“The moment I saw you, I knew, you’re the kind of girl you keep close forever.”

Aria’s mother used to tell her an old folk story about a beautiful princess who finds herself torn between a prince and a knight, unsure which one truly loved her. And now Aria finds herself in that very situation.

Will Aria’s “mistletoe man” turn out to be Sterling, the famous host of a travel show – or Alex, Sterling’s ghostwriter? Find out who will risk everything in the Hallmark movie, “The Mistletoe Secret” (2019).

Our Review: The Mistletoe Secret

“The Mistletoe Secret” was good. Some nice attention to deals, a good story, and some really funny lines and moments.

We also liked the idea in “The Mistletoe Secret” that home is a feeling, not a place. So true.

Aria and the Christmas council are trying to save the town and bring in more tourism. Which leads Aria to contact Sterling, in the hopes that he will write about their town.

But the “voice” behind Sterling is actually Alex, his ghostwriter. We learn he’s been looking for a special place that felt like home.

When Alex arrives in Midway, he meets Aria, and they begin to hit it off. So, in addition to falling for Aria, he finds himself falling in love with the town.

After an article is written, Aria is buzzing that Sterling is in town. And when he does arrive, he also feels a connection with Aria. That means the two business partners are now romantic rivals.

But all the while, Alex is forced to keep his real job a secret from Aria (and everyone else) while Sterling takes credit for writing all the words that Alex wrote for him. But he can’t even keep those details straight, leading to some funny situational humor.

This leads to the obvious (but not forced) conflict, where Aria wants nothing to do with Alex anymore. At least until Alex can reveal the full truth to her and the world.

As for the rest? Here’s the nice, the naughty, and the worst of “The Mistletoe Secret”.

The Nice List

Our Favorite Scenes

There were three:

The meet cute: This is probably our second favorite meet cute of the 2019 Christmas season (behind only “Merry & Bright”). When the mistletoe (actually holly, ugh) ornament falls, he saves it from breaking. Then he shorts out the lights.

Some good banter between the two follows (“Well thank you for your honestly. I hope it puts you on Santa’s nice list, because your attitude won’t”).

Mistletoe man story: Mack tells Alex about the tale his wife used to tell.

Canyon scene: This was simply gorgeous. That tunnel of white Christmas lights had a serious wow factor. Then Alex and Aria reveal their feelings and they kiss. Plus, a shooting star!

You’ll Laugh…

A LOT. There is lots of funny stuff in “The Mistletoe Secret”. A few favorites:

  • Sterling not knowing the difference between an elk vs. reindeer
  • Aria telling Alex he can come in, just as long as he doesn’t break anything else.
  • Aria to Alex: “Hey, it looks like you have a mentor!”
  • Catherine doing her best Oprah: “TIME FOR JUDGING OF THE SWEATERS!”
  • When Sterling messes up his own stories (and when Alex is there and tries to fix it).

It’s VERY Christmasy

Everything is decorated nicely. And there are lots of Christmas events and activities.

In particular, the snowman scavenger hunt scene in this movie was way better than the entire movie that was “Christmas Scavenger Hunt”. There was urgency and this scene was fun! (Alex tossing that one part in the air for Catherine to catch was a favorite moment.)

Rudolph’s Shiny Sweater?

“Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” got a brief mention in “The Mistletoe Secret.

During the sweater contest, Alex remarks: “I’m gonna shine so bright Rudolph is gonna go blind.”

The Naughty List

A Scene Too Many

The canyon scene should have been the end of the movie.

The following dinner scene was simply unnecessary after this and anticlimactic – kissing under the HOLLY, not mistletoe, keep reading for more on that issue).

Plus, their kiss at the canyon was better than the last one.

Mack Is Strangely Familiar with Alex

At one point early in the movie, Mack (dressed as Santa) sits down with Alex, a total stranger, and talks to him. Even though this is their first conversation ever, Mack talks about the Christmas council, his late wife, and even how business is down in town. Convenient for exposition, sure. But c’mon.

Contrast that with when Sterling arrived, it was totally different. Mack isn’t chatty with Sterling and certainly never gives him a Christmas passport.

Unanswered Questions

Why was everyone facing away from the tree when they lit it? Did they not know where the tree was?

How did Alex earn the stamps for his Christmas passport? The passport was fun idea – but it just seemed like he would walk up to random people and get stamps. We didn’t know why most of the time.

Holly vs. Mistletoe

“The Mistletoe Secret”? More like The Holly Secret instead.

Seriously, this is a HUGE goof.

This holly vs. mistletoe mixup is all the worse because in more than one Hallmark movie, they’ve educated all of us viewers on the difference between holly and mistletoe.

Holly is red.

Mistletoe is white.

Technically, Alex is Aria’s Holly Man.

That Picture

In one scene, Alex and Aria are in a carriage and they ask someone to take a picture of them. Fine.

Later, though, Alex has that supposed picture on his phone. Two HUGE problems:

  • Problem 1: Alex and Aria aren’t looking at the camera in the picture on his phone. But in the scene, they are both looking right at the guy who takes their picture.
  • Problem 2: The picture is in portrait format. But the guy taking the photo in the earlier scene was holding the camera sideways, meaning it would be taken in landscape mode.

The WORST List


Wow. Sterling’s move to outbid Alex by $500 at the silent auction bid was some next-level naughtiness.

Boo, Sterling. Booooo!!

You’ll Cringe…

At Kellie Pickler. For three reasons:

The way she says this one line was so weird and robotic (“So what brings you to our humble Midway? I know it wasn’t to visit this questionable small town diner.”) Granted, that line is terrible. But her delivery, including an odd pause on “mid way” just sounds so unnatural, yet could have easily been fixed with another take or overdub.

Also her heavy North Carolina accent stands out quite a bit, considering this story takes place in Utah. You get used to it, and she is quite charming and likable, but it took us a while to get used to it.

And if you’re not a fan of her singing (we aren’t), she sings in here (just once) prior to the meet cute (while she’s decorating).

If You Liked “The Mistletoe Secret” You Should Watch

  • The Mistletoe Inn
  • Small Town Christmas
  • Love Always, Santa
The Mistletoe Secret


“The Mistletoe Secret” is a lot of fun and full of laughs. But it made an unforgivable mistake: not knowing the difference between holly and mistletoe. If you can manage to overlook that, make sure to get your Christmas passport and your stamp for watching this movie.

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