With only two weeks left until Christmas, struggling artist Anna Parisi (Katrina Law) decides to advertise as a holiday personal shopper. It is possible Anna does not have the sharpest business acumen but she also doesn’t have rent money, so she probably should have put a little hustle into her side hustle. Marc Rehnquist (Aaron O’Connell) is a busy ad exec who was supposed to have ordered corporate Christmas gifts for the 100 employees in his office, and apparently doesn’t realize that bulk orders this close to the holidays are practically impossible. Luckily they both patronize the same bakery where Anna’s recommendation of the secret menu cupcakes impresses Marc so much that he hires her to shop not only for his employees, but for his nearest and dearest as well – who apparently aren’t quite so near or so dear that he’s spared them a single thought before now. If it’s truly the thought that counts, Marc usually substitutes thought for expense, sending lavish gifts along with notes apologizing for his absence. But with thoughtful Anna crossing off his list, he’s going to learn a thing or two about priorities and the true value of his time.
12 Gifts of Christmas is about as complex and full-bodied as a bottle of Boone’s but the 2020 holiday season is fast approaching and concessions must be made. Some people are very serious about their Hallmark/LMN/Netflix romantic Christmas movie tradition/addiction, but in our house the annual viewing is a little more reluctant, and not without some grumbling, yet there are indeed some faithful traditions. Sean complaining about every movie set in New York starting off with trite stock footage: check. Then Jay rolls her eyes at the very light attempt at a will-they-or-won’t-they, and Sean’s belly growls at the third cookie baking montage, and Jay’s eyes glaze over at the sight of so many jewelry boxes, and Sean starts to sweat realizing that there are so far zero jewelry boxes under our tree, and we both agree that the only true Christmas miracle in this whole movie is finding street parking in “Manhattan” (Avid Hallmark fans will recognize Eva’s Bakery which has appeared in several Hallmark movies as a New York City location though it’s actually a real bakery in downtown Salt Lake City, Utah).
This movie earns no distinctions in acting or director or production or story. It follows the Hallmark formula loyally and steadfastly, so there are no surprises here, none whatsoever, but if you’re in the market for some banal, PG “romance,” Hallmark’s shelves are fully stocked and you can take your pick.