It’s Christmas in New York and Cassie has just landed her dream job – which her boyfriend seems more excited about than her. She travels to her hometown for the holidays and discovers that the Christmas Festival her mother put on every year has been canceled, now that her mother is no longer alive to oversee it. The news concerns Cassie who is yearning for tradition and the comfort that comes with it and she decides to rally the Wintervail community to help make the festival happen, in part to save the library which has run out of funds and is due to close.
Meanwhile, Prince Nicholas from a far-off country has come up missing and must be found before the Royal Christmas Ball in which he will be crowned and gain his right to the throne. Nicholas has traveled to Wintervail in search of the real spirit of Christmas, which he has been dreaming of after finding an old news article and letters in the Queen mother’s things highlighting the Christmas Festival.
After a rough start, Cassie and Nicholas work together to plan the festival, pulling on the community’s strengths to make it happen, reminded by her father and inspired by her mother’s favorite saying that “Christmas starts with us.” Although the Queen sends for him, Nicholas is determined to stay in Wintervail to discover meaning in the holiday traditions and for once have the Christmas he’s always dreamed of.
As Cassie’s heart warms to life back in Wintervail and to Nicholas, she’s torn and pressured by pulls from New York and the demands of her new job. She finally cuts the cord to New York, only to find out that Nicholas has lied to her and the community about who he is – a prince who has a country depending on him and the son of an old friend of her mother!
Cassie feels betrayed and sends Nicholas away, who returns to his kingdom and his mother who has his life seemingly plotted out for him. After a heartfelt conversation, his mother has a change of heart and together they return to Wintervail in time for the Christmas Festival. Nicholas seeks out reconciliation with Cassie and is thrilled to discover she’s decided to stay in Wintervail and not return to New York.
The queen offers to change protocol and crown Nicholas in Wintervail, but he refuses, with a desire to stay in Wintervail to help build the community and be near Cassie. The Queen offers an ingenious solution for him to retain the monarchy while remaining “abroad” to fulfill his heart’s desire, and the film ends with a true fairytale ending.
With strong themes of family and tradition, the film is a reminder to embrace the value of family and the meanings behind our traditions. Lighthearted and fun moments are coupled with introspective moments as both Cassie and Nicholas determine what’s important in their lives, and the Queen embraces change, placing value on relationships over protocol. This heart-warming film is Dove-approved for All Ages.
The Dove Take:
A modern fairy-tale story that embraces the values of family and integrity, this is a feel-good movie that families will enjoy.