Christmas in Love (not to be confused with other Hallmark gems, “My Christmas Love” or “Love You Like Christmas”) gives you NO specifics about what’s going to happen in this movie, so don’t worry, I’m here to give you all the details.
Here’s the cover of the film, and it’s grade-A standard Hallmark looks. I like to go to the Hallmark movie page and browse the movie covers to see how they ALL have variations of the same title, a couple of 20-30-something straight white couples holding hands, and every red and green clothing combination you could ever imagine.
Okay, so we’ve got dirty-blonde Ellie who has a PASSION for making INTRICATE DESIGNED WREATHS!!!!!!!!! I had no idea this was a hobby and I honestly LOL’d when I learned about it. It’s fitting though because her mom (played by the mom from DAWSON’S CREEK, my all-time favorite teen drama show!) owns a craft store so she always has all the supplies for Ellie to make obnoxious wreaths. So the two of them cover some plot points real quickly:
- Ellie works for the flagship bakery branch that is owned by a corporate office in San Francisco.
- Ellie dated the town EMT, Carl, and they have broken up. It wasn’t a bad break up, they just weren’t a good fit.
- Ellie’s mom won’t shut up about the wreaths and how she wants her to make more of them.
JOBS. BOYS. WREATHS! The thing all women in their 20s are thinking about!!! Ok so Ellie learns that a corporate guy is coming to visit the bakery. We’re in a small town, so obviously, we all hate city folks and corporations, as is seen when the crowd of bakers yells as Ellie announces the news!!! Other key facts about this business:
- It’s located in White Deer (LOL okay Hallmark, we see you loving snowed-on animals)
- The bakery makes Kringles which are cute Christmas pastries that are the backbone of the business
Now we jump to “San Francisco” (it’s not really San Francisco since all these movies are filmed in Canada to save money) where the corporate office of the bakery is, we see the CEO talking to his “handsome” son, Nick (he’s not my type, but I acknowledge he’s Hallmark Handsome). We meet the CEO who is about to retire and his son Nick. Nick is ALL BUSINESS and whats to add automation to the bakery, pointing out how much more efficient the company will be and how much more money they’ll make. The CEO/Dad is NOT loving this idea – he keeps saying “if you invest in them, they’ll invest in you” aka Nick stop being a jerk, we’re not in the red, can we let these people live? So CEO/Dad sends Nick to White Deer to get the full experience because HELLOOOO, he is not giving his son the business if he’s gonna be a jerk to the backbone of it. Time to back those bags, Nick!
Ellie is helping her mom pick out which wreath to hang up because, you guessed it, Ellie has made so many wreaths that her mom can’t choose!! This one with the bows? How about this one with the glitter? Wait, how about this one that has a PARIS THEME??! Like cool, I get it, wreaths can be nice and they can look different, but WHO needs location-themed wreaths?! I haven’t even seen Paris-themed wreaths at HomeGoods and if ANY place is going to have them, it would be there, so trust me on this one. While looking at wreaths, we build some tension that Ellie is feeling a little stuck at work, that the bakery isn’t her passion, and that she wants to do something more.
Nick arrives and he’s staying in this cute lodge even though they talk about it as if its a motel. He’s also apparently never walked in snow before because while he’s out, he immediately falls on his butt and Ellie accidentally hits him in the head with her car door. What a meet-cute! He keeps talking about how he’s wearing Italian shoes, she keeps telling him to get boots. It’s all a hoot. At this point, only we know who he is – Ellie just thinks he’s some guy – so talk about some irony! And who said Hallmark movies aren’t employing some great storytelling devices?
Ellie gets coffee with her BFF Haley who is also like an EMT/Firefighter (I guess that’s 50% of the jobs here. 50% EMT, 50% baker. No wonder Ellie is feeling a bit stuck). Carl, Ellie’s ex stops by the cafe and says hi and mentions how great the wreath at the fire station is, and I CAN’T!! It’s just so much energy to put into a weird craft, and the idea that EVERYONE knows she does it and EVERYONE loves it? But then again, here I am telling you about Lifetime and Hallmark movies, so I guess we all have our things.
Other things we learn:
- Ellie tried to get a job at corporate in SF but didn’t get it
- Carl offers Ellie a booth for her wreaths at the Christmas fair and she says no
Ok so this is SO anti-Hallmark that I have to bold it here. Hallmark is usually ALL about having big city women come back home reluctantly to help with like a family store or something, find love, and then decide that home in the country/suburbs is really where she wants to be, so this is a HUGE change in focus for the leading lady to want to move to a metropolitan hub!
So at work finally, Ellie realizes that Nick is not just some random dude – he’s a guy from corporate who is here to tour the bakery and learn the processes. BUT no one knows that this is is the CEO’s son who is going to take over the bakery soon, so remember this!
We have some classic moments. So much banter. Nick wears a suit to the bakery which everyone laughs about. She talks about the Kringles (which are shaped like snowflakes), how she ended up at the bakery (her dad owns it, she worked here in high school, went to college, then came back), and that she hands out physical checks still as the HR manager (that’s my own observation because that’s weird, what year is it?) They casually fight about automation as an idea, and I get everything she’s saying about keeping jobs for these folks, but also hi you need to AT LEAST set up direct deposit if nothing else. Sometimes things like IDK paying your employees makes sense by automation, Ellie.
This is some classic bantering but how do we get to the next step in building this romance? Nick sees Ellie’s wreaths and give them a huge (and sincere!) compliment! He’s like horny for this crafting, asking her if she makes other things, and she gets all deep saying:
It’s a circle. Holidays are a time to reaccess the cycle, and sometimes you have to look under the surface.”Me paraphrasing but that’s basically what she said.
Ellie keeps all this flirting and bonding going by taking Nick to the local food bank to show him how the bakery donates food and money to them each year. And Ellie even made a damn stocking for the food worker’s child so she’s an angel on Earth.
The next morning, Nick and Ellie run into each other at the one cafe in town and end up reluctantly having breakfast together, which essentially ends up being a date. They talk about the careers – how Nick does things differently than his dad (remember, she doesn’t realize DAD=CEO!!) and she talks about being average. When she talks about her dream job, she wishes that she could make CRAFTS for a living. Actually she says,
I love to see beauty in things that aren’t inherently beautiful.What Ellie actually said because I wrote it down.
Nick is so good at business that he convinces her to get that booth from Carl and sell her wreaths at the holiday market. And Nick is so good at flirting that he tells Ellie that she should have gotten that job at Corporate *insert me winking all the time!!* He also ~feels out what’s happening with Carl and Ellie~ and learns they broke up, and tells her to let rejection fuel her (negging much?!).
Nick has some conversations with his parents about the trip and they keep telling him to forget about automation and just get to know the people. So he does! Ellie’s dad invites Nick over for dinner (this isn’t that weird because Ellie’s dad owns the bakery so this is more of a high-ups dinner than a meeting-this-hottie’s-dad dinner.)
But just because it’s a business invite doesn’t mean it stays business! They’re all baking cookies together, there’s sexy eyes, there’s laughing, and there’s TRIMMING THE TREE TOGETHER.
Say it with me. If you trim the tree together, you will fall in love.
Ok so now we are full throttle. Nick keeps learning more and more about the bakery, putting his heart (and hands) into everything, and Ellie keeps hearing Nick out on making a website for her wreaths/crafts. They agree to volunteer at the Christmas Eve town dinner together.
We go full “okay everyone is in love mode” when Ellie realizes she NEEDS to get so many wreaths made for the Christmas Fair and Nick offers to help. When you love wreaths this much, you don’t just let ANY guy touch your wreath, you know? During mid-wreath making, they both reveal that they’re single, and Ellie says that she wouldn’t want to settle. Nick, the bold man he is, asks if she doesn’t want to settle in love, why settle with work?! WOW WRITE THAT DOWN!!!!!
At this point, Ellie’s parents and BFF Haley are all on team Nick, and so are we because the next time we see him he’s wearing a henley shirt while explaining to her that her dreams are possible which is the actual Hallmark dream combo.
I should point out that Nick has almost admitted to Ellie that he’s the CEO’s son a few times, which should tell you this problem is brewing. But instead of tell her, they just keep on crafting to meet that deadline for inventory, and Nick finally kisses Ellie on the cheek on his way out.
A b-plot line quickly comes and ties itself up. Basically, Haley (BFF) likes Carl (Ellie’s Ex) and Ellie tells her to go for it! At the same time, Carl keeps wanting to talk to Ellie and we’re supposed to believe it is because he wants to get back together with her but in reality, he also wants to make a move on Haley! So everyone is happy. If you haven’t noticed, there haven’t actually been any problems yet, and we’re getting far into this film…
Ellie asks Nick to help her write a business plan for this damn crafts website so yay for her! And hey, while we’re at it, ELLIE ANNOUNCES THAT SHE NEEDS TO TAKE MORE RISKS, THAT BEING SAFE IS BORING, AND THEN GOES IN FOR THE KISS HERSELF!!!!! Is this one of Hallmark’s most feminist movies to-date or what?
So everyone is happy! It’s Christmas Eve and Ellie and Nick help serve dinner. We finally have a hint of drama because Nick’s dad arrives (CEO) to make an appearance, but Nick still manages to avoid having Ellie find out about their connection. Instead, Ellie finds out that she’s sold out of all of her wreaths and that people what year-round wreaths: Graduation, Valentine’s Day, Anniversary, etc. Public service announcement: don’t get me a wreath for ANY of these occasions.
Ok so there are 15 minutes left in this movie and STILL nothing has really HAPPENED. We’ve got to get to the drama soon, right? RIGHT! So Ellie finishes a wreath that’s San Francisco-themed for Nick (HAHA I CAN’T!) and goes to drop it off at his lodge/motel, letting herself in to drop it off. Like hi you have kissed once, this doesn’t give you license to barge into his room when he’s not there. While she’s putting it down, she sees the website for her new online store and SOMEHOW that shrinks so that she’s left looking at report that Nick put together about AUTOMATION that also reveals Nick’s real last name and that he’s the CEO’s SON!! The super drama is that right before this, Nick was about to delete this whole section about automation because he had moved past this idea, but didn’t because I guess he got distracted having to always help Ellie make wreaths.
Everyone is pissed. Ellie. Mom. Dad. They let him into their home! What about their business! What about the people of the town! He tries to apologize to her at the winter fair, but she’s not having it.
So Nick grabs the mic on the stage, announces that he’s going to be the new CEO and that he’s NOT going to be doing automation. Instead, he’s going to make they bakery make Kringles year-round for Valentine’s Day, Flag day, etc. (I guess being able to be sold for all different holidays is Hallmark’s only understanding of how businesses are successful).
So Ellie and crew are happy because they get to keep their lives together, so Ellie likes Nick again and they start kissing hard! Then Ellie announces that she’s going to do the wreath business full-time because it’s going so well, so now he’s not weirdly her boss anymore! And Nick invites her out to San Francisco for New Year’s Eve. Bing Bang Bong! Wrapping up the drama in under 15 minutes, well done!
So that’s Christmas in Love for you. It’s cute and fuzzy and surprisingly leaves some of the Hallmark cliches behind for some girl power ones. It waits a bit long for the drama and tension to develop, the supporting characters are BORING, and the lead dude is not my taste, so it’s pretty average as a whole. Giving it a 6!