Christmas Unwrapped (2020 Lifetime)
Synopsis (via Lifetime)
From executive producer Tiffany Haddish, Christmas Unwrapped follows Charity (Amber Stevens West), an ambitious reporter, who learns the true meaning of Christmas when she investigates Erik Gallagher (Marco Grazzini), a beloved member of the town who insists all the gifts he provides are from none other than Santa himself. Cheryl Ladd also stars.
Charity Jones wakes up to a house full of decorations put up by her NYC roommate Trish. At a newsstand, Charity meets a man named Erik… who runs a Charity.
Kween Cheryl Ladd is the boss of the Time Square Journal. (Which is confusingly locating in Rockefeller Plaza.)She wants her team to develop an article about Erik Gallarger’s charity, Never Stop Believing. He claims to get toys from Santa and offers “12 days of Christmas” free events for children in the city. Charity is assigned to write the essay because her blog is so successful, and she will have to go to the 12 Christmas events put on by Erik. When she calls to tell her dad, he calls her “Charity Robin Roberts Jones.” (We also learn that Charity’s mother recently passed away. Sad.)
At the FIRST event, ice staking, Charity and Erik laugh about meeting at the newsstand and having to spend the next twelve days together. He asks her to write her Christmas wishes on a piece of paper, and Charity tells him that she doesn’t believe in Christmas magic, so don’t even try it.
Meanwhile, Tisha continues to decorate the house and go on terrible dates. She meets a guy who tells her all about Aliens on the first date.
The NEXT event is at the theater, remember those? Charity and Erik get to know one another better. Erik drops a letter on the floor when he rushes to take a call, and Charity reads it. It is from SANTA and explicitly says to destroy the message after reading. Charity takes a picture of it with her phone. When she shows the image to Boss Cheryl Ladd, the letter is blank. (Christmas Magic?)
To write her article, Charity interviews Erik’s long-time friend, who looks an awful lot like Santa. He tells her just to put herself into the Christmas spirit. The audio doesn’t record because Santa can’t be recorded.
Ornament making happens, and Erik takes Charity for an outdoor picnic. (Is that a thing? We should probably do this in COVID times.) They are so cute. I love these actors and their chemistry. Charity finally gets the nerve to ask him the hard-hitting questions. Where does the money come from? Erik says he fundraises and delivers two million dollars worth of gifts from Kris Kringel and has been working with him since he was twelve. Charity doesn’t believe in Santa and promises to have her fact checker look into that one. He asks her to leave the Santa stuff out of the article.
Charity starts to believe in Christmas magic when she watches an active-duty soldier reunited with her family. The soldier gives Charity a reporter doll that she had always wanted since childhood. Floating on cloud nine, Charity invites Erik and his single father friend Aaron over to decorate their Christmas tree. Tisha and Aaron hit it off. So do Charity and Erik. They almost kiss while on a snowy walk, but Charity wants to keep things professional. Erik doesn’t seem to register what she is saying and asks her to be her date to the Mayor’s Christmas party.
It’s halfway through the movie, and Charity finally starts writing. She sends a draft to Cheryl Ladd and plans the next blog post she has been neglecting. Cheryl Ladd hates the draft and tells Charity to get it together and focus on the cold hard facts. Charity is incredulous at the fact that she only has three days left to rework the story.
Tisha, who turns out to be the fact-checker, learns that Erik was adopted. His rich ass biological parents have been donating the two million dollars to his charity annually. She reworks this into her new article. Cheryl Ladd doesn’t like it again and suggests making it more gossipy to sell magazines or newspapers? Whatever outdated medium. Charity quits on the spot and refuses to put her journalistic integrity on the line. For some reason, she doesn’t tell Erik. Tisha quits in solidarity with her friend. I love her.
It is Christmas Eve; a blizzard is coming… not winter storm Megan… and the article is delayed from hitting newsstands.
At the mayor’s Christmas Gala, Erik and Charity are dressed to the nines. They slow dance, and he asks her out on a real date. Erik almost says he is falling in love with her, and Charity is about to come clean when the mayor interrupts because she is pissed about the article. The article paints Erik in a bad light, and he accuses her of using him to get ahead in her career.
Charity leaves the party and throws her Christmas wish on a fire. She wishes for forgiveness. Charity is comforted by her father, who knows she would never write a fluff piece. They go for a walk and run into a man named Frank and his wife Diane. He is the REAL friend of Erik. Charity realizes she was actually talking to SANTA. She rushes home and writes the true story about Erik on her blog. The post gets 20K view overnight.
It is Christmas Day and Charity heads to Central Park to find Erik. He read her blog and forgives her, exactly what she wished for. They kiss and are falling in love. Santa gives her a gift, it is her childhood letter she wrote with her mother. She also gets a job offer from the New York Times which she accepts. The end!
Minority Report: Charity, Trish, Erik, Martin, Mayor,
🎄🎄🎄🎄(4 Christmas Trees)
🍷🍷🍷 (3 glasses of wine required.)
*Photo Credit: © 2020 Lifetime