The Gift of Not Being About Business
Anna Parisi (Katrina Law - Snow Bride) has put her heart and soul in to becoming an artist but with no track record she is finding it impossible to get a gallery to exhibit her work, although her sister would love to exhibit her Christmas paintings in her restaurant even if they are only pictures Anna does for fun. With rent to pay Anna advertises her services as a personal shopper which is how she comes to work for Marc Rehnquist (Aaron O'Connell - A Prince for Christmas), a corporate executive who is far too busy to do his own Christmas shopping but has a list of people he needs gifts buying for over the next 13 days. Of course the single Anna and the single Marc end up spending time together which leads to more than a work relationship especially as Anna's knack for buying the right present leads to Marc realising that gift giving is not just about the amount of money you spend.
Rule number 1 for having a successful Hallmark Christmas movie; get your female lead right. She needs to be likeable, attractive and having a good heart, oh and sparkling eyes with a wonderful smile doesn't go a miss either. And in "12 Gifts of Christmas" they picked Katrina Law and they nailed it as she ticks every single box and more with her looking like someone you would want to cuddle up with on a snowy night. You may think I am being shallow but trust me the lead casting is such a crucial part of a Hallmark Christmas movie that get this wrong and you might as well kiss the movie goodbye.
Rule number 2 your leading stars need to not only look good together but have a relaxed chemistry and Aaron O'Connell not only has the looks but he delivers the element of having a good heart behind a well fitted business suit. And Katrina Law and Aaron O'Connell work well together pulling of those romantic looks at each other whilst lighting up the screen with their smiles. Okay so they don't set the screen alive with electricity but in truth this Christmas movie doesn't require that as "12 Gifts of Christmas" is all about delivering warmth and joy rather than electrifying romance and passion.
Ironically further down the list of rules is the actual storyline and as long as they get the first two rules right a Hallmark Christmas movie can get away with recycling something old and tested. Surprisingly "12 Gifts of Christmas" actually has something a bit more original than they normally have with this whole personal shopper storyline which is bulked out with some nice subplots such as Marc's relationship with his mum whilst there is also the whole being an artist side for Anna. In truth the storyline comes further down the list than the movie's general wintry look and "12 Gifts of Christmas" nails it when it comes to the set decorations and use of Christmas trees and so on to give the audience that look they might yearn for.
What this all boils down to is that "12 Gifts of Christmas" gets it right from start to finish delivering everything from the look to the sentiment and most importantly the romance and seasonal warmth which only a Hallmark Christmas movie seems to get right.