“You just being here is the best Christmas present we can ask for. You brought Christmas back to our family.”
Christmas hasn’t been special for Jennifer Wade for a long time. Looking to escape the holiday once again this year, she’s taking a solo vacation to Colorado.
But things don’t go as expected. She wakes up with amnesia in a small town – and despite not knowing who she is, she ends up having a truly unforgettable Christmas thanks to a single dad and his three children in the 2016 Hallmark movie, “A Christmas to Remember”.
’Twas “A Christmas to Remember”
While driving home on a snowy night with his son, Kyle (Jesse Filkow), Dr. John Blake (Cameron Mathison) (a veterinarian with a heart of gold), they barely avoid running down a woman (Mira Sorvino) who has stumbled into the road. Realizing she has a bloody head laceration, John helps the confused woman into his truck.
The next morning, she meets the rest of John’s family – Daisy (Bailey Skodje) and Jamie (Elle McKinnon) – but still can’t remember anything about herself due to her concussion. We also learn that, thanks to a large snowstorm, they have been snowed in.
The woman freaks out a bit because she has no idea who she is, where she came from, where she was going, or if anyone was looking for her. And she really wants to be checked out by a “human doctor,” rather than a vet.
The next day, some clues start to emerge at breakfast. She mysteriously starts chopping baloney like a pro and makes a rose baloney for Jamie. A short time later, sheriff Tim Edwards (Eric Keenleyside) arrives with his wife Dr. Sylvia Edwards (Patricia Drake).
Dr. Edwards examines the woman and sees no signs of traumatic brain injury. We also learn that, in her expert opinion, “memory is a tricky thing” and the best medicine is good food and sleep. (Um… we sure about that? We’re neither doctors, nor do we play doctor on TV, but that advice seems sketchy at best.)
Meanwhile, John’s grandparents – Emmett (John Innes) and Bunny (Wendy Abbott) arrive. At Bunny’s suggestion, the former Jennifer Wade gets a new name: Maggie.
John and Maggie, and Maggie and John’s kids begin to grow closer as the movie progresses – we’re treated to sweet scenes including John reading a Christmas story beside the fireplace to Maggie and his children, who are all asleep; Maggie singing to Daisy and later helping her with her costume; Maggie and the kids decorating the house (which reminds John of the way it used to be – all Christmased out); and John and Maggie making snow angels before a playful snowball fight.
Meanwhile, Paula (Brenda Crichlow), Jennifer’s assistant, has been freaking. Oddly, Brad (Steve Basic), Jennifer’s boyfriend, seems apathetic about it all. But they are tipped off to her presence in town by Brooke Hanson (Ona Grauer), once she recognizes Jennifer in a magazine.
At the North Creek holiday party, just as John and Maggie are about to kiss, Paula and Brad arrive and Maggie remembers she’s Jennifer Wade, the host of a TV cooking show. The kids don’t want her to go, and everyone says goodbye through tears and sad faces as Maggie goes home.
Maggie realizes she made a mistake and leaves Paula and breaks up with Brad and heads back to North Creek. Just as the Blakes decide to go get Jennifer, they open their door and find her right there. It’s a happy reunion. Flash forward a year, and she’s still hosting her cooking show, but now Jennifer has a new last name: Blake.
Our Review of “A Christmas to Remember”
“A Christmas to Remember” is the story of a woman who, at the beginning of the movie, couldn’t remember the last time that it felt like a “real” Christmas. In effect, Jennifer needed to forget in order to remember just how magical Christmas can be – which she did with the help of the Blakes.
On the other side, John has been letting Christmas slide the last few years due to the pain of losing his wife. Maggie/Jennifer ends up helping him and his family heal – and to also remember how beautiful Christmas is.
Bunny sums it up best with this line, one of the best in the movie: “This year it’s feels like Christmas again. And it feels good.”
The way John and Maggie are brought together – having them stuck together in the house, her with amnesia – is not at all creepy or weird. John has already been established as a nice guy to us. Plus, his kids are clearly sweet, and John is also taking care of the artist Dan Daniels (Kevin McNulty) with plenty of stroganoff.
🍪 The Nice List 🐇
Maggie and John have great chemistry. Their relationship develops in an organic way.
The kids are cute, too. They do a wonderful job in both the fun and serious scenes, resulting in several sweet moments.
Dan also has a couple of strong scenes – one in which he tells Maggie why he moved to town (because it’s where he’s supposed to be, surrounded by people who love him); the other when he tells John that if you love something, you have to let it go to see if it comes back, and how it’s enough to just be happy now.
Also of note was Brooke, and her unrequited love for John. This results in some tension between John and Maggie, as Maggie sees Brooke kiss John. But John explains Brooke’s fatal flaw: she force fed him tofu. “I would never force feed you tofu,” Maggie assures him, in a funny moment.
Another cute Brooke/Maggie/John moment comes when Brooke drops by the house and offers Brooke a cookie. After Brooke leaves, Maggie starts walking away, not even stopping after John says, “I’ll have a cookie.”
👩🍳 A Happy Ending 💍
In the end, Jennifer has a choice to make – go back to her old life or explore the new one she loves.
As heartbreaking as the scene is when Jennifer leaves the Blakes to go home, the reunion is equally heartwarming.
The jump into the future was a nice touch as well, as most Hallmark movies tend to end on the kiss, and leave the rest up to viewers. This one made it clear this relationship was much deeper and more authentic. Great addition.
🎄 A Whole Lotta Christmas! 🎁
This movie crammed in as much Christmas as it could.
Aside from the previously mentioned Christmas elements, we also had a snowmobile scene featuring “Dashing Through the Snow,” a tree lighting, egg nog, gifts, and Daisy writing a letter asking Santa to bring Maggie back on his sleigh.
💚 Our Favorite Scenes ❄️
The scene with Dan telling John about taking care of the baby rabbit when was 9 years old was definitely one of the highlights.
Another sweet scene is when Maggie and the kids are talking about how they had really great moms. One of the girls tells Maggie that her mom “made everything nice. Like you.”
There are also some nice callbacks to Jennifer from early in the film. Jennifer hates the color green and egg nog. But did you notice she ended up drinking egg nog happily later as Maggie? And how about that green dress she wears to the party?
😂 You’ll Laugh… 😂
When the kids, in an effort to help Maggie recover her memory, try to hypnotize her using a yo-yo. After they tell her, “You’re getting sleep. Very sleepy,” she responds with, “I’m getting dizzy!”
The mix-up at the holiday party is also funny. Jennifer thinks Brad is Paula’s boyfriend, but Paula corrects her and says, “No, Brad is your boyfriend.” Jennifer’s classic response: “I don’t think so.”
😭 You’ll Cry… 😭
When Jennifer tells Brooke she is thankful that she didn’t tell her who she was sooner. “It’s OK because it gave me today. We had today. We had a lot of days. Thank you so much for everything you’ve done for me. Thank everyone for making me feel welcome.”
When the kids all tell Jennifer that they love her.
When John tells Jennifer that he always knew she had to go, and tells her not to forget them. And she responds with, “Never!”
When Maggie leaves the party. The kids and John look legit heartbroken as Paula drags her out.
Oh, btw, this is all in THE SAME SCENE, within seconds of each other. Feels overload!
You might also cry when John tells Maggie about his wife in the barn and when Bunny helps Maggie with her dress for the party.
🤦♂️ The Naughty List 🙅
🚘 Did Jennifer Forget How to Drive? 🕶️
Who wears sunglasses at night AND during a snowstorm? Seriously, Jennifer?
And what was with all the fooling with the radio and the phone. Who drives like that in the snow at night?
Not to mention she didn’t want a vehicle with four-wheel drive. She wanted something faster.
There’s a difference between foreshadowing and reckless driving. This was the latter.
We’re fairly certain that black ice was excuse enough to send her car off the road. This was a bit much. Totally unnecessary.
🤔 Why Was the Sewing Kit in the Barn? ⁉️
I don’t know about you, but if I had a barn, I certainly wouldn’t keep my sewing kit there. Seems pretty impractical.
This was a very contrived way to get Maggie and John together in the barn.
Don’t get us wrong, the scene was good. We learned all about John’s deceased wife (and yes, she died the requisite three years ago, so it’s OK for John to date Maggie now), their Christmases past, and his dream for opening a clinic.
But was a sewing kit really the best way to get them out there?
🚓 North Creek Seriously Needs a New Sheriff 👮🏻
How long does it take to find a car on the side of the road in a small town?
Especially when John told the sheriff exactly where he almost ran down Maggie? He did everything but give him the GPS coordinates!
Talk about inept. Also, the timing of the reveal was contrived – during the holiday party when Paula and Brad arrive.
🎐 Chime Abuse! 🎐
Please remember that the chimes sound effect are meant to emphasize magical moments. In “A Christmas to Remember”, it seems you forgot that.
👚 Maggie’s Magical Wardrobe 👚
For a woman with no luggage, she had no shortage of great clothes. Did all those outfits used to belong to John’s wife?
The Worst List
How dare he refer to the people of North Creek as “those people.”
But we knew it was over the second he dissed her red love mittens as hand-me-downs!
You May Also Like…
A Gift to Remember (2017) – the tale of a girl who find romance after a bicycle accident leaves her with amnesia.
A Christmas to Remember (2016)
“A Christmas to Remember” is definitely one of the better Hallmark movies. Don’t forget to put this on your list of movies to watch every year. Despite some minor flaws, it has all the Christmas feels you’re looking for. And it’s pretty much impossible not to fall in love with the Blake family.