Hallmark Mysteries & Movies Presents: ‘Home For Christmas Day’ [Recap]
It’s Christmas in July! I have to admit that it felt a little strange watching this movie with my air conditioner on full blast while enjoying a tall glass of iced tea (sweetened, of course, because I am in the south). Although there were no signs of Christmas outside, I definitely felt the Christmas spirit watching Home For Christmas Day.
Catherine Bell (Star of Hallmark’s Good Witch) executive produces and stars along with Victor Webster (“The Lot”, “Mutant X”) and other Hallmark stars Matreya Fedor (Debbie Macomber’s Cedar Cove) and Anthony Konechny (When Calls the Heart). This movie touched on relationships, taking chances on love, and the reality of loving someone in the military.
Warning! You will most likely need to break out the tissues and spoilers ahead!
Jane McKendrick (Bell) is the single mother of a teenage daughter, Betsy (Fedor), who she wants to protect from the harsh realities of life. Betsy works in the local diner which Tyler (Konechny), a handsome soldier, visits one day. They have instant chemistry and start to hang out. Betsy keeps her new relationship a secret from her mom. When Jane inevitably finds out, being the overprotective mom she is, she doesn’t like it. Jane and Betsy were close, so finding out that her daughter was lying to her about her whereabouts over a boy is devastating. And when Jane finds out Tyler is in the Army, she really isn’t happy. She tries to convince Betsy that she has more important things to focus on (like veterinary school), but it’s too late. Betsy has fallen hard for Tyler (who could blame her, he’s so nice and super cute).
As Betsy and Tyler grow closer, Tyler finds out that he is being deployed. Jane tries to tell Betsy that it will be so much easier if she breaks off the relationship before she gets in any deeper, but Betsy is smitten and there’s no talking her out of her romance with Tyler. She just wants to enjoy her time with him until he goes overseas.
Jane is conflicted: she wants her daughter to be happy, but she also desperately wants to protect her from the heartache that she knew would result from her relationship with Tyler. See, Jane went through a similar situation with Betsy’s dad who was killed while on active duty, and she never got over losing him. That was the last thing she wanted her daughter to experience, but she is trying to let her live her own life.
Jackson (Webster) tries to tell Jane that Betsy would be alright and Tyler was harmless, but Jane disagrees. Meanwhile, Jane is afraid to move beyond friendship with Jackson (Webster), because of her fear of losing another loved one. Jane and Jackson have great chemistry, and you really root for them as a couple during the movie.
Back to our lovebirds: Tyler ships out and Betsy is sad but trying to be strong. The pair video chat and Tyler attempts to be in the Christmas spirit by wearing a Santa hat. It’s important for them to be as normal as possible, he says, if they’re going to make it through the long distance part of their relationship. Unfortunately Tyler will be off the grid for a while, and he doesn’t know when he’ll be able to speak to Betsy again. He promises to call as soon as he is able and wishes her good luck at her Christmas choir concert that evening. Before they can say a proper goodbye, the screen freezes and they lose the connection.
Jane finds Betsy in tears after her call from Tyler. She’s struggling with how hard being apart is, but Jane just holds her while she cries. This is the moment when I realized that this movie was not going to be all Christmas cookies and Santa Claus. It’s dealing with real world problems that many military families deal with every year, and it really hit a nerve. This was a great scene and so well acted.
Later that evening Betsy is on stage at her concert. Before the performance begins, there is a tribute to all of the soldiers who gave the ultimate sacrifice. They start calling names one by one, and then Tyler’s name rings out. Betsy freezes in shock and runs off of the stage crying. No! I want some happy Christmas cheer, not sadness! Hallmark what are you doing to me? Needless to say I had to break out the tissues. Betsy weeps and Jane consoles her in another great scene.
Betsy now has to deal with the harsh reality of life, death, and love. She tells her mother that she was right, love isn’t worth the pain she feels. Jane realizes that she passed her fear of being hurt on to her daughter and tells Betsy she was wrong. Being in love is absolutely worth it, Jane says. Taking a chance on love doesn’t always end in heartache. She continues to console her daughter as they prepare for Christmas.
During a gathering of friends for the holiday, Betsy looks out the window and suddenly yells for Jane. She looks absolutely stunned as she opens the door and finds Tyler, on crutches but alive. Everyone is shocked. He got banged up pretty badly on the mission he went on after his video call with Betsy, but there was a mix up with his and another soldier’s records. He is alive and made it home for Christmas. Betsy falls into his arms and I’m not crying you’re crying.
Did you watch Home For Christmas Day? What did you think? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.
Also, did you love Betsy’s holiday sweater? I did! It’s called a Cowichan. Click here for a little background on that sweater.