Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Book or Movie? "Miss Christmas"

Last week, a Christmas book popped up in one of the free book newsletters I subscribe to. Nothing unusual about that—free Christmas books are a dime a dozen this time of year. But this one caught my eye because of the elongated title: Miss Christmas: A Heartwarming Romance and 2017 Hallmark Film. (It's still free as of this writing, by the way.) It's a stupid title but brilliant marketing—Hallmark's Countdown to Christmas is wildly popular, so proclaiming a book's connection to Hallmark in the title is sure to catch a few eyes. It did for me, anyway!

Miss Christmas (the film) aired last weekend, but I wasn't able to watch it then, which gave me time to read the book first.
Holly Kuhn is on the hunt for The Tree, but could she possibly find The One along the way?  
Next to Santa Claus, Holly Kuhn has one of the most important Christmas jobs out there. She’s the Director of Horticulture at Rockefeller Center, which means she’s in charge of finding the biggest and most perfect Norway spruce and transporting it to Manhattan. 
When she stumbles upon The Tree of her dreams on an idyllic Massachusetts dairy farm, Miss Christmas—as she’s called—is on seventh heaven. That is, until she meets the farm’s owner, handsome Sam McCary, and discovers he doesn’t share her holiday spirit.
Will Holly be able to convince him to share his tree with the world? Or will workaholic Holly learn that sometimes there’s something even more important than tinsel-trapped success?  
Join Holly and Sam—along with a colorful supporting cast and charming small town—as they discover that Christmas miracles are all around us, if we’re only willing to see them in plain sight. 
While Miss Christmas has an interesting premise, there is zero chemistry between Holly and Sam. In fact, when Holly impulsively kisses Sam about 3/4 of the way through the novella, my first thought was, "Why did she even want to do that?" Also, Joe, the nine-year-old whose letter brings Holly to the tree in the first place, speaks like he's an adult. Then there are the cameos by Taylor Swift, Matt Lauer, and Al Roker, which felt completely contrived. There was a lack of authenticity to the story that bothered me.

That said, it is a clean, fast Christmas read; I just didn't really care about the characters or the plot.

The movie, however? Wonderful.
Nicknamed “Miss Christmas,” the official tree finder for Chicago’s renowned Radcliffe Tree lighting is left desperate to find the perfect tree. A letter from a young boy promising his tree is perfect sends her to a small town where she learns the young boy’s dad isn’t willing to part with his tree. While sparks fly, she’ll be forced to confront what she’s really been missing for Christmas.
First of all, Marc Blucas and Brooke D'Orsay are perfectly cast as Sam and Holly. Blucas is completely charming (as usual—have you seen him in the fantastic The Irresistible Blueberry Farm?), but he also brings an emotional depth to the role that surprised me. The banter between Sam and Holly upon their first meeting is so sweet and flirtatious, and their chemistry only builds from there.

Every single change that the filmmakers made helped make a stronger story—and there are many changes, from the setting (New York City & Massachusetts to Chicago & Wisconsin), to Joe/Joey's relationship to Sam, to the absence of celebrities, to the tree's ultimate fate.

I know we're still early in the Hallmark Christmas movie season, but of the new films that have aired so far, Miss Christmas is by far my favorite. It's pure delight!

So ...

Book or Movie? 

I think it's pretty obvious—I'm glad the book exists because it paved the way for this great Christmas movie. But I'd recommend skipping the book and going straight to the movie. (Book: 2 stars. Movie: 5 stars.)

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase an item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."


  1. I never read or seen this book/movie, but I find some books have better plots than movies I have watched overall.

    1. I would say that in general, that's the case, Melissa! Every once in a while, I'll find a movie that I've liked better than the book (like Miss Christmas!), but it's usually the other way around. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. I love books first, then watch the movie!! I like all of the detail a book gives and makes it easier to watch the movie!!

    1. I usually try to read the book first--but if I don't get it read before I see the movie, then I rarely go back and read the book. Just one of my quirks, I guess :-)

  3. The chemistry between Brooke and Marc is fabulous in this movie!! I loved that meet-cute. Plus it doesn't hurt that I like both of these actors. :)

    Great review, Becky. :)

    1. How did I miss this comment??? It's been a couple months, but thanks for stopping by, Rissi :-)


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