The second week of Hallmark Channel’s Countdown to Christmas did not disappoint! How could it when there are millions of cookies involved AND who doesn’t love a good Christmas road trip?
Let’s kick this off with Christmas Joy!
A Quick Recap
Joy’s aunt, who is in charge of the town’s annual Cookie Crawl, falls and breaks her leg which causes her to have surgery (must have been a pretty bad break then?). Joy (Danielle Panabaker) volunteers to take her place, but doesn’t really know that it literally means baking thousands of cookies. Enter Ben (Matt Long). Ben offers to help Joy, who refuses at first, but then takes him up on the offer. Ben starts falling for Joy, but has some serious trust issues with women from the city. (His ex-wife was a big city girl). Joy starts falling for Ben, but then he doesn’t seem to reciprocate the same feelings. (We’ll get into that in a moment)
There are cookies galore throughout the entire movie and even a great baking montage! The day before the Cookie Crawl, Joy heads back to Washington DC for her work’s Christmas gala. She decides that the corporate world isn’t for her anymore and quits her job. Ben, who decided to go after Joy to surprise her, sees her and misinterprets her “I’m a free woman” speech and then leaves.
During the Cookie Crawl, Ben’s mom tells him to go after Joy as she has decided to forever stay in Crystal Falls. Ben and Joy kiss— the end!
First, what in the world is a Cookie Crawl? I thought it was a fancy name for bake off or bake sale. So, I looked it up and this an actual thing, y’all! In all simplicity, a Cookie Crawl is a bunch of people baking cookies and a bunch of people eating cookies at each stop. It’s like a progressive dinner, except just cookies.
Some towns have Cookie Crawls for fun or for bragging rights for the best Christmasey cookies and decorations. I totally can see a neighborhood doing something like this. Neighbors can sit outside and pass cookies out to all the kids and parents can judge everyone else’s decorating skills. (I’m going to suggest this at our next HOA. Haha!)
Other towns have it as a fun way to support town businesses and invite customers to shop and eat cookies at each store. I feel like that would be more of an enticement for people to go shopping. Come on, you know you only go to Sam’s Club when they’re passing out samples. Food + Shopping = win for the store and a win for you, but a loss for your wallet. This shopping and cookies thing sounds amazing and yummy—good thing I’d be walking off all those cookie calories.
Finally, other Cookie Crawls are done for charity— you pay some money as a donation and then get a cookie tin and fill your tin with all the cookies from each baker/station. While I guess you could just donate money directly to the charity, eating cookies is more of a fun way to get people involved.
There you have it— all about the Cookie Crawls! Now, I want to eat all the cookies.
Ben and Joy
I thought Danielle Panabaker and Matt Long had great chemistry on screen. There were several cute moments with these two. My favorite moment was when Ben broke—no, SHATTERED the green ornament that Joy’s late mother had given her, I literally gasped out loud. I knew it was coming, but OH my word! That moment killed my soul because I am probably the most sentimental person ever. How Joy didn’t cry— I don’t even know. Anyways, Ben took the broken pieces and put it in a wooden heart ornament that he made himself. *Swoon*
Despite several adorable moments between these two, there were two moments where I was like OH NO HE DIDN’T.
First— let’s talk about the kiss that didn’t happen. That is the WORST almost kiss ever! Ben left Joy standing there with her lips puckered up. Seriously! I wanted to shake him! Joy decided to go eat cookies after that moment. I would have eaten cookies, then probably woud have never talked to Ben again. #justsaying
Second— At the end of the movie, Ben decided to get all tux’d up and surprise Joy at her company Christmas party. After getting mistaken for a waiter (which made me laugh out loud so hard), he decides to leave after hearing Joy say that she’s a “free woman.” Okay, so that’s a typical misunderstanding we see in these movies. However, when he and Joy talk later, Ben says that he left because he couldn’t see himself with her as a corporate, big city woman and “couldn’t compete with that.”
WHAT?! I’m SO confused! First, Joy never gave off any “corporate, big city” vibes. She never put her job up against her hometown either. I have no idea where Ben even got that notion. Plus it didn’t line up with what we, as the audience, saw. It looked like he left because he misunderstood Joy’s comment about being a free woman. So confused.
Other Noteworthy Moments
- I am still very impressed Joy can still fit into her high school hoodie.
- Joy looked very much like Veruca Salt in that top.
Okay, maybe a stretch?
- I’m still super impressed Joy was able to bake a million cookies, host a gingerbread contest, head to a gala, quit her job, and get a man within a 90 minute movie.
My Stocking Rating
ICYMI: Here is the link to how I’m ranking this year’s Christmas movies!
I have to give this one a fancy socks. I had given it an orange earlier, because it was a fun and cute movie, but Ben’s attitude with that kiss that didn’t happen really knocked off a few points. Maybe I’ll give this orange socks… then I won’t feel too bad.
AKA 3.0 stars
Next up… Road to Christmas!
Road to Christmas was another fun movie! There were several things I appreciated about this movie, but first a quick recap:
Maggie Baker (Jessy Schram) is a prodcuer for the famous Julia Wise, a Martha Stewart type of figure, and is tasked with producing Julia’s Christmas lifestyle segment live from her home in Vermont. Julia, who is pretty much nervous about the whole ‘live’ thing, gets her son Danny (Chad Michael Murray) to help produce this.
They end up going on a road trip capturing different holiday traditions, like getting the perfect Christmas tree, a family White Elephant gift exchange, a snowman building contest, and volunteering at the pet shelter. On the road trip, Maggie and Danny “magically” run into both of Danny’s brothers. Okay, so not magically, unless you consider Maggie one of Santa’s elves. She wanted to reunite the brothers aka the three “Wise Men” so that they could surprise their mom for Christmas. Unfortunately, the one brother declines the offer and the other brother gets stuck at the train station after giving up his ticket so another couple could get to their Christmas destination. So, Maggie and Danny end up at Julia’s house just in time to prep for the Christmas live event.
Do the other two brothers— I mean, “Wise Men” make it home for Christmas? Watch the movie and find out! (Would it ruin your soul if I said they didn’t make it home??)
Originally, I put this movie as after Christmas Joy, but not by much. But after really thinking about this movie, I think I’m definitely bumping it up. And here’s why:
The Pun on Names
First, Julia Wise is the most perfect name for a TV lifestyle host! Did anyone else mis the pun with her sons though? So, Julia has three sons— and they are her “Wise men.” GET IT?! Like in the Christmas Story… Wisemen= Wise men. AHHHH.
I really loved how there was so much cultural diversity shown in this movie! As one who is an Asian-American, there’s always something that make me super happy seeing another Asian on the big screen. Maybe it’s the Filipino in me.
The Different Traditions
I love learning about other people’s family traditions during the Christmas season. In Road to Christmas, we got to see a family’s White Elephant gift exchange— which by the way— WHO GETS AN iPAD during White Elephants?!! Um, I always get terrible gifts like socks, candy I don’t like, or Spam! Also, I laughed when Chad Michael Murray’s character got the white elephant. Everyone else gets $300 priced gifts and he gets a stuffed elephant. #Awesome.
We also got to see a tree farm, which was totally fun, since I’ve never had the experience of cutting down a Christmas tree. And we also got to see volunteering at the fanciest pet boarding place. That place was the Taj Mahal for pets, y’all.
And last but not least, we saw a snowman building contest. This was also another one of my laugh out loud moments because HOW FAKE is this snow?! Really!?
My Stocking Rating:
Overall, I enjoyed this movie enough to watch again. There were a lot of fun moments and lot of giggles, but the plot didn’t really move me. But that’s okay! This was just a fun, relax, and ride-along type of movie. So, on the stocking rating, I’ll have to give this a small tangerine.
AKA: 3.15 stars
How did y’all enjoy Christmas Joy and Road to Christmas?
Bonus Question: What is one of your favorite family holiday traditions?
Let me know in the comments! Or you can find me on Twitter and Instagram at @HallmarkMyWords.
Til Next Time!