Proving that Hallmark will make a generic holiday romance about any profession, 12 Gifts of Christmas delves into the wonderful world of personal shoppers. When overworked businessman Marc (Aaron O’Connell) finds that he has little time to shop for presents, he enlists Anna (Katrina Law) to help out. She’s an artist trying to gain recognition and respect from the city’s galleries but few take her seriously. To supplement her small income, she starts a personal shopper business, since that is a far more secure and practical form of employment
At first, Anna takes a few liberties with Marc’s list of gifts for some friends. Why he has bothered to make one at all when he has a personal shopper is beyond me. A few gifts soon turn into dozens more, however, and before long, Anna is accompanying Marc to company parties and family dinners. Ostensibly, she’s there to find out more about the gift recipients, but we know what happens when two good-looking people with opposing value systems start coming together.
There are a few themes the movie hits on. The easiest one to appreciate is that how much you give is not as important as what you give. It’s a lesson I thought people learned as they transitioned to adulthood, but some need to be reminded. Also, while reality may not bear this out, the movie reinforces the idea that all problems are solved and dreams do come true during Christmastime. Just a dash of that holiday magic will make your unemployment worries and romantic woes disappear. It will even stop you from becoming a full-fledged mansplaining jerk.
It’s hard for me to be more enthusiastic about the lamely titled 12 Gifts of Christmas. I know these films are repetitive by nature but this one feels almost desperate in its contrivance. Law’s performance does stand out though – and not just because she’s half Chinese, making her one of the few non-white leads in this perennial Christmas movie orgy (hey, Mariah). She’s the bubbly that gives the picture some kick. Funny, hurt, angry, or plain sweet, you just kind of want the camera to linger a little longer.
Dir: Peter Sullivan
Writer: Lynn Grant Beck, Jennifer Notas Shapiro
Cast: Katrina Law, Aaron O’Connell, Donna Mills, Melanie Nelson
Time: 83 min
Country: United States