What Happens When You Spend A Week Watching Christmas 24?

Day 1: Sleigh Bells Ring

The start of my over-ambitious Christmas 24 social experiment began last night and they must have seen me coming.  I was treated to a Hallmark classic – Sleigh Bells Ring (2016) – a movie so unapologetically and predictably crap, I don’t even know where to begin.

Directed by Marita Grabiak, it follows Laurel (Erin Cahill) as she attempts to plan a Christmas parade, sort out her daughter’s costume and avoid falling in love with her ex-boyfriend Alex (David Alpay). Emphasis is firmly placed on Laurel being an incredibly busy single mother, who still manages to maintain high levels of enthusiasm for the holidays/everything.

Laurel works for the Mission City Parks and Rec department, which had me hoping beyond hope that Andy Dwyer would pop out to give her a piggyback. Instead the Mayor drops an anvil over her festive mother/daughter bonding time.

Crowned the worst City Mayor ever (by me), he announces that they have received a surplus of money and wants to spend it on a Christmas parade. Not potholes. Not helping the homeless…a parade.

If Laurel pulls it off to a two week deadline she will be promoted, and if she doesn’t, then God forbid Mayor Howard Finnegan might just brutally murder her. He also wants a giant Christmas tree outside city hall, which gives it all a sense of completion.

Laurel’s daughter, who had made a list of fun things to do over the holidays, takes her mother’s overbearing career very well. Like a true child of capitalism she shrugs off her juvenile fancies without so much as a tantrum, and springs into action.

This unnaturally eagle-eyed child spots a sleigh in a mysterious wood cabin belonging to Mr. Winter (Donovan Scott aka Leslie Barbara from Police Academy). He has a red suit on, a big white fluffy beard and he jiggles his belly like a bowl-full of jelly. Can’t imagine who he is supposed to be…

They take supposed-Santa’s rust bucket sleigh off his hands (swindler just wanted some free repairs done on it), but the bloody thing keeps mysteriously disappearing and leading Laurel back to her ex-boyfriend Alex.

Alex, who seems to constantly mirror the expression of a sad Labrador on a Dog’s Trust advert, feels really bad for chasing his dreams to New York and leaving her. Desperate to give Laurel a Christmas stuffing, he offers to help renovate the sleigh, and the magic begins.

Whether it was a knock-on effect from our ramped up thermostat, or the necessaey Bailey’s blanket I created to stay interested, I certainly felt warm.

According to online sources, this is one of the better Hallmark made for TV movies, so I am utterly dreading what I’ll have to endure over the next week. I also worry for my liver during this time, as going into one of these movies sober would probably give me a bleed on the brain.

The second movie, Christmas on Honeysuckle Lane (2018) will start tonight at 7pm. Watch along with me (Sky 325 | Virgin 419 | BT 513) and follow my live Tweeting @bloggybalboa.

Elizabeth Howlett

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