Hallmark’s “Christmas at The Plaza” Recap

Released:  2019

Summary:  With the holiday season approaching, an archival historian in a declining relationship gets hired to create an exhibit to honor the history of an event.

Image:  Crown Media, United States LLC


Is Elizabeth Henstridge Really That Boring?

When we hear the word “historian,” we imagine a plump and balding, stuffed shirt of an old man wearing spectacles and a pocket watch.

No?  Maybe it’s just me.  It’s probably just me.

In Christmas at the Plaza, the historian tasked with the job of creating an exhibit cataloging the history of Christmas at the Plaza is none other than Jessica Cooper (Henstridge)–a woman with a mile-long list of college degrees and nothing glamorous or brag-worthy to show for it.

The Plaza Hotel is located on Fifth Avenue and iconic to New York’s Central Park South.  It is lavish, posh, and has hosted scores of world-renowned leaders, entertainers, royalty, and legends since it’s opening in 1907.

For us common folk, stepping foot in The Plaza would be like Julia Roberts trying to shop on Rodeo Drive in Pretty Woman.  

Nick Perrelli (Paevey) has been hired to decorate The Plaza for Christmas.  When Jessica runs into his ladder in the foyer, it’s not long before he’s quite taken with her.

Nick apparently has a thing for boring girls with no charisma, though the final kiss is telling because there is no sizzle.

Is Henstridge trying to portray an uninteresting historian stereotype?  I’ve seen goldfish with more charm.

It’s okay.  For most of the movie, I was too busy drowning in Ryan Paevey’s eyes to care.

Dedicated Hallmarkies nearly burst into flames when anyone dares to criticize a movie, so here’s your chance to respond.  Share your thoughts about Henstridge’s performance in the poll below:

Would You Date a Christmas Decorator?

We learn that Alicia, Nick’s ex, broke up with him because she wasn’t thrilled about his occupation.
Can you blame her?
When you dream about your Prince Charming, you picture him in a financially secure position, like a doctor, lawyer, manager, pilot, or engineer.  We applaud our spouses when they pull off a “Clark Griswold” lights display for us at Christmas, but how thrilled would we be if that were their year-round occupation?
Can’t you just hear your worried parents saying, “He needs to get a real job.”
It’s a noble and innovative way to score a second income on the side, but that’s about it.  Of course, when a decorator looks like Ryan Paevey, we could probably make an exception.

Giving Up On Dreams

Reginald Brookwater is the kind bellman at The Plaza, and his past provides us with a story within a story.
Reginald was once a talented ornament maker, and when Jessica can’t find the 1969 tree topper in storage, we learn he never finished making it.  He was in love with a woman named Marie, but her father nixed their relationship, since he didn’t offer a more steady and lucrative vocation.
Huh.  Sounds just like Nick.
Once he lost Marie, Reginald’s heart could never get back into his craft.  When Jessica learns the truth, somehow her flatline personality convinces him to finish the 1969 finial d’arbre.
For some mysterious reason, Jessica can’t stop saying “finial d’arbre” the entire movie even though no human on Earth ever calls a tree topper by that term.
Reginald’s nephew runs his old shop, so he swings by to unlock an old chest containing the unfinished tree topper.  Apparently, in 50 years, no one thought to crack open the chest to see if anything was in it, or even consider throwing it in the trash.  Maybe junk collectors can relate to this, but wouldn’t most new shop owners clear out the old and bring in the new?  Who leaves things sitting around, untouched, for 50 years?
Viewers are delighted when Marie shows up at the hotel event and reconnects with Reginald.  They smile and touch noses and foreheads, so we can assume neither ever got married or thought to contact each other once her disapproving parents kicked the bucket.
By the way, did Marie (Rebecca Street) look familiar to anyone?  She played in The Young & the Restless from 1988-1990.
Most of us can relate to seasons of discouragement when we are tempted to give up on our dreams, just like Reginald.  Sometimes, it only takes one criticism to derail us or make us feel insecure about our passions.  You might have a talent and be pursuing it, but when you seek encouragement and find none, it’s easy to say, “Just forget it!” and move on to something else more grounded….always wondering “what if?”

Christmas at the Plaza Quote

If you read my posts with any regularity, you know I’m always looking for that stellar quote that drips wisdom and maybe a little cliche.

Christmas at the Plaza has one too, and it’s the one you see in all the commercial previews:

Nothing unimportant ever happens at The Plaza.

Really?  The hotel, luxurious as it is, is a public place.  You wouldn’t go around saying that about other public establishments:

Nothing unimportant ever happens in the bank.

Nothing unimportant ever happens at the grocery store.

Nothing unimportant ever happens at Cracker Barrel.

That quip makes no sense because it’s safe to say plenty of unimportant things are going on in a hotel.

Regardless, the line is actually a famous one once used in reference to The Plaza, so Hallmark tapped into history by borrowing it

Does You Have an Ugly Sweater?

Nick takes Jessica to meet his family, but it requires an ugly Christmas sweater.

Does your family or workplace set aside a special day for everyone to get together with their ugly sweaters?

Still a Fun Story

Jessica is not captivating and better suited to dull Dennis, the guy she dumps, but the movie is still an interesting story about a famous American hotel with a rich history (literally).

I might roast, but I will still raise my glass and toast another fun Hallmark movie. (cheers…clink).

Image:  Crown Media, United States LLC

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