Kate is a young woman subscribed to bad decisions. Her last date with disaster? That of having accepted to work as Santa’s elf for a department store. However, she meets Tom there. Her life takes a new turn. For Kate, it seems too good to be true.
Katarina, now going by “Kate,” is putting some significant changes into effect in her life. Nearly a year after a heart transplant, she leaves her overbearing parents’ home to pursue her vocal talent. Homeless and lonely, she finds herself in a bar flirting with a guy who seems to be wonderful. The next morning, she is swiftly proven wrong when his girlfriend returns home early. Seeming to have hit rock bottom, Kate walks the streets of London, suitcase in hand, to her job at a Christmas store, where she dresses as an elf and works for “Santa.”
Throughout the beginning of the movie, sex and drinking seem to be the only things on Kate’s mind. She is disrespectful to her parents, rude to her boss, and fails to prioritize her job. She even leaves the front door of the shop unlocked when she quickly rushes to an audition after her shift. The next morning Kate finds that the store has been vandalized and that Santa has broken the window in order to cover up Kate’s mistake and collect the insurance money.
Time after time, Kate is shown grace, but she never seems to appreciate it. Her parents let her back into their home after she leaves abruptly and refuses to call them back. Santa gives her a second chance even after she causes so much damage to the store. Her whole life is a second chance, as viewers learn that without a heart transplant the Christmas before, she would not have lived.
When Kate meets Matt outside the Christmas shop, she very quickly begins to fall for him. He shows her beauty in life and encourages her to always “look up.” This positive influence allows her to see the necessity for change in her life. As she and Matt get closer, he becomes more distant, but not before he helps her to make lasting changes. One night, after drinking heavily, she confesses to Matt that her new heart feels empty—that she’s not the same as she once was. Even in the face of temptation, Matt does not take advantage of Kate’s desire to sleep with him—he takes her home, tucks her in, kisses her, and leaves her to sleep alone.
After a shocking plot twist alters the course of the film, viewers see significant changes in Kate’s behavior. She begins volunteering at the homeless shelter where Matt works and develops a heart for charity. She uses her singing talent to fundraise for the shelter. Kate even strives to make amends with the people she had taken advantage of in the past.
These changes, although positive, are not rooted in Christianity in any way. Not even the Christmas carols reference Biblical themes. Last Christmas employs crude, but realistic, examples of a secular big city lifestyle to show the positive benefits that can come through a change of perspective. The picture and audio are astounding, and the movie was overall entertaining. Regardless of its positive aspects, the excessive drinking, obsession with sex, and lack of Christian themes do not earn the Dove seal of approval.