I know nothing about this movie, but the name itself just speaks to me. It says way too many Christmas trees, fake snow, small towns, big city girls who have to buckle down to stay in said small town, and lots of ugly sweaters worn unironically. Right now it’s steamy and gross out, and we’re at the tail end of a really bad rainstorm. Nothing better to do now than watch a Christmas in July movie with all three of my boys – one of which (the only legal one) is going to be playing the Hallmark Drinking Game. Let’s Begin – It’s Christmas Camp!
FYI – this was based on a book. Yes, someone wrote a book about this.
Drink #1 – opening shot of a Christmas scene in an unnamed city. Then we see a high powered career girl striding to work in a dress and ankle boots, which is honestly an awful look. Career girl now walks into the office in a pair of red character shoes – so what happened to her boots? Career girl is in advertising, up for a senior account executive position. She’s got a Sassy Friend, who just asked if more work is what the Career Girl needs. Career Girl is named Hailey, and her boss Shawna isn’t sure that Hailey is right for the job because she doesn’t appreciate Christmas that much, and she’s up against privileged white guy Tom (Drink #2) who managed to decorate the entire office way too much. Shawna is sending Hailey to Christmas Camp for a holiday attitude adjustment – it’s 2 hours west of Boston, so off Hailey goes to get a Christmas Camp Certificate in Holiday Cheer.
Sassy Friend cannot believe that there is a thing like Christmas Camp and I for one am on Sassy Friend’s side. Hailey apparently only Christmases in the Caribbean with her parents where they snorkel on Christmas Eve instead. Now, while I occasionally dream of a Walt Disney World Christmas, I still won’t travel there because I want my house and my tree and my kids and their homemade stockings, so I have no idea why anyone would go far away at this time of the year.
Drink #3 – Montage of Winter Scene in Small Town Massachusetts, complete with “Deck the Halls” music while Hailey drives through the town. Drink #4 – Hailey hasn’t been inside Christmas Camp 2 minutes and she’s already offered cocoa and a cookie, and the Innkeeper gets to expound on his (Drink #5 Dead wife) and their many, many Christmas traditions. She’s shown to her room, the Angel Room, and what are the odds, there is NO Christmas tree in her room – although there is a lot of garland, angels, and twinkle lights. Hailey isn’t impressed.
Drink #6 Fake Snow – and our hero has arrived at the Holly Peak Inn, site of Christmas Camp. Our Hero is the son of the innkeeper, and he is…not attractive. Son is some kind of architect or developer, and is pressuring (slightly) his dad to sell the Inn and move to some kind of waterfront property. But off he goes to Hailey’s room to bring her the list of activities that she has to do to get her Christmas Camp Certificate – a three word phrase that I will NEVER be tired of typing out.
Hailey is not in the mood yet because she’s working on her pitch proposal. The Checklist includes things like “Be Merry” “Joy” “Cheer” and seriously, Hailey thinks this is ridiculous. Hands raise if you agree.
Drink #7 Dead wife loved Christmas. Ben the Innkeeper is doing all sorts of traditional things in honor of dead wife, and son (and hero) Jeff is all about assisting dad. So now they are going around the room to all the people who need Christmas Cheer in their live, and someone to teach them how to get it, because apparently all the Christmas movies in the world haven’t done it for them yet. Couple #1 – newlyweds, and they don’t know how to meld their two traditions together. (Dude, just do what the wife says). Gail is a mom whose son is overseas in the military, and who has lost her Christmas Mojo. John is a single, divorced dad of daughter Madison and son Blake. And Hailey just interrupted the meeting with a call from her Sassy Friend.
Hailey just asked Jeff is she could cheat at Christmas Camp, and Jeff just laughed at her. And Ben is collecting all the cell phones and Hailey looks like she lost her arm.
Drink #8 – Everyone has to write down their Christmas Wish, and of course, Hailey has no idea what to write. She has a lot of conversation with Jeff while everyone else is being quiet and respectful about writing things down. But it’s a nice conversation and they don’t hate each other. Sassy Friend loves her and bolsters her confidence, like a good Sassy Friend. (Drink #9).
There’s some kind of baker on premises, and she and Jeff have a heart to heart about how much Jeff is a good boy and how much his Dad loves his Christmas Camp. Huh?
Another nice conversation between Jeff and Hailey, and he gives her some kind of McGraw Hill book about kids at Christmas that will help her with her pitch to a toy company whose next campaign is all about Christmas Tradition.
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Day 2 of Christmas Camp = Joy! Hailey is awakened by a cute dog who makes her walk him in the fake snow. And then Jeff shows up and takes over. There’s a field trip today. And now Hailey is LATE for the field trip and all she came up with on her toy proposal was ONE FREAKING PARAGRAPH. There is no excuse, Hailey.
The field trip – is to find the Perfect Christmas Tree (Drink #10) – which they have to chop down themselves. All of these trees have the most even amount of snow on them, and apparently, every guest has to pick their own tree for their room. And Hailey picks out the Charlie Browniest tree in the forest.
Uh-oh, Newlyweds are not seeing eye-to-eye about Christmas traditions. And Gail is having sad times about not being with her son around the tree. Hailey is very thoughtful, and now Gail is turning into a matchmaker between the handsome Jeff and Hailey. Then we go to Jeff and Ben and Ben says that Jeff’s mom would like Hailey. Drink #11!
Dog has conned Hailey into sitting outside in the fake snow again. And now Jeff has to show up and talk to Hailey in the unconvincing moonlight. They both commiserate that they are single. Jeff thinks his dad is way more lonely than he lets on. Drink #12 Jeff just gave Hailey his coat even though he’s only in a cableknit sweater.
Just so you know what’s going on in my house, the two boys who aren’t drinking are having a game of nerf dart hide and seek. I am also serving as referee. I find that I do not care about nerf dart hide and seek, other than I wish it wasn’t in my living room.
Drink #13 – Hailey finally decorates her own damn tree.
Day 3 – Giving Theme. Dentist Dad gets into a fake snowball fight with his kids, and Hailey and Jeff join in – Drink #14 (extra sip because it’s a montage). But then off they go to the food kitchen, and Matchmaker Gail is working her magic, and off Jeff goes to show Hailey the Giving Tree (or Angel Tree) and Hailey is all inspired with her toy presentation. Drink #15 – sly glances between Jeff and Hailey over the donated pie. Gail is trying to get Hailey to let her hair down with Jeff, and she’s all like no, she’s got to focus on her job and not love (Drink #16). Also, would like to point out a continuity problem, because in every scene Hailey has a different pair of earrings in her ears.
Hailey is still staring at her laptop with one paragraph written when Jeff comes to invite her to make snow angels, to get a jump on her “Christmas Spirit” chore. The last time I tried to make a snow angel, I was pregnant and I couldn’t get back up. A good time was had by all. Drink #17 as Jeff and Hailey had more speaking glances with each other and they’ve set up a hot cocoa date for 11 am the next day.
Day #4 – Sharing. Baker is making sugar cookies, and now they all have to do some, and thank goodness we have missed a cookie montage. Drink #18 for the cookies, and in relief of not seeing Hailey have to bake.
Uh Oh, She’s got to answer her phone, and she’s not supposed to be on it, but emergency at work has meant that Hailey has missed her cocoa date with Jeff, and now Jeff is halfway to Sad Times, but he confronts her about it, and makes her feel guilty about caring about her job that pays her a salary and gives her benefits. Shut the hell up, Jeff, and get your own damn cocoa.
Newlyweds are enlisting help from the divorced kids on where all of the blended family members are going to sleep at their house. Just don’t invite your family at your first Christmas, you dumb newlyweds. Establish your own family.
Hailey is back outside on the bench with the dog, this time being joined by Ben the Innkeeper. But Ben is now confiding to Hailey about his money woes, and Hailey is in the zone telling Ben to license out his Christmas Camp idea. Ben loves the idea, but says don’t say anything to Jeff, because Jeff wants him to sell the inn, and now we’ve set up the confrontation for the second half of the movie. Thank goodness, I thought it would be more missed hot cocoa dates.
Day 5 – Holiday Spirit. Now they have to throw snowballs at weird targets and tell the group why Christmas is important to them. Magically, everyone hits their targets. Hailey’s all inspired to slow down and disconnect. Drink #18! (And Drink #19 because it then turned into a montage.)
Off Jeff and Hailey go for a walk in the fake snow covered woods to a little fake wishing well where his parents got engaged, because that is NOT clingy or creepy to do on a non-date with someone you sort of like. She makes a wish in the wishing well. Drink #20! And now with one question, Jeff has made Hailey wonder about her entire relationship with her parents, just by asking if they really want to go to the Carribbean.
Day #6 – Heart. Oh thank goodness we are almost done. Hailey has just woken up – she slept in her bathrobe, btw, and is super relaxed and happy and must face the fact that her parents don’t like to eat fish on Christmas, they’d rather have turkey. Show of hands, how many people have turkey in November and then in December? To me, that’s a lot of turkey.
Jeff is able to help out Hailey’s mom’s plumbing emergency, which is nice. Last task – everyone has to help cook. Newlywed bride says her tradition is to go around the table and say what they are grateful for – DUDE – that is a Thanksgiving Tradition. Gail says she likes brined turkey. Hailey likes stuffing. And divorced kids like brussel sprouts and mashed sweet potatoes. Again, I feel this is a Thanksgiving menu, not Christmas.
Hailey has finished her ideas for licensing Christmas Camp, and it looks awesome and the font is fun, but then Jeff comes by to show his dad a picture of a condo he wants his dad to move to on the waterfront (like a contenda).
Day #7 – Inspiration – and there’s a Camp Graduation Party where the whole town comes. Drink #21. I want to go to this party so badly. Before this party, everyone has to go around and say something that has inspired us – and FYI the newlyweds are expecting.
Drink #22 They are under the Mistletoe and Drink #23 – they do not get to kiss. Jeff is not so subtly hinting that he likes Hailey and wants her to think about him more than her job. He also has stressed that he wants his dad to sell the Inn, and Hailey can’t tell him that she’s worked out a whole thing to save his dad’s actual business and I can see the Sad Times Coming A Mile Away.
Older Son is protesting the fact that he didn’t make up “The Sad Times.” He did. Take your due, Older Son. Younger Son is asleep on the couch. Guess that nerf war really wore him out.
Sassy friend has been helpful off-screen with the toy advertising presentation, and Gail has swanned in to say she’s all ready to start internet dating.
Dinner time, and that turkey looks way underdone. Everyone is grateful for the time they spent at Christmas Camp. Older Son is annoyed that they are not going in a circle around the table. Now they’re eating, and it’s a different turkey. Just FYI, no one got salmonella.
Graduation party – montage. Drink #24! Hailey and Jeff are dancing, and they are so in sync, it’s like they were on Dancing with the Stars. Jeff is now so happy he’s dancing by himself like Hugh Grant in that awful movie Love Actually, and NOW Jeff has found Hailey’s Christmas Camp Licensing Idea and Drink #25 – SAD TIMES!!!!
But for once, Jeff is taking it out on his dad, and not Hailey. And during this emotional confrontation, Hailey has to butt in and now Jeff has to storm off in a huge hissy fit of Sad Times, and jeez, he’s such an ass. He’s all upset that Hailey did work and that this whole trip was about work and not about him! Grow the hell up, Jeff.
Older Son is now sitting on sleeping Younger Son.
Ben just told Hailey that he thinks Jeff is scared of his feelings for Hailey. Meh. Darling Husband is drinking to the Sad Times as we suffer through an Energizer Bunny commercial.
Now, we’re back, and Hailey can’t sleep – and who could, with the very loud Christmas track overlaying this movie? Last Day – Hope. But Poor Hailey is in the Sad Times, and can barely pack her suitcase without a tiny tear that doesn’t really run down her face. And she’s off to go back to the real world, and we have 15 more minutes of this crap. She does get her Christmas Camp Certificate before she leaves the Inn, though. Everyone has to stand still in the room while she leaves in honor of the heroine leaving the scene.
Back to the city – one week later. She’s back in her creepy black boots and mini skirts – what is she, on Pretty Little Liars? (I’m bingeing the last season before it leaves Netflix the end of this month). Drink the entire bottle – she’s learned the message of Christmas, all about taking time, teamwork, etc., and because she’s so honest with herself and with her boss, she gets the promotion! If there’s anything left, save it for the last bit.
Younger son is so asleep he’s almost off the couch. Older Son keeps trying to wake him up. And no one has brushed their teeth yet.
Sassy Friend has shown up again to tell Hailey that she deserves her promotion, and to ask her if Jeff has called, but no, the answer is no, because Jeff sucks. Ben has shown up at Hailey’s office. The licensing idea is a hit, and Ben offers to take Hailey to Gail’s Christmas party, and he’s promising a surprise. Is it Jeff? You know it’s Jeff. Oh, is the surprise that Gail’s handsome (so much handsomer than Jeff) Marine son is home for Chrsitmas! That’s one I didn’t see coming – except damn it, Jeff was behind the Marine. They are off to talk outside in the winter in Massachusetts where Hailey is not wearing a coat and stilletos.
They are both sorry, and they both apologize. Jeff is wearing a pink shirt and he’s confessing that Hailey has opened his heart and Merry Christmas, kiss in the winter and it’s snowing. Yay. Finish the Drink.
Oh My Goodness, this one had so many good and bad things. And Older Son has just farted in Younger Son’s sleeping face. Part of this movie feels like that. BUT, we did get a bit of Christmas Cheer just when we are boiling on the East Coast, and I know husband was happy to drink three bottles of Smirnoff Ice in the interest of Hallmark Blogs. So I call it a wash. I watched Christmas Camp, just so you don’t have to.