A Joyous Christmas (2017 Hallmark Movies and Mysteries)

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A Joyous Christmas

Listen to the Podcast Episode about this movie! 

Buy the DVD Here

Stars: Natalie Knepp & Michael Rady

Synopsis (Via Hallmark)

Just before Christmas, bestselling author Rachel Kennedy returns to her hometown to host an event for her upcoming book. Though being home is difficult since losing her parents and losing touch with her brother, David, she finds strength from unexpected sources, namely her local producer, Jack and a selfless stranger, Joy. Jack and Joy help Rachel connect with the community, reunite with her brother and reevaluate her motivational message. Rachel and Jack develop an undeniable bond, but Rachel is torn between their relationship and career pressure from her manager, Stuart. As the event approaches, Joy reveals a secret from her past that has a lasting impact on Jack, and Rachel must find a message that brings her fans – and herself – lasting joy.

Thoughts

Rachel Kennedy is back in town for her live event: Rachel Kennedy Inspiration Celebration and to get a key to the city! She is a self-help book author, with such titles under her belt as Me First!, Spark the Fire Within, and You Deserve Better. She isn’t thrilled to be back for two weeks, but she will fake it till she makes it.   

It isn’t easy to return home with a dead mother, estranged brother, and only meeting with LOCAL press. At the post office, things look up when a “handsome” stranger (But really a Canadian with slicked back greasy hair mullet) Jack asks her opinion on whether he should pick a Santa tie or Snowman tie. 

Hurrying to another meeting, Rachel almost gets hit by a car in a terrifying scene for a Hallmark movie (I rewound like three times) only to be saved by a woman named Joy. When Rachel asked what she can do to repay her for saving her life, Joy responds, “Save someone else.”

When the new event promoter arrives to work with Rachel on her upcoming event turns out to be the “Handsome” (See the previous mullet comment) Stranger, Jack! He is completely forthcoming with his opinion of her and her brand. She comes off cold and standoffish. She needs to focus on being more approachable and maybe sprinkle a little Christmas into the title of her event. Rachel is not excited to be working with him.

While out on the town, Rachel sees Joy with groceries again. She follows her to the community center and offers to buy her a cup of coffee. Joy is too busy singing carols for charity with children to go to Starbucks. Rachel then finds out that the center will be closing at the end of the year.

At another meeting, Jack recommends that she use new music for her intro and outro and offers to write it for her. He then proceeds to get out his guitar and sings to her. Rachel agrees and then hires Joy to hire her as an advisor. Joy agrees on the condition that Rachel comes and works at the center. Rachel offers to donate money, but Joy declines—stating time is more valuable than money.

For some reason, Jack takes Rachel to a town Christmas festival where he makes her experience the Hot Cocoa Contest, and they are entered into the Candy Cane Relay (where they relay race while dizzy). AND they win! (It is stupid, but cute and made me smile.) Later they head back to Rachel’s Airbnb, and Jack forces her to decorate for Christmas.  

Unlike the other movies on regular Hallmark, Jack and Rachel sit down by the fire and have an actual conversation about their families and thoughts on the world. She tells him about her parents (who died) and her estranged brother. Jack tells Rachel that he was adopted and his adopted parents died. He still wonders about his biological parents and where they might be. They almost kiss, but Rachel says she doesn’t date co-workers.

While preparing for her event, Rachel let’s Joy share her opinion about Rachel’s POV as a motivational speaker. Joy thinks that Rachel shouldn’t put herself first and should put time into others. Rachel’s overbearing boss, Stewart, isn’t having it and calls in a favor for Joy’s background be looked into.

Rachel goes with Joy to the community center. Jack shows up to show her a song that he has been working on. The two are washing dishes when Jack sings a Christmas song that Rachel has never heard before; he has it on cassette and loves it. They almost kiss again and have a bubble fight, and it is cute. Why is this movie so cute! Am I brainwashed after watching 6 in 48 hours?

Later, at a party, Rachel’s brother shows up. It’s been three years since they’ve talked. For some reason, Jack left the party early. When Rachel asks him about it later, Jack says he wants to keep things professional because he was jealous of her brother because he thought he was someone else to Rachel. (To be honest, casting for Rachel and her Brother was not the best.)

Jack and Rachel go to her brother’s house for dinner. Immediately upon arriving, Rachel invites him and the family to her event and apologizes for removing herself from the family and keeping her distance since their parents’ deaths. They accept her apology and then build a snowman as a family.

In a meeting with Stewart, her boss, he reveals that Joy isn’t who she appears to be. She has an arrest record and cannot be trusted. Rachel invites Joy over to talk and finds out more than she bargained for. Joy shares a story about herself and explains how she stole money from a cash register where she’d been working to help make ends meet when she was a single mother. 

“Life is messy, Rachel. But sometimes, when we get through the mess, we find out who we really are,” a teary-eyed Joy says as she leaves a copy of The Apple Garden. Later at the theater, Jack opens the book, and a baby picture falls out. Could it be HIS baby photo?

Jack confronts Rachel aggressively like she was keeping something from him. Rachel pieces together and sends him to talk to Joy. But what should he say?

“If it’s coming from the heart, how can you possibly go wrong?”

Joy and Jack have a long talk about adoption, feelings, and their lives. Late, before the big event, He then hears his favorite Christmas song playing in the theater. It is Joy! She is the composer of “Christmas Memories,” Jack then joins her at the piano, and lip-sync sings the WORST CHRISTMAS SONG I’VE EVER HEARD.

Just when I thought the movie was over, Jack overhears Stewart talking to the executives about how Rachel is just doing charity for promotion and always puts business first. He trusted her! How could she? Rachel is like (to paraphrase), “WTF, are you talking about?”

Later at the big event, the overhearing trope is reversed, and Jack listens in on Rachel and Stewart backstage, where she tells him off, and Jack realizes his mistake. Rachel takes the stage and gives a rousing speech about giving back. She is donating the proceeds from her event and a portion of her book sales to save the community… which she offered to do at the beginning of the movie.

Jack apologizes, and Rachel accepts 

After all, “The Christmas Spirit is about forgiveness.”

Side Note

No IMDB for this one either!!!

Children singing Christmas songs is terrible. No more singing kids, too creepy!!!

POC Alert: The theater tech, who loves Breakfast Burritos… that is his character development. There’s also the man Joy works with at the community center

Overall rating

🎄 🎄(2 Christmas Trees)

🍷🍷🍷(3 glasses of wine required)

*Photo Credit: © 2017 Crown Media United States, LLC

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40 Comments

  1. Is The Apple Garden a real book and where can we find it?
    And Michael Rady has an amazing voice, will there ever be a release of him doing Christmas Memories?
    This movie quickly jumped to my favorite Christmas movie watches!!

  2. Is the song in the movie Christmas Memories, a published song? Sung at the piano with his movie mother.
    Thanks

      1. I love this song it makes me think of good times as a child. I think of family past and here and cry but I love this song.

  3. OMGOSHHH….Who ever wrote the side notes for this movie is freaking idiot.. why would you say that that Christmas song by the piano is f….Up….Really your ass should be fired. ..Damn REALLY

    1. Pam I completely agree with you. Even though Michael is lip syncing the song, the song is very memorable. The blogging guy should come to West Virginia and learn a few things. His blog on most movies are a bunch of bull.

  4. Best movie I’ve seen in a long time. Loved the song beautifully sung by Jack. Using foul language in your blog show your low mentality. Grow up!

  5. I love this movie!! This message it shares is so good. We all have regrets but you can change your life. Good acting too!! For me, 5 stars!!

  6. I loved the movie and song. Rady is awesome and I don’t care if the song was lip
    syncing, it was awesome. Any dumm that uses that sort of language needs to get a brain replacement. Considering the language used by mud mouth, the source of profanity needs to use soap more.

  7. Did Michael Rady really lip sync, or did he sing it himself? If he lip synced, who was the singer, and where can I get a copy of that version?

    1. I saw Michael Rady on Hallmark’s Home and Family. He pre-recorded the song, then lip synced it during the filming. It is his voice on the sound track. Loved that version of the song from the movie. The Alabama version has a too raspy quality. Michael’s is much clearer and more heartfelt. Wish I could get a copy of it,too. Maybe Hallmark could put it out next Christmas with some of their other memorable Christmas songs. Maybe sponsor a contest with recommendations by viewers of our favorites. HEAR THAT, HALLMARK???

      1. I’d like to get a copy of Michael Rady singing that song as well maybe Hallmark should put it out

  8. Michael Rady’s rendition of “Christmas Memories” is absolutely beautiful.!. It just left me in tears. Where can I get a copy?

  9. g I think this was one of the nicest heartwarming movies I have watched on Hallmark and I watched many. I actually thought that Michael Rady sang this song even better than Alabama whether he was lip singing or not I read in your comment that it was him that sang it. He actually has a great voice to sing that particular song maybe any other songs as well. Whether the children did sing Christmas songs well or not they were children and it made it looked authentic. This movie brought me memories of my childhood and tears to my eyes. I actually loved that song that I’ve never heard and kept replaying it over and over so I could look it up to purchase it. Unfortunately it’s sung by Alabama not Michael Rady. I think you should be ashamed of yourself to even write a terrible review on this movie. Of course that’s my opinion.

      1. Happy Holidays! I hope you write a comment on here if you ever know if we could get a recording of Michael Rady singing Memroies! Don’t forget me! LOL

  10. OMG that beautiful song “Christmas Memories” brought up so much joy, emotion & sadness. I pray that Michael Rady will record or release it somewhere somehow!! I don’t want the 3 videos listed on Amazon, just that song. I am going on 81 yrs young and that movie is outstanding. I help people find biological parents and this is one powerful movie & song. God Bless everyone!!

    1. God Bless you in what you do Patricia! I agree I wish he would record this song. I absolutely love it. It is sung by Alabama but, it doesn’t sound as well as when Michael Rady sings it! I recorded the movie to keep watching him sing it!

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