Random Acts of Christmas (2019 Lifetime)
Synopsis (via Lifetime)
While uncovering who is behind the random acts of Christmas popping up around her city, investigative journalist, Sydney (Cahill, Hometown Christmas, How I Met Your Mother) meets a competing reporter, Cole (McGarry, When Calls the Heart), who ignites her Christmas spirit and captures her heart.
Chicago is booming with the giving spirit during the holidays. (Elves are giving away free bus passes, and a secret Santa is giving away clothing.) Sydney is a single mother (is there any other kind?) who is a freelance TV news journalist. Her boss wants her to figure out who the Secret Santa is and find out his next move. “Some real investigative Journalism.)
Deidre Hall, aka MARLENA for DAYS OF OUR LIVES is in this movie!!!??? (Hopefully, she isn’t possed by the devil.) Oh wait, it is Jacklyn Smith, who plays Sydney’s mother, who is encouraging and helpful.
While stuck in Chicago gridlock traffic, Sydney notices Santas blocking roads to give away cards that read “Secret Santa” and give away pies/cake. Sydney gets scooped by Andy from the news station but isn’t discouraged. She sees a handsome stranger going into a van and accuses him of being Secret Santa. He burst her bubble but offers her some cake. Cole is also a freelance reporter. (His driver is Patrick Duffy, something is up?!?!)
While playing chess in a mansion with Patrick Duffy, Cole tells him about his mission to remind people what Christmas is really about. Cole is the Secret Santa and is extravagantly plotting Christmas surprises around the city. Sydney inspires him; with a story, she told him about struggling to make Christmas special for her son/ Sydney is unable to get him the hot toy (Skyflier) this year.
Cole puts poinsettia’s on Sydney’s street. She sees the way the Christmas surprises are bringing her block together. She decides to spin the story to be less about who Secret Santa is, but how it affects the citizens of the town. Sydney and Cole hang out all day and make hot chocolate for the neighbors. They decide to be partners to get the story.
Sydney continues to get the storying of people in the town with Cole’s help. (They record on iPads.) As they go around, they talk about Christmas traditions and favorite Christmas songs. He likes “Silent Night,” hers is “Deck the Halls,” and Patrick Duffy likes “Jolly Old St. Nicolas.”
Hauer is the countries leading Christmas decoration, and Cole/Patrick Duffy runs it. (but Patrick Duff, who is lovely in this movie.) He gets a few boxes from work and helps Sydney decorate her house. Sydney is in the holiday spirit now, much to her son’s delight.
Next, Cole takes Sydney to Highland park to eat some “street food.” Sydney notices some Bluetooth speakers around the park. They stake out the joint, eating all the street food, and waiting for Secret Santa to strike again. The music plays, and everyone in the park starts caroling together.
Sydney gets the lead story, and she wants to give Cole credit. He refuses and asks her to think of it as an act of Christmas kindness. Just helping out. Sydney wants to do her random act of Christmas kindness and puts candy canes on people’s car windshields. (It is better than a parking ticket!)
Andy gets a lead on who the real Secret Santa is. Sydney begs him not to release the story, and when his boss sides with Syd, Andy is going to sell the story to someone else. Sydney finds Cole and tells him about Andy. She almost catches him in his lie, but Patrick Duffy covers for him.
They make cookies with Sydney’s mother and son. Cole is falling in love with Sydney and her family. He realizes that he needs to come clean. Cole isn’t even his real name; it is Colin!
His cover is blown by a woman who recognizes Colin from the Black and White ball. Instead of explaining himself to Sydney, he doubles down and lies about the situation. Later, he invites Sydney back to Highland park to tell her the truth. His confession is interrupted when Sydney has to take her son to hockey practice.
Andy’s Secret Santa story is about to break. To get ahead of it, Cole gets in his company helicopter and drops parachute boxes with Christmas messages paired with candy. This negates Andy’s story because if he was interviewing the Secret Santa live as the helicopter gifts were falling, it couldn’t be the REAL Secret Santa. Sydney gets the full-time new position for breaking the story and toppling Andy. (Who accuses her of knowing who Secret Santa is.)
Cole invites Sydney to a romantic dinner. Since Sydney is a reporter, she starts piecing it together. Before the date, she goes to Hauer and sees Cole working there. (She hides behind a Christmas wreath.) She follows him and sees him get in the same car from earlier with Patrick Duffy. Then she trails them to his mansion and rings the doorbell. Sydney is betrayed and angry at Cole for lying to her and undermining her investigative integrity. She storms off, and Andy (who also trailed her) sees the whole thing and takes pictures.
Andy is about to break the story when he is bombarded with Christmas kindness, and his cold heart is thawed. Sydney also breaks a story about the Christmas season. Then we get a slow montage of people hugging? (Haha!)
Patrick Duffy appeals to Sydney to forgive Cole/Colin. He tells her that he didn’t do it out of malice and was just trying to help. Then he gives her the Skyflier gift for her son. Sydney is touched and goes to the mansion to thank Cole/Colin. They didn’t expect to fall in love and kiss. (And it looks like a good one.)
Christmas morning, Oliver is thrilled to get the gift he asked for. Patrick Duffy and Jacklyn Smith might end up together, just like Colin & Sydney. There is one final surprise from Secret Santa; a skywriter writes, “Surrender Dorothy.” (JK, Merry Christmas. It says Merry Christmas.)
Minority Report: News station people Perry & Andy
A true story inspires this movie.
This movie felt very Batman to me.
🎄🎄🎄🎄 (4 Christmas Trees)
🍷🍷🍷 (3 glasses of wine required)
*Photo Credit: © 2019 Lifetime
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