A Very Nutty Christmas
Kate Holiday is a terrific baker, but her overwhelming schedule and newly-single status have left her without a cup of cheer. So she’s delighted to gain an extra set of hands in the kitchen when Christmas magic brings a wooden Nutcracker Prince to life. Can this toy soldier bake up some real holiday joy…and help melt Kate’s heart?
Tree Buy & Trim
Kooky Grandma Figure
Small-Town Guy Who Works w/ Hands
Ice Skating Scene
Public Domain Xmas Music
Christmas movie binging thrives on variety. Sometimes you need more than small-town romance or “will it be a success?” festive parties. That’s why the premise of “A Very Nutty Christmas” made our list of 2018 premieres we needed to watch: a nutcracker coming to life? It could be cheesy, but at least it would be different.
Lucky for us, this movie was both unique and wonderful.
Kate Holiday (Melissa Joan Hart, her usual sassy and commanding self) is a Career-Driven Baker, intent on saying “Yes” to every cookie order, even if that means she has no time for the holiday. Being dragged to a Christmas market and gifted an authentic German nutcracker by a mysterious purveyor, Kate only wishes for help to finish her holiday orders. Cut to the next morning when a dreamy man dressed in a nutcracker outfit (Barry Watson, perfection) is sleeping on her floor. She Mistakes His Identity for her HouseShare.com renter, so she has no problem inviting him into her home and her bakery.
Some of the best moments of the movie happen in Kate’s kitchen. Our nutcracker, calling himself “Chip,” adores cookies, and finds his niche cracking nuts and joyfully counting down with timers. Chip’s childlike wonder transfers offscreen, too. You can’t help but smile at his earnestness, especially when he invites Kate to the Christmas Ball via a cake.
Even though the premise is unique, the cliché formula is there. Kate’s Kooky Grandma Figure neighbor helps her fall back in love with Christmas, and there are many mentions of the season during the Tree Buy & Trim and Charity Work scenes. And for anyone questioning our labels, Chip says he’s from a small town in Germany, and he cracks nuts with his hands. He is the literal epitome of a Small-Town Guy Who Works w/ Hands, only in a much more regal wardrobe.
The movie is exactly what we love in the genre. It balances Christmas with sincerity with jokes. Jess cackled for minutes about the early exchange between Kate and her employee about Chip:
“Is he hot?”
“If you put a tray of cookies next to him, they’d bake.”
The only point of household contention was over the ending. Rob found it practical while Jess felt cheated. Up until then, we both loved the lightness and joy of the story.
Watch this one, please. You’ll enjoy how it stands out within the genre.
Rob's Final Take: Very Merry
2 charming leads, lots of playful cheer, equal parts goofy and earnest, and just the right amount of sweetness. It’s a recipe for unexpected Christmas fun.
Jess's Final Take: Merry
It was almost Very Merry, but I didn’t get the ending I wanted—nay, deserved. It was upbeat, fun, and festive, but it should have ended like it began: with magic.
Watch It On: Lifetime
Starring: Melissa Joan Hart & Barry Watson