The Big Christmas Lie
Sugar Baby? Sugar Daddy?
Final Christmas Countdown
At the age of 30 I had the pleasure of spending Christmas with my wife and two kids. Fast forward 12 months and after an amicable break-up, me and my new partner (and her and her new partner) intend on putting on two separate Christmases for our kids – and we’re all the happier for it. This time of year is all about giving but for Johanne in Home For Christmas, she unfortunately does not have the same luxury as me.
Split across six bite-size episodes, Home For Christmas is a heartwarming, well written dramedy exploring Christmas love and nestling itself in all the usual cliches you’d expect from a show like this. It all begins with Johanne sitting down on the eve of the Christmas season with her family, sick of being the odd one out and declaring she has a new boyfriend. The only problem is – she doesn’t.
After lying to her family, she agrees to bring him around for Christmas and spends the following run-up to the big day scrambling to find a prospective partner. The first couple of episodes root firmly into comedy territory, as our lovable protagonist flies through weird and wonderful dates and men before coming across love in the unlikeliest of places.
As the series progresses, several big reveals see a couple of different men come to the forefront of Johanne’s life but to spoil much more than that would be to do the story a disservice. The one thing I will say is that final episode ties everything together in the best possible way, with the family sat down for Christmas dinner. Unfortunately, all of this ends with an agonizing cliffhanger as Johanne prepares to invite someone in to join them…but who is it?
The story itself plays out with a few surprises but mostly sticks to the tried and tested formula rom-coms use across a 90 minute time-span. There is, of course, a lot more time to play with here but the series still adheres to the usual three-act structure you’d expect from this sort of story. Although to be honest, the big talking point for those that watch this will inevitably be the ending.
Usually I’m turned off by cliffhanger finishes like this but despite the annoyance I initially felt, on reflection I actually quite like the open-ending finale. Given the great work done throughout the series to build Johanne up as an empathetic, down-on-her-luck, doomed-to-fail-in-love main character, seeing her finally happy at the end (a stark contrast to the mellow and poignant girl we met early on) rounds her character arc out nicely. Will we get a second season? I hope so but if it remains this way then at least Johanne gets her happy ending.
Stylistically, Home For Christmas uses a great array of on-screen text to show the days slipping away which helps add a sense of urgency to proceedings. There’s also an array of different montages used here too, most using the usual array of sad songs to emphasize the struggles Johanne goes through across the season.
Home For Christmas doesn’t reinvent the wheel but to be honest it doesn’t really need to. The polished production, well written story and nicely implemented doses of comedy do well to keep this one feeling lighthearted and easy to watch throughout. There are some emotional moments here though and seeing Johanne helplessly stumble between prospective partners through the season makes for a really compelling watch. Don’t let the cliffhanger ending put you off though, this is a heartwarming Christmas series, one well worth checking out this holiday season.
Verdict - 7/10