In the month leading up Christmas, Abby dons an elf suit to take pictures of kids sitting on Santa’s lap. It’s not exactly the kind of photography work she’d imagined for herself, but every time her parents ask if she’s ready to come work for the family law firm, she defers. Besides the humiliating elf costume, 3 key things happen to Abby just as the holiday season kicks off:
- Her best friend Josh returns from his globe-trotting adventures.
- Her grandfather gives her an antique advent calendar, an inheritance from her recently deceased grandmother.
- She meets Ty, a cute new guy and potential love interest.
To be honest, Abby (Kat Graham) and Josh (Quincy Brown) are adorable together and have great chemistry, so you almost root for them to hook up, though the writers have other ideas. Let’s respect their friendship! Plus, the antique advent calendar from Gramps (Ron Cephas Jones, the dead dad from This Is Us – no, not that one, the other one!) may or may not be predicting the future with the little trinkets it presents to her each day. They’re adding up to a romance with Ty (Ethan Peck), the handsome single dad doctor who plans great dates and works with the homeless. That plus the magic of the holiday season makes for a pretty compelling case.
If you’re surprised at the lack of sarcasm in my tone, well, so am I. I’ve never met a Netflix or Hallmark holiday movie I didn’t hate on sight, so I wasn’t prepared to find this one kind of charming. Graham is a glowing, sweet as pie reason for this – she and Brown lead a surprisingly solid cast. They elevate the material beyond the normal Christmas cheese. And I liked that the romance didn’t start improbably from a negative place – finally a boyfriend who isn’t a jerk! Which is fortunate because we get to know Abby enough to know she has a good head on her shoulders and a lot of support from family friends – not the kind of woman silly enough to confuse condescension for caring.
Abby’s family and friends are exactly the kind of people you won’t mind sharing part of your holiday season with. Glass of wine and cozy socks optional but recommended.