Hallmark's "'Tis the Season to be Merry" QUIZ!

'Tis the Season to be Merry Plot Summary Looking for a fresh angle on her new book on relationships, Merry heads to snow covered Vermont.  She finds a new perspective and Christmas cheer with charismatic aid worker, Adam. Starring :  Rachael Leigh Cook and Travis Van Winkle Image:  Crown Media The Conflict Merry Griffin has a lot of rules for dating, and her expert advice is solicited by a huge social media following.  To capitalize on her success and prove she has a "real job," Merry proudly prepares to publish her first book.  Dale Westfield is her fictional fiancĂ© who represents a happy ending for those who follow her advice to find true love; however, her publisher knows if word gets out Merry isn't actually engaged, it will make her look like a fraud and deliver a devastating blow to the company.  The future of the company hinges on the success of Merry's book, so she must find a way to fix the mess by pitching a new book idea by December 25. Adam & Me

Would Charles Dickens Have Approved "A Nashville Christmas Carol?"

Starring:  Jessy Schram and Wes Brown

Released:  2020

Summary:  A TV producer becomes forced to work with the man who broke her heart on a country music Christmas special, but she gets interrupted by Christmas spirits.

Jessy Schram and Wes Brown star in this spin on the Dickens' classic.  Image:  Crown Media

Imitation Is The Highest Form Of Flattery

Charles Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol to address social issues of his day.  After reading a government report on child labor in the United Kingdom, he was stricken by how people, particularly kids, were treated less like humans and more like commodities.  Their value was determined by how much work they could accomplish in a day.  To put it in modern terms, each person was only a number.

Dickens battled against the popular notion that the solution to dealing with the poor was to allow them to starve and thus decrease the population.  His argument in the novel places the responsibility on employers to tend to the well-being of their employees.  A Christmas Carol explores the challenges faced by the poor and cites generosity as the answer to easing their burdens.

Charles Dickens was a man of relentless ambition.  He faced significant financial hardship as a child, and this fueled his boundless energy.  He was always working on something to earn money because the fear of lack from his childhood haunted and drove him--he wanted to feel secure.  

There have been countless modernizations, spin-offs, and retellings of A Christmas Carol, so what might Dickens have thought of Hallmark's version?

Charles Dickens.  Image:  Bettman Archive

The script writer, Eric Brooks, apparently did his research.

The Hallmark version captures the lack Vivienne suffers as a child and how it serves as a catalyst for her tireless drive to succeed as an adult, just like Dickens.

Although Vivienne, as a Scrooge figure, never lets up on her staff and expects them to maintain a certain momentum, she does love and appreciate her team and learns to cut them some slack.  Dickens would be pleased.  Her sister, Georgia, is the Tiny Tim who receives her desired miracle.  Vivienne gives Georgia her blessing on foregoing law school, at least for the the present, and continue working for her while approving her relationship with Parker.  

Dickens would also applaud Vivienne's generosity towards the poor.  Since she had to sacrifice presents at Christmas as a child, she doesn't want other kids to suffer the same way.  She faithfully donates to a local charity each year that provides gifts to children in need.

Image:  Crown Media 

In the meantime, Vivienne learns there is more to life than working around the clock.

All-in-all, Dickens would undoubtedly approve and be flattered by Hallmark's take on his genius, classic tale.  If he were to offer constructive criticism, it would likely be that generosity isn't the primary focus of the movie.  Vivienne, Gavin, Alexis, and Belinda are characters who are achieving the highest successes in their respective fields, which is self-focused.  While Dickens also strived for lasting success, his life work honed in on societal ills, pouring his soul into work that would help produce a remedy.

Christmas Magic 

Hallmark fans crave holiday magic, and A Nashville Christmas Carol satisfies that desire.

The magic starts when a mysterious red box appears holding a music box that plays O, Come, All Ye Faithful that only Vivienne can hear.  The music box becomes the portal through which she connects with the deceased woman who gave her a start in the business and mentored her--Marilyn Jinway.  Jinway enlists a couple close friends to help get Vivienne on the right track.

The Spirit of Christmas Past whisks Vivienne back to her childhood to the year she received her first camera.  Gavin was her best friend, and their first production involved recording young Georgia's rendition of a Christmas carol.  Grimmer memories follow of the meager Christmases she faced as a child after her mom left and when there was only enough money to buy Georgia a gift.  

Image:  Crown Media

Gavin's scarf creates enough magic to send Vivienne back to the Christmas festival she attended with him where he won a bean bag toss that earned him a ridiculously large snowman.  She had found herself falling in love with him, but avoided a first kiss by asking someone to take their picture.

As before, this light-hearted moment in time with Gavin is followed by a more stressful rewind.  Vivienne is transported to the Christmas party where Gavin hits the fast track in the country music business with his client's first career break.  Vivienne is elated because Gavin promised she could direct Belinda's first music video, but those hopes are dashed when Chet Walder, whose label is calling the shots, won't allow it.

This situation creates a huge rift between Vivienne and Gavin.  While she understands Gavin's need to make the best decisions to propel his career, she still resents him for throwing her under the bus so quickly in what appeared to be a very self-serving move.  The Spirit of Christmas Past gives her a behind-the-scenes glimpse of an important exchange Gavin has with Walder where he puts up a fight.  Even though Gavin loses the battle, Vivienne sees he really goes to bat for her.  All these years, she's been wrong about his motives. 

Vivienne doesn't think the Spirit of Christmas Present could possibly tell her anything she doesn't already know--after all, she's living in the present, so she assumes she's aware of all that is happening around her.  Turns out, Vivienne learns her staff wishes she wouldn't be so demanding, her sister thinks she's a hero, AND Georgia and Parker are involved in a secret relationship.

Do these supernatural experiences do anything to alter Vivienne's course?  Yes.  She strives to be more flexible, open to the ideas of others, easier on her staff, and most importantly, she learns to take time to enjoy life.

Country Music Fans Elated With the Star-Studded Cast

Wynonna Judd

You would have to be very young or live in a cave not to know a celebrity like Wynonna Judd, who portrays Marilyn Jensen in the movie.  

Wynonna Judd plays Marilyn Jinway.  Image:  Crown Media

Judd rose to fame alongside her mother in the 1980's when they formed the country music duo, The Judds.  Together, they garnered 14 number one hits, including Mama He's Crazy and Grandpa (Tell Me 'Bout the Good Old Days), sold 20 million records, and earned 60 industry awards.  

The duo disbanded due to Naomi's chronic bouts with hepatitis C, allowing Wynonna to launch a solo career.  Three of her albums were certified platinum or higher, and she secured three number one singles, including I Saw the Light and No One Else on Earth.

Interestingly, the Judds were the biggest selling country music duo at the time until they were bypassed by Brooks & Dunn in the 1990's.  

Kix Brooks

The Spirit of Christmas Past is played by Kix Brooks.  Country music fans would recognize him from the duo Brooks & Dunn, a duo that was inducted in the Country Music Hall of Fame.  

Kix Brooks joins Jessy Schram and Wes Brown--love how he drawls "Darlin'"

A few of the duo's best known hits include My Maria, Hard Workin' Man, Boot Scootin' Boogie, and Brand New Man.   

The duo officially retired in 2009 but continue to pursue solo opportunities.  

Kix Brooks also owns a winery and an entertainment company that produces movies in which he sometimes stars.

Sara Evans

Evans plays "Belinda," Gavin's client who is slated to be the opening act of Country Christmas Live until Henry demands Alexis take her place as the headliner.  

In true Hallmark fashion, a compromise is found.  When Henry hears how beautifully Belinda and Alexis sing together, he agrees to allow them both to open the show.

Sara Evans and RaeLynn play Belinda and Alexis in Country Christmas Live.  Image:  Crown Media

Evans has enjoyed a string of number one country music hits as well, including No Place That Far, Born to Fly, and A Little Bit Stronger.  You may also remember her from Dancing With the Stars in 2006.  

Kimberly Williams-Paisley

Williams-Paisley stars as the Spirit of Christmas Present.  You've seen her in the movie Father of the Bride, and she's also married to country music star, Brad Paisley, as well as being the sister of Hallmark's Ashley Williams.

Ashley Williams and Kimberly Williams-Paisley--you can definitely see the resemblance! 


RaeLynn plays "Alexis", the up-and-coming country music artist who's performing in Country Music Live.  You may remember her from The Voice.  Her most noted singles are Love Triangle and Bra Off

Racheal Lynn Woodward is known simply as RaeLynn.  Image:  Crown Media 

No Spirit of Christmas Future

Vivienne questions when the Spirit of Christmas Future will visit her, but Marilyn Jinway tells her there is no such spirit because the future is what we make it--a song yet to be written.

That's good news.  It means no matter what mistakes we've made, it's never too late to make positive changes for a better tomorrow.  Life is what we make it.  

Join Hallmark Christmas Movie Magic Facebook Group

Our Facebook group is a fun place to hang out and share thoughts with fellow Hallmark fans.  Join the party!  Find us here:  Hallmark Christmas Movie Magic Facebook Group.  

Image:  Crown Media


  1. Great recap! I missed it, but hope to watch the replay.



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