Holiday High School Reunion/Christmas Crush (2011, dir. Marita Grabiak)

What can I say? A mad horny cast of thirty-year-old twenty-somethings, including Jonathan Bennett AKA the love interest from A Dogwalker’s Christmas Tale not Tail AKA Aaron Samuels from Mean Girls? This film really is something. Not something good, but something!

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My Dad is Scrooge (2014, dir. Justin G. Dyck)

Retelling A Christmas Carol is so common a TV movie trope that this particular retelling has a production of A Christmas Carol within the film. It’s a village play performed by the kids (some of which piss on the stage), directed by Heather, who is separated from meany businessman E.B. In case this isn’t clear, he is the Scrooge insert (non pissing edition).

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Christmas Do-Over (2006, dir. Catherine Cyran)

Don’t let protagonist Kevin conjure up comparisons with Home Alone. Kevin McAllister learns to appreciate his loved ones; this Kevin learns to cheat his. He’s an out-and-out wrong’un, the kind of guy who buys gifts last minute whilst grabbing store employees roughly. He’s also got a kindof Logan Paul, arrested development look which is not endearing me.

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Snowmance (2017, dir. Douglas Mitchell)

This film is the height of escapism- not because Sarah’s “dream man” snowman comes to life, but because in the world of Snowmance, print media is alive and well to the extent that you can make a good living off regional journalism! Penniless artists live in beautiful modern-build flats, without five flatmates! If I describe my perfect house, can the magical snow of Minneapolis bring that to life too?

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Baby in a Manger (2019, dir. Justin G Dyck)

Now why isn’t this film called A Babe in a Manger? Mark my words, the moment I get asked to write punch-up for a seasonal movie there will be marked improvement across the titles.

So the local nativity is interrupted by the presence of an actual abandoned baby, placed in the manger during a powercut- but the show’s already pretty weird from the off. We’ve got a dog playing a donkey, a *checks note* witch, I think? There’s canned laughter which makes me wonder 1) what nativity is this funny and 2) where a church got a laugh track from. All this scene-setting and the surprise baby is probably the most actual Nativity thing to happen. Oh, and the NYPD storm the stage before the Virgin Mary whips out her Child Protection Services badge.

You get him, Mary.

What follows is an incredibly eked-out Christmas Eve as CPS Mary (who is called Alison) and NYPD stage-raider Brock Clayton (we get it, you’re very manly) looking after baby Joy (yes, even man’s man Brock Clayton has time for childcare. A surprisingly progressive statement) and not trying very hard to track down her birth parents.

All we know is that “it’s possible this baby was found in a stolen car” which if you ask me sounds like this is a pretty cool rule-breaking baby. Is Joy short for Joyrider?

Sadly, no. This is not Baby Driver (though it would’ve been far more literal). On meeting Joy’s teenaged birth mother, Baby in a Manger nosedives into full-on Lifetime movie drama. All issues, no real plot progression. It puts this cool grand theft auto baby to shame.

Rating: Ho/HoHoHo

My Christmas Love (2016, dir. Jeff Fisher)

I was so underwhelmed by A Gift-Wrapped Christmas but something any Search Party fan could tell you is how watchable Meredith Hagner is, hence her second chance at a seasonal lead. Rather than playing a personal shopper with incredible insight into people’s characters, here Hagner plays a children’s author with incredible insight into people’s characters. The range!

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The Knight Before Christmas (2019, dir. Monika Mitchell)

This wily film popped up on Netflix between The Princess Switch (2018) and The Princess Switch: Switched Again (2020), tricking plenty of innocent fans of Vanessa Hudgens-fronted Christmas flicks. Be warned, this is not of the same calibre. For more of the good stuff, why not check out my video on the duo of Princess Switch films?

Look, I spent far too long badly editing it, I’m not going to not plug it.

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