Jen Lilley in The Spirit of Christmas (2015)

From Christmas Time to Christmas Time

Kate (Jen Lilley) is an ambitious and now single attorney, not that the end of her last relationship bothered her as she had heard it all before. Being single allows Kate to focus on her career and the offer of a promotion if she can wrap up the sale of Hollygrove Inn, a grand Victorian home which had been in the Forsythe family for years but with there not being a next generation to inherit it needs dealing with. The thing is that when Kate reaches the Inn she learns that the house is haunted by the handsome Daniel Forsythe (Thomas Beaudoin) who mysteriously died many years ago but ever since has returned 12 days before Christmas as a ghost. Ending up feeling something for Daniel and his re-occurring predicament Jane sets out to help him by solving the mystery of how he died.

Picture the scene, a couple sitting across a restaurant table from each other when suddenly the man tells the woman it's over. Not only is that such a movie cliche but in the real world what a cruel way to end a relationship, with a meal in a room full of strangers. But wait, just as you think not another unimaginative TV movie "The Spirit of Christmas" turns this scene on its head with Kate happy it's over as her recently ex-boyfriend reels off everything she has heard before from her other exes about how she has issues with relationships. In truth the comical nature of the opening scene is slightly out of place once the main story gets going but it certainly works in getting you to pay attention.

As to that main story, well to be truthful there is something a little familiar as we have the present day woman interacting with a ghost when she goes to this big old house and in doing so learning that the house contains mysteries including how the ghost came to be. Anyone who grew up a fan of ghost stories will have watched similar in movies such as "From Time to Time" but I have to say that this is the first one I can think off which transfers the story to more grown up characters and set at Christmas. It does mean that the focus of the movie is less on Christmas and more on solving the mystery of Daniel's murder which in turn means some of the focus is on recreating the past life of Hollygrove Inn to show what was going on in Daniel's life and his marriage before he died.

Of course this actually gives "The Spirit of Christmas" another slice of mystery as with this being a made for TV Christmas movie there needs to be some romance in there with of course Kate discovering there is more to life than work, work, work. The question is how can there be romance between Kate and Daniel when he is a ghost and I am not going to answer that because in a way it is the movie's only real mystery.

What this all boils down to is that "The Spirit of Christmas" is an entertaining Christmas movie which reworks some familiar ideas quite nicely, combining the whole haunted house set up from children's movies into a more grown up Christmas movie.

Tags: TV Christmas Movies, Christmas Movies