Christmas Pen Pals (2018 Lifetime)

Christmas Pen Pals

Stars: Sarah Drew, Niall Matter and Michael Gross

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Synopsis (via Lifetime)

Following an unexpected breakup weeks before Christmas, Hannah (Sarah Drew), tech wiz and creator of the dating app, Perfect One, heads home for the holidays, challenged to save her failing business by re-conceiving a new romantic dating model. Upon her return she runs into her high school boyfriend, Sam (Niall Matter) who she has carefully avoided for years and reluctantly makes a deal with her dad, Ted (Michael Gross) to sign up for the town’s Christmas Cupid, an anonymous holiday pen pal service. As the season progresses, Hannah is smitten by each beautifully written letter she receives and starts to believe that her Christmas pen pal could be her soul mate. It’s not until Christmas Eve that everyone must reveal their true identities to their pen pals, even if it means coming face to face with the last person they ever expected.


Hannah hates Christmas and works in tech. She created and app, has a robot personal assistant, and is going on her tenth date with Jason! Her sister and dad want her to come home to Jackson, Mississippi for the holidays.

Work emergency happens (A graph shows Hannah.) Perfect One app is plummeting in popularity because people don’t want to date on an app and want romance. Her boss tells her to focus on finding the spark and gives her time off work to spend with Jason to get dating ideas. He breaks up with her via email and calls her a robot. Hannah goes through her app and finds more date options, she clearly didn’t care about Jason. Her personal assistant accidentally calls her dad (she wanted to make a date with Chad.) and she get roped into coming home for the holidays.

Her dad’s house doesn’t have internet access, coffee, and most importantly a Marvin. (Her personal robot.) Her dad isn’t dating anyone since their mom died and he still sends cards in the mail (which Hannah is confused by why anyone would do that.)

Hannah goes to the coffee show and orders a Starbuck order and wifi password. They don’t have either and the towner turns out to be Sam, her ex boyfriend.

The town (Well Martha Matchmaker from the post office) is hosting a Christmas cupid. (People are set up and write letters to one another.) Dad and Hannah agree to join. The letters have to be handwritten and include a Pen Name. Pen pals will be revealed at the Christmas Cupid Festival. (Because, well, of course!) Hannah’s pen name is Stardust and her pen pals name is Hutch. (Hutch can’t spell and Hannah is annoyed.)

The town also has events leading up to the Christmas Cupid Festival. The first of which is ice skating. Dad goes off with the mayor and Hannah finds Sam working the hot chocolate stand. Sam says he didn’t sign up and is only there to help. Hannah slips on the ice and is saved by Daniel. (The town doctor from Chicago!) He sends Sam off to go get a bandage and he tells Hannah he has signed up for Christmas Cupid. Could they be pen pals? He patches her up is on his way.

Hannah’s pen pal writes her again and tells her to get a tree and decorate it with her family. She does what the letter says and goes to the Christmas Tree farm. She runs into another handsome man who is town from NYC, could HE be her Christmas Cupid? Only time will tell. Sam ends up helping deliver the tree and stays to help decorate with the family. While they decorate Hannah gets upset when they top the tree (which was her mom’s job.) Hannah cries and says it doesn’t feel right without her. Sam talks to her and tells Hannah that her mom would want her to enjoy Christmas. They also talk about grief and missing someone you love never really goes away.

Martha Matchmaker, from the post office, shows Hannah how successful the Christmas Cupid from 1945. Many couples got married from that event, including Hannah’s grandparents.

Another letter comes with a treasure hunt. It includes a map and Hannah and her sister (LOL) follow it. They find a decorated tree with a box. Like of the movie here as Hannah is opening it:

“Please don’t let someone’s big toe be inside.” hahaha  

It doesn’t have human remains, it is a pair of earrings from a book Hannah loves called “The Christmas Star” she is very touched and quickly writes her reply.

Late at night Hannah spots Sam working on Christmas Cookies in his coffee shop. She helps him and tells him that he should innovate his business and incorporate more tech. He doesn’t want the cafe to lose it’s charm. They talk more generally about tech and then shift over about their love lives. She tells Sam that her pen pal is helping her love Christmas again and promises to bring over her mom’s apple pie.

Sarah, Hannah’s friend from high school  wants to date Sam. Hannah gives her the okay. Hannah thinks that Dr. Daniel is her pen pal and they meet up at a bar, but he gets called away. Hannah hangs out with Sam instead. The stand under the mistletoe at the bar and everyone starts chanting “KISS HER”. They kiss, it is awkward and I’m not feeling this whole scene at all.

(Sarah asks out Sam and he reluctantly says ok.)

Hannah goes to the cafe to drop off the pie. (But really see Sam.) and she finds out Sam is on a date with Sarah. She bumps into the NYC guy and asks him to go out for a drink. Both couples see each other at Winstons (a fancy restaurant.) and end up sitting together. NYC guy and Sarah hit it off and Hannah and Sam go outside to hash things out. She tells him she can’t be around him because he walked out on her when her mom died and she can’t go through that let down again. Well acted scene from both of them.

Hannah’s dad is dating too. He goes out with someone from the mayor’s book club but it doesn’t go well. She opens up to him and tells him that she wants him to get over his heartbreak, but really it is her heartbreak of Sam. He tells her it is okay to move forward and still hold on to the past… but maybe not as tight.

Sam’s coworker talks some sense into him and tells him that he has to tell Hannah that he is in love with her. He has more to tell her. He is her CHRISTMAS CUPID PEN PAL. I’m not sure what Sam’s game plan here was. Why did he lie about partaking and he didn’t know Hannah was his pen pal?

At the Christmas Cupid Festival, Hannah is looking fine as hell in a red dress. Sam shows up to give Hannah a copy of “A Christmas Star” and admit he is her pen pal. Sam overhears Sarah talking about how Hannah really wants Dr. Daniel to be her pen pal and Sam gives up. He gives the book to Dr. Daniel and tells him Hannah is his pen pal. RUINING THE WHOLE EXPERIMENT.

Dad matches with the mayor, the co-worker matches with Spencer, and two kids and I couldn’t be happier.

Dr. Daniel tells Hannah he is her match. He goes to kiss her but she stops him because there is no spark. They talk about their letters and realize that they aren’t each others pen pals. Hannah tells him to go run in and find Sarah (who was sitting all by herself.) but she doesn’t find out where he got the book from.

Hannah goes home and looks through some old letters that Sam wrote her. She realizes that her current pen pal is Sam because he spells things wrong back then too. She writes a new letter and runs to the cafe. Sam is alone eating pie and he reads that she is in love with him.

Sam apologizes and they tell each other that they love one another and they promise to love each other for always. They kiss and get all handsy. That is what I call a spark! (

Side Note

Minority Report: Hannah’s boss, coffee shop co-worker, Sarah’s high school friend, Spencer who likes the girl from the coffee shop.

Everyone in this movie is rude!

Overall rating

🎄 🎄🎄🎄🎄 (5 Christmas Trees)

🍷🍷 (2 glasses of wine required)

*Photo Credit: © 2018 Lifetime

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