Get ready for Hallmark Channel’s Countdown to Christmas! It starts today with CHRISTMAS JOY at 8 pm.
Joy Holbrook is a market researcher in DC, and she is about to get a sweet promotion, just in time for the holidays. But when she receives an urgent phone call from home and rushes back to Crystal Falls, NC to help her Aunt recover from surgery, she is reunited with her former crush, Ben.
About the movie
Joy Holbrook (Danielle Panabaker) is an intuitively intelligent market researcher in Washington, DC with a keen eye on her company’s top account and about to garner a sweet promotion, just in time for the holidays. Just as Joy is capturing the attention of the account’s CEO Poppy Weatherton (Gabrielle Rose) of the legendary department store Weatherton’s, Joy receives a phone call from her beloved Aunt Ruby’s best friend back home in the small farm town of
Crystal Falls, North Carolina. Ruby (Beverley Elliott) has broken her ankle and needs surgery.
Joy to the rescue
Though the timing couldn’t be worse, Joy immediately comes to her aunt’s bedside only to be reunited with her former crush, the boy-next-door now hospital administrator Ben Andrews (Matthew Long), son of Ruby’s best friend Shirley (Susan Hogan).
While visiting her Aunt in the hospital – with a fresh cast on her ankle – Joy learns her Aunt Ruby will need to spend the next week in bed recovering and will not be able to prepare for Crystal Fall’s legendary annual “Cookie Crawl”: a walking home tour where owners display festive holiday decorations and treat each other to delectable Christmas cookies all while vying to win the prized Golden Wreath Award (a prize Ruby has won the last four years.)
Seeing her aunt distressed and reflecting on her own childhood when her aunt took her in after Joy’s mother passed, she creates a plan. In order to keep Ruby –who is determined to be in control of everything— focused on healing, Joy volunteers to take over her Aunt’s place as Chair for the Cookie Crawl, much to the amusement of everyone, including Ben, who knows Joy has no idea of the Herculean task before her.
Ben attempts to “co-captain” Joy, explaining there’s a lot of ground to cover in just six days: figure out a theme, create a design for the interior and exterior of the house, decorate the multiple Christmas trees (plural), start making the dough reserves for the hundreds and hundreds of cookies that need to be baked; Joy begins to wonder what she’s gotten herself into.
Back in DC at her office, Joy’s boss isn’t thrilled to hear she will be out for several days, especially with the big company holiday gala approaching. When tasked with extra responsibilities as the Firm just lost the prestigious Weatherton account, Joy pushes back saying her aunt needs her, and is then asked to think very carefully about her career choices.
With the Cookie Crawl just days away, Joy realizes she desperately needs help. She finally allows Ben to help her with the monumental tasks at hand. As they plan, decorate and bake, they reconnect. They feel a spark, but Ben hesitates and pulls away from a kiss, making things awkward.
Joy briefly returns to DC to attend the Gala, but is distracted with thoughts of Crystal Falls (and of Ben). Ben makes a surprise appearance, but he leaves abruptly. Now he won’t return her calls. Just a day away from the Cookie Crawl, near disaster brings Ben to her door to help. Joy makes an important realization. With an interesting offer from Poppy Weatherton, Joy makes a life-changing decision. She remembers that especially during the holidays, there truly is no place like home.
- Danielle Panabaker (Joy Holbrook)
- Matt Long (Ben Andrews)
- Beverley Elliott (Ruby Dempsey)
- Shannon Chan-Kent (Renee)
- Gabrielle Rose (Poppy Weatherton)
- Lucia Walters (Margie Carter)
- Susan Hogan (Shirley Andrews)
- Fred Henderson (Ed Andrews)
- Chris Shields (Dr. Walsh)
- Taylor Hastings (Ashley Jules)
- John Shaw (Phil Finnegan)
- Sean Robert McLean (Zeke)
- Robert Egger (FG Member)
- AJ Simmons (Youngest FG Member)
- Sarah Hayward (FG Member #2)
- Michael Brian (Poppy’s Assistant)
- Dion Riley (Waiter)