As the 2017 “Countdown to Christmas” campaign winds to its close (this is the first of the six left as its premiere date; and now there’s only three left), there’s a kind of bittersweet emotion attached. Step inside this shop and you’ll meet Stephanie (Ellen Hollman), a woman who’s grown up in her parent’s Christmas Shop. Today, on the eve of their busiest season – Christmas, her parents plan to retire. More or less running the store in recent years, they have no reservations about turning the keys over to their daughter.
Housed inside a kind of mini shopping mall, the first day of Stephanie’s tenure deals a devastating blow. A real estate developer has bought the building. Their plans are for anything but keeping the tenants and the shopping center the same. Coinciding with this, Stephanie meets the handsome, Michael (Bobby Campo), both unaware of his connection to the Christmas Shop.
Sharing Christmas (2017) Hallmark TV Review
Without any preamble I’m just going to say, I really (really) liked this Christmas original. Ironically, this was one of the films in this year’s lineup I anticipated not putting in the “favorite” column. Goes to show you, I shouldn’t always trust my movie instincts. (Even if 95% of the time they are right.)
Originally (and appropriately titled) The Christmas Shop, Sharing Christmas is one my mother and I both agree is one of 2017’s best. Maybe it’s simply because we like the chemistry between the couple or we enjoyed the story. (One of the credited writer’s is also credited for My Summer Prince, another romance favorite.)Or perhaps it’s all in the combination of the two. Could be we both have different reasons for the “why” we like this one. Whatever they are – many or few, the story keeps its viewer engaged. An accomplishment that’s half the battle no matter the story or the medium it’s told through.
Repetitive though this statement is, I’ll say this: I adore that the writer’s exclude one common trope. Saying more would give away spoiler-y things. I will say though it’s something that reveals itself early on, whereas other similar tropes wouldn’t unveil the truth until the final 20 minutes as opposed to the first 20 of this story. For this reason alone – though there are others, I respect this story.
The cast is great together. There’s a kind of “wonderstruck” attraction between the leads which is full of innocence and charm in equal parts. The big city setting is a welcome change, but the best of both worlds is represented. Much of the story is set inside the shop which is full of quaint knick-knacks and small town feelings. For those of you who might not like the city-set stories, don’t let the setting put you off. There’s plenty of “hometown” and cozy nooks to explore.
Sharing Christmas is indeed a favorite of 2017, and like any of its predecessors, it hits the sweet spot perfectly.
Photos: Hallmark Channel / Crown Media Press