CHRISTMAS MOVIE REVIEW 2016 – DAY 1: A Heavenly Christmas

It’s that time of year. Christmas is three weeks away, but the days will move faster and faster until we’ll wonder where the time went. I’ve been impatiently waiting until December 1, so I could share my movie reviews.  I started watching Christmas movies a couple of weeks ago, to the point of scaring my husband away. He declared he is boycotting Christmas movies this year due to my overdosing.

We shall see.

(It’s possible I did overdo binge-watching Hallmark’s Christmas in July this summer, but it was refreshing.)
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For my first review, I chose A Heavenly Christmas from Hallmark, 2016, written by Gregg McBride, with actors and actresses I’ve always enjoyed.

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The story takes place in Chicago, and the cast includes Kristin Davis from Sex and The City as Eve;  Eric McCormick from Will & Grace as Max, and Shirley MacLaine from (most recently for me) – Downton Abbey as Pearl, so what could go wrong?

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She did spice it up.

It doesn’t. This movie had both fun and touching moments. Eve is nice even when  operating as “The Poacher” – the nickname her colleagues use behind her back. But her drive to succeed lands her in trouble from the moment we meet her.  Her scraggly cat’s name is Forbes, and is the only thing that looks amiss in her otherwise perfect apartment.

When she meets Max as they both vie for the same taxi, but end up sharing, she doesn’t give him a second thought. Her selfishness costs him a music gig that is a first step for him in healing the loss of his sister, with whom he shared musical talents.

We are quickly introduced to his adorable eight year old niece, Lauren, who now lives with him per the wishes of his sister and her husband who also died in a car accident. The husband’s in-laws believe it would be better for Lauren to live with them in Florida than stay with Max, who runs a local diner.

Without giving away too much of the plot, an unfortunate accident lands Eve in heaven with her childhood cat. She is soon mentored by Pearl who explains the “rules”.

Eve’s first assignment is to go back to Chicago and make Max happy without becoming attached to him – or Lauren. Though she doesn’t know how, she needs to help him find his music again.

One good thing for Eve is that she can eat whatever she likes and not gain a pound. She also gains a new perspective as she realizes the impact of her absence on her loved ones, whom she’s not made enough time for, her high-rise neighbors, and her co-workers. She cannot believe she was called “the Poacher” in her driven quest to succeed.

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This is against the rules. Pearl is not happy.

But Eve does become involved, which clouds her ability to help Max. Only when Max is ready to give up and let Lauren go because he has no faith in himself, does Eve realize what she has to do.  (And yes, watch for the final twists.)

This movie was very well done and the attention given to detail showed. All the set-ups were neatly paid off.

The movie lived up to my expectations of the cast.  A sweet and lovely way to kick off the Christmas season earned this movie five of five candy canes.  (What can I say, there are not one but two cats in this tale.)  ♥♥♥♥♥

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Christmas Movie Review – Day 3

I can’t help it.

For Day 3 of my Christmas Movie Countdown, it’s back to the The Holiday Yule Log – with Happy the cat and Happy the dog.   Hallmark, of course, 2007.  The original version dates back to 1966.

The Yule Log for Thanksgiving

Warning:  It’s three (3!) hours of nothing but a burning Yule log, Christmas music, and watching the dog and cat bliss out by the fire, or maneuver with each other for the best spot (the cat always wins).  Continue reading

Christmas Movie Review – Day 1

Countdown to Christmas Movies – Day 1.

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Since I’m specializing in writing Christmas family movies, I’m thrilled the calendar has flipped over to December so I can unabashedly watch all the Christmas movies I want, grinning as I go from one to the next. My husband is willing (and I think secretly happy) to go along for the ride, unless he realizes he’s watching one he already saw.

I’m simply going to share my impressions.  Continue reading

A Little Yule History

Yule log

What does “Yule” really mean?

From the BlogDictionary.com:

The lyric from “Deck the Halls” goes “Troll the ancient yuletide carol.” Amidst all the fa-la-la-ing, did you ever ask yourself exactly what yuletide is?

Yule is the ancient name in the Germanic lunar calendar for a winter festival corresponding to December and January. Later, yule referred to the twelve-day holiday associated with the Feast of the Nativity after the widespread adoption of Christianity through Northern Europe. The word has Gothic origins, but English speakers are most familiar with yule through associations dating to its original use. For example, the yule log, as in the lyric “See the blazing yule before us,” was originally a real tree limb or trunk, but now makes an appearance at Christmastime as a cake shaped like a log.

Yule also carries associations with a farm animal. The Yule Goat carried Father Christmas on his back and is a symbol of Christmas throughout Scandinavian countries. The Yule Goat may have associations tracing back to Norse mythology. The now-famous comic book god Thor rode in a chariot pulled by two goats that could also be eaten and magically regenerate into living creatures again.

Most Americans associate yuletide with singing carols, a tradition in Northern Europe, also known as wassailing.

Continue reading