The Tangled Web in Hallmark's "Holiday Date"

Starring:  Brittany Bristow and Matt Cohen

Released:  2019

Summary:  After a woman's boyfriend breaks up with her right before the holidays, she agrees to go home with an actor who will pose as her boyfriend.

Image:  Crown Media

Would You Lie to Your Mom Like Brooke Does?

Brooke Miller (Bristow) is heading home for the holidays, and she's thrilled to FINALLY be taking a boyfriend with her.  Problem is, Ethan breaks up with her right before the trip.

Most of us would be on the phone bawling to our moms about getting our hearts broken just in time for Christmas.  We would go home and spend the holidays with family, hoping to lift our sagging spirits.

Not Brooke.  Despite being a person of good character, she decides to take an actor home and pass him off as her boyfriend.  

Who does that?


I didn't get married until I was 33, and if you're not married yet, or didn't get married until later than most, you know it stinks to be alone, especially at Christmas.  When you're in your hometown, you bump into old classmates and people you know, and of course, they always want to know if you've gotten married.  You worry people will think something is wrong with you.  Many undoubtedly assume there's a reason you're still single.  Never once, however, did it occur to me to pass a stranger off as my boyfriend.  

Joel Parker (Cohen) wants the lead in a new film, so accompanying Brooke to Whispering Pines, Pennsylvania, seems like the perfect research opportunity for him to get an edge over his competition.

Hallmark weaves this story together playfully, but seriously....what kind of person would agree to deliberately set out to deceive others?  We call this type a person a fraud or a scam artist.

We're also supposed to believe that Brooke's parents have never seen a picture of Ethan to know the difference between him and Joel.  

Are you kidding me?  People are addicted to posting pictures of their significant others on social media.  If I were Brooke, I would have texted my mom a gazillion photos of my man, so there's no way this stunt would have worked.


A Web of Lies

One lie leads to another.  Brooke and Joel quickly realize more lies are necessary to maintain their relational facade.  They create a web of lies that ultimately ensnares them.

  • Ethan is an architect, but Joel can't decipher the house plans Brooke's brother-in-law shows him to get his opinion, nor can he build a gingerbread house.
Image:  Crown Media
  • Ethan's nickname is Mr. Christmas because he's so into the holidays, but Joel is Jewish and has never celebrated Christmas.
  • The real Ethan shows up at Brooke's family home after her classmate posts a picture online of Brooke and Joel with the hashtag #EthanRinehart, so Brooke tells her family she knows two Ethans.
Image:  Crown Media
  • When Brooke's sister and brother-in-law see her in a bridal shop and Joel in a jewelry store, they assume the couple has gotten engaged.  Both of them play along with the idea.
  • Brooke's mom wants to talk with Joel's mom.  Brooke lies and says his parents are on a cruise, but Joel says they're on a safari.
As the family starts putting two and two together, especially once Walter (Brooke's dad) overhears Joel on the phone say he's an actor, the two of them finally come clean.

Oh, what a web we weave when we practice to deceive!

Two Faiths Collide

Hallmark takes a stab at diversity by meshing Christmas and Hanukkah.

In real life, this would present some serious problems.

Image:  Crown Media

Christmas has become very secular, but the real reason for the celebration is the birth of Jesus.  The Bible teaches Christ-followers in 2 Corinthians 6:14, Do not be yoked together with unbelievers.  For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common?  Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?

In other words, a Christian should never marry an unbeliever.

Hallmark makes it look easy to fuse both faiths together, but it's not that simple.  It's one thing to be friends with people from other faiths, but it's quite another to marry someone who believes differently than you do.  Parents, especially, would have serious qualms about such a union and would be more apt to discourage it rather than embrace it, as Brooke's parents do.

Image:  Crown Media

If both of you believe strongly in your different personal faiths, there's a deep level of intimacy you will never experience.  Spiritually speaking, you will be worlds apart.  You won't be able to connect on what should be the most important guiding factor in your lives.  Either one of you will compromise and turn your back on your faith, both of you will choose a different faith, you will both choose to stop practicing your faith, or you will worship separately in your own ways.  None of these options lead to a good end.  

How will you raise your kids?  The Bible teaches to raise your kids up in the faith--you don't present different options and let them pick one. 

Marrying someone from a different faith will be a constant bone of contention and strain on your marriage.  Anyone who says it's a piece of cake doesn't have their feet firmly planted in the right spiritual soil.

What could Hallmark have done differently?  They could have focused the movie purely on Hanukkah and had our couple both be from the Jewish faith.

Why didn't they?  Because they want to appeal to a larger audience, and their target audience loves Christmas.  Too many holiday elements we come to expect would have been missing, and Hallmark's target audience would be disappointed.


Money Trouble?

Joel doesn't score the big gig he is vying for, but he's not depressed about his career because he's found love.  That's great, but how will love pay the bills?

Brooke has high hopes to be a fashion designer, but she's been little more than an over-qualified tailor.  When her boss sees the 1920's clothing Brooke designs for the town's theatrical production, she's offered the position of her dreams--a position on the senior design team.  But, Brooke shoots it down because she decides to change career paths and become a costume designer.

So, we end up with two people who are jobless.  Apparently, they are going to live on love until opportunity knocks.  In the meantime, let's hope love doesn't fly out the window!

Image:  Crown Media

Who Remembers Bruce Boxleitner?

Bruce Boxleitner plays Brooke's dad, Walter, and he's a veteran actor younger people might not recognize. 

Boxleitner has appeared in countless TV shows, both as a guest star and leading man.  His credits include Hawaii Five-O, How the West Was Won, and Babylon 5.  Many remember him for his role in the movie franchise, TRON.  He may be best known and loved, however, for his spy role in the 1980's hit show with Kate Jackson, Scarecrow and Mrs. King.

Image:  CBS

Hallmark fans have seen him before in Falling in Love With the Girl Next Door, Debbie Macomber's Cedar Cove, The Thanksgiving House, and Wedding Bells.

He's been married three times, but you may know his second wife--Melissa Gilbert, best known for playing Laura Ingalls in the long-running TV series, Little House on the Prairie (1974-1983).

In Holiday Date, he plays the gruff and protective father, but he softens at the end when he allows his son-in-law, Glenn, to call him dad as he passes the torch (or knife, in this case) to Glenn for the ceremonial carving of the turkey.

Image:  Crown Media

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