Julia Wise is the Martha Stewart of the Hallmark Christmas universe. This year her producer, Maggie (Jessy Schram), is planning a live Christmas Special, but Julia and the network are worried that it won’t be the ratings draw they want and need. So Julia brings in her son, Danny (Chad Michael Murray), to co-produce. He’s stepping on all ten of Maggie’s toes, but she’s professional and intends to grin and bear it. Whatever it takes!
His first suggestion to improve the live Christmas Special is to pre-tape some segments. Catch that? Live TV. Pre-taped. Does not compute, right? So yeah, toe stepping accomplished, now they’re butting heads too. But as a compromise, they decide to cross the country filming Christmas oddities, like snowman relay races (you’ll have to watch to find out), and Maggie’s secret goal is also to assemble the Wise Men (ie, Danny’s brothers, who resent the Special and their mom’s Hollywood version of Christmas) for extra holiday cheer. But, you know, for the record – two can play that game.
Anyway, you’re never going to believe what’s about to brew between these two attractive competitors. And by “never believe” I mean that you’ll of course see it coming from the opening credits because Hallmark follows a strict formula from which is never deviates. Homogeneity is their brand. People who watch Hallmark’s Countdown to Christmas want a white man to hold a white woman under the mistletoe after a brief and tumultuous courtship while the set decorators slap greenery on anything that isn’t moving. I bet the rest of us can find something more interesting to talk about.
What odd holiday traditions does your family observe? Maggie’s does a white elephant gift exchange that involves an actual white elephant. Growing up, we left Santa Doritos and daiquiris rather than milk and cookies because my Mom insisted that’s what he’d prefer, and she was right, because they were always gone. Growing up, my Mom’s family would do a Réveillon; her family would attend midnight mass on Christmas Eve, then return home to a big meal and gifts from Santa. Christmas day was spent going visiting, collecting people as they went, the soberest doing the driving, until the last house of the night had 30 guests all at once. Today we do a modified version, with the believers bundling off to church on the 24th while the rest of us stay behind to warm up the finger food and mix the drinks we’ll pass around once everyone gets back. No gifts though. Those are left for The Big Reveal on Christmas morning, when Santa has left a sea of unwrapped gifts – mine on the love seat, Jessie’s on the chair, with Jana and Tessa splitting the couch. It’s weird, but it’s tradition. What’s yours?