It's been five years since the town of Gulfport, Mississippi has put on their traditional Christmas festival due to a hurricane which devastated the community. But this year they are putting it back on and it coincides with photographer Holly Logan (Jana Kramer - Heart of the Country) returning home to spend Christmas with her mom, Caroline (Faith Ford - Trading Christmas), who would love to see her daughter settle down locally. Having volunteered to help with the lights Holly learns that Mike (Wes Brown - Christmas Cookies), her high school sweetheart who broke her heart, is in charge of putting on the festival. But not only does Holly find herself falling in love with Gulfport and Mike all over again but she becomes aware that a local called Stuart (Richard Karn - Christmas Land) is sweet on her mom.
Let me list some of the cliches which fill Lifetime's "Christmas in Mississippi". We start with the young woman returning to her hometown who has to deal with her matchmaking mom. We have the high school sweetheart who broke the woman's heart all those years earlier. There is a man who is sweet on her mom and a man with a bit of a mysterious side who is playing Santa. And there is even a child involved which in fairness isn't completely as cliche as it first seems. I could go on because there are some other cliches tossed in to "Christmas in Mississippi" as well but where as some Christmas movies struggle to make the cliches work this one does.
And there is a simple reason why "Christmas in Mississippi" works and it comes down to crowd pleasing appeal which makes the movie engaging. And that appeal revolves around the actors with Jana Kramer and Wes Brown bringing plenty of charm, beauty and a relaxed nature to their characters making it easy to warm to them. But then there is also Faith Ford and Richard Karn who also bring warmth and charm to their parts but also just that right amount of comedy which will remind older audiences of their sitcom pasts. Throw in the acting of a talented young child and plenty of Christmas decorations and it makes "Christmas in Mississippi" an entertaining movie.
What this all boils down to is that "Christmas in Mississippi" might have a different location to your usual Christmas movies but it is filled with plenty of the usual Christmas movie cliches. But in this case the cliches along with the appealing nature of the cast, especially Jana Kramer and Wes Brown, make it work.