The time of the year has come where I race home from work, leap from the bus into the bottle shop, pick up a blizzardly cold bottle of Sauvignon Blanc and settle in for a night of shame-watching Christmas movies on Netflix.
Here at PEDESTRIAN.TV, we’re committed to you guys knowing all our thoughts and feelings about terrible Xmas movies, so myself and the rest of the editorial team will be reviewing far too many of these films, just for you.
I’m kicking things off with Netflix Original The Holiday Calendar, starring Kat Graham (of The Vampire Diaries fame) as Abby, a down-on-her-luck photographer and Christmas-hater who is given a mystical advent calendar that turns her fortunes around.
So please, join me as I crack open a cold one and get festive:
Okay, so it’s two seconds in and you can already tell Abby is down and out because of that sweater and that topknot. Sure, that’s how I dress constantly in winter but I’m not a character in a TV movie and what this costume department is trying to tell us is that Abby has given up. She’s bloody had it, you guys.
But of course Josh (Quincy Brown) who is very good-looking comes into her dinky photo studio and guys we’re exactly 1 minute and 51 secs in and I can tell you right now that this bloke is going to end up pashing Abby in the snow at some point in this film, I can feel it in my waters.
Of course she describes Josh to her boss, Mr. Singh (Ali Hassan), as her “oldest friend” and even Mr. Singh doesn’t believe a word of it.
When Abby goes to her parents’ place her sister Sarah (Genelle Williams) appears and this is what I meant: she has a blow dry and a tight fitting red dress with cap sleeves and a husband and kids and is a lawyer and is the epitome of someone who is “together”. While Abby is the no-hoper in the sweater and my ACTUAL SCHOOL UNIFORM SKIRT.
Even her parents are all disapproving about her “hobby”, photography, because clearly they’ve never heard of Annie Leibovitz or people who have made millions of dollars doing it? Honestly the only person who understand Abby is Gramps (Ron Cephas Jones) who is also the grandpa from This Is Us season one (did he die after season one I stopped watching it before the end).
Gramps clearly feels Abby’s pain and pulls out a weird big wooden advent calendar thing that Abby’s grandma wanted her to have before she passed away. Apparently it’s an antique and Grandma specifically wanted her to have it. I’m not surprised that she’s the favourite because Sarah does seem to have a massive stick up her arse and Abby may not have any money or life direction but she’s zesty at least.
Of course on the drive away from Abby’s parents place she finds time to stop and get out of the car and show Josh (who of course appeared at the family dinner just to say hi because they are OLD FRIENDS) some rundown building that she wants to rent as a studio space. Of course she cannot afford it because the owner wants a year’s rent (is that even legal FFS). There’s a sweet vulnerable moment and honestly I cannot believe this two have not boned because they’re both cute and get on so well?
When they’re at her apartment she literally says “best friends forever” and you can practically see the bloke’s penis retract into his body because no one wants to hear that from the hot female they just got all vulnerable with.
Side note: her apartment is fabulous so clearly she can’t be struggling too much?
Aside from being single, poor and with no life prospects, Abby also hates Christmas, or “24 days of holiday hell” as she describes the festive season. Now I fucken love Christmas, but if I had to take pics of dumb kids sitting on Santa’s lap for 4 weeks straight I’d probably be mildly homicidal too. But at least she finally gets the advent calendar to work and it gives her a cute mini pair of boots.
Abby needs help at the Santa photo station and OF COURSE she calls her friend Josh (and some other bloke named Fernando (Rodrigo Fernandez-Stoll) who Mr. Singh puts in charge of “singing to the kids” and mate can we see your Working With Children Check please).
Side note: Josh is so cute he even looks hot, maybe even hotter than usual, in that elf outfit AND he buys Abby Italian leather boots and Abby you literally need to jump his bones immediately. Also, BOOTS. The calendar. It predicted this would happen.
After work Abby almost dies in a car accident because some dickhead didn’t secure his Xmas tree to his car and she forgives him immediately just because he does some very boring street flirting. I don’t care for it or him at all and I just want Josh, who seems to appear in every situation in the film, to appear again to stop this terrible sexual tension with Tree Bloke (Ethan Peck). But of course the advent gave her a Christmas Tree so now we’re all confused what this possessed calendar is trying to tell her.
Gramps gives Abby a bit of a history of the calendar which somehow doesn’t involve any demonic possession. Apparently Grandma found it in a shop in France “just before they met”, so clearly the calendar is simply some kind of ancient tool that helps its owner get laid.
Side note: Sarah is so annoying with her blowdried hair and businesslike clothes even at a children’s dance concert.
Randomly Tree Bloke whose name is Tie or Tye or something dumb like that is also at the children’s concert which again is suss to me on the same level of Fernando. He claims the blonde kid is his daughter but if I were Abby I’d be doing a casual police check.
Annoying Sarah comes over and sassily reports that Tree Bloke is the school’s most eligible bachelor because of course she’s one of those PTA Moms. Sarah, fuck off, you’re annoying. JOSH IS THE ONE FOR ABBY, STOP TRYING TO SELL TREE BLOKE.
By now Abby has figured out that the advent calendar is possessed by a horny psychic demon and she calls Josh over who asks her how drunk she is. Dollface, Abby may not be drunk but I’ve sunk several Savvy Bs because I needed them to get through this film, and only god can judge me now.
Josh, though concerned that his friend has become a raging alcoholic, offers to stay the night in case the advent calendar… explodes? Tries to kill her? I don’t know what the purpose of him staying over was but it made for this cute moment:
The gift from the advent cal is a candy cane, so now both Abby and Josh are on high alert for any kind of candy cane related drama. At the Xmas fair, a giant one collapses onto Abby and she hurts her wrist. And guys, this is going to shock you but the doctor who treats her is Tree Bloke. He flirts with her again so badly that I think I need wrist injury painkillers to watch more of it. He asks her out and she comes back to work all pleased with herself. Josh, meanwhile, looks like he wants to vomit all over her elf costume.
She leaves work early to get ready for the date and then COMES BACK TO WORK just to flaunt her cute date outfit to Josh who looks even more nauseous at this point.
Tree Bloke takes her out for hot chocolate and asks “What else do you do besides elfing?” and is this actually a job interview? But then suddenly they are pashing and of course Josh who appears in every situation, happens to appear and pulls this face:
I hate it. But I hate even more that I’m invested in this entire thing.
So in a montage Abby and Tree Bloke go on a series of lame cliché dates like ice skating and horse and sleigh rides and of course her lame cliché sister is fucken thrilled. And what’s worse is, the calendar also keeps predicting all this stuff. Finally Gramps shows up and basically tells her to pump the brakes on this Tree Bloke caper and drops a giant Josh Hint, basically the one I’ve been screaming at the TV since my third Savvy B.
Tree Bloke takes her on a date to a homeless shelter to give back to the community and while that’s quite nice in theory, at this point I’ve decided he’s a psychopath who has studied a book on how to be a wholesome human being because who actually, really does this? Also Abby calls him on his BS and says “the guys here are really nice, do you ever talk to them?” and he basically admits he just goes there for show. Like I said, psychopath with no actual human emotions.
My point is proven when Abby brings Tree Bloke home and tells him her theory about the mystical demon future-predicting calendar and he has the audacity to MOCK HER for believing in that stuff. (As someone who has 4000 crystals around her house I also take great offence to this). So she once again she calls him on his bullshit and asks how many gals he’s brought to the homeless shelter on a date because clearly everything cheesy thing he does is for show. YES ABBY, YES YOU DID. Because he is a psychopath he cannot cope with a strong intelligent woman who challenges him, so he peaces outta there.
Abby goes back to work (seriously dollface get a life, your shift finished hours ago) and suddenly she is needed in a photo-taking emergency because someone needs to take a pic of the mayor. Meanwhile said mayor is so impressed with Abby’s work that she asks to see the stuff she takes out of hours, but then Josh accidentally deletes the pics of the mayor so Abby gets fired, taking the fall for Josh. Then she yells at him and they have a big fight in the snow and she says “I don’t need you” which is patently untrue and I think we all know this by now.
Not satisfied with just being enraged at Josh, Abby then turns her ire towards the poor defenceless possessed calendar and throws it in the bin — but then gets an attack of the Gramps-related guilts and just shoves it in the boot of her car.
Then, jobless Sarah does what even us gainfully employed people do when nothing sad has happened to us and puts on trackpants, a dumb Netflix Christmas movie (seriously) and eats an entire box of chocolate muffins. Of course Annoying Sarah comes over and judges Abby. I really don’t like this woman, even her hair is judgemental:
She guilts Abby about something blah blah daughter blah blah Christmas, I honestly wasn’t listening but anyway it forces Abby to get her shit together and off the lounge.
Abby goes BACK TO WORK AGAIN SERIOUSLY BITCH YOU JUST GOT FIRED TAKE THE FKN HINT. She finds out that Josh quit in solidarity after Mr. Singh fired her and he offers her the Santa photographer job back. But that one day on the couch taught Abby some ~perspective~, so she turns him down because she’s a strong intelligent woman and doesn’t need to work at his dumb photo studio.
*Coincidentally* at the school auction (? I have no idea what is going on here) her parents are stunned by her photography skills and finally realise that she’s talented and tell Abby they are proud of her. So that’s that little subplot neatly squared off.
Side note: sure, Abby is being mopey but I’d be a lot more worried if I’d just lost my job and had rent to pay and it was December 22 and there were certain costs that needed covering. But this is a Netflix Christmas movie not my life so I’ll just try to stop stressing on this fictional character’s part.
She runs into
Ted Bundy Tree Bloke who apologises for being a cockhead and making fun of the calendar, but thankfully she’s just like “cool, thanks, Merry Christmas” because surely by now she knows it’s Josh she needs to be with? She calls Fernando looking for Josh, and Fernando says he went to Florida to be with his family maybe.
Then Abby realises the demon calendar has disappeared from her car and some PTA chick probably unloaded it with her photography prints for the auction. Annoying Sarah of course doesn’t give a flying fuck and pulls this face:
I hope the sequel to The Holiday Calendar involves Tree Bloke killing her.
Anyway, the calendar is gone and to be quite honest, so is my attention span. There’s 13 minutes left and Abby is still way too mopey for my liking. The answer is so clear to anyone that watches this movie that Josh is the answer here. She gets the calendar back (Gramps bought it for her when he saw it in the auction) and realises that it’s been trying to lead her to Josh all along.
FINALLY, ABBY HAS STOPPED BEING SO DENSE. Now stop staring wistfully at the calendar and go get your man. I can already tell you he’s not in Florida but at the photo studio that you wanted to rent.
SEE I FKN TOLD YOU:
I ALSO TOLD YOU THIS WOULD HAPPEN, RIGHT DOWN TO THE SNOW:
Apparently I too am a demonic advent calendar who knows exactly what is going to occur in the near future.
Of course Josh, who has no money because he’s been travelling for 18 months and working as a Santa elf for 2 weeks, has somehow rented the ~dream studio~ that Abby wanted. Oh wait sorry, turns out he saved some blogging money and bought it for her.
They exchange “I love yous” and all is right with the world. Hell, Abby even decides she likes Christmas now, so it’s a huge result in all areas.
Honestly The Holiday Calendar dragged on a bit long (even at a rather brief 1.5 hours) but I got very, very invested in the story of Abby and Josh. I hope the advent calendar predicts a long and happy life for them (and a sequel for me, thanks Netflix).