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

Multi-platform journalist and film psychoanalyst who loves 80s films, but doesn’t think much of John Hughes. Horror and fantasy theory is her jam and she can quote anything at the drop of a hat. Her brain holds more pop culture references than you can shake a stick at and she hums the theme to Jurassic Park without realising. Heir to the throne and rightful queen of puns – you owe her your allegiance.
Elizabeth Howlett

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