Recap: 12 Gifts of Christmas (2015)


I do not understand what is happening in this poster. Are they in a painting? Are those paint cans in the corner? SHE’S NOT A COMMERCIAL PAINTER.

Anna Parisé (Katrina Law) is our feisty yet down-on-her-luck Hallmark gal, a struggling painter who lives in her sister’s basement (the basement is super big and airy with its own stone fireplace, but leave it to Anna to focus on the negatives: another gallery doesn’t want her.) She’s great at gift suggestions though!

Ah, Anna falls firmly into Hallmark’s category of Creative but Poor.

Anna shows up at her favourite coffee shop/bakery and has a terrible meet-cute with some Bluetooth-wearing jerk, Marc Rehnquist (Aaron O’Connell).


She overhears him talking about not knowing what to buy his assistant for her birthday and immediately gives him an unsolicited idea (cupcake samples). Marc works for an ad agency, yet he’s so incompetent at his job that he doesn’t even know what to buy for the people he’s closest to. This guy sucks. He takes her suggestion and gets the cupcakes, which are a huge hit at the office.

Marc: Handsome but Clueless

Proving my point, he’s days away from losing a major client, some tech manufacturer, Cerulean, because he keeps pitching shitty ad campaign ideas recycled from the year before. He has like, six days to come up with a fresh campaign for Cerulean, so he deletes “Christmas shopping” off his calendar to clear up…like, two hours?

Anna finishes a painting of Santa. You see, she’s super talented at traditional grandma art, but not real art. This is a Hallmark-specific life problem.


However, she still needs to PAY RENT. So within a day’s time, she’s researched how to become a personal shopper and already printed up business cards to advertise at the bakery. Marc sees the card – not knowing it’s hers – and grabs it, since he’s also in charge of selecting the Christmas gift that all employees will receive on behalf of corporate.

So, not only does he suck at his job, Marc can’t even be bothered to call his mom (Donna Mills) back, prompting her to drive into the city and make these faces.


She wants him to come home for Christmas, since his sister and her family will be there. He hasn’t been home in years!

Desperate, Marc calls up the personal shopper (Anna, who’s terribly unprepared for her first client) and arranges to meet the next day. At lunch, they’re all, “oh hey, it’s you!” and then get down to brass tacks. He’s got twelve people to shop for and thirteen days left until Christmas.

The first gift is for his old buddy, Graham, with whom he used to spend his college years watching basketball and eating ramen. Since each becoming Men About Town, they’ve been locked in a sad battle of one-upping each other’s Christmas gifts, giving the biggest and best, so he’s decided to get Graham a smart watch this year.  He just hands over his credit card to this total stranger and gives her his Christmas shopping list. This guy’s a moron!

The smart watch is sold out. However, Anna gets slapped with an idea as she sees a basketball game on TV. This is a Thinking Face.


Back in Marc’s office, she presents him with Graham’s gift: courtside tickets to a Knicks game and a gift certificate to the finest ramen noodle restaurant in town, so they can enjoy some quality bro time together, rather than the newest tech toy. Marc is pissed and fires her on the spot.

As he’s headed out for the day, he asks his assistant to messenger whatever’s on his desk, which happens to include Graham’s gift! Hours later, Graham shows up at Marc’s apartment to basically walk around, hug and thank him for the best gift (“Noodles and hoops, man!”), and then leave again.

The next morning, he calls to apologize and re-hire Anna. They meet at the bakery, even though the clock is ticking for him to fix the Cerulean campaign! Marc asks her to help him with the corporate gift for everyone, but in order for her to know what every single person wants, she’ll need to attend the company Christmas party!

So, the woman who can’t afford to pay rent to her own sister now flaunts it by having a montage of party dress shopping! This is the lucky winner.



We get treated to a long montage of Marc and Anna “charmingly” winning over his employees together and getting to know each and every one of them. It’s a Christmas miracle.

Also, this happens:

“What did the gingerbread man put on his bed?”
“A cookie sheet!”


At the end of it all, Anna’s suggestion for a gift that everyone will enjoy is personal time off with their families. Just that simple!! Marc brings it to his boss, who approves PTO between Christmas and New Years for everyone. Sucks to be their clients during that week… Everyone’s pumped when the news is announced! I’m pretty sure this would never, ever happen because corporate gifts are usually like, $50 and PTO for a WEEK is a huge loss for the company.

Marc and Anna get dinner at her sister’s restaurant to celebrate their latest little victory. He grossly hands her the cheque at the table, which includes a bonus! Marc is the worst at business. She pays rent (two or three weeks late already) and begins shopping for an apartment! Um, maybe wait until you have actual steady income before jumping into that decision, Anna?

Remember, this is supposed to be New York City. The rental guy says, and I QUOTE, “it’s nothing fancy.”


What a dump!

Not only is the rundown shack available come January 1st, it’s apparently very affordable for people who can’t even afford to stay in their sister’s basement.

Marc once again bombs in front of Cerulean with his stupid pitch. They want something timeless, personal, special! FIRE MARC.

These two sugar addicts bump into one another at the bakery again. Troublingly, this is how they eat cupcakes.


He tells her he’s having ad campaign issues. We find out he studied creative writing, so he’s naturally supportive of her pursuing her art. When she discovers he’s been avoiding his family’s Christmases for years, she makes him promise he’ll go this year. He quips, “Wait, aren’t I your boss?” Ew, dude, don’t bring up that power imbalance if you like her!

Point for 12 Gifts of Christmas: heavy use of the montage sequence.

She forces him to Christmas shop with her, even though the whole point of hiring her was to eliminate any need for shopping! The montage includes a running gag of them continuously going back and swiping cupcake samples off a poor woman’s tray.


They say a wistful goodbye to one another. Back at her sister’s, Anna gets asked to babysit her two nieces (who I have not mentioned yet, because they’re cute but don’t add anything to the movie) on Sunday night, since the restaurant has a VIP party reservation that night.

At home, Marc calls his mom (and by extension, his sister). His sister’s excited to hear from him, but she’s acting more like “a cute boy is calling me on a date!” than “my jackass brother is finally coming around.” Anyway, they agree to meet for lunch the next day.

Lunch is unremarkable, but she invites him to go ice skating with her husband and sons. He wants to bring Anna, because Hallmark LOVES a skating scene. That night, he pops by unannounced to invite her, so he finally gets to see her grandma art (he’s impressed). Also, since he’s decided to spend Christmas with his family, now he needs to buy gifts for them too!

Ice skating is whatever. Marc’s sister really takes a shine to Anna, insisting on holding her hands as they stand still on the ice. It’s weird.  Marc teaches Anna how to skate, because women in Hallmark are always newborn calves on ice.

Later, they shop for the rest of his family’s gifts (again, what is Anna’s purpose anymore?). She remarks out loud on the shittiest necklace I’ve ever seen:


OMG, Marc’s mom calls and she goes, “I’ll cut to the chase” and he responds, “I appreciate that.”


Turns out, she just wants the hot goss on Anna, so she invites them both over for Sunday night dinner. Anna accepts. Sunday rolls around and mere minutes before Marc picks her up, she realizes that she was supposed to babysit for her sister that night. Marc says, bring ’em along!

Inappropriately, he says her outfit is missing a little something. That something is the shitty necklace of yore. They all drive out to his parent’s huge-ass mansion and meet his folks.

Anna is really terrible at intuitively finding out what people want for gifts; she literally just straight up asks his mom what she wants for Christmas. What is the point of you, Anna! Marc could’ve just done that himself.

Well, thank god she asked, because the answer will bless (and haunt) us for the rest of the movie. Turns out, they don’t have a current family portrait because their shitheel son never comes home. In fact, they only have one from way back when.


I’m terrified.

I also would like to meet the intern that cobbled this piece of shit Photoshop together, because I desperately want to believe this is the work of a saboteur.

Anyway, the visit with his fam went well, everyone loves her, etc. The next day, her sister finds her working on her art (she’s inspired!) and teases her for liking Marc.

Marc is still up shit’s creek with Cerulean. He has one last chance. He gets his own Thinking Face, and then goes to harass Anna’s sister at her place of work for mysterious reasons.

Sometime later, he surprises Anna at her apartment with roses. He tells her they make a good team, and this is when she finds out he got her sister to take the Santa painting and turn it into a shitty ad for Cerulean (they loved it, naturally).


Santa loves portable devices! Anyway, obviously Anna is ANGRY about this betrayal. Basically, her side is that she does her grandma art for fun and he made it all about business.

We get treated to a Montage of Sadness. Anna has decided to move out ASAP, which means she’s packing on Christmas Eve. She’s pissed at her sister and Marc, but mostly Marc because she thought he was changing. She gets extra sad when she finds his Christmas list.


Likes and interests of a mom: MEMORIES

Well, it’s Christmas morning, so our hero and heroine decide to spend the special day with their respective families, choosing the warmth and love of family over brief, ill-suited infatuation.

Wait, scratch that.

Anna decides to disrespect her family by LEAVING (in turn, upsetting her mother, in turn, upsetting me!) and driving out to Long Island to see her dumb lug of a love interest. Her mom made a ham!

Anna and Marc’s reunion is boring, and I don’t remember anything they said, but she’s brought a gift for the family.

Oh, that’s nice! A new family portrait!


Wait, let’s get a closer look.


It is now my firm belief that this family is:

a) a vampire clan
b) cursed by a ghost that will kill them all
c) fucked either way


Let’s bid our doomed couple goodbye. This family creeps me out.


3 Rating

Wait a second.

Marc, an advertising executive, has literally stolen Anna’s art  to use in a national campaign, which is instant and major copyright infringement. HE IS IN ADVERTISING. HE WOULD KNOW THIS. This is crazy bananas illegal shit happening! HE STOLE FROM YOU, THE ARTIST, BUT UNDER THE GUISE OF “TEAMWORK.”

Sue him!!!

3 thoughts on “Recap: 12 Gifts of Christmas (2015)

  1. So many thoughts! I guess I can excuse most of it because Katrina Law is charming and this is what I get when I watch a Hallmark movie, but the thing with the apartment made me so stabby. First of all, that apartment in NYC is approximately a squillion dollars. Second, she is broke. How is she even going to put down a security deposit? What happens with the work for her ONE CLIENT is finished? If she wants to move out so badly, shouldn’t she be thrilled that Marc wants to use her art in a national campaign? UGH.



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