“I am the Santa of love. Because at Christmas, and all year round, there is no greater gift than love.”

At Christmastime, Anne returns to her hometown to help her father as he prepares to sell his toy store. Once there, she finds herself on the town’s Christmas committee and overseeing a trio of events: a tree lighting / silent auction, a carnival, and a pageant.

While all that goes on, she starts spending time with Keith, who works at a mill that is in danger of closing, and his daughter. It’s the 2019 Hallmark Movies and Mysteries movie, “Nostalgic Christmas”.

Our Review: Nostalgic Christmas

This movie was disappointing.

Unlike nearly every other worthy Christmas movie, the characters seemed to accept mediocrity or bad situations, rather than working to make everything spectacular or find a miracle Christmas solution to make everything awesome.

Whenever things went wrong, it felt like the characters responded with some variation of “we did the best we could” or “it’ll be fine”. It felt like the Christmas magic was sorely lacking here.

The acting was painful at times – Brooke was disappointing and Keith was robotic.

It didn’t help that most of the dialogue was really choppy – jumping all around and sometimes didn’t feel appropriate.

Also, the Christmas tree decorating scene was, hands down, the worst montage we’ve ever seen in a Christmas movie. They didn’t even bother to make them be mouthing the words to the Christmas carol they were supposedly singing.

The pacing was terrible. It felt sooo slow and repetitive (did we really need multiple scenes where Anne said she wouldn’t change her mind about taking over the store, and the owner of the mill wouldn’t change her mind about closing the mill?) until the last 10 minutes (as has been the case with all the 2019 Hallmark movies so far this year, sadly).

The meddling friends (Alice and Colleen) are a bit much. It seemed like the supporting characters more invested in Anne and Keith getting together than Anne and Keith were for most of the movie. Alicia goes on and on telling Keith about how great Anne is when she barely even knows who she is!

And so much more could have been done with the one recurring theme throughout the movie – the wooden-carved Santa figurines with their own special messages that inspired the people they’re given to. However, in the final act when Keith talks about the Santa of Love that Anne game him, he even says he wasn’t inspired by it when he announces his plan to save the mill.

There are plenty of other Christmas movies that feature a woman from the city who returns home to her small town at Christmas and doesn’t want to take over the family business, but then she finds love and suddenly decides to give up her old life (e.g., “Poinsettias for Christmas”, “Christmas Land” and “Santa’s Boots”).

The Naughty List

Longing for Chemistry

There was just no chemistry between the romantic leads. Until the last 10 minutes, Keith thought Anne was interested in Tom.

They didn’t have any moments or googley eyes or one almost kiss. All we got was an awkward “good tidings” hug.

The big conflict was Keith seeing Anne hold hands and hug Tom. But he was fine with Anne dancing with Tom, and playing games with him at the carnival.

Side note: Every time Tom was on screen, we just wanted him to go away!

Looked Christmasy But Didn’t Feel Christmasy

Visually, the film was pretty average. There was a lot of Christmas, the toy store looked pretty impressive in an early scene, and all the decorations looked homey, but it just didn’t have the spirit. It was just “fine”.

Why have a silent auction? Just a xmas tree lighting fine. No reason for that. Didn’t mention it. Didn’t show it.

Carnival did not feel Christmasy at all. Reindeer for a prize. Snowball toss (but snowball didn’t look like a snowball).

“Once Upon a Midnight Clear”

At one point in the movie, Anne plays “Once Upon a Midnight Clear’ on the piano. We learn that it was her mother’s favorite carol.

So you think, hey, she’s running a pageant. That song will probably be in the pageant, right?

Wrong. They just dropped that. Totally pointless to include that with no payoff.

What Do You Mean You Couldn’t Find A Tree?

A few unanswered questions:

  • Who would steal a 40-foot artificial Christmas tree.
  • What would you with it?
  • Where would you hide it?
  • How would you even go about stealing it if it was locked up?

And how you could find a tree somewhere on the mill property that was at least taller than the 10-foot tree the tree lot guy had?

Side note: Missing tree at Christmastime? Too bad they couldn’t call in Miss Christmas. She would have saved the day.

Santa Statues

They could have done so much more with the Santa statues. They could have magically inspired more people and been more integral to the plot.

One Santa inspired the tree lot guy to come up with an idea to save the tree lighting. Another inspired Jessie to sing.

Could have made it the Santa gave to mill lady inspired her not to sell. Could have been more of a running theme with other characters to help actually move the story forward.

Anne’s Sudden Return to Wood Carving

One minute, Anne is saying, “I think it would take a lot to get me back in the wood shop. … “Well, I would only do it for someone I care about.”

The very next scene, she’s carving.

Also did you catch the part where Anne turns and looks right at Keith right after she says “someone I care about”?

Another Poor Business Model

OK, it’s 2019. Who is still making a living making hand-carved wooden toys?

Also, when he sells the rocking horse, and agrees to ship it, he never actually gets any money for it.

How Does a Town Own a Mill?

The lady who owns the mill decides to gift the mill to the town.

Keith will run it, but seriously… how does this even work?

You’ll Fall Asleep…

  • Waiting for them to have some chemistry.
  • While you wait for someone to save the mill and the toy store
  • Waiting for Keith to ask Anne if she actually likes Tom.

The WORST List

The Ending Is So Painfully Cliched.

After Anne and Keith wish each other a Merry Christmas, they kiss, and the snow starts the instant they kiss the cameras pulls out as you’ve seen in dozens of other Christmas movies. Super. Lame.

P.S.: To answer a question that never got answered: you always close with “Joy to the World,” never “Silent Night.” Duh.

Nostalgic Christmas


Well, I guess this was the best they could do. Ho hum. At one point, Anne says it feels like they let everybody down. That’s how we feel about this movie.

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