** A Dream of Christmas

Hallmark Channel,

Nikki Deloach, Andrew W. Walker, Paul Essiembre, Stephanie Moroz, John B. Lowe, Jackson Blake, Zoe Fish, Ernie Pitts, Susanna Portnoy, Tom Young, Cindy Williams


Penny (Nikki Deloach) is a frazzled young wife who is working at an Advertising agency. Her husband is a wildlife photographer who travels, and her Sister, Brother-in-law, and their children live with her. She had big plans to be an executive, but her hectic life is squashing her. While waiting in line to let her niece visit Santa, she doesn’t notice the nice old lady behind her when she says “I wish I had never married.” Turns out the lady is a Christmas Angel (Cindy WIlliams) and she grants her wish. Penny wakes up as the advertising exec she always wanted to be while her former husband is nowhere to be seen. Be careful what you wish for, though, as wishes work only one direction.

This Hallmark 2016 premier movie is another “What if I made a different choice in my life?” style movie. There are a dime a dozen. Nikki Deloach was actually very good in this role and very likeable. This is really her movie all the way. This isn’t the most spectacular film of the season, but it’s not too bad. I do like the alternate reality type stuff though, and I have to say I did enjoy this movie. I’m only into early December, and I’m getting all Christmased out with all these films every day, but it’s something I look forward to each year. That’s why I guess I’m on my seventh year of reviewing these. It helps to know a little about what you’re in for when you choose one of these, especially if you schedule won’t allow you to watch all of them. This one is not bad, and well worth enjoying for a little bit of Christmas cheer.

Here is the Hallmark Channel web page for this film.

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** Journey Back to Christmas

Hallmark Channel,

Mary Ashton, Kyle Buchanan, Candace Cameron Bure, Christianna Dupas, Meghan Heffern, Oliver Hudson, Adam Hurtig, Michael Kaplan, Doug Murray, Brooke Nevin, Claire Rankin, Tom Skerritt, Gwynyth Walsh


Nurse Hanna (Candace Cameros Bure) works in a little hospital in a small town. She is spending her first Christmas without her husband in 1946 when he was lost in France in World War II. She is feeling really down, spending Christmas all alone. She finds a stray dog and heads out on a stormy night to return him to his owner, when she gets stuck and takes refuge in a small shed. When she awakens she is in 2016 and has traveled forward in time. Lost and confused, she is picked up the local police, but rather than locking her up, Jake (Oliver Hudson), one of the cops, decides to take her home to his Mother’s home to figure it out. It’s up to him, since no one else trusts her, to help her learn the truth about what happened to her in this Hallmark Christmas Mystery film premiering in 2016

Candace is one of the staples, dare I say the Queen, of Hallmark Christmas movies. I look forward to her entry every year. The last several years they have been very good. This year I was just a tiny bit disappointed. It just didn’t quite resonate the season as much as the others. The time travel thing is very, very well done, and the mystery of who and what and how, is very well done, and don’t get me wrong, this is an excellent film. It’s just that widow Hanna in 2016 is just not as heartwarming as her characters usually are. Oliver Hudson is good as the very nice guy little town policeman, and Jiminy Cricket for Hanna. The setting is very festive, and the small town setting is perfvect for a Christmas Story. This is a winner, and a very strong contender for the best of the 2016 class of Holiday Films. Watch for this one.

Click Here for the Hallmark Channel page for this film.

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** The Spirit of Christmas

MarVista Entertainment, Lifetime, Monarch Home Video,

Jen Lilley, Kati Salowsky, Robert Walsh, Joanna Herrington, Thomas Beaudoin, Bates Wilder



It’s nearly Christmas, and Kate Jordan (Jen Lilley) is sent to Vermont to arrange for the sale of an Inn that was left to a charity, so it needs to be sold as quickly as possible. But when she arrives, she finds that the Inn is closed for 13 days every December due to the understanding that the Inn is haunted. She doesn’t believe it so she lets herself in when she finds out that Daniel (Thomas Beaudoin) has been appearing every December for nearly 100 years in what appears to be a curse. After 13 days he is gone until the next December. Not only is he very handsome, but Kate is really anxious to solve the mystery of why Daniel keeps returning every year, and she wants to find a way to break the spell in this 2015 Lifetime Mystery Christmas Movie.

This is an unusual Christmas mystery, and though it can get a little corny at times, it was still a decent mystery. This pair really want to get to the bottom of the curse that Daniel is caught up in and finally get to the truth. The acting is quite passible for a made for TV movie, and since I really didn’t know the actors very well, it was a pleasure to get to know them. The snowy Vermont location was quite pretty, even though it was filmed in Massachusetts, that’s close enough. Essentially it’s very unique for one of these Christmas movies on TV, and that in itself makes it worthwhile. It’s also easy to find as it’s streaming on Netflix. It’s not that powerful of a story, but it is definitely a head scratcher and is well worth the time spent to see something very different.

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** Magic Stocking

Annuit Coeptis Entertainment II,

Bridget Regan, Victor Webster, Iris Quinn< Imogen Tear, Fred Henderson


A widowed Mom, Lindsey (Bridget Regan) is raising her little girl Hanneh (Imogen Tear) and thinks she is ready to try to ease into Christmas decorating again for her daughter’s sake after the sudden accidental car crash that took her husband. Heading out to get some decorations, her daughter is given an old stocking to add to her decorations. Hannah thinks it is a magic stocking because it occasionally falls off the hanger and produces little trinkets that seem to have significance to the different members of the family. Hannah has her heart set on a dog for Christmas, and when one shows up, she thinks its not an accident, but when the owner shows up she has to return it. Everyone is hoping for a Christmas miracle though to set them back on the right path.

This is a cute little Christmas film;. It was new last year (2015) from Hallmark, and is a really nice story. It’s got sad parts, especially when we learn how Lindsey’s husband died. There are double romances in this film, as Lindsay’s Mom and Mayor Fred who are real life husband and wife, Fred Henderson and Iris Quinn have a fun relationship, and Lindsay meets a cute handyman type Scott (Victor Webster) who tries to figure out how to help Lindsey through this. There are lots of family values here, and being a single Mom isn’t easy, especially around the holidays. I was delighted when this came on and stayed up into the wee hours watching it to see how it came out. This is a worthwhile story.

Here is the Hallmark Channel page for this movie.

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** Family for Christmas

Christmas Wish Productions,

Lacey Chabert, Tyron Leitso, Milli Wilkinson, Audrey Smallman, Brittney Wilson, Keith MacKechnie


Hannah Dunbar (Lacey Chabert) is a celebrated news reporter in New York who has received many awards for her good work. But when a sudden Facebook friend request pops up from Ben (Tyron Leitso) it gets her to pondering over what life would be like if she had married him 10 years ago instead of choosing her career instead. When Santa (Keith MacKechnie) shows up, she denies that she has a Christmas wish, but the thoughts in her mind are strong enough to find her waking up with a husband and two daughters. Chaos ensues as she finds out what her life could have been.

This is a 2015 Hallmark premier that somehow I missed last season. It is making the rounds again, no doubt because of the talent that Lacey Chabert brings to the film. Now this is a very common theme from Christmas films going back more than half a century. This is a lot like Family Man, and even A Wonderful Life. We’ve all sat and pondered over the big (and little) what if’s of our lives, and this is a common human activity to ponder the differences a single choice can make in your life. I think my very favorite of these films is “Comfort and Joy” with Nancy McKeon and one of those I have watched over and over again each year. But this is a little bit different than the rest, and does have a surprise or two. A freak accident allows her to pick up the microphone and throws a wrench into her alternate life. The great performances, and the charming little girls make it a lot of fun. Feminists absolutely hate this kind of movie as it shows the benefits of motherhood and family, and they hate that. But don’t let that stop you. Christmastime is a time when we get to put away the hectic, “I can be everything at once – I can have it all” attitude and relax a little a remember how life used to be before we were all so involved with the day to day stuff that we didn’t have time to wonder “what if”. I found this to be a pretty decent little movie.

Here is the web page for this Hallmark film.

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