“Open by Christmas” Recap & Review

Once upon a time there was a woman in a conference room in the city. A tale as old as time, amirite? But, yes, really, it is. Because if I had a quarter for every Hallmark Christmas movie that started this way I, too, would be able to afford a Kelly Clarkson/Ariana Grande duet to play over the opening credits of this recap & review. 

🎶 Santa, Can’t You Hear Me? 🎶

Ooh! Looks like I can afford the title!

The woman in the conference room just so happens to be our main character, Nicky (Alison Sweeney)! And she

  • was smart in high school
  • is smart now
  • knows a thing or two about saving 10 minutes. 

While visiting her parents for Thanksgiving, she gets blindsided. Her parents reveal that they are downsizing and moving out of her childhood home. And you know what? Nicky actually takes this very well. 

I’m going to spoil this a tiny bit and just say: A wonderful thing about this movie is that Nicky doesn’t spend the entire time guilting her parents or trying to save her family home. Instead of all that, she helps her mom and dad pack, semi-dates their relator, hangs out with her best friend, and tries to solve a MYSTERY! But, now I really am getting ahead of myself, because…wait, hold on a minute…

You know what…? Nicky’s father looks very familiar. Let me get a closer look.

AH! It’s Dr. Ray from The Christmas Doctor! He’s the subject of my 2nd favorite Hallmark screenshot! Wheeeeeeeeeee! I’m going to love this movie!

Guess what, friends? We have another main character! Another woman main character! 

Time to meet Simone (Erica Durance)! She

  • owns a flower shop
  • feels her teenage son slipping away
  • hates her fiancé’s kitchen
  • is living in her fiancé’s condo?!?!?!?!?!?!

This is not shocking in normal, everyday life, but whooooooo buddy, has a non-married couple living together ever happened in a Hallmark movie? Like I’m so surprised that I’m not even confident that I’m understanding this storyline correctly?? Also, get ready for people to complaaaaaaain.

Anywho, Simone’s fiancé, Jeremy (Michael Karl Richards), and her son, Anthony, are spending a lot of time together and acting extremely suspicious. It’s wonderful that they are bonding, but Simone is feeling left out…and has zero idea that they are majorly up to something and trying their darnedest to keep it a secret from her.

Just a couple of adorable friends.

As Nicky and her mother go through boxes of her high school stuff, they stumble upon some ✨magic✨. Well, before we get to the ✨magic✨ we must establish that Nicky believes she was a major dork nerd monster in high school because she liked to study—and maybe because she accidentally sang her Valedictorian speech. Now, let me tell you, she is still very sad about it. And, you know what? It is sad. I absolutely hate how wounded she still is from feeling like an outcast all those years ago. I hope she is able to move past this!

The Hallremark Fun Fact: 

I gave the senior address at my high school graduation—like I volunteered (?!?!) and auditioned (?!?!) for it—and I didn’t even do my hair or makeup?? But, let me tell you, I was an emotional wreck. I was moving 18 hours away for college and bawled like a baby while my BFFL sang For Good with the choir. Luckily, I was sitting next to a guy who told me to get it together! and I was miraculously able to stop crying minutes before I took the stage. I thankfully did not decide to break out in song, but instead, ended my speech by echoing Elle Woods’ famous words: “We did it!”

Okay, time for the ✨magic!

Nicky is flipping through an old textbook and finds an unopened secret admirer Christmas card. Let me yell that—A SECRET ADMIRER CHRISTMAS CARD. Is there ANYTHING better than that?! ANYTHING?! There isn’t much I love more than Christmas cards and I always wanted a secret admirer, so this plot is !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Clues they gather about the admirer from the card:

  • Beat Mountain Pointe HS at something
  • Was probably a hottie basketball star??
  • Is left handed
  • Has read Romeo & Juliet (which means he took 9th Grade English)

After hanging out with Simone, Nicky goes back to her parents’ house to find a strange man glamming the place up. But, this man, Derrick (Brennan Elliott), isn’t an intruder. He is

  • her parents’ realtor
  • acting super awkward
  • trying to hide from Nicky that he knows who she is because she obviously doesn’t recognize him.

Hmmmmmmm. I can’t imagine that major Hallmark star, Brennan Elliott, could be Nicky’s secret admirer/love interest. We’ll just wait and see…

Well, after some awkward situations, I’m here to tell you that Nicky finds out that her admirer ain’t: 

  • A married classmate who she Facebook stalks
  • A painter who wears a necktie like a scarf
  • A good lookin’ guy who is already engaged

Nicky is finding out, though, that people have good memories of her in high school. They liked her, and she is pretty dang shocked.

But, wait, does this mean that the admirer wasn’t on the basketball team at all? WHO COULD THIS GUY BE?!

Definitely can’t be this guy who looks like he just saw a ghost that he thinks is hott.

I can reveal, however, what Jeremy and Anthony are up to. And, thankfully, it’s not super evil or anything. For Simone’s Christmas gift, Jeremy bought her an entire house, and the two boys have been getting it ready for a Christmas Eve surprise party. 

What in the Jim Halpert of grand gestures is this?????! 

(Dad, if you didn’t get this reference just watch The Office (US) already. Realizing the US version is good won’t take away your UK cred. They’ll still let you listen to Blur, don’t worry. I love both Steve Carell and Parklife. It’s possible and accepted.)

It isn’t as shocking and horrifying as Jim secretly buying Pam his parents’ house, because 

  1. Simone is already IN LOVE with this house. She drives past it for fun, and has been gushing about it for years.
  2. The house is fabulous. Amazing. Wonderful. HGTV worthy. Has 2 ovens. Just plain sexy.

What they need to do is stop dodging Simone. She is getting very, very self conscious and sad! She is lovely and I just want her to be happy!

Multiple Things Happen

  • Nicky accidentally finds out about Simone’s house surprise and must keep it a secret.
  • Jeremy’s icy mother, Miriam, is coming over for Christmas very early, and Simone is UPSET.
  • Nicky and Simone are adorable friends.
  • There is a Glossier commercial (F-A-N-C-Y! Woah, Hallmark Channel! Byebye MyPillow-WonderBible-Gotham Steel!)
  • Nicky and Derrick eat Mexican food and share embarrassing stories and ~flirt~.
  • Simone must hang out with Miriam because Jeremy is helping Anthony—a JUNIOR VARSITY basketball player who is on the JV team because he is NOT good enough to be on Varsity—make a highlight reel so he can get a scholarship????????? This is the worst fake excuse ever. Like…what?!

MAJOR NEWSFLASH! We find out that Derrick went to Lakeview with Nicky! He was a year ahead of her so she doesn’t seem to remember him…which is kinda devastating. Especially since it’s been established that their high school was not enormous or anything. Also, Derrick gets an accidental glance at Nicky’s secret admirer card and, once again, gets very awkward. Hmmmm 😉

Looks like Santa loves Dr. Ray too. But like, pull it together, ok?

After Miriam and Simone spend some prickly time together, they soon realize they have a lot more in common than they previously thought. They are both #boymoms who are having difficulty connecting with their children and are feeling a bit neglected. Suddenly, they are buddies solving each others’ problems and playing board games together.

Nicky joins in on their girl-chat-board-game time and things GET WEIRD. They tell Miriam all about the secret admirer Christmas card, and as she looks at it all color drains from her face. Why? Because she recognizes the handwriting immediately. 

It’s Jeremy’s!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yes, Simone’s fiancé, Jeremy!

SUDDEN DRAMATIC COMMERCIAL BREAK

Then Jeremy walks in the room all casually and is like “oh yeah I wrote that ha-ha that’s a funny memory! copied down what they wanted to write cuz they had gross handwriting, but sry can’t tell you who sent it, merry christmas!”

It’s Christmas Eve!

  • Simone and Anthony make waffle omelets??
  • Nicky tells Derrick about the card and she realizes she doesn’t care to find out who wrote the card anymore (?!!?) because all she really wanted was a good memory from high school and she’s okay now.
  • (Like, I would spend the rest of my life trying to solve who sent the card. I am so confused how she can keep this a mystery????????)
  • Nicky and Derrick and Jeremy and Anthony and Miriam prep for the party!

Party Time!

Simone is absolutely floored by the surprise and is extremely happy that she now owns a $400,000-2,500,000 house (depending where this movie is set, I honestly forgot and refuse to look it up). Fingers crossed the floral business and whatever Jeremy does is very lucrative. 

Picture Time!

ur doing amazing sweetie

And now for another reveal—

On Simone and Jeremy’s amazing new porch, Derrick hands Nicky A CHRISTMAS CARD that simply says Love Derrick. He signed it this time! Yes! He finally tells Nicky that he is the sender of the original card. It turns out that Nicky hadn’t congratulated him on a basketball win, but a debate win. So, wow, the detectives were majorly off track!

But, then everyone says mushy gushy things and are over the moon happy! Everyone kisses! The End!


I rate Open by Christmas The Hallmark Channel movie The Christmas Card which is a 4/5 on my scale of Christmas Cards!

The Scale

  1. Not getting Christmas cards
  2. Company ads disguised as Christmas Cards
  3. Christmas cards sent with non-holiday themed stamps
  4. The Hallmark Channel movie The Christmas Card
  5. My family Christmas card from this year. Seriously, I am very proud of it.

Well, that movie was a lot of fun, now, wasn’t it? 

It’s not often that I watch a Hallmark Christmas movie that feels fresh, but this one did. I loved the double love stories, the strong friendships, the mystery, and the pacing. There really was never a dull moment, which I greatly appreciate. Often these movies rely a little too heavily on holiday activity montages and neglect the plot. If I wanna watch Christmas scenes, I will just rewatch the Happy and Friends Yule Log, and I already do that multiple times a year!

Also, that blue house was truly magical. It was gorgeous and I was very happy to stare at it longingly. 

In conclusion—yay!


Thanks so much for reading (and putting up with my horrible-grainy-upsetting pictures of my iPad because Sling has betrayed me and won’t allow me to take screenshots anymore)! Let me know how you felt about Open by Christmas!

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