A Gift from Denver
I could tell you that "The Christmas Gift", a Christmas movie from the 80s, doesn't have the most original of stories, doesn't have the best acting and has ordinary direction but that would make it sound like I didn't enjoy the movie which is far from the truth. You see whilst "The Christmas Gift" is predictable and ropey in places it has beautiful wintry scenes and plenty of Christmas warmth and magic which makes it a pleasure to watch rather than a strain. And of course "The Christmas Gift" stars John Denver which makes it a must for fans of the late singer.
Since his wife passed away big city architect George Billings (John Denver) has thrown himself into his work and it hasn't gone unnoticed as his boss wants him to take his daughter Alex (Gennie James) away from a Christmas break. Except he also wants George to scout out Georgetown, Colorado as he has plans to develop the area and turn the small town into a big one. But Georgetown is very special as not only does it remind him of the town he grew up in but everyone in Georgetown loves Christmas. In fact they don't just love Christmas they all believe in Santa including the adults who all write letters to him. But having spent time there George believes that they shouldn't try to develop Georgetown and when it comes out why he is there it is sure to anger the locals especially Susan (Jane Kaczmarek - Vice Versa) who runs the post office.
So as I said at the start it would be easy to criticize "The Christmas Gift" as it is one of the most cliche Christmas movies going. We have a widow and a child, a small town and a big businessman looking to develop it, there is some romance and of course the truth over why George is in town. Anyone who watches made for TV movies will have stumbled across a movie or two which uses the same storyline. And whilst this movie happens to be set at Christmas the direction is not that spectacular and the acting at times is a little shaky especially from John Denver. Basically ignore the Christmas aspect and "The Christmas Gift" would be predictable and ordinary.
But of course we are talking a Christmas movie here and "The Christmas Gift" is a beautiful looking Christmas movie. The decorated Georgetown is absolutely charming and the surrounding countryside is picturesque especially during the scene where George and Susan take a sleigh ride through the fields. It also has a wholesome, feel good charm, some sweet romance and a lot of Christmas magic especially with the entire town writing letters to Santa. It means that whilst "The Christmas Gift" is still cliche it is entertaining and achieves that wintry warmth it sets out to deliver.
What this all boils down to is that it would be a lie if I said "The Christmas Gift" was a great Christmas movie but it is one which despite its obviousness still works with a lot of warmth and beauty to make up for the numerous cliche aspects.