It’s become a bit of a cliché that all Lifetime and Hallmark Christmas movies take place in a small town and feature someone returning to visit relatives for the holidays. Christmas Lost and Found, however, breaks with tradition. While it is true that film begins with Whitney Kennison (Tiya Sircar) returning to her former hometown so she can spend the Christmas with her grandmother (Diane Ladd), the hometown in this case is Chicago.
(Of course, in all fairness, I guess we should keep in mind that Whitney left Chicago for New York City, where she found employment as an event planner. And, from what I’ve seen, it does appear that a lot of people in New York consider almost every other city in America to be a small town by comparison. That being said, I live in Dallas and I spend my holidays in Fort Worth so, to me, both New York and Chicago are huge metropolises.
Anyway, where was I?)
Whitney is an extremely successful in event planner in New York City but her success has come at a cost Whitney is so driven to succeed and such a workaholic that she’s running the risk of forgetting about the things that make life worthwhile, things like love and family.
Fortunately, Grandma’s here with her box of ornaments!
The ornaments are several years old, each one representing a different Christmas that Whitney spent with her grandmother. (For instance, a snow flake ornament represents that Christmas when they got snowed in.) Grandma gives Whitney the box of ornaments and tells her to keep them safe until it’s time to decorate the tree. However, the very next morning, Whitney is cleaning the house and the ornaments accidentally get thrown out!
Terrified that she’s lost the ornaments and ruined Christmas foever, Whitney puts off telling Grandma what happened. However, then the notes start to show up, rhyming riddles that inform Whitney that she’s going to have to go on a scavenger hunt across Chicago to get the ornaments back. Now, this may sound like the set up for a holiday-themed horror movie but have no fear! The first riddle says that it might sound like a stunt but promises that it will be fun.
Working with the neighbor, Brian (Edward Ruttle), Whitney goes searching for both the ornaments and, in a larger sense, Christmas itself. With each ornament that she finds, she’s reminded of yet another Christmas. The unseen letter writer continues to give Whitney tasks, making her write a letter to Santa Claus at one point. While Whitney searches for the ornaments, she also tries to figure out the identity of the letter writer. And, of course, she also has to finish designing a department store display window because …. well, why not?
How you react to this movie will probably depend on how much tolerance you have for Lifetime holiday movies in general. This is an unabashedly sentimental film and it takes place in a world that’s almost devoid of cynicism. You have to be willing to accept that someone was somehow able to put together an extremely elaborate scavenger hunt and have it play out without a hitch. Is the film implausible? Kinda. And if that matters to you, you’re probably not into Lifetime Christmas movies.
As for me, I always get sentimental around this time of year so I enjoyed Christmas Lost and Found. Edward Ruttle was likable as the neighbor and he and Tiya Sircar had enough chemistry to make them pleasant to watch on screen. And, of course, you’ve got the great Diane Ladd playing Whitney’s grandmother. It’s hard to think of anyone who could have done a better job with the role.
If you’re not naturally inclined to like these type of movies, Christmas Lost and Found probably won’t convert you. But if you enjoy sentimental holiday entertainment, Christmas Lost and Found delivers exactly what it promises.