If you can believe it, the holidays are literally around the corner. Like, November is staring right at you, with December directly behind it. While some are super busy all season long, others prefer a more low-key entrance into all things holiday — like Hallmark's Countdown to Christmas original movie lineup to get the party started. Speaking of, where is the Hallmark movie Christmas Joy set?
According to the official Hallmark movie website, Christmas Joy is set in Crystal Falls, North Carolina. Based on where Google Maps leads me, it appears to be a fictional town. Although there is a Crystal Falls Dr. located in Fairview, NC. If you were to drive two hours west of there, you'd hit Chistmastown USA (also known as McAdenville, NC) — totally holiday appropriate for the Countdown to Christmas. So what's this holiday movie about and how does Crystal Falls fit in? Protagonist, Joy Holbrook (Danielle Panabaker) may end up in Crystal Falls, but she begins the story as a savvy market researcher with her eyes on snagging the company's top account (and on the cusp of a major promotion anyhow) in Washington D.C. But, as fate would have it, things don't exactly go in that direction (of course, because, life). Joy's plans for career domination are interrupted when she gets an emergency call from her Aunt Ruby's BFF to get back home — to Crystal Falls, NC. Apparently, stubborn Aunt Ruby broke her ankle and needs surgery and also for Joy to get there STAT to help. Bummer for Joy's possible promotion but I feel a Christmas set-up coming on.
Of course Joy goes or there wouldn't be a happy holiday movie, right? when she gets into town, she's accidentally reunited with hospital administrator and former crush (of course!), Ben Andrews (Matt Long) who also happens to be Aunt Ruby's BFF's son. That's a lot to digest.
Aunt Ruby's the type who needs to be in control of everything, including the annual Cookie Crawl. Joy takes Ruby's place as chair so Ruby can sit back and relax. Obviously, Ben thinks Joy taking over is the most hilarious idea because everyone wants to win the Golden Wreath Award, and it's no small task. Ben offers to help and though Joy refuses at first, it's happening because "there's no place like home — for the holidays." Sounds like a great way to get in the holiday mood — even if it's technically not even December yet.
"It captures that feeling of southern hospitality," Panabaker told Southern Living about the movie. In the movie, this Christmas cookie crawl is coming up in her hometown, and Joy has to help make it happen. It’s all about really embracing the holidays and having fun with it."
Christmas Joy is based on the bestselling novel of the same name, by Nancy Naigle. Panabaker is most known for her role as Caitlin Snow in CW's The Flash with a variety of acting credits to her name. Long's resume is equally varied with spots on Mad Men, Private Practice, and Timeless, to name a few. Christmas Joy is only one of 34 original Hallmark movies debuting in the countdown, so there's plenty of chances to stay in for the evening, FYI.
Look, you don't need my permission to cancel all your plans for 34 days to catch all these films, but if you're in need of a reason to smile these days, Hallmark has your back. Whether you need to mentally prepare for the holidays, would rather forget them, or just love a feel-good story with a touch of hope, check out Christmas Joy.