‘Tis the season to believe in the magic of Christmas.
And if Christmas Unwrapped didn’t warm you up to the early start of the holiday season, then brace yourselves because Lifetime’s Christmaspalooza is bound to shell out a film that gets you in the feels.
With Christmas magic, kindness, and a sweet romance, Christmas Unwrapped will thaw your heart as much as Erik thawed Charity’s.
The Tiffany Haddish (yes, that Tiffany Haddish) executive- produced film struck the right chord. Christmas is about love and kindness, and Santa’s special little helper, the dashing Erik, had both by the gallons.
Yes, Erik with a “K” is the only Erik with the “K” who is valid. It’s the universal, unspoken rule that fictional “K” Eric’s are the evil ones, but we get to consider him the exception to the rule.
He was so genuinely good and kind that you could understand why Charity had her reservations. Who is that nice all of the time?
Erik was so kind and generous that it pinged everyone’s bullcrap radar and prompted Charity’s boss, Janet, to assign her the task of unearthing all of Erik’s dirty secrets.
Of course, the problem, and is it really a problem? The issue was that Erik had no deep, dark secrets.
I wanted to call foul on this, but then Marco Grazzini would smile, and basically, that was enough to make a believer out of me.
I was a believer before Charity was, though. Bless her heart. She was a rigid skeptic.
At first, it seemed as though anything could get her Christmas lights in a tangle, and she was a bit of Scrooge, but it’s evident that the holidays are difficult for Charity after her mother passed away.
Charity’s moments with her father are some of the most quietly moving because of his love for his daughter and the grief he’s clearly battling around the holiday season.
You could tell Charity loves him but talking to him when he goes down memory lane pains her.
And that’s why she needed this assignment from the beginning. If anyone needed the healing powers of the holiday spirit, it was Charity.
She was too focused on the wrong angle. Nothing much came up when she researched Erik, and she was determined to get to the bottom of how he was financially paying for all of these miracles he facilitated for 12 Days of Christmas.
The man bought a family in need a house! Where does someone get that kind of money? In this economy?
Also, where does one find one of those gold slips? A friend or two has some wishes to make.
Erik was firm in his cover story of being Santa’s special helper.
For all the work Charity put into trying to get to the heart of the truth, he pulled her into his magical, positive way of thinking instead.
It was Erik who changed her perspective and outlook on things, and it was sweet to watch their journey.
And how could you not be optimistic when you witnessed all the good Erik did? The kids were elated as they rushed into the ice skating rink for free.
And they could not contain their joy over watching Christmas movies at the theater, or baking cookies, and picking out trees.
Erik made an expensive season accessible to everyone, and his only payment was the smiles on their faces and that good, warm feeling you get when you make somebody else happy.
Erik was so pure of heart, and it’s understandable that his friend/foster brother, Aaron, was so protective of that and wary of Charity and her intentions.
Aaron knew Erik longest and the best, and he knew why NSB was so important to him.
As foster kids, they did miss out on a lot, and Erik wanted to recapture and retain that childlike innocence.
Erik’s background inspired, from growing up as a foster kid to becoming an apprentice to Frank, the chocolatier at a young age.
A movie like this could have easily veered into a different direction, especially after Tasha tracked down his birth parents by reuniting this family.
But I’m glad they didn’t go there at all. In a film about Christmas wishes and Santa’s helpers and spottings of Chris Kringle himself, they respected Erik’s position as a foster kid who did not want to meet his birth parents.
While it sounds as though they had valid reasons for giving him up as teens, there is something to be said about how the billionaires didn’t reach out to him.
And for the skeptics, the story of them being the mysterious donors funding Erik’s Christmas ventures is out there to hold onto if disappearing messages, corrupted interview recordings, and Santa posing as someone else were too much to process.
The joy of this film was in how Charity let go and decided what type of writer she wanted to be and what she chose to stand for in her craft.
Charity’s initial plan to chase after a story dissolved as she got to know Erik on a more personal level.
And once she discovered what type of person he was and how pure his intentions were, she wanted to do right by him and NSB.
It’s too bad Janet couldn’t appreciate what Charity was trying to do. If she knew her protege so well, then why on earth did she put her on an assignment where she only wanted something scandalous?
Janets might become the new Karens because that stunt she pulled rewriting Charity’s piece after Charity quit and publishing it under her name was a special kind of low.
To say Janet is on the naughty list is an understatement. But kudos to Cheryl Ladd for playing a heck of a villain. Janet had all that amazing Boss B*tch energy, and I hated how much I loved it.
It takes a special kind of awful to go out of your way to ruin someone. Charity already quit a dream job and harbored this big secret from a man with whom she was falling in love.
Janet going out of her way to destroy that too was awful. And honestly, Erik Christmas getting money from his rich birth parents wasn’t a good story anyway.
If the money doesn’t come from shady means, then does anyone care how he pays for all of his good deeds?
Let people have good things, Janet! Sheesh.
Apparently, she has a history of ruthless behavior. She had dedicated years to digging up dirt and trying to ruin the very nice mayor, too.
Janet needs to cleanse herself of all of that dark energy and wish she becomes a better person. She lost out on a bright, ethical, and awesome young reporter all because of her need to destroy others for clickbait.
Janet’s attempt to hurt Erik on such a personal level and nearly thwarting Charity and Erik’s blossoming romance — all of it was downright unforgivable in my book.
Try Santa, don’t try me.
Up until the article release, the Mayor’s Ball was a lovely event, Charity was absolutely stunning in that red dress, and the heat between Charity and Erik was akin to fireside cocoa drinking on a chilly winter night.
How can two people be so damn pretty?
We needed the inevitable misunderstanding for plot purposes. It made their reunion so much sweeter, particularly when Charity’s blog posts superseded that tawdry, pathetic thing Janet did, and Charity landed the job opportunity of a lifetime with the Times and her handsome holiday beau.
Charity’s work/life balance is about to get so much better with Erik in her life, and we can only hope she brings some balance to his life as well.
And the best part about these films is we get two romances for the price of one. Did anyone else see those sparks flying between Aaron and Tasha?
Tasha, Aaron, and his adorable daughter practically became an instant family in the background. The holidays will never be the same with this lovely brood forming a framily of their own, and it’s the sweetest.
Over to you, Lifetime Movie Fanatics. Did you love this adorable film? Hit the comments below!
Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.