Like Charlie, in Christmas by Design, I don’t ever want to leave Manhattan for Christmas. There is something special about the city, especially around the holidays. But sometimes you need to leave the city.
Sometimes the city tells you that you need to leave and take space.
For Charlotte, she doesn’t want to leave, but circumstances make it possible for her to leave the city. And hey, for her, that means going home. She hasn’t been home for few years for Christmas. After all, going home means that she’ll have to face her memories.
And for her that’s the regret over her father and not being there when he died. However, sometimes facing your past is what you need to move forward. Lets dive in.
WHAT IT’S ABOUT: Luxury fashion designer, Charlotte (Dalton), tirelessly works to make a name for herself from her New York City boutique, Alastair. So, she’s over the moon when she learns she’s been selected to participate in a design competition for the renowned Warwick’s department store. The assignment – to create a Christmas-themed collection for their home & family brand. There’s just one problem: Charlotte is just not that into Christmas and she can barely remember the last time she put aside her work long enough to enjoy some quality time with her family. When a pipe suddenly bursts in her apartment, she decides to take it as an omen and returns home for a family Christmas that she hopes will quickly inspire her next design. Charlotte arrives just in time to be thrown into the town’s annual 12-days-of-Elfcapades event, where she meets a handsome mechanic, Spencer (Keltz), who helps run the festivities. Despite a rocky first impression the two form a deep connection, giving Charlotte the creative spark she so desperately needs to inspire a new Christmas design… one that is completely different from anything she’s done before.
WHAT IT’S GIVING: Forgiveness. Forgiving ones self, others, and forgiving the past. It’s a lot, but it’s delivered so beautifully that you can’t even help but not notice all of it until it’s over. And then – when it’s over – you want to forgive everyone and everything.
STANDOUT PERFORMANCE: Jonathan Keltz. Even I was like Spencer, I can fall in love with you and want to spend all the time in the world with you too.
MY GRINCH-ISH THOUGHTS: Water leaks are everywhere in New York – I have experienced way too many living in the city. Hell, I have lived a long time without gas in an apartment, water going off, all sorts of things. It’s never been fun, but just a part of life.
So when Charlie’s boutique has a water leak, I am not shocked. As a matter of fact, I expected something bad to happen. I loved that her assistant encouraged her to go home.
Going home is always interesting in these movies, because it allows the characters to come face to face with what they’ve been missing and neglecting. Sometimes that’s hard to watch and see because as a person grows it is always interesting to see how they are around their family.
And how their family misses them.
While I would be interested to see it be a person go from a small town back to a big city, I will always love going from the big city to a small town. A small town where traditions matter. Going home for Charlie going home means the 12-days-of-Elfcapades. It’s a tradition that her father started and one that she finds out is ending.
But we’ll get there.
She meets Spencer when she arrives back in town, by accidentally hitting his car. He’s the local mechanic and quite frankly, really nice. He’s not like lets exchange insurance – he offers to fix her car for her. I mean, I don’t know about you all, but I am wondering where I can find someone that kind. Most people I come across are like all about the money.
But like Charlie, Spencer is running from something. He wants to fade into the background and here’s where we starting getting into what seems so simple, but we know is complicated. Feelings. Feelings are really complicated.
I know that we’re only in the second weekend of Countdown to Christmas, but I have to say that Hallmark is pleasantly surprising me. Everything feels different and as if they are really trying their best to stick with their formula, but also bust out of it. It’s a double edged sword, in a way. There are so many thing would love them forever to stay with what they know, and the actors that they are familiar with. But Hallmark is advancing and they are making sure that they have longevity, which is something that I respect.
While I didn’t expect Spencer and Charlie to start spending so much time together so she could be his buffer and he could be her mannequin, I went with it. They were able to inspire each other and drive each other forward. Granted, it wasn’t in the ways that one would always think – but I loved every moment.
I especially loved it, because it was the way that they drove each other forward that made them believable. It was strange, because I believed that these two – even though it had only been a week – I believed that these two really could love each other. That a week was plenty of time for them to find a forever love that made sense.
But what I love that Hallmark did (and has done so well over time) is that they gave these characters the space to grow and confront the past while moving forward with a future. It’s not something that shows or movies always do well.
Yet, in Christmas by Design, Charlie and Spencer are able to do this. They are able to understand the meaning of love, happiness, and community. They are reminded to live and not just exist.
And there’s nothing bad about that.
Christmas Cheer Factor: 🎄🎄🎄🎄