“The Christmas Doctor” Recap & Review

Are you a hospital or small hometown doctor’s office in need of an interim doctor? Well, just head to the Locum Tenens website and scroll no further than Dr. Zoey Garner (Holly Robinson Peete)! Let’s have a look at her resume, shall we?

Dr. Zoey Garner 

  • decorates with Post-it notes
  • is a retired military doctor
  • loses at chess
  • will not be tied down!!!!!!!!!!!

And, psssssst, this isn’t on her resume…and you definitely didn’t hear it from me, but she can be pretty negligent when entering rooms. Look, she’s a very nice woman and an obviously skilled doctor, but you must know she will yell HELLO??????? until either someone screams back UH? YEAH I’M IN THE BATHROOM? or hits their head and gives themselves a mild (possibly severe) head injury.

Anyway, hire her! (And don’t sue me, because I warned you about the whole concussion possibility!)

This might be a good time to tell you that I thought Locum Tenens was Hallmark’s version of Lorem Ipsum and that the art department had just forgotten to fill in the title on the fake website.

Meet Dr. Ray. He is

  • so
  • dang
  • adorable
  • omg
  • seriously
  • have
  • you 
  • seen
  • him
  • ?

Other than that, he is a small hometown doctor who is getting rotator cuff surgery that needs an interim doctor while he recovers. So he’s obviously using the Locum Tenens (Lorem Ipsum) website. And wouldn’t you know? He clicked on Dr. Zoey Garner’s resume!

He also seems like he has a little secret.

Dr. Zoey must cancel Christmas with her sister and brother-in-law and head waaaaay upstate to Willow Brook, NY. Willow Brook? Never heard of it, you say? Well, maybe I dropped the ball and should have mentioned a paragraph ago that Dr. Ray–the adorable Locum Tenens website searcher–is from Willow Brook! He is the sole doctor of Willow Brook Medical Clinic.

Maybe I have watched too much Hart of Dixie, but I was taken ABACK when I saw that this tiny, one doctor, cutie clinic was in a strip mall. I thought Dr. Zoey would step into the door of an adorable and updated Victorian. Oh well, I shall survive this–

But, Dr. Zoey was obviously confused too because as soon as she walked in the door she started yelling! “HELLO! HELLO? CAN SOMEBODY HELP ME I THOUGHT THIS WOULD BE A CUTE VICTORIAN! PERHAPS A TUDOR?”


Meet Luke Barnes (Adrian Holmes). Sorry, he can’t talk right now because he just hit his head on the bottom of a desk and his pupils are swirling around his eye balls like a cartoon character just hit by an ACME anvil.


  • is a computer engineer with Futura neX
  • has a daughter named Lilly in college
  • will hurt himself 2 more times in the next 90 minutes.

Oh, and he still takes care of his deceased mother’s home. Does this matter to this story? Heck yes, it does!

(P.S. Lilly is really awesome and I loved her character and the sweet relationship she has with her dad and her budding mother/daughter friendship with Dr. Zoey and her Troy Bolton “No Dad that’s your dream!” energy, but I do not have the time to make this recap any longer than it is. In conclusion, this is probably the last time that I’ll mention her and I’m sorry!)

He seems more amused by Dr. Zoey than annoyed, but like…..how doesn’t he have a severe headache?

Gabby, Dr. Ray’s secretary, talks a lot. And has tons of info. I kept asking myself…would we get along…would I be able to handle her presence in my daily life…and I genuinely am still undecided. She is very abrasive but also sweet, so I just don’t know. ANYWAY she hears that Dr. Zoey’s rental house situation fell through and nudges her to 1985.

This is not a time travel movie, but as soon as she steps into her new housing situation (obviously yelling HELLO at the top of her lungs) she is transported back to the 80s. VCR? Check. Plastic-y white appliances? Check. Light sabers? Check. A man hitting his head under the sink? Check, and poor Luke!!!!!!!!!!

Yes, Luke Barnes is Dr. Zoey’s landlord for the next two weeks. This isn’t the perfect set-up for falling in love or anything 😉

Even though Dr. Zoey is seemingly against settling down, she’s settling into Willow Brook quite nicely. She

  • does her first house calls for Emma (not me), a woman with a ~mysterious~ illness
  • birdwatches with Dr. Ray
  • goes to a diner that serves freaking apple cider with EVERYTHING. Yes, even with Mexican food. I want to pass out. Seriously, I want to cry.

She also has multiple flashbacks. Now, let me tell you: these flashbacks are really well done! They are usually triggered by the sight of a chessboard, and transport her back to her days as a doctor in the military. These always include a former patient of hers. We learn that he passed away from an infection, and she blames herself for not being able to save him. 😦 Now, I understand why she is a traveling doctor–she can’t get attached to anyone if she’s always moving.

Did you know that it’s good luck to see a cardinal? I did! Dr. Ray wasn’t the one to teach me, but my Mom who screams/tears up every time she sees one. Let’s hear it from the experts:

“The cardinal is someone from your past who is looking in on you.” -Dr. Ray

“I just saw a cardinal!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” -My Mom (If a cardinal spotting makes her so excited, it’s got to be a good thing.)

Also, a little more about Dr. Ray: he has been chosen to be the recipient of Willow Brook’s Township Hero Award. When he is surprised by the award in front of the whole town, my chest got all full of warmth and my eyes all teary like he’s been my doctor for the past 30 years. What is that about??

Ole’ Dr. Ray still has a secret though…………….

……………..that is pretty obvious if you noted his reaction when he saw Dr. Zoey on the Lorem Ipsum website and have been watching the flashbacks with Zoey and a certain patient of hers. But there is still a 110% chance I’ll cry when my suspicions are confirmed.

Who is this cardinal he’s always searching for?

Some romantic things happen with Luke and Zoey:

  • A flirty power outage filled with dated wallpaper, a lightsaber, and an electrical box that is OUTSIDE????
  • They open up to each other about their pasts!
  • Luke Christmas decorates his mother’s house for Zoey!
  • There’s Christmas tree shopping and almost PDA under some mistletoe!
  • They go on a date (-ish) at the diner for Soufflé Sunday!

Some pondering happens:

  • What
  • Is
  • Emma’s
  • Illness?

Some confusing answers are given about Emma’s illness:

  • Wait, you’re telling me that she’s allergic to her stainless steel pans?
  • Wha-wha-what?? You can be allergic to pans??
  • Uhh, and you can stop using the pans and just get better???
  • Hold on, they coat stainless steel pans in nickel???? 
  • Can I pretend they’re coating them in nickels?????
  • Am I afraid of nickel(s) now?????? Of pans??????

I must clarify that I am not annoyed at the Systemic Nickel Allergy Syndrome diagnosis! I just didn’t know that was a thing. Please, and I mean PLEASE, do not tell Dr. Ray’s hypochondriac patient about this. She doesn’t need more on her plate. Quite honestly, I didn’t need this one on my plate (pans) either.

Pictured: the most fragrance looking ad of interrupted kisses.

Dr. Zoey is always counting her days left in Willow Brook: 4/14, 7/14, 10/14 until it is her time to go to her new post in Philadelphia. But she’s not going to let the realization that she may not want to leave Willow Brook get her down. And what does any traveling doctor do when she’s in a new town for 2 weeks? Throw a Christmas Eve party for her sister, brother-in-law, and new best friends! Oh, yes that includes Luke.

Wait…do I smell…creamy mushrooms?

I just am really, really, really craving green bean casserole. With crispy crunchy onions on top. With the greenest bunch of green beans. With *holds up can to my face and looks directly at the camera* Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup! 

Am I going to make green bean casserole right now? Heck yes, I am 😉

(But actually not because green beans upset me.)

Anyway, the party happens and it’s fun until Luke overhears a conversation–Hallmark leads…always overhearing conversations that aren’t meant for them. But, Ray offers Zoey a full time job at his practice and yada yada yada she says nope! So, Luke gets weird (and sad) and then things are weird (and sad)! Merry Christmas, everyone!

Break me off a piece of that Campbell’s Soup!

10 minutes to go, let’s wrap this puppy up!

  • Dr. Zoey plays with a lightsaber.
  • Dr. Ray finally tells Dr. Zoey that her patient in the military was his son! And that he brought her to Willow Brook on purpose! And how important her friendship was to his son, oh my! did I cry! She’s able to let go of her guilt and ahhhhhhhhhhhh omg, I’m tearing up again!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • Luke hurts himself again.
  • But it’s okay because Dr. Zoey’s moving to Willow Brook!
  • They kiss!
  • The end!

I rate The Christmas Doctor Waffle Wednesday which is a 5/5 on my scale of Diner Specials! A perfect score!

The Scale

  1. Shrimp Surprise Sunday
  2. Fish Stick Friday
  3. Salad Saturday
  4. Meatloaf Monday
  5. Waffle Wednesday

Wowza, this movie is wonderful! Honestly, I don’t see how any #CountdowntoChristmas or #MiraclesofChristmas movie will beat The Christmas Doctor this year.

I must confess: I did not have any intention of watching this movie. Why? Because I judged a movie by the poster. And the promos. It suffered from One Winter Weekend Syndrome–overly dramatic previews that didn’t end up matching the movie at all. Just like One Winter Weekend, The Christmas Doctor surprised me! It is funny, refreshing, heartwarming, and sweet. And I want to rewatch it!

The Christmas Doctor didn’t feel like a “stuff the schedule c’mon we’re shooting 40 movies here people we’ve got to have 40,000 movies can’t have less MOVIES than lifetime guys!!!” money maker. Even though it had a very obvious Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup product placement, this movie had heart. I honestly felt like there was a lot of sincere thought and time placed into this one, and I think that’s what set it apart from a lot of the others I have seen.

Holly Robinson Peete and Adrian Holmes had amazing chemistry and I loved them together!

Just, well done!

P.S. Justice for the hypochondriac woman! I am that woman on the inside. No, I don’t visit/call my doctor every ten seconds, but I’d like to!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I just ask whoever is next to me if I’m dying. Oh, my poor family and friends.

Let me know what you thought about The Christmas Doctor! You can find me on Instagram and Twitter @thehallremark



“Is this the guy that always hits his head?”

Yes, kid, yes he is.

5 thoughts on ““The Christmas Doctor” Recap & Review

  1. Hey Em, loved your recap as always and we both agreed and laughed along with you. And oh by the way, I have plenty of glass baking dishes and pie pans you can have so you don’t have to worry about the Systemic Nickel Allergy Syndrome from any of your Holiday dishes!!

    Liked by 1 person

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