A Marley Christmas
Lizzie Richfield (Danica McKellar - My Christmas Dream) not only finished with her boyfriend, as he wasn't right for her, but Christmas is coming and she has lost her job. Fortunately she finds herself working at Ashford Estate where she is employed as the house manager, which means putting on one final Christmas Eve gala for the Marley family who live there before the estate is sold. It is not an easy job as the Marley family don't get on with Kip (Andrew Francis - Engaging Father Christmas) being a care free bachelor whilst his brother Robert (Neal Bledsoe) is business focused and their sister Sloane (Chelan Simmons - A Christmas Tail) arrives home with her children but no husband. And then there is their grandmother, Pippa (Paula Shaw - Hitched for the Holidays), the family matriarch who loathes the thought of selling the family home. But whilst Lizzie tries to do her job she also tries to bring the family together which leads to her becoming close to Robert whilst dealing with Kip's flirtations.
"Coming Home for Christmas" feels like the writers were watching the classic "Sabrina" when they came up with it as we have this fancy estate and two opposite brothers with Robert being all about the business whilst his younger brother Kip is a bit of a gallivanting bachelor. But beyond that set up what you get in "Coming Home for Christmas" feels like a variation on the familiar or at least the obvious as we have Danica McKellar playing a very chatty, optimistic woman who loves Christmas and sets about bringing a lot of Christmas cheer to a large home, think one of those movies where the regular woman falls for a Prince and ends up bringing her love to the stuffy palace.
But in fairness there is a bit of a mystery going on in "Coming Home for Christmas" as Lizzie sets about breaking down Robert's business focused ways where there is no fun and learning why there is tension between him and his grandmother as well as why he doesn't want to stay there. It isn't that the mystery is that surprising and in truth the focus of the movie is very much on the spirit of Lizzie bringing the Marley family together and Danica McKellar certainly brings plenty of bubbliness to the part. At the same time Neal Bledsoe does tall, handsome and misunderstood whilst Andrew Francis gives plenty of flirtatious charm as Kip.
What this all boils down to is that "Coming Home for Christmas" serves up a different sort of story but with the familiar Hallmark elements of a Christmas loving character whose love of Christmas as well as family helps bring a divided family together.