The Holiday Calendar was the dose of Christmas spirit I needed


To say that I love Christmas and the holiday season is an understatement. The holiday season to me is like water is to humans: I can’t live without it, and it makes up 60 percent of me.  So, naturally, when a new Netflix original Christmas movie came out, I made the time to watch it.

From its appearance, The Holiday Calendar didn’t seem to be anything out of the ordinary; it seemed to be the standard Christmas romance movie. However, I found its cheesy plot to be quite endearing, engaging, and enthralling. In fact, I can overlook some of the predictability issues because of this.

The plot revolves around Abby Sutton, a talented photographer stuck in her mundane day job. This Christmas season, she receives a magic Advent calendar from her grandpa that gives her hints about her future. That isn’t the only surprise in store for Abby– Josh, a renowned travel photographer and Abby’s best friend (or perhaps something more in the near future), is moving back home.

One germane aspect I feel needs to be noted is the way the plot unfolds. From the time Abby receives the calendar, every day is told by which Advent calendar day it is. Sometimes it shows the toy of the day, but to condense a month’s worth of time into a single movie, it is often not. Despite this, the audience never feels to be lacking details.

As formerly mentioned, each toy corresponds to something that will occur that day in Abby’s life. She believes the calendar will lead her to where she wants to be in life. I really enjoyed watching all the connections between the toy and the events in her life because of the understated and unexpectedness of it.

Speaking of unexpectedness, I was surprised by the casting. Netflix original movies usually are a bunch of, to put it stridently, insignificant actors and actresses. It is not uncommon to see actors you’ve never seen or heard of before starring in these movies. However, this is not the case with The Holiday Calendar. I actually recognized not one, not two, but three actors.

While I couldn’t put a name to a face, it imposed an exigent need on me to do some digging to figure out how I knew them. The three I knew were Kat Graham (Abby), Quincy Brown (Josh), and Ron Cephas Jones (the grandfather). All three I had seen from commercials or trailers before.

Although unexpected, the casting for the movie was fitting. There was no discernable fault in casting that stood out among the rest. On the other hand, Jones was a standout casting choice for the masterful way he portrayed the wise and perceptive grandfather.

Also notable was the way Graham and Brown developed their relationship and illustrated each individual’s character development. In the beginning, their friendship was showed perfectly as that of old friends who can say anything and be completely comfortable with the other. As it developed, it didn’t lose this aspect. But, it did gain something new. It was those small, accentuated, yet subtle, moments when the camera would linger on Josh and catch a different emotion, a stronger and hidden one.

While I am a sucker for those kinds of subtleties in a movie, the thing that stole my attention was Abby’s development. Her character was rather static in personality; the change occurred in her views and emotions. She realized what mattered most and had a variety of epiphanies.

The scene that really got me was towards the end. Abby is standing in the snow, finally verbalizing the main change in her. She has tears in her eyes, and everything she says is spoken with emotion. That’s when my tears of happiness started falling like the snow around her. The entire plot came together and made me so inexplicably happy that I felt it was important enough to mention.

My main takeaway from the movie, despite the overwhelming Hallmark-ness of it, was that things and people are not always how they appear. Someone may look good on paper, but that doesn’t mean they are who you need them to be. Sometimes, you don’t know what you need. Sometimes, you have to change your perspective and look outside of the box. Sometimes you have to be a little capricious and take a risk.

So, if you are a holiday season extremist, take a risk and watch the cheesy but loveable holiday romance The Holiday Calendar. The hour and a half film of Christmas spirit will raise your spirits without a doubt.