REVIEW: The Hallmark Sequel "Haul Out the Holly: Lit Up" Is as Silly as the First One

Emily and Jared are looking forward to celebrating the holidays together as a couple, and they prepare to work with their neighbors on Evergreen Lane to make this year's Christmas celebrations the best yet.  When a house on the block goes up for sale, the soon-to-be-neighbors are holiday royalty, but they are so competitive that they nearly ruin Christmas for everyone. Starring:   Lacey Chabert, Wes Brown, Stephen Tobolowsky, Ellen Travolta, Melissa Peterman, Seth Morris, and Jennifer Aspen Image:  Hallmark Media Haul Out the Holly:  Lit Up Has a Moral When the residents of Evergreen Lane learn that their new neighbors are the Jolly Johnsons--famous holiday reality stars--they are thrilled to welcome them to the block.  Everyone assumes the Johnsons will fit right in since they share their same affinity for elf culture. Emily, Jared, and the rest of the holiday crew quickly realize that the Johnsons aren't interested in joining in on the fun--they plan to take over. Image:  Tw

Hallmark's "A Christmas Tree Grows In Colorado"--Cute Movie, Dumb Premise

Starring:  Rochelle Aytes and Mark Taylor

Released: 2020

Summary:  A woman is forced to convince a firefighter to give her the spruce tree from his property so she can use it in her town's upcoming Christmas celebration.

Grace Sunar plays Claire in A Christmas Tree Grows In Colorado.  Image:  Crown Media

A Sweet Story About Adoption

Much like Christmas Town, this movie is about the profound impact adoption has on children stuck in "the system," wondering if anyone will ever take them home and love them like a real family.

Kevin Snyder (Mark Taylor) is a firefighter living in Brooklyn, Colorado.  An orphan once himself before being adopted, Kevin gives back by adopting his own daughter, Claire.  Despite being a single dad with not much room for anything else in his life besides work and Claire, the two make a happy, little family.

Typical Politicians

Industry needs a boost in Brooklyn, Colorado, and Erin Chambers (Rochelle Aytes), the director of community development, is determined to make her city a prime Christmas tour destination.  

When Erin accidentally posts a picture of the 40-foot spruce tree in Kevin's yard on the city's social media page instead of her personal page, the mayor, who also happens to be her father, won't settle for anything less than Kevin's tree being the center of their city's Christmas celebration.

Erin is in a bind.  She wants to please her father and earn his approval, but Kevin is unbending and won't relinquish his tree.  

Erin decides she'd rather follow in her mom's footsteps in education rather than her father's in politics.  Image: Crown Media

Mayor Chambers slashes the Fire Department's budget, so Kevin is incensed that Erin's dad has the funds for less important things, like a tree and a public relations campaign, but can't find the revenue to support a more important service like the Fire Department.  

Isn't that typical?  Politicians are often more worried about appearances and preserving their careers than the citizens in the communities they govern.

As Erin tries to convince Kevin to let her have the tree, she grows closer and closer to him and Claire, but Kevin will not budge on the tree issue--even after their passionate kiss in the middle of the movie.

Erin sidesteps admitting defeat to her father, but when Mayor Chambers receives bad press for not being able to secure the tree, the story takes a different turn.

A Socialist Message

Without the mayor's knowledge, the town council declares eminent domain and sends a crew to seize Kevin's tree, despite his lack of consent.

This is an outrage and should not be romanticized in a Hallmark movie.

Socialism shows contempt for individual freedom and ownership, and its message is that all ownership should be public, collective, and cooperative.  Under the umbrella of socialism, a person's rights are trampled for the sake of "the common good."

Energizing Brooklyn and making it the epicenter of holiday tourism can be accomplished without stealing a person's tree against their will.  This is Colorado, for crying out loud--it's a state overflowing with pine trees.

Image:  Crown Media

Imagine having a beautiful, 40-foot spruce in your front yard.  The mature tree may be one of the selling points that helped you fall in love with your property before you purchased it.  To lose such a magnificent feature from your front yard would change the entire look and feel of your home.  What if you had plans to decorate it for a spectacular light display in your neighborhood?  

Eminent domain is not a beloved concept, but it can at least be justified when you're talking about putting in a highway, an exit ramp, or something important.  Declaring eminent domain to confiscate a TREE is an absolute abuse of power.

Even though Erin tries to save the tree by informing Kevin of the Heritage Protection laws, he finally relents and allows the town to take his tree.  Socialism guilts and pressures people into compliance.

Aside from the tree at Rockefeller Center in New York, no city has ever been put on the map because of the Christmas tree they select for their display.  Yes, people enjoy the town Christmas tree, but they are more interested in light displays and holiday activities.  Any decent tree will do. 

If you watch this movie in Hallmark auto-pilot mode, you probably just enjoy the delightful cast without thinking too much about the plot.  The fact remains that basing a movie entirely on the notion you can hijack a person's tree from their yard against their will is not only a dumb story premise, it's the epitome of tyranny.  After serving it's purpose, the tree will be donated to Habitat for Humanity, once again emphasizing the message that stealing someone's personal property can be justified when it's for the common good.  Boo to socialism!

Mayor Chambers suddenly "finds" the money in his budget to reallocate to the Fire Department.  You scratch my back, I'll scratch yours.  

Hallmark writers, Samantha Herman and Michael Larkin, should be ashamed.

Kevin's tree has a heart on it marking where one of the limbs had been removed.  Image:  Crown Media

This Would Have Been A Better Solution

One reason Kevin's tree is so attractive is its history.  The tree is located in Brooklyn's original town square.  

Rather than confiscate the tree, a better story twist would have been to convince Kevin to at least allow the town to decorate the tree in his front yard.  People who wanted to take a trip down memory lane could drive by to see where the original town square once stood.

While the cast in A Christmas Tree Grows in Colorado does an outstanding job and shares good chemistry, the story, when you really give it some thought, is a bomb.

A Christmas Tree Grows in Colorado is built on a socialist premise.  Image:  Crown Media


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