After a series of heart flutters, Big Al is sidelined at his business, so daughter Andy (Rachel Boston) takes over the duties of building a float for this year’s Rose Parade, which jubilantly kicks of the Rose Bowl Game on New Year’s Day. The floats are made entirely of organic material and thousands of roses, so as you can imagine, it mostly comes together in just a few weeks. This year Andy’s building a float for a Chicago law firm trying to grow their global presence, and the big boss sends Cliff (Marc Bendavid) to supervise the build.
Cliff would rather be in the new Asian office, or anywhere else really, but in Andy’s float barn, where he’s attempting a hosile takeover, he’s really just in the way. The two despise each other immediately as they engage in a useless power struggle for supremacy over a team of…oh wait, it’s just the two of them. And that’s a problem. Apparently the solution is to find volunteers, although it’s rather late in the season for that, and Cliff is of course extremely and vocally critical of Andy’s flyer technique, but his corporate recruitment techniques fail miserably, and they’re lucky if a dozen people show up to do the work of…well, apparently many more. And Cliff, still very very firmly holding down the role of Business Prick, insists that only the top 10% are worth keeping. I, meanwhile, am still scratching my head over Andy and Big Al’s business model…they are charging Cliff’s law firm to build this float, yet they have no employees and rely entirely on volunteers who are lucky to be paid in coffee and pizza for literal round the clock work…AT CHRISTMAS. The few volunteers they do manage to snag come with their own set of problems – colour blindness and allergies, to name the most pressing – so there will be lots of opportunity for Andy and Cliff’s managerial styles to clash. And yet somehow also they fall in love.
A Rose For Christmas is a standard Hallmark Christmas movie, but I enjoyed this one nearly 10% more than others of its ilk merely because of its unique setting, allowing me to learn a little about the Tournament of Roses Parade and how it comes together, even if the story isn’t exactly to my liking. When I visited New Orleans I was thrilled to visit the warehouse where Mardi Gras parade floats are made year round (by paid employees), and in Las Vegas I’ve often had the chance to see elaborate floral designs, but the Rose Parade has the distinction of blending the two in a beautiful if provisional display. Everything on the float has to be organic, so in addition to the 20 000 roses (on a single float!), other natural decoration like walnut shells, lima beans, and coconut husks are used as well. Like many things over the past several months, the 2021 Rose Parade is cancelled due to COVID-19 (amazingly, this parade has been marching since 1890 and was only cancelled a few times before, in 1942, 1943 and 1945 for WW2), but you can recapture a bit of the magic with A Rose For Christmas, which uses real parade footage and recreates a float that actually travelled down Colorado Boulevard just a few years ago.