Starring: Amanda Schull, Travis Van Winkle, and Averie Peters
Summary: As Lucy grants a little girl’s wish for Christmas, she unexpectedly finds her own wishes coming true.
Project Christmas Wish stars Amanda Schull, Travis Van Winkle, and Averie Peters.
Christmas Like It Used To Be
Lucas and Max have only lived in Elmhurst a short time. Max is excited about Christmas, but Lucas’s heart is too heavy to enjoy the season. His wife, Stephanie, died a few years ago, and she’s the one who always made Christmas special.
When Max learns about Project Christmas Wish, she goes on the radio waves to share her wish–she wants Christmas to be like it used to be when her mom was alive. Max hopes if the past can be recaptured, she and Lucas won’t feel so sad.
Don’t we all have seasons in our life we wish we could relive? It’s just not always possible. We might be able to maintain certain traditions for a long while, but eventually, life changes or rearranges, kids grow up, loved ones pass away, and we often have to adapt and learn to celebrate Christmas in new and different ways. The passage of time demands it.
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Max and Lucas learn they can’t do things the same way Stephanie did and have it feel the same. Without her, the rituals are hollow, making her absence even more pronounced. Instead, they move forward and celebrate the holiday in new ways.
Max even alters her Christmas wish. Instead of wanting Christmas to be like it used to be, she wants her dad to find love, earning Lucas the title, Eligible in Elmhurst.
Lucas goes from “Christmas Dad” to “Eligible in Elmhurst.” Image: Crown Media
Max is always smiling and mature beyond her eight years of age. When Lucy asks her about friends at school, Max, being the new kid, admits everyone already has friends, implying no one has reached out to her to connect.
Does that jab you in the heart a little?
It’s not easy being the new kid, especially in smaller schools where relationships have been grounded since kindergarten. It’s important we teach our children when new kids arrive on the scene–be it the classroom, a sports team, youth group at church, the park playground, and eventually the workplace–that they go out of their way to extend a warm welcome and make the newbies feel included.
Wisest Line From The Movie
Lucy hasn’t been interested in starting a new relationship since her divorce. Relationships can be like falling off a bike–you’re afraid to get back on and risk another injury, but you need to keep trying or else you’ll miss the chance of enjoying the ride
Lucy’s mom makes this wise statement:
It’s easy to move old wounds onto new people.
Past hurts cause us to view similar situations through a tainted lens. Lucy is afraid to take the leap with Lucas because he might hurt her like her husband did. Lucas is afraid to move forward, fearing he will forget his first wife or end up experiencing profound loss again if things don’t work.
Schull and Van Winkle share good chemistry in this movie. Image: Crown Media
Lucy sets a good example to single women. When Lucas initially can’t commit to making her any promises but plans to string her along indefinitely, she ends the relationship. Too often, women allow men to do drift aimlessly in relationships. Women will invest their hearts and souls for no ultimate return. Even though it hurts, Lucy is smart to put a halt to any further romance with Lucas rather than pursue something with a dead-end. It also forces Lucas’s hand. He will either allow the relationship to be severed, proving Lucy made the smart choice, or he will not allow her to get away, which means she made a wise decision.
What Do You Think Of The Cast?
Hallmark fans haven’t seen a lot of Amanda Schull. She appeared once in 2018 in Hallmark’s Love, Once and Always, but Project Christmas Wish proves we need her in more Hallmark movies. She’s witty and delivers clever lines successfully to make viewers laugh, and she brings a lot of heart into her role.
Fun fact–Schull was once a professional ballet dancer.
Travis Van Winkle doesn’t fit the stereotypical profile of a Hallmark leading man. With his beard and thick, flowing mane, he’s positively lion-esque–which ends up being pretty sexy! Hallmark fans have seen him before, however, in the 2017 movie Christmas Getaway, where his gorgeous hair is a little more tamed. In Project Christmas Wish, the actor does an outstanding job evolving his character from someone who’s prickly like a cactus to someone who is funny and warm.
Travis Van Winkle
Although Averie Peters has been a background performer in two prior Hallmark movies, Project Christmas Wish is her first time in a leading role. Her beaming smile and upbeat persona are as bright and twinkly as a Christmas tree!
Amy Groening is fast becoming one of my favorite Hallmark supporting actresses. She’s appeared in Snowkissed, Christmas Wish List, The Secret Ingredient, and My One and Only. She is fun and quirky and adds pizzazz to the movies in which she stars.
In a movie trope long grown stale, Groening’s character, Joan, thinks her boyfriend, Cullen, is going to break up with her. Turns out, he’s just nervous, secretive, and acting weird because he’s planning a proposal. Even though this sub-plot has grown wearisome, Groening and her counterpart, Tim Nhlazane, deliver a comical performance, though the two absolutely do not look like a couple. At all.
Maybe it’s a byproduct of the pandemic, but the final kisses in most 2020 Christmas movies are disappointing. In case you missed the kiss in Project Christmas Wish, the slow motion towards the lips and away from the lips takes much longer than the peck itself. It’s almost funny and doesn’t do the relationship justice. Come on, Hallmark, stop letting your viewers down–we invest the time to watch these movies, and we deserve a whammy of a kiss at the end!
The build-up for a big kiss that falls flat, as usual. Image: Crown Media
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