Synopsis (via Lifetime)
With the holiday season in full swing, Jen Taylor is about to score a big promotion at the San Francisco ad agency where she works. But her life is unexpectedly turned upside down when she inherits a cozy inn in Alaska from her aunt. When she goes to inspect the property and meets handsome town attorney Steve Anderson. She’s surprised to find that nothing is what she expected. The small town is full of fun and festive Christmas traditions, and soon, Jen starts wondering if the inn might just be the place she belongs—and if Steve could be the Mr. Right she has been waiting for.
We start off in San Francisco where Tia Mowry is making a presentation for a Christmas commercial. As she is pitching the commercial we see what she is envisioning (which is very Hallmark, with white actors who are mouthing the dialogue along with her VO). She nails the presentation, of course, and is all about work. Her sassy white coworker, Karen, informers her that they are in competition for a new creative director promotion.
Her parents (Sister Sister Reunion! Jakee and Tim Reid) call from Hawai’i to tell her that her Aunt Helen died and has left something for Tia in her will. Tia calls and finds out from a handsome stranger that she has inherited an inn … in Alaska. Her boss lets her go settle the estate but needs her back on Christmas to help settle the Christmas accounts.
In Chestnut Hill, Alaska, Tia arrives and meets Brian. They don’t get off to the best start when he assumes Tia would be older and shames her for not answering his calls. As they drive to the inn, Tia tells Brian that she isn’t that close to her family and really needs to get back to work. Brian tells Tia that the inn means a lot to the town and he hopes she isn’t going to just sell it off. Not sure why it is so special; the inn looks like a house and is definitely not a cabin. The inside doesn’t fair much better and is all dusty with sheet-covered furniture.
Tia almost burns the place down, Brian comes to rescue her and sends her to his mom’s cafe, Molly’s Diner. Tia looks around the diner and Molly (presumably) shows her around and tells Tia how much her great aunt meant to the town. We also learn that Tia wanted to be an artist when she was young, but doesn’t have time for anything other than work.
While getting the inn ready to sell. Tia finds her Great Aunt’s diary and realizes that the town meant a lot to her great aunt. Despite having traveled the world, Tia’s great aunt has never found a place that is more like home than Chestnut Hill at Christmas.
Chestnut Hill has a week-long festival (take THAT, Hallmark) which includes such Christmas things like: Gingerbread Booth, Christmas Tree Lighting, Candy Cane Toss, Town Gift Exchange.
The festival organizer, Lana, ropes Tia into helping her. Tia hasn’t celebrated Christmas and is hesitant at first but reluctantly agrees.
Tia drops off the signed lease for the inn to Brian and discovers that he has a side business making sleighs. (He is also a lawyer.) She totally makes fun of him for the weird combo. Tia and Brian are starting to warm up to one another. Tia’s also putting off work to read her Great Aunt’s diary. Tia is living vicariously through her stories of the town. Her Great Aunt met a man in the town named Ed and her story is very similar to Tia.
Of course, some guests arrive to stay at the inn who haven’t heard that Great Aunt Helen died. Brian negs Tia into taking them in and reopen the inn for the holidays. Thankfully, he helps her set up and get her new guests settled.
At the Christmas festival, Tia’s Gingerbread Booth isn’t going very well. The kids are making a mess. Brian runs over to help and starts a food fight! They get pink icing all over one another and are just laughing and laughing. Lana makes a speech before the Christmas Tree lighting (which was an actual WOW moment—the whole town block lit up in lights).
At the Candy Candy Toss, Brian and Tia compete against one another. Tia used to play “Badminton in high school,” and Brian won the past three years. They make a flirty bet that if she wins, he will have to help her decorate. If he wins she will have to help him with his sleigh. They tie and will just have to spend the rest of the movie together.
For decorations Tia and Brian order form Balsam Hill (it is even wrapped into the dialogue, Tia worked on an account for them last year!). Cue a decorating montage. With the inn all decorated, Tia hires David, the mailman, (apparently everyone here has two jobs) to take pictures of the place to help with the sale. Tia throws a party and the whole town comes over. She couldn’t have done it without Brian and his mom. They cheers their hot cocoa and celebrate their success. When the party ends Tia comes inside to see the cute old couple dancing to Christmas music and it just melts my cold robot heart!
Tia tries to work again, but Great Aunt Helen’s diary is calling again. Tia learns that her aunt gave up her adventurous life. Tia questions if she should sell the inn and calls her parents who tell her to do what makes her happy. The town makes her happy; she has said it like five times.
Brian throws snowballs at Tia’s window late at night and takes her to go see the northern lights. (which we actually see!) He builds a fire and they sit and admire the view. Brian’s slower-paced life really appeals to Tia. She thanks him for everything and rests her head on his shoulder.
Brian goes to Molly’s Cafe and he tells his family that he is falling for Tia. They encourage him to go for it, even though he has reservations about him being from a small town and her being from the big city.
Tia gets a call from an Alaskan businessman who offers to buy the inn—and pay in cash. She tells him she will need to think it over. She also gets a call from her boss; she got the promotion and it will be announced at the Christmas party tomorrow. Tia reflects on what she should do while looking at a framed picture of Brian at the Northern Lights that she drew.
At the town gift exchange, Lana, the event organizer, and David, the mailman, agree to go out together on a date. Brian and Tia meet up, too, and Brian loves her drawing. He tells her that she is REALLY good and is genuinely appreciative of it. Tia comes clean with Brian and tells him about the opportunity at work; she is selling the inn, and tells him that she has to go back immediately. Brian takes it as well as he could and even offers to take her to the airport.
While packing, Tia reads one last entry in her Great Aunt Helen’s diary. She cries real tears and says goodbye to everyone in the town.
At the empty airport where they first met, Brian asks if they could have been something. Tia says she did think that and kisses him on the cheek. He waves as she walks away… FROM LOVE.
Brian is so sad, but thankfully his mom gives him a pep talk and Tia’s address. She tells him to show her that he is willing to make a sacrifice for love.
At work, Tia learns that the sassy white co-worker would have gotten the position if she wasn’t leaving the company. The Alaskan businessman is also in town and wants to meet up to talk about the sale. They agree to meet at a restaurant near her work’s Christmas party. Turns out, the Alaskan businessman wants to demolish the inn and make a large hotel. Brian, of course, walks up and sees the meeting happening. Tia tells the Alaskan businessman that she is not interested, the inn is no longer for sale. Brian interrupts the meeting to tell Tia that he is falling for her, and he is willing to move to San Francisco to be with her and he would never ask her to give up her work opportunity. Tia wants to go back and run the inn.
Tia goes back to work and tells her coworkers off, because selling things doesn’t make life better. Spending quality time with people is more important and every day is a gift. Tia has discovered the real meaning of Christmas. Tia’s boss is surprisingly supportive, but a little shady.
Back at Chestnut Hill, Santa arrives on one of Brian sleighs. His family is so happy to have Tia back home. She is even happier when she discovers her parents are in town for a visit. They are very proud of their daughter. Brian and Tia kiss under the mistletoe. Merry Christmas!
Written by Anna White
🎄🎄🎄(3 Christmas Trees)
🍷🍷🍷 (3 glasses of wine required)
*Photo Credit: © 2018 Lifetime