Christmas Advent #8 – Once Upon a Holiday

I am now fitting Christmas films in wherever I can in order to review and chuck them out into the wide world. The irony that my favourite one so far has had to be so rushed.

Straight up we are in some sort of hotel foyer where a mom and daughter are watching a very elaborate train set go around and around and around.

Child: “Do you think there is a place like this somewhere? For real?”

Mom: “I don’t know. Maybe.”

Child: “I want to go. Just you, me and Daddy and I wouldn’t tell anyone where we were.”

Mom: “No? Why not?”

Child: “Then no one would find us and…”

Me: “Then those debt collectors wouldn’t come and break Daddy’s knees like they said they would last week in the street.”

Apparently the dad has an important job but it’s cool because they’ll always love her… which means they’re probably gonna die soon. Prediction #1 – easy. The kid gets the early gift of an antique camera and, for a second, the mom looks around suspiciously like there really are debt collectors coming for her husband’s knees. When they leave the hotel they are shoved into a big ol’ waiting car which does, in all fairness, look important.

20 years later…. the child is all grown up but still using the same camera to come back and take pictures of the same train in the hotel. Some PA is giving her the itinerary for the day which, again, sounds very important. The woman is more interested in going to some gallery than following the itinerary of her PA, who is actually her Aunt Margaret.  Apparently this woman, Katherine, has commitments of state she needs to attend to. Who the hell is this woman!?

Katherine is told she definitely can’t go to a gallery to look at pictures so why doesn’t she just settle for being a patron or whatever the hell she likes instead? Some guy named George rocks up, who I believe may be her uncle, and addresses her as ‘Her Royal Highness’? People! Please! A little more context!!!!

Next some random guy is pulling up in a van and he’s just young and handsome enough for our princess to fall in love with him. Prediction #2. He gives some money to a street Santa, to prove to viewers he’s a good guy, and off he goes on the phone, talking about windows. I think he’s some sort of contractor because he takes great care in stroking a piece of wood his team are working on in what looks to be another renovation. Christmas is not the time to renovate, folks! Another festive renovation, another guy named Jack. I guess there are only so many names and scenarios you can cycle through at Christmas…

Some man called Eric is now calling and it sounds like every conversation between me and my mom when she was holding the plug for the Christmas tree lights together with tape and determination.

Jack: “Eric? Woah, woah, woah, slow down… What? No, smoke is definitely bad. Eric, I…. no, I’m on my way.”

Katherine is reminiscing with George and it turns out her mom married a prince making her, now, the Princess of Monstsaurai which is apparently a very tiny country. It’s so tiny Katherine doesn’t think they need a princess and would rather hang out at the gallery. Katherine’s job description involves smiling, waving and speak to people who don’t listen to her. That’s called being a woman, my dear.

Kath: “I didn’t ask for this! It never stops, you know, there’s always someone there telling me… how to talk, how to look, how to smile, just… how to be!”

Me: “That’s called being a woman with access to the internet, my dear.”

Kath apologises for moaning at George but it’s just because she misses her mom and Christmas was her favourite time of year. She shows him a locket with their pictures in it, which was the last Christmas present she was given and her parents probably died in a car or plane crash shortly afterwards. Prediction #3.

Jack is rushing off to help Eric who, as it turns out, has set up some dodgy wiring for his magic shop which involves lighting the outdoor sign by wiring it up through the letter box and…. I see another fire hazard coming, folks. Oh, yeah. Eric appears to be a more wizardy version of Santa and his name is actually Harry, not Eric. ……. For fuck’s sake Hayley.

Festive wiring

Eric has managed to short his entire wiring system in the process of lighting up the outdoor sign. For some reason Jack has turned the sign back on and everything is back to being a fire hazard. He needs to come and rewire the whole place because its unsafe but is still leaving Eric to operate out of the shop, with his sign on, and hold a party there that Jack is invited to that evening, while he finds the time to do all of this. Responsible.

Meanwhile George is having a word with Aunt Margaret as a distraction while Kath makes a break for the gallery, sneaking around guards and staff like the slowest, most colourful ninja known to man. Elsewhere Jack is still trying to get away from Eric who is insistent Jack comes to his weird pot luck party tonight. So insistent that Jack feels something is up. That something…. is a set up! Eric is trying to force women at Jack because he hasn’t dated in a while and obviously I would trust any blind date set up for me by…. Eric just ate a chocolate coin with the wrapping on. …….

Swiftly moving on, it’s not any better with Katherine who is wondering around the streets with a camera, talking to herself, and will end up being committed if she’s not careful. Soon she finds herself part of some scam where a tag team robs her of her camera and purse when she stupidly puts them down and turns away from them. Jack is there, thought, and goes running after them. He doesn’t chase them for too long and lets them get away with her purse.

Kath is nonplussed about all of this and has only just realised her purse and camera is gone when the man points it out to her, meaning this whole time she’s just been wondering why this man likes to chase people and insist on calling the cops. There’s a bizarre conversation where Kath refuses any sort of help and wants to roam the streets with no phone, camera or money, so Jack buggers off because some ho’s just don’t wanna be saved. However he does come back in order to give her some money.

Jack: “You can’t be alone in the city without money.”

Me: “Why, so someone else can mug her?”

Jack finally manages to escape, wondering why the hell this woman is wishing him a Merry Christmas after she got mugged and the world is a terrible place to be. Meanwhile, Aunt Margaret is still looking for her niece and is gonna lose her shit when she finds out the royal credit cards have gone missing, too.

Margaret: “Well that’s it, we’ve called everyone.”

George: “It’s only been a few hours.”


Margaret is obsessed with her niece so George offers to phone the police in order to rein in some of that crazy. Margaret has news for him; they never involve the police. Instead they involve a guy called Simon who is a tiny little guy in a suit.

Margaret: “If anyone can find Kath quietly, Simon can.”

Me: “What, did you think the cops were just gonna go shout her down?”

Kath finally gets to the gallery but it’s closed. Typical. Equally, trying to get back to the hotel with only 20 dollars is impossible so she’s back to walking the streets and avoiding muggers.

Jack is having dinner with his sister because he wants to avoid appearing too eager to get to Eric’s party. He is annoyed to see his sister’s boyfriend, Ross, though and I feel his pain because his sister has now lured and trapped him into this dinner because he hates Ross and never would have turned up otherwise. For some reason these siblings are still tickling each other as adults and that freaks me out because me and my brothers take the normal sibling approach of staying at least 5 feet away from each other at all times.

Ross has called Jack into the living room to watch….. Ross on the TV as a field reporter…. Ross is clearly narcissistic and is looking at that TV with ALL of the crazy eye. After dinner Jack is desperate to help clean up the kitchen because the only other option is talking to Ross.

He gets distracted by seeing himself in any shiny surface

Sister: “So are you dating anyone?”

Jack: “Why is everyone suddenly so interested?”

Me: “Because we only have 2 hours to get the point across that you’re single and ready to date. One set of questions isn’t enough.”

Jack has just bolted out the door because he’s sick of the people in this house when Ross runs down looking for him like a little puppy. There is something very wrong with that man but his narcissism and current career path is clearly gonna lead him to trying to get the scoop on Kath roaming the streets – or being in love with Jack – and everyone will hate him. Prediction #4, set.

Kath actually is still roaming the streets and has passed the magic shop which she’s better not going in because it’s a fire hazard. Wiping at the window she sees…. a bunch of people dressed as Santa in there… before bumping into Jack.

Kath is not drunk, she swears it.

Jack: “What are you doing way over here?”

Kath: “Oh, I’m just taking in the sights.”

Jack: “In the dark?”

Me: “She might be a sex pest, just leave her alone!”

Kath is…. I can’t stop laughing at this woman because these pretend cops she insists she called told her ‘they’re all over this, they’re gonna bust this case wide open’ and when they pretend heard that Jack was a witness they were like ‘pssshhhh’. Jack is clearly worried about her mental health and invites her in to the party because why not add a crazy woman to a room of Santa’s.

Katherine decides to use the name Katie Holiday because that’s novel. When Eric’s assistant of a million years, Dixie, leads her away to get food, Jack is obviously looking after her fondly like he’s known her for years when she doesn’t even know his name.

Back at the hotel Simon is being shit at his job but has found that Kath ditched her phone in the hotel basement, so at least the thieves couldn’t steal and publish any of her nudes. Tiny Simon is sure she has nowhere to hide out there but I bet he wasn’t thinking of looking in a magic shop full of Santas.

I think this whole situation can be summed up with Eric’s words:

“She’s a nice girl. I don’t think she’s from around here.”

Said no one about me, ever. Not the first sentence anyway.

God knows what happens next because Kath is asleep on a stranger’s shop sofa and Dixie is covering her up with a Santa cape. Apparently Jack didn’t go home either because hes waking her up with coffee and after thanking him for helping her she literally runs out of the shop because she’s just realised she’s been missing for a million years.

Sitting down, Jack notices she has left her necklace on the chair…. somehow, I mean if that’s casually falling off you should probably get a better chain. Outside she’s just standing there because that’s kind of her thing now and he hands it back. He decides enough is enough and gives her a lift after a long, awkward, 5 minutes where she tries to put her own necklace on but fails miserably.


Instead of going back to the hotel, Kath finally gets to go to the gallery and only 24 hours late! She finds the blacked out car over the road a bit weird and finds it even weirder when Tiny Simon’s helpers pop out. Both Kath and Jack have already clocked these people and Jack is wondering what’s going on when Kath very suddenly wants to go and get some food.

Ross is waiting for the princess to announce some choir or orchestra or something with a bunch of other reporters. When George helps out instead, despite the fact I’m very sure he has nothing to do with that side of the family, Ross blames his camerawoman for that waste of time.

Meanwhile Jack is still trying to offer his help and Kath is still pretending noooooooothing is wrong. Jack gets them some food from a street cart.

Jack: “My treat.”

Me: “Well, good job, because even if she did pay for them it would be with the money you gave her yesterday. Either way, its your treat.”

He comments that she should have cancelled all her cards but she claims she has none of those, so I have no idea what those guys actually stole in her purse. Jack receives a call he has to see to so just takes Kath with him to the building he had been working at previously.

Jack: “Take a look around.”

Me: “Is that wise? She has no idea whats going on and you’re letting her loose on a tiny construction site? She’s going to die.”

Thinking about it, one day Kath will meet someone far better looking and will grow tired of Jack. Meanwhile, Ross believes the princess is in the back of Tiny Simon’s jeep and is gonna be sorely disappointed when he finds out it’s empty. He begins to suspect something is going on here but I don’t entirely trust in his IQ all that much, so he could be envisioning anything.

Back at the building renovation, Kath is looking at a yellow stained glass window when Jack comes in.

Jack: “I love the light in this room. It’s….. it’s got this colour…..”

Me: “….. That’s….. that’s what stained glass tends to do, Jack…..”


One pane does not a stained glass window make

When he starts asking questions about the guys following her, Kath thinks it’s time to make a break for it again. Jack is giving some bizarre, ultimate life lessons without knowing what’s actually going on and probably filling her tiny, sheltered head with lots of big ideas. Now he’s offering up the work site for her to stay for a few days, despite the fact she has no money, no phone and no change of clothes. Oh. And people are trying to work here.

In reality, if you harboured a Christmas stranger they would either a) steal all of your belongings and be gone by morning or b) become obsessed with you and your entire family and try to replace a member of the unit in increasingly more sinister and deadly ways.

Suddenly his sister is showing up with clothes, which she has brought not questioning anything, and he sends her off to meet fake Katie in the bedroom. I wasn’t entirely sure how Jack would feel about his new love interest being dressed as his sister but as it turned out she owns a shop and Kate can just drop by and borrow whatever she likes because that a good business model to follow.

After this favour she is immediately calling in her own, sibling style, and needs Jack to go and fetch a Christmas tree. Jack states loudly that it’s three days before Christmas and how can she not have a tree!? Until she loudly states that she does not decorate until Christmas Eve so, what, she just wants the tree to hang around in her house for 2 days not doing anything. Kath offers herself up when Jack says he is too busy to go, having NO idea how heavy this tree is gonna be, and she’s off to get ready for her next big adventure.

Jack: “So…. did she say anything?”

Sister: “Who?”

Jack, rolling eyes: “The Queen of England…. KATIE!”

Me: “Mmmm, close. Actually she’s the Princess of Monstsaurai. You won’t have heard of it. No one has.”

Suddenly she is being invited round for Christmas because this family loves to take in a waif and stray and suddenly he is going to help pick up the tree, despite saying he couldn’t because there were only 3 days until Christmas, he had no time and couldn’t leave his guys to do everything on their own. FISH LOGIC.

It is the mangiest tree I have ever seen, seriously. After a tree fight, where Jack almost crushes the Princess of Monstsaurai, they are off to go and decorate a tree where fake Katie will probably fall off a ladder and into Jack’s arms.

Look at the fucking state of that

Ross is busy blackmailing George at the hotel and if he can’t see the princess he will run his other story that the princess is, in fact, missing. George is handling this very well when the Margaret comes down the stairs announcing loudly, for all to hear, that Kath has run away and Aunt Margaret just deserves to be pushed down the stairs.

Kath might have to turn down this Christmas dinner because apparently Monstsaurai can’t celebrate Christmas without the princess, so will be stuck in a ground hog day-esque, Christmas Eve situation. Kath and Jack come across a little Christmas fare/market which Katie used to go to with her mom.

Kath: “This is exactly the same!”

Me: “Actually, I think you’re thinking of the exact same nutcracker figure that was in the hotel and has clearly just been moved around on set.”

AND I CALLED IT! Parents dead in a plane crash.

When Jack spies Santa’s grotto he believes this will distract them from the morbid conversation, especially as it turns out to be Eric doing magic tricks as Santa. Back at the magic shop Eric & Dixie are feeding her again. This time it’s soup and we’re playing my favourite cast game – let’s pretend we’re actually eating this food. Turns out Jack has some MBA and was a real estate guy but just wanted to do odd jobs on the buildings he owned instead. Last year he had a girlfriend called Gretchen who he was supposed to marry (but was not engaged so there’s a Christmas presumption for you) who wasn’t impressed when money got tight and left.

Tiny Simon is relaying footage of Kath and Jack loitering outside the galley back at the hotel. Maybe Aunt Margaret will take to social media and tell everyone about it in another bid to tell the world Kath is missing. Either way, the pair are being hunted down and it had better end soon because I’m tired.

Jack and Kath are having a heartfelt conversation and again he is unknowingly putting big ideas in her little head and she’s gonna start a rebellion before long. Jack’s Sister turns up with Ross in tow, who thinks Kath looks familiar, and the sister has bought even more clothes from store. That’s another profit….

They are all dressed up to go for dinner and then see an orchestra. Ross is celebrating the fact he knows the royal family are roaming the city and fake Katie realises it might be time for her to go home soon… Not too soon, though, because she’s still hiding out on the work site.

Speaking with Jack, who is working at god knows what time at night, Kath is being delightfully cryptic about deciding whether to return to the hotel or not but in an attempt to help, Jack has bought her a camera because she appears to no longer care about the one that was stolen from her. Kath promises they can talk at the gallery tomorrow (third time’s a charm!) and goes to bed, but not before she has taken a picture of Jack, which will help serve her in some way later – Prediction #5.

Ross is in the crowd of the concert Kath ran away from introducing and he cannae see the princess anywhere. In her place is Tiny Simon who I’m sure should be out looking for Kath. That is when Ross sees Kath’s picture on the back of the programme and causes a big commotion as he battles his way along the row to get out of there.

Back at the art gallery Kath sees Tiny Simon and kisses Jack in an attempt to not be seen. She then asks to use his phone and goes off to make a call because flustering a man like that will have him agree to anything bizarre you might say afterwards. Meanwhile, Ross is showing up at the magic shop asking about fake Katie and after Eirc has told Ross she’ll probably be back later, because she likes to hang around there like some yobo, he wonders why any of this may have just taken place.


Kath phones George to let her know she’s alive and he agrees to hold off Aunt Margaret before she kills a man. He just about manages to warn her about a rogue reporter before Kath sees Tiny Simon and his men and runs off with Jack’s phone. Luckily Jack also sees the men chasing her and doesn’t think this was all some elaborate scheme to steal his phone to replace the one she left in the basement hotel. Jack turns up in his van and they’re off. Will she EVER get into this fucking art gallery!?

Back at the magic shop everyone believes these guys are trying to kidnap her but Ross is on the way so she thinks she had better try and explain. She is taking her sweet, mystical time being cryptic and like I predicted Ross will break this when he turns up. Just as she is about to tell them all, Ross interrupts at the door and fake Katie gets the fuck outta dodge – he is out there filming for channel 6 news, for god’s sake.

Now he is interviewing everyone about the woman in the shop before Eric invites him in to see how empty the place is and there is definitely no princess in there. Ross is darting around the place like the wide-eyed maniac he is, opening wardrobes and cupboards and… there we go. The big reveal.

Sister: “The princess?”

Ross: “You didn’t know?”

Jack: “I think I would have mentioned it….”

Jack is my favourite Christmas guy so far. Only took 8 days to find him. The sister is more pissed her boyfriend tried to hunt down her ‘friend’ and pushes him into the wardrobe before Eric disappears him. A few more words spoken in tongues and Kath is stepping back out of the wardrobe.

Ross is heard trying to break out the wardrobe too but everyone just ignores that to continue learning about fake Katie and the traditions of Monstsaurai and the Christmas festival she needs to go and kick off. Jack realises she will have to go home now but…. I don’t know why he looks SO disappointed, I mean she’s a princess, she can’t exactly help it. It’s not like she had a hidden boyfriend or fiance and its understandable why she couldn’t tell him. Maybe he’s more pissed he spent that money on a camera when she could afford one herself.

Jack is in his van when he picks up the camera she left in there (to get robbed) and sees all the pictures she took of their friends, the sights and him planing a piece of wood. It’s not a flattering picture but Prediction #5 just came true because he’s feeling all weird now.

Jack is still out in the van when Kath pops out the shop and points out they never made it to the gallery. This time… THEY’RE GONNA MAKE IT. Bizarrely, when they get there, Jack gives her a Santa hat and sends her on her way into the art gallery while he waits for Tiny Simon in the foyer.

Tiny Simon and Jack are on a first name basis out there and all of a sudden there are a load of Santas everywhere as some sort of distraction technique.

Now was not a good time to address Tiny Simon’s crippling fear of Santa

Tiny Simon: “Are you serious!? Which one is she!?”

Me: “……………… Simon, what the fuck are you talking about?! She is none of the Santas who are clearly grown ass men!”

Moving on…. Kath is just wondering around the art gallery not dressed as Santa and not wearing her hat. Jack goes to find her because…. whatever, Tiny Simon is the worst guard ever. When Kath and Jack are done, George and Margaret are waiting for them and there is the least emotional goodbye ever as Kath pretty much just walks off out of the building leaving Jack behind. He does, however, get an open invitation from George to visit their mythical land and…. this place looks amazing!

Monstswhatever, people!

All the people are very happy to see the princess rock up while she just looks mildly miserable. Margaret is encouraging her to smile because its Christmas and when the door opens for her she gets out the car and BOOM! There is Jack, moving in… slightly slow motion.

The whole country looks very welcoming of him and there we have it, Jack is now prince of Monstsaurai. Thank god. I can go sleep.

For the first time, in 7 days, I have actually enjoyed watching a Christmas film rather than wincing, banging my head off my laptop or wanting to cry. If you want to mildly enjoy something too, find it here.


Prediction Table – 5/5

  • Prediction #1 – Kath’s parents will die – CORRECT
  • Prediction #2 – Kath will fall in love with the van guy – CORRECT
  • Prediction #3 – Kath’s parents died in a plane/car crash – CORRECT
  • Prediction #4 – Ross will try and report on Kath and everyone will hate him – CORRECT
  • Prediction #5 – Kath’s picture of Jack will stop him being a knob – CORRECT

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s