Finding Santa (2017 Hallmark Channel)


Finding Santa

Listen to the Podcast Episode about this movie! 

Stars: Jodie Sweetin

Synopsis (via Hallmark)

Christmas is a busy, busy time for the residents of Green River, particularly for Grace Long, the third generation of her family to steward the New England town’s signature Christmas Eve parade. This year’s audience for the parade promises to be in the millions, thanks to a national morning show that has chosen Green River as the site of its Christmas Eve day program. But this huge opportunity will vanish if Grace can’t find a suitable substitute for the town’s famed Santa, aka Tom White, after he takes a nasty fall and breaks his arm. Unfortunately, the only person who could conceivably fill Tom’s boots is the one person who has consistently refused to consider it: his son, Ben, a writer who lives in Boston. With her town’s reputation and economy on the line, Grace has less than a week to figure out a way to get the reluctant Ben from Boston to Green River and into that Santa suit. As December 24 draws near, she and Ben discover an unexpected and wonderful Christmas gift: love.


Jodie Sweetin, former meth addict and EVERYONE’S (debatably) favorite Tanner Sister. If you think otherwise all I have to say is:


When Good Day USA comes to town to televise the 50th annual Christmas Eve Parade, Grace steps it up and enures she has Green River’s year round Christmas Shop and Parade in tip top shape. Selfies with Santa, snowing in store, and all featuring the New York Times recommended town Santa. After he takes a spill on some ice by the selfie station, Santa has to go into the hospital and a replacement must be found!

After going through all the town prospects, Grace calls Ben (a writer) who is the son of Santa and a former townie who managed to get out. When Tom White (OG Santa) suggests that Grace goes to Boston to try and convince Ben to become the replacement town Santa, she immediately does that. When Ben declines her offer, Grace works his side hustle to her advantage and orders a rideshare to Green River, CT.

The ride is going to be long, Ben likes Jazz and Grace loves Christmas music. Grace puts Christmas wreaths on the car and Ben can say Merry Christmas in Gaelic (but he hates Christmas…for reasons that are unknown). Then we meet Ben’s parents and it all becomes crystal clear. He did NOT want to follow in his families footsteps, even by passing the Christmas stroll. Ben storms off to go write his novel in a coffee shop, when Grace follows and forces him to decorate cookies with her and talk about his book.  

Ben tells his parents he can’t say in town for Christmas because (he literally says this…):

“I HAVE to go back to Boston for my job,  it’s the BUSIEST TIME OF YEAR”

So, Grace gets an Uber back to Boston, because she left car there, and the two bond more on this car ride. They talk about her dead parents and the unexpected white out conditions on the highway. Due to the storm they have to stop halfway between Boston and Green River at one of Grace’s friends (AMAZING) house that just happens to conveniently where they stopped AND featuring Hallmark’s kid of the year (Bobby from The Sweetest Christmas and Marry Me at Christmas.) Where Ben shows off his memorization skills and recites, The Night Before Christmas, and Grace makes Eggnog from Scratch! (All while discussing their REAL life dreams. Grace wanted to be an artist.)

The kids have a level-10 freakout about the snowstorm impeding their ability to go see their town Santa and make their Christmas Wishes come true. Ben bites the bullet and goes full Santa get up to hear what they want for Christmas, it is here when Ben realizes that Christmas feels great and helping others is worth his time.

With less than 24 hours to go, Grace talks Ben into giving her a ride back to Green River. (The storm has cleared up, don’t worry.) They even listen to Christmas music along the way! Ben is full of Christmas spirit now, but still not into playing Santa. Grace on the other hand is losing hers. Replacement Santa (Clint) is quite the diva, debating line readings of “Ho, Ho, Ho,” Old Santa’s Christmas float isn’t completed, and she doesn’t have a date to the ugly Christmas sweater party.

Cue montage to generic Christmas music at the ugly Christmas sweater with Grace and Ben. Including a moment where their ugly Christmas sweaters get tangled together and they almost kiss! Only to be interrupted by the new diva Santa, who is a total jerk, but he actually inspires Ben to step up.

Cue misunderstanding/ Drama moment, that I missed because I was contemplating Stephanie Tanner’s teeth. Ben changes his mind, again, and won’t be the town Santa. MUCH to the disappointment of Old Santa (Mr. White) who just wants Ben to “Find the Jolly!” It’s a parent moment that rivals This is Us in emotional manipulation, but not at all.

Ben shows up at the last final moment and kicks diva santa out of the sleigh. The parade happens with another montage to Sia’s NEW Christmas Album. The parade includes, baton twirlers who are much too old, a man on stilts, and a Santa so good all the kids flock to him at the end. (He won’t even break Character, when Grace tries to talk with him.)

On a park bench, Grace admits that she is overworked in the store and is letting her redheaded friend take over while she focuses on painting. Ben (the most wishy washy person EVER) decided to stay in town and be Santa while writing a Children’s novel… does she know any illustrators. Kiss Kiss. But, WAIT!.

11 months later… Ben proposes to his Mrs. Claus! (With the book dedication.) They twirl and kiss a lot more, you know because they are engaged now.

Side Note

Dolores Drake play Mrs. White (Ms. Santa) and has been in three previous movies as equally cringe worthy roles

One of my favorite scenes was the town mayor (a lady mayor) and Grace are talking about the loss of potential Santas, while causally stalling the Christmas Tree lighting.

POC Alert: Karen Holness plays the Good Day USA producer. She’s okay, but was apparently in Chicago as a female dancer?

Unlike other movies that feature an “Artist” we actually see Grace’s painting, and they are pretty lifelike, like portraits!

Overall rating

🎄 🎄🎄(3 Christmas Trees)

🍷🍷🍷🍷(4 glasses of wine required)


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

Author: Patrick Serrano

Hi! I'm a Chicago based actor, who has a love/hate relationship with made for TV movies.

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