When Addie, played by Merritt Patterson, gets a random accidental text message from Maybel (Jayne Eastwood), a journey of adventure, daring, and risk ensues. For example, Maybel, who is honestly the nicest old grandma ever, invites Addie to come to their house for Christmas. Yes, travel from the city to quaint Vermont for Christmas with total strangers. Why go to a strangers house? Obviously because the rest of Addies family is going to Australia for Christmas. Why isn’t she? That’s a great question!
But Alas, Addie finds the courage to go to folksy Vermont and hang out with Mother Maybel of Vermont, who might actually be angelic. I’m waiting for the truth to finally come out. At the home of Grandmama Maybel she meets the charming and ruggedly handsome James (Trevor Donavan). The double take and chemistry starts flowing like warm maple syrup (gross, but did you see what I did there…maple syrup…Vermont…get it?)! Until….the ex-flame enters the picture.
Who could have seen that coming? Don’t start yapping about predictable storylines. There were no expensive loafers worn by total douche boyfriends stepping in cow pies. There isn’t even an inn…And while I swear I heard this storyline on a CrimeJunkies podcast episode…wait, mind blown…what? Hallmark and CrimeJunkies are essentially the same thing…A hapless charming lady trusts a stranger and ends up…I guess that’s where it splits. One plot she ends up dead! The other she ends up in love! And the writers are so good you will never know which until the very very very end of this movie and be left on a cliff until then! Boom Bang!
Fast forward, this movie isn’t just about Christmas. It spans more time than probably all the rest of the 2023 lineup combined. After getting some grub at Maybel’s, Addie goes to Australia at some point, keeps connecting with Maybel, and then Addie’s Dadd-i-o decides to break tradition and go to Australia two years in a row for Christmas!
Meanwhile, I swear this film was filmed in the dead of summer! The lighting is not winter lighting. C’mon lighting people, whatever you are called, pick up your game…And yes, my intuition was correct. The film was filmed in Toronto, Canada from May 15-June 1. That’s a heck of a turnaround for a masterpiece like this…
Christmas Season #2 – Addie goes back to Vermont. And, right when I was thinking about how this plot was different, I realized it did contain an inn, the Hartford Inn, which throws this whole analysis in the blender.
Christmas Season #3 – Addie takes a huge risk and heads to Meemaw Maybel’s neck of the woods for her 3rd straight Christmas, but when the inn screws everything up on the reservation Addie goes to Plan B and stays with Nana M and reconnects with James. And…there may be a ring involved, which means engagement, and….love.
But when Addie plans to move to Australia and James to Jamaica what will ensue. This nail biting drama keeps you guessing. Will Addie hopelessly venture to the train station and to the land beyond on the rail beast? Will they have second thoughts and reconnect right before the final credits, kiss, declare love, and change all of their plans? This isn’t a Hallmark folks….and I’m not going to give out any spoilers.