We need more movies like this, and hopefully, the existence of Mistletoe & Menorahs means we’ll get more of them in the future.
The only downside to this movie was it didn’t get the coveted timeslot that all the other movies receive. It’s a true disservice since the film was perfectly lovely and heartwarming.
It was a sweet interfaith romance that did a fairly decent job of giving equal weight to both faiths and cultures.
Of course, there was a slight leaning toward Christmas still, only because of our protagonist’s culture geared toward Christmas.
However, it’s the most balanced takes from one of these movies.
Christy was utterly delightful and adorable. She was passionate about both her job and the holiday, and it was enough to get you wrapped up in the magic of the season and invested in her plight.
It’s not a holiday movie until someone has to go to extreme measures to land a specific account and get a promotion at their advertisement job or in this case, her job at a toy company.
Christy was the type who didn’t do things by half-measure. It was her “go-getter” personality that appealed to David during her pitch in a meeting.
He invited her to present due to her zest and pep, but it was a heck of a deadline to put her on.
She needed a perfect pitch to please the board by Christmas Eve, or the final night of Hannukah.
Christy fell into the same bad habit many people do and assumed “Holiday” was code for “Christmas. She thought her Christmas obsession gave her an edge, but she was thrown for a curveball when she found out David was Jewish.
Samantha: How much do you know about Hannukah?
It was nothing a crash course in Judaism, and Hannukah, couldn’t fix, though. Thank the big guy for Samantha. She was a lifesaver throughout the entire film.
But she was already the quiet MVP of the story for the simple fact that she introduced Christy to Jonathan.
Can we take a moment to swoon over Jonathan? It’s what he deserves. What was not to love about him? He was a passionate middle school teacher who loved his job and his students, and they loved him back in return.
He was warm, friendly, attentive, and supportive. He figured out which sweaters would best bring out the color of his eyes and committed to them, making him all the more attractive as if his face was distracting enough.
He loved his savta and paid her in kisses, how adorable was that? Jonathan was worldly and non-judgmental. He was open to new and exciting things.
He believed in going after what you wanted, and he was honest and wore his heart on his sleeve. Even his girlfriend knew the cardinal rule was that everyone loved Jonathan.
Jonathan was #BoyfriendGoals.
Meanwhile, I wanted to dropkick Peter to Siberia after five minutes. Why was he even in a relationship? He had zero interest in anything about Christy. He didn’t even know her, for Pete’s Sake!
Christy and Jonathan got off to a rough start that was more contrived than anything else, but they brushed past that quickly — squashed it with an apology muffin, and their exercises in Christmahannukah were well on the way.
It was hard to believe Jonathan would need a crash course in Christmas. Those who observe it have the advantage. Christmas is everywhere.
Regardless of your faith, it’s not often you run into anyone who doesn’t have some basic knowledge of the holiday; it’s unavoidable.
It was a bit harder to understand what Jonathan was getting out of their exchange. A few Christmas movies would’ve given him the gist of the holiday, and it would’ve helped him impress his girlfriend’s family.
Nevertheless, their arrangement was cute.
Christy: This is like a jelly doughnut on performing enhancement steroids.
It meant they spent a bunch of time together doing precious things like retrieving menorahs, cutting down trees, finding the best Sufganiyot and fruitcake, and making homemade latkes.
The video chats they had together as they lit the menorah were among the best scenes.
It was beautiful how they both approached what they were doing.
Both of them had an objective, but they respected and enjoyed each other’s cultures. Neither of them was doing the bare minimum to meet their objective, and it was meaningful.
Christy: It’s so much tradition. It’s so wonderful.
Tovah: The story of the Jewish people is a long one.
Christy was determined to get everything right, and she was excited whenever she did. She loved learning about Hannukah –the story behind it and all the traditions.
She was in love when she walked into Tovah’s shop, and she marveled at everything within it. Christy had the best energy, and Tovah picked up on it.
Grandmas have a knack for that type of thing, and she was already willing the two of them to be together after that first meeting.
Unfortunately, we didn’t get a lot of time with Tovah. Again, this movie would’ve benefited from a more balanced approach to showing both leads.
Jonathan was a compelling enough character to have as much weight put into his side and perspective of the story as Christy.
His faith, culture, and family were important to him, but we didn’t get to see much of it outside of how it affected Christy.
Like, are we to believe he would’ve spent the final night of Hannukah at home alone and not with Tovah or any other family members or friends?
With a movie that chose to explore both faiths, it would’ve been better if they broke away from the traditional focus on the woman’s perspective in favor of something balanced.
He put just as much heart into learning about Christmas, but Heather was a motivator for him, and we barely saw her.
We knew nothing about her or their relationship outside of her not wanting children. She barely had a personality, and the two times we saw her, we knew just enough to determine she and Jonathan weren’t compatible.
The impression is that he was more devoted to their relationship than she was, but their romance was something in the background waiting to crumble.
We didn’t even get to see their breakup. The only reason we knew it was coming was the run-in with Christy at the coffee shop.
It was clear that Jonathan put more into trying to impress her family (was she ever going to meet his at all? Did he have family outside of Tovah?), but she was just as clueless as Christy about his faith.
Fortunately, Heather dumping Jonathan didn’t turn him off of Christmas. He seemed to fall in love with it more when Christy took him to her family’s Pre-Christmas Eve-Eve celebration to cheer him up, and because of her loving his company, and also, Peter sucked.
Peter would’ve been a self-involved jerk during the celebration, so it’s a good thing he didn’t show. Jonathan won on all accounts always.
Christy’s family adored him; they too knew in their bones that he would be a permanent fixture in their daughter’s life.
Jonathan: Of all the years I’ve been teaching thr past few days have been the most inspiring.
Speaking of Peter, it was no way you slice it where he wasn’t a self-absorbed, inattentive jerk who shouldn’t have been in a relationship with anyone.
He didn’t know Christy well enough to get that she didn’t want a job in banking.
She wasn’t determined to climb the corporate ladder to make more money. She wanted to do what she loved.
She wasn’t obsessed with working out and keto diets. She loved the holidays and spending time with family, and he only spent time with her when it benefited him.
He undercut his kind actions with selfish motivations. The only reason he would stop by her house or bring dinner was to watch the game on her television.
He wasn’t much help supporting her through her pitch angst and project. He barely listened to her, and he never talked to her about what was going on at work.
He was never going to tell her about going to the game despite his boss leaving. Had she not showed up at his apartment, he would’ve kept it to himself.
How did she end up with him? I suppose like she said, being away from home in the city was hard for her, and she lost herself in Peter.
He made her feel less alone, and it’s a sad thought when he was that terrible. Christy deserved better, for sure.
She deserved Jonathan, and he was deserving of her as well. They were perfect for each other.
Deep down, Christy knew it early into their relationship, but they were both involved with other people. Their chemistry was electric, though.
Thankfully, they didn’t kiss when they were wrapping gifts at Jonathan’s apartment, but it was a moment when you wanted them to lean in a little closer.
Christy was having so much fun with Jonathan; she let her pitch and protocol fall to the wayside a bit.
Let’s be real; if she had gotten that job with the terrible stockbroker action figure, then the suspension of belief would’ve been too much.
It was an awful idea. Edgar was a fool for stealing it. He could’ve at least came up with something better.
Jonathan remained the gift who kept giving since he inspired Christy to come up with something much better on the fly.
It would’ve sucked if her perfect night was ruined over someone stealing a crappy idea. She looked stunning, David adored her, Jonathan was by her side, and she lit the menorah and recited the prayers beautifully.
Jonathan inspired her to pitch a toy line about the biblical stories, but the specific one was the story of Hannukah and the action figures and a comic book to accompany it.
Much like the idea behind a movie like this, Christy pitched a successful idea that would hit a whole new, untapped market.
How many Hannukah games, toys, and such do you see around the holidays? Exactly.
Not only would it do well financially, but it was diversity-friendly. Christy’s knack for respecting David’s religion and culture and incorporating it set her apart.
Imagine that, respecting someone’s culture could be the key to everything. It’s that simple.
David’s interfaith marriage was a nice touch to the movie, too. Someone she wanted to impress and idealized was in a happy marriage with a Christian woman, and they celebrated and honored both holidays at their party.
If they could do that, then surely, she and Jonathan can do the same, right?
The backdrop of the mistletoe (not parsley) and the Christmas tree for Christy and Jonathan’s first kiss was sweet.
They were sweet. OK, now when do we get a sequel to it? Jackle and Epstein had great chemistry, and the sentiment behind the movie was appreciated.
I want to know more about Jonathan’s family, his traditions, and Hannukah. What would celebrating the holidays be like for them when they don’t have pitches to makes or absentee girlfriends to impress?
Christy: That’s what it’s all about. Christmas, I mean. The tree, the food, the gifts, it’s all good, but when it comes down to it what makes it truly special is being with the people you love. And that’s my last lesson. When you understand that you understand Christmas.
Jonathan: Well what do you know, another thing Christmas and Hanukkah have in common
I’m no expert myself, but it seemed like the movie did a pretty good job of giving Hannukah more due in this film. They explained the story behind the eight days and why it’s called the Festival of Lights.
They showed the lighting of the menorah multiple times. They might have focused a little too much on Sufganiyot and Latkes, but I’m a foodie. I can’t fault them too much for that, I suppose.
Mistletoe & Menorahs was one of the most charming holiday movies of the season.
I hope it starts a precedent of Lifetime expanding their holiday franchise by incorporating more Hannukah movies.
It was so enjoyable, and it gave you all the warm and fuzzies, and it was endearing to be immersed in another holiday and having it given just as much significance and meaning.
Multiple times, Christy and Jonathan could agree that both of their holidays were about family, and it’s what matters most. It’s the best message this movie could deliver. We need more like it. Also, the romance was just as cute too.
We definitely need a sequel. I mean, I’d be interested in the two of them celebrating Easter and Passover is all I’m saying. They should get on that.
I suddenly have a hankering for latkes, so I’m off to search for delicious cuisine.
Over to you, Holiday Fanatics.
Did you love Mistletoe & Menorahs? Would you love more Hannukah movies?
Do you wish we spent more time with Tovah? Did you appreciate the exploration of Judaism? Was it accurate in its portrayal? Hit the comments below.
Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.