An Unexpected Christmas

An Unexpected Christmas

No Beard Tyler, I mean Jamie, gets ready for the day in his beautiful walk up in Chicago. We are immediately blasted with a CASUAL SHAMLESS BALSAM HILL PLUG.

Meanwhile, Emily frantically packs for a relaxation retreat in Hawaii and chats with her friend.

Then she heads to her job at a marketing firm. Her boss wants her to work on a new project instead of going on vacation. Of course, if she does this project, she is up for a BIG PROMOTION. But she has to go Fulton, Illinois to do a local tourism campaign instead of her vacation.

Jamie calls his mom from a campaign office. He can’t confirm whether Emily will be coming home with him. She just chatters away at him and he walks away from the phone.

During a meeting with the GOVERNOR, Jamie slowly leans back in a squeaky chair to grab a pen. It is NOT subtle. Regardless, Jamie gets a big assignment of his own-The Governor’s Christmas Day Address. HIGH STAKES.

He gets to work on his train ride home. His sister, Becca is there to pick him up. Well, well, well. Emily arrives at the exact same time, so his sister thinks they arrived together. Emily is like, wait what? You didn’t tell your family we broke up? And instead of Emily explaining it, she gets in the car and heads to Jamie’s family’s house. Jamie’s family is ELATED that Emily is there. No one has had even a second to explain. Emily seems to feel bad and starts to play along with no words exchanged.

More BALSAM HILL Ads. Emily finally asks to talk to Jamie in the kitchen. She swats a cookie out of his hand. Diane, Jamie’s mom, can’t read a dang room and keeps popping in. Emily tells Jamie’s family about the whole project she’s working on. Diane may have the least chill of any Hallmark mom ever and I love it. She asks when they want to get married and have babies and Jamie spits out his drink.

Later, Jamie seemingly plans to take Emily to her hotel. I’m not sure how he explains that to the family but here we are. We learn that Jamie dumped HER two months ago but didn’t tell his family because his grandpa had just died and who knows why else. The hotel where Emily is staying seems REAL fancy for a small town in Illinois. After dropping her off, Jamie sits in his car and practices telling his family why they broke up. He admits the sad truth to himself-that her career was taking off and his wasn’t and he felt threatened. She calls him and asks if he can still stay at his house. Apparently, there was a whole mix up with her reservation and she can’t get it straightened out until the following day. So, she is stuck on the “janky pull-out couch” in Jamie’s parents’ basement.

They get home just in time for charades. Later, Jamie lets Emily have his room and he takes the janky old pull out. Jamie’s room is GIGANTIC. There is a full living room in there. What do his parents do for a living? The playroom where Jamie sleeps is also gigantic and yet, they only have this rail thin pull out and Tyler’s feet hang over the side. BEEN THERE BUD. I spent MANY a Christmas sharing a 60-year-old double pull-out couch with basically a sheet of cardboard as a mattress with my sister. So yeah.

Emily tries to sneak out the following morning. BUT Jamie’s dad is a typical dad and is up and making breakfast. His mom and sister are up too. How early did Emily think she got up? Literally the entire house is already up. I do love Emily’s outfit.

Jamie is half on a bean bag and half on the pull out; totally out cold. Somehow the Christmas tree totally crashed too. NOT A RINGING ENDORSEMENT FOR BALSAM HILL. She literally throws an entire glass of water in his face. She gets right in his face and rehashes the whole morning to him. I LOVE IT.

Jamie heads outside in a lovely cardigan. We know how Tyler loves his cardigans. The family then reminisces about Jamie’s grandpa and then ceremoniously turn on their giant lawn inflatables. What is that coat that Emily is wearing?

Emily gets a call from Jackie Joyner Kersey and she can’t make it because of weather. So, her whole project has sort of been upended. She was sort of the key to the whole thing. The inflatables deflate in commiseration. Also why is Jackie willing to do an ad for some random town’s tourism campaign?

Jamie remains committed to that cardigan and Emily is wearing that ridiculous coat inside. Is she trying to hide a pregnancy or something? Jamie suggests maybe the Governor help her campaign. I mean, I guess. But let’s not pretend it’s better than Jackie Joyner Kersey. Jamie suggests Emily stay with his family for a week in exchange for the Governor possibly helping her out. So that’s not the meanest thing in the world to do to a girl you dumped without explanation.

That night, the family heads to the Christmas tree lighting in matching light up Christmas vests. They get funnel cakes before doing karaoke. Jamie and Emily reminisce after the karaoke moment. Jamie’s super weird parents hang mistletoe over them, and they go along with it. Ugh my heart is just breaking for poor Emily.

Jamie is in a whole pajama situation and tries to work on his speech.

The next morning, Emily talks to the client. She pitches the Governor of Illinois instead of Jackie Joyner Kersey. GUYS IT MAKES NO SENSE. The client is stoked though so we just need to keep going with it. The biggest problem is that the location of this speech is likely locked and loaded and why do it in a random town away from her home? I don’t know.

Jamie is in another cardigan and has a heart to heart with Becca at the theatre. Jamie’s nephew is in an amazing tree costume. Better than that one lady who wins the ugly sweater competition in her own home from a few movies back.

Later, Emily goes over the photos from the day at home. Her friend is also very impressed that they might have the Governor over Jackie Joyner Kersey. Like, how is a state Governor better than Jackie? I am not buying it.

Later, the family plays charades again. Things get a little tricky when Emily blabs that she is going to Hawaii in a few days. Emily wears a crown (for winning the game I assume) in her bed while she works.

Jamie is accosted by Becca in the hallway. She knows something is up. They head to the shed out back. It could be on a Christmas card. Jamie spills the truth to her. Becca is like, WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU? Becca tells him that if he doesn’t marry her, she’s going to have to because she has to stay in their family. So that’s sweet.

It’s a new day and Jamie still has NOTHING for his speech. I am NOT on board with Emily’s outfit. She is heading into town and Jamie decides to join her. Jamie wears his coat zipped up all the way. After they get coffee, Jamie turns into a historic walking tour guide for the town. Later, they eat hot dogs and hot chocolate mixed together? Gross. Emily says the hot dogs are like “lunch for a week” but has she never been to Costco? These dogs look to be the same size as Costco dogs and I can pound one of those in about 5 minutes.  

Later, Jamie’s parents chat about Jamie and Emily. They think maybe he is planning to propose. These two idiots. I love them though. I really do.


I don’t know where they are; but they are chatting at some bar? Is it outdoor? They catch up about work. Emily gets WAY too personal with the poor waiter asking if they want more drinks. I think she’s had enough to drink. The waiter says “well, we’ve all been there.” Which is the perfect response to her word vomit.

Later, WHAT TIME IS IT? They have a lovely time outside at his parents’ outdoor firepit. I REALLY WANT ONE. There is a decorated Christmas tree out there too.

Jamie takes Emily to the fountain outside the hotel where she was supposed to stay. He tells her about a local tradition where people write their initials on a stone after they get married and throw it in the fountain. He gives her a great slogan idea. BUT WHAT DOES THAT HAVE TO DO WITH THE GOVERNOR?

She bravely runs around the fountain and doesn’t fall in. Then they dance to no music.

Jamie makes a call the next day. I’m assuming to ask about the Governor participating in this campaign. L,ater Emily and Jamie look for gifts at the outdoor Christmas market. Jamie gets a call. The Governor is IN for the speech. But my husband who has only been halfheartedly watching this movie, informed me that Jamie didn’t ask the Governor to be in the ad-just to do the speech in Fulton. So, this is going to be a REAL MESS. A mess in which Jamie could likely never recover personally or professionally. Curious how that will turn out. Or is that not what happened?

Later, Becca blackmails the pair of them into helping with her Christmas pageant. Becca really is not messing around about her stupid child’s play. Then Jamie reveals he doesn’t know how to drive a stick shift. JAMIE. Less sweaters more learning basic life skills. Jamie and Becca head to the train station to pick up his boss Gina. When the two meet, there seems to be an instant connection! So, great work Jamie.

Meanwhile, Emily paints with Diane. Later they all get dinner. Their waiter is the SAME guy from the bar. He is about to blab their whole story so Jamie does this weird bit where he hides under the table instead of just grabbing the waiter and asking him not to blab. But why would he blab? And why would them hiding under the table do anything to stop him from blabbing if he were so inclined? It makes NO SENSE.

Later, Becca and Gina walk home together. Jamie and Emily crack themselves up with their dinner antics. Didn’t anyone drive? I’m getting a real nineties vibe from Emily’s outfits. Jamie apologizes for how he ended things.

The next day, Jamie still has absolutely NOTHING for the speech. But by now surely his boss would want to see a draft and everyone would be working on it and it would be a whole thing. He’s not just going to give this to the governor cold! Or is he going to do JUST THAT? What a mess.

Emily finally meets up with her team. Her boss calls and wants to send her to the Cayman Islands for another project after Christmas. She is torn though because of Jamie. But Jamie dumped her and hasn’t said SQUAT about wanting to get back together.

That night, Emily wears my FAVORITE SWEATER of the movie. The family exchanges gifts. Emily thanks them for welcoming her and showing her what it would be like to have a big family at Christmas. And no one gets emotional about it.

Then it’s time for the pageant. Becca encourages Jamie to tell Emily how he feels. But after the show because she needs his head in the game. He overhears her photographer say something about 3 months in the Caymans. So, when Emily wants to talk about “after Christmas” he tells her to get a cab so he can talk to his family alone. YIKES.

Then,  Jamie does a TERRIBLE job as an inflatable unicorn in this play. Also WHY IS THERE AN INFLATABLE UNICORN? Then there is a quick series of unfortunate events where the confetti cannons go off and Jamie nearly gets knocked to the ground. It’s amazing and I laughed out loud.

After the show, Emily REALLY lets him have it. IT IS WELL DESERVED! She tells him he needs to tell her what he wants. And he can’t. All he is worried about is what he will tell his family. Oh no. They all heard the whole thing. So, there you go!

Later, Emily apologizes to Jamie’s family like an adult. They are gracious to her. Becca heads into her she shed and finds Jamie bundled up in a blanket, drinking. Becca gives him some advice.

I am not sure WHAT TIME IT IS because this is the longest Christmas Eve EVER at this point. Anyway, Jamie has a second heart to heart with his dad. AND HE STILL HASN’T WRITTEN ANYTHING FOR THE SPEECH TOMORROW. OMG What is happening? He finally has inspiration. You guys he would be so fired a WEEK AGO.

Jamie wears another cardigan on Christmas morning. The family has not waited for him to open gifts. The grandma has a great sweater too. Jamie wants to eat breakfast but the family isn’t hungry. They are all very sad that Emily is not there. Finally, he tells them all to get their coats. They’re going to win back Emily as a team! I love it.

At the speech site, Gina tells Jamie that the Governor is doing her speech from Springfield because her daughter had an asthma attack and also because she felt like it. But Gina had NO NOTES on the speech Jamie wrote so that’s pretty satisfying and unlikely. Gina tells Jamie that Emily went to the train station and she was pretty disappointed that the Governor wasn’t there. Doesn’t that ruin the whole campaign? Like they’re going to use the video from her speech in their ad? Is that the plan? It’s not great. Better to wait for Jackie to get out there in the New Year honestly!! Anyway, Jamie and the crew head to the train station. Emily is watching the speech while she waits for her train. Then Jamie arrives. He gives a beautiful speech where he finally admits the dang truth to her. I don’t know that Jamie (EVEN TYLER HYNES’S JAMIE) deserves Emily.

Then they really kiss big ones! Sheesh. Oh, it’s still not over. They head back to that bar with that silly waiter in a totally pointless final scene. But oh well.

So, this movie was just fine. There is A LOT of silliness we need to overcome to enjoy watching these two together. BUT if you can do that. You will enjoy this movie quite a bit. It was funny and several of the characters got great lines and did really well together. You do really end up liking all the characters, which helps a lot. What did you think?

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