Merry Countdown to Christmas, friends!
It’s been quite awhile since I’ve written. Are you ready for too many exclamation points and bulleted lists and run on sentences and ALL CAPS JOY? Guess we should just get into it!
No, this definition isn’t for you. It’s for me—a person who has never in their entire life used this very common word. I hear it and I’m like, wow I genuinely hate the way that word sounds, it feels disgusting on my tongue, I will definitely mispronounce it like I do the word helmet, I will never ever use it and here I am absolutely forced to look it up and use it over and over again because A Kismet Christmas will most definitely be in my Top 5 2022 Countdown to Christmas Movies. Possibly the top. I honestly don’t know what movie could be better than this glorious piece of Hallmark art.
I cried. I genuinely cried. The first week of Countdown to Christmas movies aren’t supposed to be this good. And now I’m sitting here wondering how any other movie this year will compare. I feel thankful. But I also feel pain.
I guess I should recap now.
Actually, should I recap now? I really should be reworking Part 2 in the book I’m writing. But, if I’m not going to work on my book right now, what’s better than writing about a Hallmark movie where the character should be writing her book, but isn’t?
I promise I’m a better writer than that last sentence. Or any of these sentences. But, I’ve had coffee and I’m feeling quite wordy and also my book can be sad at times and I am really very extremely happy right now sooooo I’m gonna write something fun.
Okay, here we go—
Once upon a time, in New Britain, Maine, there was a house that was ALIVE.
No, wait. That cannot be right. I know it’s October, but this is a Christmas movie. Let’s try again.
Once upon a time, in New Britain, Maine, there was a recipe writing house that COULD CONTROL YOUR DREAMS.
Hm. I’ll try that yet again.
Once upon a time, in New Britain, Maine, there was a matchmaker house! With a magical cookie recipe, this sweet little house has helped two Collins women (and countless random others) find love, and DOOMED the third. Gave two Collins women sweet dreams, and a NIGHTMARE to the third. Mwahaha, Happy Halloween??
(maybe the house isn’t alive. maybe it’s the recipe that’s alive. maybe it’s christmas that’s alive. the cookies? love? i don’t care, i love any and every possible explanation.)
Meet Sarah Collins, aka
- Sarah Grace, author of the mega popular book, Isabella’s Kismet Cookies
- Sarah Bear
- The most embarrassing wedding crasher ever
- THE DOOMED ONE.
Up until one disastrous Christmas, Sarah visited Gramma Mia’s house during Summer break and Christmas. Yes, that house. The sentient, but probably not scary at all, house.
The house had provided Mia’s own grandmother with a gift hidden in a secret cabinet in the kitchen—a mysterious and magical recipe for *kismet cookies*. Gramma Mia kept on the tradition of making these cookies, passing them to people curious who their one true love could be. Why? Because if these cookies were made just right and placed under a pillow, the person would have a dream about their future honey, their better half, their soulmate.
Sarah, young, double barrette-d and double butterfly clipped, snuck a kismet cookie on Christmas Eve and dreamed of Travis, her:
- Grandma’s neighbor
- New Britain BFFL
- Crush ❤
On Christmas morning, she wakes up ecstatic! Sarah rushes across the street, bursts into Travis’s house and tells him that she had a kismet cookie dream about him and they are meant2b! But, Travis is dressed up. Travis has a woman in white glaring over his shoulder. Travis has a pastor with “in sickness and in unexpected pregnancies” hanging off his lips. Travis is getting married?! On Christmas Day?! In a DEN?!
Sarah is traumatized, destroys the kismet cookie recipe, and bolts. Goodbye New Britain and your dark magic and, you know what? Screw you!
*however many years later*
Benny, Sarah’s agent, is shocked by Sarah’s story—totally in awe that the kismet cookies in Sarah’s books are based in reality. But, he shrugs and says TOO BAD about that trauma! because she must go back. Tomorrow. The winner of her “meet the author” contest lives there and her presence at the local Dickensian Christmas festival announcing said-winner has already been promised. I think you know what’s about to happen. Surely, you realize. You absolutely know in your bones that the first time she’ll see Travis in at least a decade, she’ll be wearing something stupid.
Or more importantly—that the winner, Jazzy, is Travis’s kid. Who is very sweet. And wants to spend time with Sarah. She won it, after all!
Having to spend time with Travis is only one of her concerns. Gramma Mia is acting a bit distracted—she misses her husband, is going through a lot of her things, and seems like she’s hiding something. AND with the deadline looming, she still cannot figure out an ending to the sequel of Isabella’s Kismet Cookies—and if she doesn’t, the publisher will bring in a ghostwriter (MAYBE she should get the ghost house to write it for her????).
But being with Travis isn’t miserable at all. Actually it seems like they get along pretty well. And they hang out a lot. A lot, a lot. And there are sparksssszsszz. Maybe Sarah was wrong to write off the magic as fiction. Maybe that cookie magic was real?
Cute Things Happen:
- The girlz—Mia, Raylene, and Patsy—hang out with Sarah. They are major delights and add so much to this movie. I love every scene they’re in.
- Sarah is the clue in a Scavenger Hunt where the winner gets like 15 pounds of fudge.
- Travis and Sarah go to a Christmas Trivia Night. Hallmark weighs in and declares Die Hard a Christmas movie. The debate is officially over.
- I’m obviously skipping like 30,000 other cute things because this recap is getting long. Just trust me. There is a lot of cute going on in this movie.
But, nothing (I MEAN NOTHING) will ever compare to the day Sarah and Travis go Christmas tree picking. Chopping? Searching? And, the Christmas tree part of it is nothing (I MEAN NOTHING) compared to what else happens in the woods.
No, not murder. It’s still a Christmas movie.
They are at a cabin in the woods which, yeah, pretty concerning. And Travis does take her phone away from her, which yikes. But the cabin isn’t alive or casting spells like her Gramma Mia’s house, and Travis takes away her phone to… remove distractions?
This is where I cried. As a writer who has been stuck so many times, what Travis does is so beautiful, so supportive, so magical, so romantic. So, yeah, when I rewatch, I’ll probably cry again.
Travis set up a mini-writing-retreat for Sarah in this Christmassy, snow covered cabin. He recruited Gramma Mia to babysit Jazzy so he can stay by Sarah’s side and help her finish her novel. He’s going to quietly make Christmas garland while she writes in a spiral bound notebook like she had as a kid, just waiting in case he needs her. ARE YOU KIDDING ME. Swooning on the moon, swooning on the moon (that is the phrase that filled my head after my now-husband kissed me goodnight after our first date. TMI? Very dumb and embarrassing? Yeah, probably, but shut up, I’m SWOONING over here, shove it!). Long story short, she finishes her book!
So, like, other things happen but I’m too delirious from that scene to go into much detail.
- Gramma Mia is selling the house! 😦 She’s going to teach English abroad.
- Oh gosh, should probably mention that Travis’s wife (Jazzy’s mom and woman in white from the first part of this recap) left years ago, but everything is amicable. So, he’s single. Oh no, did you think he was emotionally cheating this whole time?! Oh good grief.
- Benny comes to town. He pushes Sarah to consider buying the house from Gramma Mia and to live and write in this cute little house in this cute little town that gives her so much inspiration.
On Christmas Eve, Sarah talks to the house. She begs it to help her make one more batch of kismet cookies so that Gramma Mia can dream of Grandpa (Grappa?) once again. So she can help Patsy figure out if she should date the mayor. So she can see if she’ll dream of Travis again. Guess what! The house answers her! She opens the secret cabinet and the recipe is there—just waiting for someone to stir up a batch of magic again.
After people hear a whiff about the cookies being baked for the first time in a decade, they scurry over to claim them all. Thankfully there is one left for Gramma Mia. BUT how will Sarah ever know if Travis is the one for her (I think the writing cabin is more than enough proof, but that’s just me)?
And much like the Christmas morning all those years ago, Sarah wakes up beaming. But much unlike the Christmas morning all those years ago, Travis wakes up beaming too! Turns out Jazzy took after the house and decided to play matchmaker herself—without magic, but with theft! She stole extra kismet cookies off Gramma Mia’s kitchen counter and placed them under Sarah and Travis’s pillows. I’m okay with that type of mischief, because it’s giving us a happily ever after!
Sarah and Travis confess their love for each other! Sarah’s buying the magic house! They kiss! The End!
Ahhhhhhhh—I loved it.
On my scale of Christmas Cookies, I rate A Kismet Christmas My Grandma’s Mexican Wedding Cakes, which is a 5/5!!!! The first movie review, the first perfect score! Whoop whoop!
- Anything with almond extract (this poison tastes like cherry cough syrup)
- Over-baked, crunchy, chocolate chip cookies
- Intricately decorated sugar cookies (be honest—they usually don’t taste great)
- Cookies for Santa
- My Grandma’s Mexican Wedding Cakes
(I feel like I’ve done a version of this scale before but I’m just really passionate about sharing how disgusting I find almond extract.)
Let’s just get this out of the way. I love Sarah Ramos. She is one of my favorite people to follow on Instagram. Have you seen her Quaran-Scenes where she reenacted her favorite movie scenes during the beginning of the pandemic? No? Well, you should, because they are so good and gave me something to look forward to while shut inside for a year and a half. When I found out she was going to be in a Hallmark Christmas movie, I shrieked. I knew she’d bring humor and charm. I knew she’d have fun and fully commit.
And you know what? Every single person in this cast and crew had fun and fully committed too! Wonderful. Just wonderful.
Here are several of my YAYs:
- Marilu Henner as Gramma Mia is my favorite role of hers, thus far. Just wonderful! Here is one example that highlights her presence the entire movie: When butterfly clip-flashback Sarah runs into her kitchen and Gramma Mia hugs her, I felt that hug! Felt it!
- The gaggle of grandmas! So lovely. So fun. So delightful. I would love to be friends with these fun women who own book stores and candy shops and make Christmas magic cookies.
- Sarah and Travis’s looks in the flashback are goofy and so over-the-top. They really went for it. Reminded me of Sarah Ramos’s City Girl which made me scream in delight.
- Carlo Marks was so funny and charming. When Entertainment Weekly dropped the Countdown to Christmas schedule, I yelled: “They paired Sarah Ramos with a good male lead!!!!!!” Forever grateful for this cast.
Thanks for reading! Let me know how you felt about A Kismet Christmas 🙂 Hopefully, I’ll be back again next week (fingers crossed for more great Countdown to Christmas movies!)!!!!