Christmas by Design (2023 Hallmark Movie)


Christmas by Design (2023 Hallmark)

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Cast: Rebecca Dalton, Jonathan Keltz

Director: Max McGuire

Writer: Carley Smale

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Synopsis (via Hallmark)

A fashion designer gets accepted into a Christmas challenge to create a new holiday-themed collection and not only finds the inspiration for her next line but decides to redesign her approach to what’s most important in life. 

Recap/Wine Thoughts

Charlotte is a luxury fashion designer who owns a boutique storefront with a sassy seamstress named Margo. Margo worries about her boss and friend. Charlotte has been spending nights in the sewing room and days in her boutique downstairs. They have to keep the store open for the holidays to ensure they can pay the rent, which is going up. Then, a pipe bursts, forcing a week’s closure. 

While blow-drying garments, Charlotte gets a call about a department store Christmas design challenge. The publicity could make Charlotte the next DONNA KAREN!!!! (Haha, such a random designer name drop.) The challenge would be to design wearable family Christmas apparel, one for an average man and one for an average woman. The winner would receive a partnership with Home and Family, and the line would be carried in stores nationwide. 

To focus and work on the line, Charlotte decides to go home for the holidays. Her mother and stepfather are super jazzed for Charlotte’s return. It is the last year for the “Elfscapades.” As they ramble on and on, Charlotte gets into an accident.

The man is a handsome local hunk named Spencer, who is quick to peg Charlotte as a “City Slicker.” He accuses her of texting and driving but offers to repair her car in his shop. Charlotte apologizes and accepts a ride home before ensuring he isn’t an ex-convict or something. 

The first night of the Elfscapades is at Aunt DeeDee’s diner. It is a town tradition and very popular… but it is ending. Charlotte is upset because it was her father’s idea, and keeping the event going has been a way of honoring his memory. (Even if Charlotte has been too busy to attend since her father died.) Spencer shows up and is apparently the town’s most eligible bachelor. Charlotte asks him to be her male model to help her designs in exchange for helping him with the setups for Elfscapades. Her ex-fiance Evan also shows up; he is the town mayor and broke up with Charlotte right after her dad died. (I kind of think he is hotter, TBH!) 

At the next Elfscapades event, Spencer opens up about being widowed and how relocating to the small town has helped him move on with his life. He wanted to help with the Elfscapades because his wife would have loved the Christmas tradition. Spencer and Charlotte play darts in a bar, and girls flirt with him. He is the “George Clooney” of the town. 

Spencer asks Charlotte about her favorite Christmas memory. It was a Pajam-Boree, where they would dress up in PJs, and her dad would drive the family around in his pickup truck while wearing coveralls. It sparks an idea for the design challenge, his and hers Christmas Pajamas! She gets out her old sewing machine and gets to work.

A designing montage happens, and I’m worried about Charlotte’s vision! 

When Charlotte finds out that Evan is the one who is behind the Elfscapades, she decides she needs to save the town tradition because Evan is a jerk. Spencer even kisses Charlotte to break a tie at a holiday event, beating out Evan. 

Spencer fixes up Charlotte’s dad’s old truck, which moves her. They sit in the truck, listen to music together, and discuss finding love again after such hard losses. Then, they find a pair of Charlotte’s dad’s coveralls. She tells Spencer it is the most meaningful gift she has ever received.

Charlotte talks to Margo on the phone and makes fun of his coveralls before saying he reminds her of her dad, and could be falling in love with him. Spencer only hears the first part of the conversation and ditches Charlotte for a lunch date and then is curt with her when she picks up her car. Charlotte tries to explain, but he tells her that she thinks he is just some small-town mechanic. She accuses him of being afraid to move on from his wife, and he angrily lunges at her, spilling her coffee. 

Misdirecting her anger, Charlottle lashes out at her stepdad and family. They tell her hard truths, and she isn’t ready to hear that she hasn’t dealt with her grief. After a talk with her sister, Charlotte has a lightbulb moment. She also apologizes to her stepdad for being THE WORST! (They even group hug!)

Christmas Coveralls are on the menus for the design challenge. The whole family comes together to get it done the night before the fashion show. Before heading back to the city, Charlotte gives Spencer a pair and thanks him for everything.

We do not actually see the fashion show, which, WHAT?!?!?!?!?!?!??!

Charlotte turns back and apologizes to Spencer, skipping the show. She tells Spencer that she loves him, and he loves her too! Yay! They are both wearing her coveralls, haha.

On the final night of Elfscapades, Charlotte’s family is thrilled she is back, but they are confused: what happened with the fashion show! Charlotte tells them that she would rather be with them for the holiday.

Then, a call comes in from the CEO of the department store. He was so impressed with her designs and the bold move to blow off his event to be with family that he offered her the prize and a one-year partnership. 

Everyone is happy! The end!

Side Note/Stray Thoughts

Screenwriter Carley Smale is very familiar with the TV movie genre. I enjoy her writing. 


Overall rating

Pour it up

Put a Cork in It 

Christmas Feels

🎄🎄🎄🎄 (4 Christmas Trees)

Enjoyment Level: 🍷🍷🍷🍷 (4 glasses of wine.)

What did you think of the movie? Let me know in the comments or on social media @LifetimeUncorked

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*Photo Credit: © 2023 Hallmark


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