Wrestling with Christmas
Christmas is a time for family and traditions, unfortunately for the Baer-Noll family that causes a problem. Before Tom (Steven Eckholdt) and Cindy (Julie Warner - Indian Summer) got married they had both been married before and had families so when they got together the children became one big family. But for Cindy and her daughter Tory (Cassi Thomson) their Christmas tradition would be to go skiing up at Grandma Evie's (Dixie Carter) cabin, where as for Tom and his children, Lily (Grace Fulton) and Jacob (Maxim Knight), Christmas was about being in the Christmas Pageant organized by Grandpa Joe (John Ratzenberger - That Darn Cat) and a traditional dinner on Christmas day. With the children wanting to keep their traditions and refusing to compromise it maybe that the families first Christmas may have to be one apart.
We've all seen them and they frustrate us so much. No I am not on about Hallmark movies but movies which have the basis of a really good story but totally waste the opportunity to deliver on it. It is the case with "Our First Christmas" because here we have the subject of two families brought together when their parents marry but find their first Christmas hardgoing because of a conflict over Christmas family traditions. This could have been a really clever look at the issues that step families face when it comes to Christmas, when memories and traditions are at their most powerful. But instead what we get in "Our First Christmas" is a cutesy, overly sentimental and false Christmas movie which requires a generous dose of Christmas spirit to accept.
Unfortunately because "Our First Christmas" ends up being about the cuteness rather than the drama the characters all end up being on the wrong side of false. We get a lot of over exaggeration of emotion, big hugs and generally a lot of false niceness where problems don't stress them out. The knock on effects of this is that whilst we have a cast which features Julie Warner, John Ratzenberger and Dixie Carter but none of them deliver anything but forced performances.
What this all boils down to is that "Our First Christmas" is disappointing because the underlying story could have made for a really good movie which paints a real picture of the difficulties facing a step family at Christmas where traditions hang over them. But if you are full of the festive mood and have young children this good natured little Christmas movie will be a pleasant distraction with a wholesomeness not seen in most movies.