Our movie begins with a flashback to our leads Chris(mas) and Joe running the saddest roadside toy stand this country has ever seen. They are selling about 10 variations of a sad snowman figuring. A boy wanders up and just HAS to have one. Does he though? His mom takes pity on these two kids and gives them $4 for it.
Flash forward to today and the only decorations at Chris’s house are framed magazine covers of HERSELF. So that’s not weird, is it? She hustles into work and runs into Santa and he is not pleased. He gets pretty judgy with her and she engages for some reason. Upon arriving to work, Kathleen, the CEO of Arlo Toys, is already waiting for her. She blames her phone for setting the meeting time on Pacific. WE’VE ALL BEEN THERE, AMIRIGHT? Classic Outlook.
Kathleen is there to pitch a huge promotion to Chris. She wants to merge CJ’s Toys with Arlo Toys and put Chris as CEO of both so she can retire. Chris is like, YES PLEASE. But, wouldn’t she have to like talk to her own board? She can’t just agree unilaterally, right? Does she really not have her own executive team that would need to be consulted?
But there is ONE person she needs to convince- her cofounder, who is still on the articles of incorporation-Joe. He will need to sign the merger documents. That seems like a huge problem to her.
Seven years ago, Joe abruptly left the company and they haven’t spoken since. Apparently he just ghosted Chris because he didn’t sign over his share of the company or anything. He just stopped doing any work? Is he still getting paid? What was the deal there? WE NEVER FIND OUT. Poor Alice, Chris’s assistant, doesn’t seem like she’s firing on all cylinders.
Heather finally connects with Chris to tell her that she and her husband are getting to go on tour and they need someone to watch their daughter. OVER CHRISTMAS? What is happening? Also, she’s packing like they already said yes to the tour. Of course, their parents are on a cruise!!
Heather lays the guilt on HARD about Chris being so busy. So Chris agrees.
Emma is completely silent after her parents drop her off. She wonders where Chris’s Christmas tree is. WOW this family is SO JUDGY. Is Emma an idiot? She’s like, why don’t you have any toys on display? Like I just decorate my house with law textbooks or something?
Heather walks Emma to school but is on the phone the whole time. They are super late for school. Oh no. They had cold pizza for breakfast because Chris has no food at her house. But at least Emma has her hair curled super nice and Chris has a beautiful blue coat. Santa stops her and says he knows where Joe is. So that was easy. Wait, is this Santa magic or just weird?
Chris is late to get Emma after school. Boy this poor kid is just having a miserable time. Emma is bummed because she can’t perform an original song at the Christmas performance but the school said no.
Chris decides the best thing to do is to take Emma with her to talk to Joe, her business partner, best friend from childhood and person with whom she hasn’t spoken in seven years. That seems appropriate! While there, Emma can’t seem to read a dang room to save her life and keeps interrupting their heated conversation to ask dumb questions. Joe finally agrees to sign the papers approving the merger if Chris will physically volunteer with his toy drive. She agrees. They pinky promise. So that is settled.
The next day, Chris arrives (late) to her volunteer duties wearing a lovely plaid coat. She accidentally raises her hand to help set up at the Jamboree location. I assume Santa waves to her as a trick. Later, Joe wonders why Chris wants to make money from her retail business. At the toy drive square, Emma tells Joe that she wrote that great song but is not allowed to perform it at her school concert. Joe suggests Emma perform her song at the Jamboree; but shouldn’t we hear it first? Just to be safe? Then they decide that Chris needs a Christmas tree. Chris is nearly catatonic over this.
Chris and Joe take EVERY opportunity to passively aggressively rehash the past. Joe doesn’t want to argue in front of the trees at the tree lot but they had no trouble arguing in front of Emma.
They bring their DEFINITELY REAL TREE back to the apartment. Joe arrives with a box of decorations.
The tree and her house are beautiful. While they’re decorating, Chris gets a call from Kathleen from Arlo’s toys. She is disappointed that Chris wasn’t at the office. Kathleen seemed nice before but she seems ALL BUSINESS NOW. Poor Emma has conked out on the couch. Chris has trouble keeping her eye on the clock! She’s going to bed too late on school nights! My nightmare as a parent. Chris notices one of their sad Styrofoam snowmen in Joe’s box of supplies. Somehow, it has held up! They start rehashing AGAIN. Geez Louise, you guys. Have it out or don’t!
Chris stays up really late working on her presentation and falls asleep at the counter. Do any of you think you would fall asleep all night like that? I know I couldn’t. Emma is definitely old enough to get ready for school on her own but she is still in her pajamas and playing guitar instead.
WOW Emma’s guest bedroom is SO CUTE. How old is she supposed to be though? She looks like a middle schooler but it seems like she’s playing way younger.
Emma wonders why there are no toys in the corporate office. EMMA. What does she want with toys? Chris explains a bunch of the toys from storage to Emma. She doesn’t like or understand how to use many of them. The company’s “research” apparently doesn’t include kid focus groups. Chris is like, well the research says this is what kids like. But Emma is like, you as an adult woman should play with these and see if they’re fun.
They donate all the toys in storage to the toy drive. We hear more rehashing of the past as they look at Joe’s designs for new toys.
Joe hosts a movie night for the toy drive and Chris offers to post about it on her social media to get more guests/donations. Joe is very touched.
They do the movie night old school style; with a rickety old projector that makes a lot of noise. Joe and Chris have a MOMENT of looking at each other and trying to think of something to say. I do like this idea though. I suppose it depends what part of the country they’re in though. An outdoor movie in December would be a nightmare in most of the country.
Kathleen arrives! What is she doing here? She wanted to come and donate toys. She donates a solitary drone. Upon introductions, Joe can’t keep his TRAP SHUT. Wow he is rude to her.
Later, Joe is less than apologetic about his rudeness. But guys, he was REALLY rude. You don’t just unload on someone right when you’re meeting them, sheesh!
Joe comes to the office the next day to apologize to Chris. Then he suggests that they go ice skating to celebrate Emma’s last day of school before Winter Break. Chris takes them roller skating instead. TWIST. They have a MOMENT when they both wipe out.
Santa, or “Nick” arrives again. Nick invites them to the Christmas Café. It sounds like the most magical place in the world. Christmas desserts!! Nick has three tickets to go there, which is apparently the only way you can go? The tickets do NOT seem necessary any time hereafter. Just want to put that out there. At the Café, they reminisce about some dance in high school. Now they’re finally getting into their business split seven years ago. Chris immediately changes the subject.
Later, Joe and Chris play with all the donated toys instead of sorting them into categories. Or maybe both? Then they sketch out a new toy idea and argue AGAIN. I do sympathize with Chris here. But maybe she has lost sight of what makes a good toy? I’m not sure.
Later, Joe’s dad encourages him to tell Chris how he feels about her. He doesn’t want to because he thinks work always comes first to her. But guys, he doesn’t seem to respect her talents or her viewpoints on like actually running a business WHATSOEVER.
Outside, Nick talks to Chris and suggests that he really IS Santa.
Later, the gang heads back to the Christmas Café and play a hilarious reindeer themed video game.
The next morning, Chris is late to the presentation because Santa turned off her phone and she didn’t get any messages. So, she scrambles to the big Arlo presentation. Why is this all on her? Wouldn’t she have a whole team helping? Like, the CFO does the financials, the COO would do operations and the CEO would do one part too? Why does poor Chris have to do everything? Maybe the ending should be Chris restructuring her company to add an executive team and to learn to delegate.
Meanwhile, Chris helps Emma get all set up for her performance. I LOVE Kathleen’s dress in this scene.
Kathleen wants to go over some of the future toy lines after the presentation. Chris turns her down to help with the toy drive. Kathleen reminds her to get that signature from Joe. Chris is like, what do you think I’m doing? I feel like she should just tell her that they’ll sign it when it’s all finalized.
That night, Chris tucks that teen into bed and Emma suggest she marry Joe.
Now it’s time for the Jamboree. It looks like A LOT of fun. Emma gets ready for her performance. Emma’s parents make it in time to hear her sing. This audio is slightly better than the kid in A Christmas Family Tree but it is still pretty obvious Emma isn’t really singing.
Joe and Chris dance to the song. NO ONE ELSE DOES.
Kathleen approaches her after the performance. She lets her know that the board approved the merger with Chris as CEO. She doesn’t seem as thrilled now.
Joe approaches her and wants to talk. Chris thinks he is upset about how she decorated the tree. Joe just GOES FOR IT. GET IT JOE! He says he spent time with “the real Chris” which seems to make her think. She doesn’t think a relationship would work because she is about to be the CEO of a big company and JOE DOESN’T RESPECT HER. She is worried he only likes one small part of her-which is a fair concern! He doesn’t seem to like the ambitious side of her at all.
The next morning, Chris lets her alarm clock wake her the next morning and eats a sad bowl of cereal all alone. She arrives pretty business casual at work and sees Joe’s signature on the documents on her desk. She drops off toys to “Nick” on her way to Arlo’s Toys. Nick wonders if her work brings her the same joy as kids getting toys at Christmas. But like NO? Obviously not?
At Arlo Toys, Kathleen tells Chris the snow globe on her desk is a gift from her second husband. Kathleen reflects on her life, or lack thereof. Chris asks Kathleen if she has any regrets. I mean, she must if she’s retiring so early.
Meanwhile Joe works on fixing Chris’s ballerina toy and has a heart to heart with his dad. Joe stops by the office and Chris’s assistant tells him that she is at Kathleen’s office and asked her to get a bottle of champagne ready. He gives her the toy he fixed.
Later, Chris is at the Christmas Café with Heather and Emma. Emma will get to perform her original song at school! Heather and Chris chat. Heather can’t believe Chris is doing…what? She is going to see Joe and is really nervous. So, WE’LL SEE.
Chris tells Joe she didn’t move forward with the merger. GET ON WITH IT CHRIS. GEEZ LOUISE. She says there is no CJ’s Toys at all. She wants to start over with Joe and build the kind of company they always wanted to… I don’t get why they couldn’t do that with CJ’s or Arlos? I think this is probably the stupidest outcome of all. Wouldn’t she have been forced to sign a noncompete clause? And isn’t this how it all started initially, and it didn’t work out? Only now, they’ll also be dating! Oh, help me Rhonda. They pinky promise. And then she tells him she’s in love with him too and they kiss. Boy I have HIGH HOPES for this business.
We flash forward one year to the company Christmas party. Chris and Joe are dancing. Alice announces that one of the toys Joe designed-the “build your own dollhouse” toy is the “number 3 toy” on the market. Good for them. Are we thinking the Board at Arlo Toys wouldn’t like them doing different toys or what was the problem there?
Overall, I actually didn’t mind this one at all. I like Paul and Marisol together. They were super cute. I scratched my head plenty of times over the general company merger/CEO of both without anyone helping Chris but you know, we have to just let that go PRETTY OFTEN. Also, so like, that guy was Santa? And just kind of gently guiding Chris along? I don’t know. I could take or leave that whole bit. What did you think?