After the year(s) we’ve all had, I think it’s time to bring back the dopamine-inducing fun of the Holiday Series! Wherever you find yourself, it’s time to cozy up in your favorite sweater or under your softest blanket, get yourself something sweet to nibble on, and spend some time believing in the magic of the holidays.
Desperate to avoid his family’s judgment about his perpetual single status, Peter convinces his best friend Nick to join him for the holidays and pretend that they’re now in a relationship.
What’s Actually Going On In Santa’s Workshop:
Peter is very unlucky in love, but unfortunately he already told his family he was bringing home a surprise before he found out his boyfriend had a wife. So he convinces his roommate/BFF/orphan, Nick, to join him for a proper New England Christmas and be his fake hunny so his family won’t be all up in his love life. This lasts about 2 seconds into the visit when Peter’s mom, heretofore known as Christmas Carole, tells him about the hot new gay fitness instructor at her gym, and Nick, an excellent wing-man, tells her Peter would LOVE to meet him.
James and Peter have an instant connection, but Peter’s nieces (and his dad!) feel like they see sparks between the long-time friends, and so they set about trying to get Nick to admit to his feelings for Peter before Peter falls in love with someone else.
Naughty or Nice List:
Longtime fans may know Michael from Ugly Betty but he’s not familiar to me. He is, however, believable and adorable as Peter, a man who loves plants, his meddling family, and his BFF, and can’t seem to trust his own instincts because he’s been burned too many times.
Philemon is relative new to acting as this seems to be only his second film credit. Nick wrote a children’s book about his dog and while he’s waiting for inspiration to strike he takes on odd jobs. The one complaint I have about this movie is that while it’s obvious Nick and Peter are end-game, Nick actually spends more time with Peter’s family throughout the movie than he does WITH Peter. I do appreciate the moments of him falling in love with them and vice versa, showing how perfect he could fit in, but I could’ve used more smolder between the friends.
I have loved Luke since he was on Brothers & Sisters and DAMN, man, where were you hiding those guns?? Honestly, Peter had a WEALTH of sexy options in front of him, and I appreciated that James wasn’t portrayed as the villain for daring to like Peter, too. Again, my biggest gripe is that James and Peter spent a lot of scenes together, more so than Peter and Nick, and I feel like we invested a lot of mental energy on a relationship that wasn’t meant to be.
Jennifer might have just been playing herself—who’s to say—but I loved her former off-Broadway Aunt Sandy who wears tree ornaments as earrings (they looked good! Carole should’ve let her keep them) and who may also be the town drunk yet is somehow allowed to host the nativity play.
Verdict: Naughty because she would never want to be called Nice
Kathy goes from Halloween witch to plays Christmas Carole, Peter’s arts-and-crafty mom who seems like she’d be a blast to hang out with in December. I like your so-ugly-it’s-cute white tree, Carole!
I love seeing some Schitt’s Creek alum popping up in more places! Lisa is Peter’s high-strung sister and, like her role as Jocelyn, there’s something about Jennifer that makes me smile. I was cracking up as she manically explained the family’s silly tradition of wrapping their gifts all in the same house as Nick tried to slowly back away.
Oh, (it’s) Brad! Peter’s dad, Harold, loves Nick and his handy-man ways, and secretly wishes his son would figure it out too. And, yes, I’ll admit I giggled over the stupid HGTV joke.
Verdict: Nice (what can I say, I liked the whole fictional family)
Sleigh-Sharing Capability: Giddy-Up, Let’s Go
Tell all your friends! Get a drinking game going! This is actually one of the better made-for-TV Christmas romances I’ve seen lately. Nothing about the plot was so egregiously bad that you would be ashamed to admit you watched it. Plus, I am all about supporting more Christmas romances that are featuring same sex couples and diverse leads so The Powers That Be know we ARE watching them and WANT to see more of them.
Recommended Level of Inebriation: That Random Bottle Of Wine Aunt Sandy Brought Over
Look, you don’t need to be picky when it’s free wine. Just grab a few glasses and if you get silly enough to try to follow along with the choreographed dance routine Peter does with his nieces to Britney Spear’s “My Only Wish (This Year)”, well, Christmas isn’t a time to judge.
Did It Get Me In The Christmas Spirit?: Yes!
What’s not to love? Jennifer Coolidge narrating a nativity play and then firing all the children and performing all the roles herself? Festive AND ridiculous. Nick pulling a Clark Griswold and adding so many lights to the house? Come do my house! The snow-plow dude being a secret songwriter who only writes a thematic song once every December? It was actually kinda catchy!