Personally, I think that Andrew Walker likes doing Hallmark movies that have to do with maple. I am not a fan of anything maple flavored, but being a fan of his keeps me watching all of the movies he is in. Even if they involve maple.
This one – no different. A Maple Valley Christmas. Lets talk about it.
Maple Valley Farms has been part of Erica’s family for generations. She loves the land and she has big dreams for it. Her family owns the largest maple farm in Montana and no, it’s not their farm that is getting taken over.
Look, so many people, myself included, expected for there to be a hostile takeover for a farm coming and the person that comes in to buy it is the person that they fall in love with. I know way too much about the Hallmark universe and how all of this works. But that’s what I love.
I also admit that I don’t know a lot about the way that Hallmark Movies & Mysteries work and their formula isn’t down to a checklist in my mind. But, that’s part of what I enjoyed about this movie.
That and Andrew Walker.
Not to mention Peyton List. I’d forgotten how much I loved The Tomorrow People, which I may have turned on to watch while writing this.
Ok, so Erica. She lives on the land with her family. Her sister and her husband, and her Mom. She knows how to do all of the work, while her sister has an MBA and can manage all of the finances. This is going to come in handy, because their Mom is ready to retire, leaving the farm to the girls.
Erica and her sister, Heidi, are going to be partners. As if relationships aren’t complicated enough, toss that business aspect in and make it more complicated. Sisters, well, that is just a shit show in itself. But the thing is, most of the time you can come through the other side.
Neither one of them are really weighing all of that though. Both are just living and when the horse disappears one night, Erica goes to look for him and that’s where we get to met Aaron. The handsome stranger who rides her horse back through the woods back to her. The two are immediately taken with each other and find being around each other instantly comfortable.
Now, me here, being devils advocate, it’s probably not the greatest idea to just be comfortable with some stranger in the woods, no matter how well they are dressed. Like serial killers can dress sharp – doesn’t mean you wanna bring one home.
But it’s the movies. I have to remember it’s the movies.
Aaron and Erica have a moment, where she gets swept up and kisses him under the mistletoe. But almost immediately she becomes cold when she finds out that he’s a real estate developer, in town to bid on the property next door.
It’s kinda crazy how these things make me so happy – the tropes. The tropes are everything.
The two of them start spending time together and getting to know each other. They find that things seem to come up easily with them and there isn’t a lot of judgement. Both are inspired by each other and find that the things that are ashamed of or feel bad about, the other person can make better.
But all of that starts to change when Aaron’s Dad shows up and says that they are still building on the property. Aaron is taken aback and is angry with his father. He doesn’t know how to deal with his father and doesn’t know how to tell him that what he’s doing is really making him sad.
Aaron and his father don’t know how to communicate. They seem to only find fault with each other. We learned that Aaron remembered being at the farm when he was a kid and I believe that his father wanted the land because it was a way to be closer to his ex-wife and remember the good. Maybe I am naive and maybe I am stupid, but there is not part of me that doesn’t want to see better.
To believe that people can be better.
The two fight and Aaron quits, not trying to understand his father. In all honesty neither one of them seems to be trying to be understanding. That is where we all fail a lot – trying to open our eyes and our hearts to understanding others. Especially our parents. Aaron’s Dad knows that he’s failed, but he does believe that he has tried his best for his son.
Aaron calling his father out for a memory from childhood – a truck that he had found that he had been told was broken, but it wasn’t. His father had just told the staff to not replace the batteries. It had stuck with him his whole life.
It’s been a long time and his father thought that he didn’t know. He wants things to be good with his son. In his mind everything that he’s done has been for Aaron’s benefit, but he doesn’t take into account that all Aaron really ever wanted was his time.
In one of the sweetest moves Aaron’s Dad leaves a present for him at the front desk. It’s a fire trunk with a note that he put batteries in it. He also listens to his son and rescinds the offer that he had placed on the land, making it available for Erica and her family.
Erica had made many choices out of fear, but when the land becomes available, and her sister and her agree to buy it – there is this realization in Erica’s life that she needs to make emotional choices. So she does just that – inviting Aaron to Christmas. Well, his Dad too, but Aaron not knowing.
There’s a thing to be said for the holidays, bringing people together. Seeing the way that Erica loosens up a bit and allows change to come into her life, but also accepts it in those around hers life is something we waited a long time to see.
Aaron’s Dad embracing Aaron. Erica’s Mom and her new love. Erica giving Aaron a hat.. it just felt like a good Christmas.
Even if it was on a maple farm.
A Maple Valley Christmas airs on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries.