Hope At Christmas

After the death of her grandma, Sydney and daughter Rayanne spend Christmas in the house they inherited from her.  Sydney is newly divorced and recently bereaved, so her Christmas spirit is understandably a little tarnished. A local book store brings a little cheer her way in the form of Mac, the town’s 4th grade teacher and resident Santa, with whom the store’s owner, Bea, keeps trying to set up a very reluctant Sydney.

I don’t know about you, but I manage to vacation without becoming completely entangled in local politics. Sydney’s in town for less than 2 weeks but for some reason she finagles a job – “a little fun for the holidays,” she calls it, as if she’s never had a job before, as if the rest of us aren’t desperately trying to secure as many days OFF at the holidays as possible.

Anyway, little Rayanne makes a special Christmas plea to Santa to make her mom feel MV5BMDdkOWVlZjEtNDNlMC00NmFjLWFlMzQtZDdlZGQ2YTE0YjNmXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMzEzMjg5NjA@._V1_better. Underneath the beard, it’s really Mac, who moves her wish to the top of his list.

Will Sydney leave the big city to embrace small town life in Hopewell, which includes Mac, or will she stay where the big career opportunities are? That’s right: it’s a question not worth asking, and even the script doesn’t pretend it’s very serious. We know from the very first snowflake that of course Sydney and Rayanne are staying in their grandmother’s house. They’re going to make a family with sad widower Mac. And they’re going to take over running Bea’s book store. The only surprise in the whole movie is when a Christmas tree falls over, but they somehow turn that into not just a Christmas emergency, but an event so dire it threatens Christmas itself. Yes, that’s what passes for conflict in Hallmark holiday movies: a tipped over Christmas tree. And that’s fine. As far as I can tell, these films aren’t meant to be good. Between their unerring formula and the homogeneity of their cast, Hallmark movies are the equivalent of that channel that just plays the crackling fire round the clock. It’s background noise.

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