Trading Christmas (2011)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Until Hallmark channel paid notice, authors whose works were considered Christian – or at least moral stories, rarely got much exposure in the world of film, on the small screen or the silver. A pair of movies, already a success and to their credit based on Debbie Macomber’s novels have already been made prompting Hallmark to again bring another of her novels to their holiday line-up.

Christmas re-opens many happy and not-so-happy memories for Emily (Faith Ford). A widow with a college age daughter, both she and Heather still enjoy every special holiday tradition three years later. Or that is what Emily thought. Emily’s spirits are high with the impending arrival of her daughter as she decorates the house and purchases the supplies they’ll need for holiday baking but instead of welcoming Heather home, the girl confesses that she would rather make her own plans… just this once. Impulsively she agrees to a house swap to be with her daughter, travelling to Boston to swap homes with a college professor, Charles (Tom Cavanaugh) who is in desperate need of peace and quiet to finish his current novel. To further complicate matters, Emily’s friend Faith (Gabrielle Miller) decides to pay her a surprise visit only to be surprised to find a stranger – Charles, in her best friend’s house!

Despite my hysterical giggles and admittance that Christmas movies seem no better than recycled plots and sub-par acting, each year, I eagerly type titles into the Amazon search bar hoping that there will be a slew of them on DVD. Usually each year, I am rewarded. No shortage on Christmas cheer is skimped on in this sweet, heartwarming tale. From Emily’s over-decked-out house (talk about overkill!) to the city streets, everything sparkles with hometown memories and the shininess of new holiday traditions. It promotes family but also explores the idea that there is a time for change and even when it hurts, there is healing in it.

Borrowing a page (or maybe, an entire playbook?) from the charming Nancy Meyers film, The Holiday, this script is not nearly as witty but it also is one of the better ones for television. The characters are fun-loving, most especially Faith whose a wonderful source of comedy as she refuses to take “no” for an answer and her determination to make the best out of an… awkward situation is endearing. There’s sweetness to the story that is MIA in too many films, one that almost makes one think back to the age of film that didn’t have high-tech gadgets or cool effects. Everyone learns what they need to and some of the protagonists even realize that letting go of one’s past can sometimes be a painful but rewarding experience. It’s one in which everyone winds up being gifted with a happy ending that may not makes its point to all viewers but keep in mind, where families cannot indulge in the charms of The Holiday, they certainly can in this scenario.

(Parental concerns: Aside from a handful of kisses between unmarried couples [a couple of which are “passion” fueled] and implications that a college girl may be sharing a room with her boyfriend [they stay in the same house], there is little to no content.)


  1. I thought this was definitely one of the better ones Hallmark aired last Christmas. I recorded it if that if is any indication =) It was a sweet film to be sure

    1. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE Hallmark flicks, Ella but I feel like some of their best were two or three years ago and before that, and they've not been up to the same quality. HHofF is still lovely and I also liked 'Princess for Christmas' (Hallmark Channel) last year. This is one of my fave so far... there are a few more I'll be seeing yet.

      Gotta' love warm and fuzzy Christmas flicks. :D

  2. Another movie my mum would like. She and my brother like these kinds much more then me, but once Christmas hits I usually end up joining them.

    1. I can admit that these movies are not up to standards of what we get on the big-screen but they make me smile and usually offer heartfelt messages that are lessons well learned. Hope your mother and brother enjoy this one, Jack. :)

  3. My mom and sisters and I watch Hallmark movies every winter (our favorite is the Christmas Card which we own on DVD and watched at least twice last Christmas time). Three of my sisters are younger than 16 and I was uncomfortable watching this with them-my sensitiveness heightens when they watch stuff; I don't think my mom was happy with it either-we are used to squeaky clean Hallmark. We did enjoy Charles and Faith's relationship-but I believe it was implied that they slept together. There was another uncomfortable for Hallmark movie I watched last year too.
    My mom and sisters now have an almost Christmas Card love Hallmark Thanksgiving one-it is set in Chicago and revolving around the Thanksgiving day parade. The main girl dresses retro all the time. It is new to this year I believe-it is pretty cute.

    1. I agree with you, Livia - The Christmas Card is one of my very faves. :)

      Yes, I could see where some viewers may draw the conclusion that Faith and Charles had spent the night together but... I don't think they did. More implications lie with the scenes between Emily and her love interest - especially when they are making out and stop only when she is interrupted by her daughter. That's just what I took away from the movie though. :) The writing for these movies has gotten a bit "freer" but they are still wholesome family movies and because of that, they should be enjoyed by anyone looking for alternative entertainment.

      Oooh! Yes, I read about the Thanksgiving movie - it did sound and look adorable. Love vintage things. Glad to know it's good. :)

      Glad you dropped by, Livia!


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