folding laundry or whatever.

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