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Stars: Julie Benz, Michael Shanks
Synopsis (via Hallmark)
A military widow, whose faith in Christmas has lapsed, rents an apartment to a handsome Army Captain, recovering from an injury in battle, and whose faith in Christmas is inspirational. As they team up to save the town’s military museum with a Christmas fundraising event, these two ‘wounded birds’ find themselves falling in love — and being healed by the magic of Christmas.
Amanda is an over-thinker and a museum curator! She plans the army base’s Christmas Tree lighting, enlists her whole family to help, and even brings home soldiers for the holidays as a surprise. While planning the veterans wing, Tom, the manager tells Amanda she is going to have to cut back on her hours. All work and no play make Amanda a dull girl.
While at home, listening to old voicemail from her deceased husband, a handsome stranger arrives for the room to rent. Jim is in a cast but loves Christmas, just like Tiny Tim! When Craig raises concerns about a strange man living in the guest house (and also his frustration for being placed in the friendzone), Amanda asks for more time and understanding, will she ever get over Rick? (Her husband who passed away two years ago.)
Tom, the manager finally breaks the news to Amanda that the veterans museums is not making a profit and will need to close. Amanda has an idea for a Christmas Benefit to save her job and the heritage center and museum!
Back at the house with the mysterious stranger, Amanda is awoken in the middle of the night by Jim’s one-legged hobbling around. She goes out to bring him some hot chocolate. She reveals her plans to save the museum and Jim is onboard to help her out. Jim believes in the magic of Christmas to mend a broken heart, and he wants Amanda to believe as well.
Amanda is inspired and has a plan. PROMOTIONAL! EMAIL!
After a presentation of Purple Hearts to wounded soldiers, Amanda and Jim go on a lunch date. They talk about their military families and personal struggles. Jim starts to help Amanda with the Christmas Benefit. He really comes through. Gift baskets, catering, and an accapella quartet are ALL provided by Jim. (He gets a three second hug and an invite to family dinner.) Not to be outdone, friendzone Craig’s firm will be sponsoring a cocktail reception. (He gets a measly hug.) To be clear, Amanda has done… nothing! Nothing except catch feelings for Jim.
Amanda is back listening to her dead husband’s voicemail and attempting to clean out her closet with her pushy sister. Amanda can’t even get rid of one of her husband’s shirts. To counterbalance this drama we get Jim looking for fun and a montage of snowman building, which lead to snowball fights and even a post decoration kiss. Then it is back to the drama! We are taken to the fallen soldiers funeral.
Attempting to not overthink things, Amanda and Jim fix her dead husband’s bike and decorate the Christmas Tree with (Balsam Hill Ornaments) and the house. Amanda is starting to believe again.
Back in fighting shape, Jim is given a bonus if he decides to redeploy. He must make a choice to serve his country or stay with Amanda. She asks him not to make a decision just for her.
We are finally at the night of the benefit. There is a Santa’s sleigh and photo booth, and auction led by Amanda in the slowest auction I’ve ever seen. Having failed to raise enough money, Amanda decides to auction off Rick’s bike, which goes VERY slowly. When Craig and Jim get into a bidding war things start to heat up. Jim bids $15,000 and saves the museum! Where did he get the money though? He has reenlisted and wants Amanda to wait for him, but she isn’t sure if she can.
After learning friendzone Craig was planning on proposing (this man cannot take a hint), Amanda decides she CAN love Jim and runs home to tell him. She finds a goodbye letter instead. She hurries to the deployment bus and finds Jim. She loves him and he loves her. They have the magic of Christmas and passionate kisses. Jim gets on the bus and Amanda gets SNOW.
Flash forward one year later. Jim is stuck in transport and not able to come home for Christmas. He then surprises Amanda with carolers (lips not synced), riding in on her dead husband’s bike, wearing her scarf she gave him at the bus station.
“A Christmas Homecoming.” Amanda Gasps as Jim embraces her and then proposes.
They kiss AGAIN (Fourth time in this movie!!!) and are happily engaged. The end!
Julie Benz is a very likable actress.
POC Alert: Dr. Baxter and the lady who donated the catering whose solder-son died. (I can’t remember her name.)
So many passionate kisses in this one AND a refusal of a kiss because she wasn’t in the right mind space. (Because a woman has a right to say no!) Hallmark Movies and Mysteries is getting XXX!
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🎄🎄🎄 (3 Christmas Trees)
🍷🍷🍷(3 glasses of wine required)
*Photo Credit: © 2017 Crown Media United States, LLC
Agreed on all that kissing! Dang, after FOUR of them I figured for sure she’d be pregnant! (What? Isn’t that how it works in Hallmark-ville?) Perhaps the problem with Clueless Craig of the Friend-zone is that he never got into a snowball fight with her, because now that you have me thinking about it, pretty much every couple who falls deeply in love within one to three weeks in a Hallmark movie does so by way of a snowball fight (before or after a chaste kiss.)