Christmas Made to Order
Stars: Alexa PenaVega and Jonathan Bennett.
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Synopsis (via Hallmark)
When architect and Christmas amateur Steven finds himself hosting his family for Christmas, he recruits holiday coordinator Gretchen (PenaVega) to bring holiday joy to his home. Gretchen’s expert Christmas spirit brings Steven’s family together, but neither expected it to bring them closer to each other. After a great opportunity presents itself to Gretchen, she and Steven must decide what’s really important in life.
Steve drinks too much coffee and works in advertising or… omg whatever, whocares. Gretchen (The Mean Girls irony isn’t lost on me here.) decorates the building for Christmas, her job is a holiday decorating. She accidentally spills (more like throws) fake snow on Steven. He needs more holiday cheer and she tries to tell him but he is such a krumudgen. His sister and niece invite themselves and his whole family over to his place in Salt Lake for Christmas. Since he doesn’t have any decorations he has to resort to hiring… GRETCHEN! (Via her Holidays Made to Order Business.)
Gretchen comes over to and gets to work, she has the place decked out. (Including a bowl full of peppermints.) If this is her successful business count me out. Lots of garland, wreaths and too many colored lights. She is still there when his family arrives and gets the full introduction. The family bartes Steve with questions. Where is the tree, what Christmas activities can they do, where is the food? He asks Gretchen to pimp herself out and help him babysit his family, he even asks her to name her price. He promises to tell his boss to hire her to decorate all the buildings his company owns. The family is like WTF! We came her to hang with our son, not some stranger. Steven has got to work though.
They go pick out a Christmas tree and the family assumes that Steve and Gretchen are dating. They also give a lot of exposition, you know what families are for. Lucky us, the neice can sing. (She is keeping it a secret from her family, they want her to be a doctor.) Next they decorate the tree together. (Steven has to bow out to work and his family shames him for it.)
After a long hard day of entertaining Steven family, Gretchen’s car breaks down and he gives her a ride home. He is surprised to see her place isn’t decorated. She, like him, is too busy working to spend time for herself and the ones she loves. (Too bad both her parents are dead.)
Cookie decorating happens and flirting happens. When Steve rejects a work call everyone in the family stops what they are doing and he makes a cookie joke. His jokes are terrible.
The family goes to see to see carolers and the niece, Paige, has to jump in and steals the show. Everyone tells her that she has an amazing voice. She is going to get into Yale now! Paige is worried to tell her parents that she quit volleyball to join the chorus, they will be so disappointed.
Steve’s pitch at work doesn’t go well and it is back to the drawing board. He is spending so much time with his family that his job is suffering. He isn’t even sure if he want to be an architect. He talks to Gretchen and shares his feelings they almost kiss but get interrupted. Steven stays up late to work and his mom makes him hot cocoa and bullies him into asking Gretchen on a date. Even though it would be inappropriate. (Nevermind they already almost kissed.)
The family goes to a toy drive. They hand make stockings. Paige comes clean about her singing aspirations and you’d think her dad told her she was addicted to heroin or something. Seriously what the hell is wrong with this dad.
To pay Gretchen back for everything she has done. Steve and Paige decorate her house while she is at work at another part time job. She comes home from being offered a full time position and finds her house decorated and is extremely touched.
Steve pitches a seasonal wonderland and the investors are sold. They hire the cooperation and his boss is thrilled, she is going to put in a good word with the board. Steve asks her to hire Gretchen and she agrees to take a meeting with her. Steve tells Gretchen to be herself and she will do great.
In the meeting Gretchen shows pictures of all the holiday events she has decorated. The boss offers her an in house position and Gretchen turns her down. She wants Holidays Made to Order or NOTHING. The boss tells Steve that Gretchen turned her down and it wasn’t the right fit. He chases after her to see what happened and she tells him that she wouldn’t be running her own business. He tells her to go with a secure job and she tells him that he doesn’t follow his dreams. He offers to double her salary and she is like, “Am I just an employee to you? I’ll send you an invoice” and storms off.
I started looking at my phone toward the end and missed some stuff. The family shows up at Gretchen’s aunts house or hotel or whatever. They tell her she is part of their family. Steve shows up with a business card. They both quit their day jobs and are starting their own businesses. Steven tells Grethen that he is in love with her and they kiss by the Christmas tree. They family applauds as they walk to the table.
Really happy an openly gay actor like Jonathan Bennett has found a home on Hallmark. (Playing straight leading men roles, nonetheless!)
Minority Report: Jo Marie Payton is relegated to the typical boss role… Alexa PenaVega playing a white role, and Nolan her assistant.
LOL at Carlos PenaVega is portrayed as Gretchen’s ex. They are married in real life and it is bad juju.
This one was quite the chore to get through.
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*Photo Credit: © 2018 Crown Media United States, LLC