Disclaimer: I absolutely love Hallmark Christmas movies. Everything I say is out of this undying, appreciative, in awe type of love. Yes, I make fun of them, but my husband and I make fun of each other all of the time, and we are annoyingly in love.
Lizzie Richfield (Danica McKellar) is lost. Not the stuck at a gas station in the middle of nowhere with the map upside down kinda lost. She is the type of lost you feel after you just shut down a marriage proposal, get laid off from your job, and have no idea what your passion is.
Lizzie is very close with her mom, Camille (Rebecca Staab) and sister, Megan (Lindsay Maxwell). Christmas was her late father’s favorite time of year, so the family goes all out to help them feel close to him.
What a depressing start to a Hallmark Christmas movie!
Except for the beautiful Yule Logs Lizzie’s mom makes. I was happy to see those. Except…sad because I couldn’t eat them.
While Christmas shopping, Lizzie runs into an ex-coworker who gifts her a silver bell etched with an inspiring quote.
Megan, a successful realtor, has a hot new property. It is the estate of the extremely wealthy Marley family: Ashford Manor.
She informs Lizzie that the family needs a house manager to help wrap things up before they move, and convinces her to interview for the job.
Ashford Manor is 20,000 square feet of priceless art and family tension. When Lizzie arrives for the interview, she can immediately tell the place is super duper stuffy. So stuffy that
- it is already December, and there are no Christmas decorations (!)
- the ghosts that haunt it waltz through the halls with their noses in the air
- no one even jokes about how their butler’s name is Gerard, (Andrew Kavadas).
Before her interview, Lizzie meets Pippa (Paula Shaw), the matriarch of the Marley family. She is harsh, snippy, and fabulous. She also doesn’t seem to approve of Lizzie. Or anyone, or anything for that matter. She whisks away back up to her lair like the Emily Gilmore of Virginia.
Robert Marley (Neal Bledsoe)
- is a business man who is all business
- lives in D.C.
- has a very serious accent
- is in charge of Ashford Manor
- wears a pocket square
He hires Lizzie on the spot because he trusts her sister’s recommendation. Her role as house manager includes living there, and like 15,000 things, but the only one we care about is that she must plan the Marley Family Christmas Eve Gala. It will be the last one at Ashford, so it must be perfect. Lizzie learns that she must report to the not so peppy Pippa about all gala matters. Good grief!
Robert’s brother, Kip Marley (Andrew Francis), vrooooms onto the scene in a red Ferrai-lambo-porshe-mobile. He sure is a charmer, and the typical Southern socialite. Rome this week, Düsseldorf the next. I find it important to point out that he, at one point, says “bro.” He’d totally be cast as a suitor on the next season of The Bachelorette if this were real life. Hey, I’d watch it.
Lizzie nervously meets with Pippa to see if she approves of any of her gala theme ideas
- Christmas in Killarney
- Ugly Christmas Sweater
- Richie Rich’s Christmas Wish
- Christmas at Hogwarts
- Silver Bells
For a brief moment, Pippa softens as she hears Lizzie mention Silver Bells. They have found their theme!
While taking a break from work, Lizzie takes a walk around the estate, and finds herself at a pond. And, this isn’t just some snake infested pond with overgrown weeds and a broken dock. This is the type of pond that has imported swans and is filled with LaCroix. While gazing at the peaceful scenery, she receives a call from Robert. They bond over their love of this spot at Ashford, and she urges him to come home to stay at Ashford for one last Christmas.
Some things that are worth mentioning
- Lizzie is bonding with Gerard Butler and having a blast party planning
- Everyone is ticked at Robert for putting Ashford Manor on the market
- Lizzie is meddlin’ in all the Marley business and no one is annoyed by it????
- Robert is only selling Ashford because Pippa’s doctor insists she must move due to the stairs being too big of a stress on her body
Kip wastes no time trying to woo Lizzie, disguising his intentions as trying to help her find a caterer for the gala. She agrees to go on a very work related non-date with him, but you know Kipo Suave flirted the whole dang time.
When Lizzie returns to her room, she finds a fancy-pajama’d Robert in her bed! He decided to come home for Christmas (just like the title!), and hadn’t realized she had been using his room. He insists she take the bed, and he’ll go to a guest room, but that means she has to use these sheets he just dirtied up, and why isn’t anyone mentioning that????? Am I the only person who’d be up all night feeling like someone else’s skin was crawling all over me???????????
Lizzie and Robert ❤ fliiiiiiiiiirt & bond ❤ . She tells him about how his father took his mother on a $20 date where they had a grilled cheese cookoff. He nods his head pretending that he knows what a grilled cheese sandwich is.
(They are pretty cute together, PS)
The next day, Lizzie decides that Ashford Manor needs to be decorated for Christmas, and the brothers help because they are both crushing on her. As they are decorating, Sloane (Chelan Simmons) arrives. Did I mention that there is a Marley sister?
Because the Marley’s are all home, Lizzie sets up a family dinner, and they insist that she join them.
The next day, Lizzie, Robert, and Kip decide to chop down a Balsam Hill Christmas tree from the woods on the estate.
We learn that
- Robert, Kip, and Sloane’s parents were killed in an accident when they were young
- Pippa has looked after them ever since
- Robert is super dang romantic, omg.
Robert tells Lizzie that he has been thinking about how he’d plan a $20 date. I swear, as he described the date I floated to my TV screen like a cartoon character who is following the scent of freshly baked pies on a window sill. I am not one to get affected by romantic scenes in movies, but GEEZ. I almost smashed my face on the TV with how much I was gobbling up his description of this date!
Robert and Lizzie almost kiss, but Kip pops back into the scene. They were supposed to be looking for a Christmas tree, after all!
Back at the house, Robert and Kip get competitive over gingerbread houses. And Lizzie. One thinks she needs to be cared for. One thinks she needs to be inspired. Both think she needs them. Uhm, hello boys, you both need her.
In preparation for the gala, Pippa sets up a dress fitting for herself and Lizzie. She is growing fond of Lizzie because she can tell that she brings out the best in her grandsons. Lizzie, however, has brought out more in Robert. Pippa thinks she makes him “awake.”
It is finally December 24th, the day of the last Marley Family Christmas Eve Gala at Ashford Manor. Lizzie isn’t even stressed, and the Marley boys stay to help decorate. Man, they want her baaaaad.
Everyone is pleased with the gala! The brothers are pleased with Lizzie’s dress! I, however, would’ve gone with the silver number so she could’ve gone as a silver bell. Stick with the theme, Lizzie!
So much happens
- Lizzie dances with Kip
- Robert twirls Lizzie around the dance floor like 200 times
- Kip offers to take Lizzie to Athens, but she turns him down cuz she luvs Robbie
- but Robert overhears and thinks she wants to go with Kip (this is a Hallmark movie, after all)
- Someone wants to hire Lizzie as a party planner!
- Robert disappears in a broken-heart-storm-cloud back to D.C.
On Christmas Day, Pippa goes to fetch Robert. She tells him that Kip left for Athens alone, because Lizzie turned him down. Robert almost breaks his face from smiling so big. He’s going to go get the girl!
And he gets her! And he’s going to keep Ashford! And Lizzie found her passion as a party planner! They celebrate Christmas night with a $20 date. The end!
I rate “Coming Home for Christmas” The Batman smells version of Jingle Bells (the best version): which is a 5/5 on my scale of bells!
- Bell on a creepy grandfather clock that ring every hour, even throughout the night
- School bell that signifies recess is over
- The cowbell in that SNL sketch
- A dinner bell
- The Batman smells version of Jingle Bells (the best version)
Everything was wonderful! Everyone was wonderful! I had such a good time watching this movie. The cast was great. The story was great. Now, someone tell my husband to take me on a $20 date!
Thanks for reading! Please subscribe so you can catch my next recap and review, “A Gift to Remember.” 🙂