Recommended by 18 Cinema Lane to watch next, I’m taking this Friday evening while I wait for my gingerbread dough to chill to watch Christmas in Evergreen: Letters to Santa – a sequel to a previously discussed movie, the aptly named Christmas in Evergreen. Here we go.
Right at the bat, I am letting you know I barely remember the first one, but this one starts with an opening book, like a Disney fairy tale, or A Royal Christmas Ball. Then we go to a montage of Christmas stuff until we get 2 people trimming a tree in a home store. One of them is the 2nd lead guy from the previous movie, and the girl is I don’t know. They redesigned a store for a lady named Polly – I guess that’s their job, redesigning retail. I didn’t know that was a job, but hey, sure.
Boy wants to start planning to buy their own shop, and girl isn’t ready to put down roots. Boy is also pushing Girl to go back to her home town – the Evergreen of the title. I do not know what their relationship is, and we still don’t know their names, but lovely scenic views of Vermont show us the girl driving her very sensible hybrid toward her town. She pulls behind a guy in that red truck from the first movie – that is still decorated with greenery – who does that to to a pickup truck? Girl helps the stranded motorist and magically they fix the truck together! Motorist has a lovely grin, and they do not introduce themselves so we still do not know names and we are almost 10 minutes in. This is infuriating.
The main street of Evergreen is clearly a set on a backlot.
Oh, this is the one with the magic snowglobe thingy! Ok. Girl gets a flashback while looking at a storefront – Daisy’s general store, and a little girl named Lisa is writing to Santa. So — I’m guessing girl is named Lisa. Daisy is a lovely older lady with a very nurturing smile. Back in the present, the general store is closed, and Daisy died. And yes! Her name is Lisa Palmer. She runs into Carol and Joe, who run the Kringle Kitchen, the home of the snow globe.
Stranded motorist is named Kevin, as he just arrived at the Kringle Kitchen. Sparkage. We also learn that the heroine from the first movie is in Florida, visiting her boyfriend’s family.
Lisa’s car is green, and Kevin’s car is red, and that’s not an accident.
Everyone is very welcoming, including at the very nice B&B, where Lisa runs into Kevin – AGAIN. Serendipity!
Lisa’s having more flashbacks about that lovely Daisy, and then heads to the Kringle Kitchen, where she meets Ezra the mayor, and Holly Robinson Peete, the principal of the elementary school. Ezra is fussing about Daisy’s store, because God Forbid they get a chain store in there! Luckily enough, Lisa’s job is fixing up stores and she’s all about doing this for Daisy’s store. And she needs a contractor to help her out. And guess who’s a contractor! Kevin! He’s skeptical, and he’s only in town for a week, but Lisa’s got a can-do attitude and plenty of gumption, and voila, they’re a team. Why doesn’t she call her partner from the beginning of this movie about this project?
Kevin just got his coffee order shamed because it didn’t have enough Christmas flair. And off they go to raid the old hardware store – they both bond over their love of old junk in boxes in the back of old timey stores. And their rapport is drawing the eye of Carol and ___ – who loves to matchmake – to the point that the one time someone of color walks into her restaurant, she must matchmake him with Holly Robinson Peete. It’s icky.
Lisa wears a white fluffly sweater to do all her work in the store. Who wears white when they paint and clean? She also is brandishing this heavy key with a big old “S” on it – to find a lock to fit it. This will be a recurring theme. She also found an old letter to Santa – and everyone must read it. It’s a letter from 1993, which is 25 years ago, and I feel very old. The letter says “please make it like used to be” and of COURSE the letter was written by a 25 years younger Kevin, whose mom died 25+ years ago.
There’s a nice girl named Hannah (related to the guy who was matchmade with Holly Robinson Peete) who gets a lot of the secondary plot moving along. Lisa doesn’t let on that she found Kevin’s letter.
Holly Robinson Peete and Random Guy (brother of Hannah) are hitting it off while they make cookies in the kitchen of the B&B. Random Guy has a son who is working with Lisa on the key thing. There are layers upon layers in this movie. And everyone is showing off with the royal icing and making me feel inadequate about the fact that I am eschewing cookie cutters because I am not good at them at all.
Store is moving along, but there is some issues with the plumbing and Kevin is very negative about the whole project, and Lisa is super positive and now they have only a day left to get it ready for a potential buyer. And I feel that this drama is way too manufactured for it to be compelling, because Lisa and Kevin agree on a lot of things way too early in this movie for it to be about their conflicts.
Kevin’s dad runs a Christmas Tree farm, but Kevin and dad aren’t the closest.
I call shenanigans in this movie that Lisa found Christmas lights in the back of the store and they are NOT tangled up at all.
OMG Kevin and Lisa are soul mates. They both love to travel, and they both love to find good burger joints. They also had some almost hand touching while putting the lights on the tree.
Random Guy has some kind of logging business in Maine and is trying to get Kevin to work for him, but we’re not sure what the big deal is. And we’re distracted because the buyer for the store has shown up a little early, but don’t worry, the buyer doesn’t want the store. And we also get a scene where Lisa gets to give Kevin his letter to Santa and he gets super choked up about it, remembering his old-timey self.
Next we get a scene of Lisa talking to her partner from the beginning of the film. He’s on like the Orient Express somewhere, and we learn his name is Oliver, and he calls her out on having a crush on Kevin, so they are clearly not dating, and we will not have any romantic triangles to dance our way out of later in this film. Lisa admits to crushing on Kevin, but blames Christmas. Oliver has crap advice, but reminds her about the woman from the beginning (Polly) who wants to expand on her home design store. But they have a lot of things to do before Polly gets here, so Lisa wishes on the snow globe because that is the most practical thing she can think of to do at this time.
And she’s inspired by Kevin’s letter to bring back old-timey Evergreen Christmas – candlelight processionals, bells, etc. Making it all old-timey will make it more attractive to Polly. Ok, sure. And Kevin is all in after he’s had time to think – and he’s also got his dad to help fix the old bells, so their relationship is on the way to being repaired.
Random Guy wants to bring his logging business to Evergreen. And they also meet Nick, the guy who runs the hardware store, and he’s clearly Santa Claus. And Random Guy and Holly Robinson Peete are just having a great time together with his son, David.
Lisa is helping Kevin see how rewarding doing the job is; as he’s always about getting the job done. And she tries to ask him out, but he’s got a thing, but they clearly want to have dinner together, because he claimed Raincheck.
The B&B lady also serves dinner and she made a wreath of cherry tomatoes with mozzarella and basil. And Oliver has shown up to assist Lisa with all her stuff – so off they go to raid the attic for more homemade stuff from the old craft fairs. But before they do that, they head to listen to the choir – and Kevin, and his dad are both in it! Awww. And Lisa is weird with Kevin, and Kevin is weird with Lisa, and Oliver is there to give her a shoulder to talk to. And of course, Kevin sees them talking on the sofa, and gets the wrong idea and runs away in the Sad Times because GOD FORBID he ask a question.
And the “S” key thing is there to fix the bells. Calling it now.
Kevin is very short with Lisa because he’s very, very, very jealous of Oliver, even though Lisa is giving him every single opening.
Holly Robinson Peete has to ice skate on the fake pond. Lisa sent Oliver there to get out of her hair, and now Lisa and Kevin get to walk on a very lit trestle bridge, where she gets to finally tell Kevin that she and Oliver are not a thing. So after that revelation, they get to ice skate too. Oliver is really good, btw, but Lisa is all about holding Kevin’s hand, so I think she wins the skate-off.
Montage of fixing things up, and Lisa and Kevin just bonding in front of a fireplace and in other places. Thank God it’s a montage, because I don’t know that I could really handle more of them talking.
Kevin is faced with a decision – move to Maine, or move to Evergreen, and oh my goodness, they are staring at each other and they really want to kiss each other but they just got kiss blocked by random extras from the B&B and Kevin is pissed off by that. Especially since he has to walk home in the fake snow.
Evergreen has a Christmas Festival, and they’ve moved the Santa Letterbox to right next to the gazebo. And we get a cameo of Ashley Williams (heroine from first movie), and Kevin and she are old friends. She is nicely encouraging to make Kevin get out of his own way and get with Lisa.
The store is very nice looking, and he’s added another Christmas tree, so they get to decorate ANOTHER one. That’s about 4 in this one movie alone. That’s 3 too many. Kevin and Lisa are having another important talk – the soft piano tells us this, and they get kiss blocked again by Holly Robinson Peete. Seriously, people it’s not that hard to kiss someone. See, Holly Robinson Peete and Random Guy just did it.
The long-awaited Polly has arrived, and she loves everything in the store. She just loves everything but she’s not going to buy it – she came to offer Lisa and Oliver jobs to go into partnership with her, and Lisa and Oliver are blown away with the idea, and before they actually make a decision, Kevin sees how happy Lisa is and makes a decision with Random Guy’s logging company.
And Lisa and Oliver’s decision – Oliver works with Polly, and Lisa will buy the store in Evergreen, and of COURSE Kevin took the job in Maine and he’s headed out of town right before Christmas because why wouldn’t you just do that and not talk to the one you’re falling in love with about her life plans. Ugh, this movie.
Ashley Williams sees Kevin’s old letter, and makes the astute realization that they think it was written by Kevin’s dad – because all the H’s are missing on the typewritten letter. And CALLED IT about the key and the bells.
Lisa takes the decorated red truck out to Kevin’s dad’s tree farm, where he is sadly packing up his own truck. She calls him out on the fact that he was going to leave without saying goodbye, while they stand in the fake snow. The letter was written by Kevin’s dad, and we get a monologue about dad’s letter, and we get a flashback, and we see that Kevin and Lisa were at the store back in the day at the same time. Of COURSE they were. Lisa made Kevin believe in Christmas again. And Kevin did all the things in the letter to make his dad feel good about Christmas again, and we get a tearful dad/son hug, and that is nice.
What I don’t get is why this Christmas Town of Evergreen got rid of traditions when Kevin’s mom died because no one did Christmas like Kevin’s mom, but for 25 years, they didn’t do them, yet it’s a tourist Christmas destination? I do not get it. The whole town’s money is made of Christmas and for 25 years, no one had any other ideas? But the bells work.
And everyone is amazed.
We’re almost at the end of this movie and Lisa still hasn’t told Kevin she’s staying in Evergreen.
Oh, I typed too soon. And they finally get to kiss and everyone is happy on Christmas Eve. The End.
Sorry, 18 Cinema Lane, I didn’t like this one. The leads had nice chemistry, and they were clearly meant for each other, and the fake drama to get through 120 minutes just felt way too contrived. But it was nice that Holly Robinson Peete got a boyfriend. And it made me want peppermint hot chocolate.
Anyway, I’m off to make some gingerbread cookies. I hope the next movie is a little better than this one – which I watched just so you don’t have to.