The rest of the movie involves Kat’s mom (Markie Post) trying to get her to stop looking at her phone and computer screen and start relaxing. It’s mostly a movie about how evil technology and work and the big city are, and how important making cookies and decorating the Christmas tree are… or at least that’s what I gleaned. Oh, and it’s also about how important it is for single mothers to find a man. Mom also tries to set Kat up with Caleb (Tyler Hilton, whom you might remember from his work as John Mayer 2.0), the boy who failed to kiss her as a kid.
Kat spends a lot of time resisting Caleb because, being a logical, rational woman, she doesn’t want her son to get hurt again like he did when his father left him, and also she has to go back to New York, so she can’t start a relationship on the bayou. But Caleb is the walking embodiment of the “harass a woman enough and she’ll eventually give in and date you” philosophy that Lifetime movies seek to teach us, so of course by the end of the movie they’re together. The thing that really makes Kat see the light is when Caleb buys Zack the tablet he really wants and she says he’s “a good man.” I don’t get it. Is this movie for or against technology? Or is it only for it if it leads to true love? Make up your mind!
There’s also a plot in which Zack hangs out with Nick, an old man who claims to be Santa Claus, or rather Papa Noel, Louisiana’s badass alligator-propelled version of Santa. Nick is played by TV legend Ed Asner, whom you might remember from his role in Elf. Who’d he play again? Oh right, Santa. I wonder if he still had to audition. The most Nick does to show off his Santa powers is turn water into hot cocoa. Pssh, amateur. He also gives Zack the courage to perform in the Christmas pageant, a feat which this movie portrays as comparable to climbing Mount Everest.
By the end of the movie Kat realizes that life in the big city doesn’t make her happy, so she quits her job and decides to move back home, where she buys half of Mr. Greenhall’s (Randy Travis) general store. This movie really misses the opportunity to set Kat’s mom up with Mr. Greenhall, which I totally had on my Lifetime Christmas movie bingo card. I was very disappointed that I couldn’t put a marshmallow on that square.