Hallmark's "A Maple Valley Christmas" Is Based on a Book

A Maple Valley Christmas Plot Summary 

A rancher has spent her whole life working the family farm with her mother and sister, but when a man arrives and disrupts her plans, she starts to question what she actually wants.

StarringPeyton List and Andrew Walker

Hallmark's "A Maple Valley Christmas"
Image:  Hallmark Media

The Movie Is Based on a Book

A Maple Valley Christmas is based on the 2018 novel by Jerry Todt, but the Hallmark flips the script.  In the book, Erica is the real estate agent tasked with convincing a maple syrup farmer to sell, but after spending time in the small town, she has to decide between love or becoming a partner in her firm.


When Hallmark fans love a movie, they always ask Hallmark for a sequel.  It will be interesting to see if Hallmark produces one because Todt released a follow-up novel in 2020 called A Maple Valley Wedding, which is set one year later.  Erica is in love, she's come to faith in Jesus, but then her ex shows up and sends her on a downward spiral.


Did you enjoy this movie enough to want a sequel?  Share your opinion in the comments!


Andrew Walker & the Cowboy Hat

Aaron Davenport (Andrew Walker) asks to wear a cowboy hat throughout the movie, but Erica (Peyton List) won't allow it.  She tells him he has to earn it.

By the end, it's obvious the cowboy hat serves as a metaphor for being granted a special place in Erica's heart and life.  

Erica has been divorced for four years.  Her husband grew bored on the farm and left for a more exciting life.  The experience has left her distrustful and cooly distant.  Every time Aaron asks for a hat and is denied, it's really Erica letting him know she's still not willing to let him in.  In fact, she almost blows her chances with Aaron.  She drives him away by saying she doesn't date tourists, and she tells him he's just a rich kid who's lost and wants to play cowboy.

When Erica finally gifts him the hat he's wanted as a Christmas present, he reminds her if it had to be earned, then it's not really a present.  She admits he could have had the hat all along and never needed to earn it, thus showing it's been about her heart all along.

A Maple Valley Christmas
Image:  Hallmark Media

A Movie About Resolving Family Conflicts

A Maple Valley Christmas contains multiple sources of conflict.

Ina Holden decides she's retiring and moving to Italy, so she hands the family maple syrup business over to her daughters, Erica and Heidi.  As the younger sibling, Heidi feels like her opinion doesn't matter when it comes to making decisions about the farm's operations.  At the height of the conflict, Heidi asks Erica to buy out her share of the farm because she doesn't think they can be partners.

The second stress point concerns Ina's reasons for moving to Italy.  Her tutor, who has been teaching her to speak Italian, is a man who's offering her a second chance at love.  Erica struggles to be happy for her mom, mostly for selfish reasons.  When Leo Russo joins the family for Christmas, Erica resents him injecting his Italian traditions into their normal celebration.

A third conflict involves the sale of the neighboring property.  The Fernandez tree farm borders the maple syrup farm and once belonged to the Holden family.  When the Holden's were coping with financial distress 30 years previously, they sold a portion of their land and have been waiting to buy it back.  Unfortunately, Aaron's dad is a real estate developer set on outbidding them, despite repeated protests from his son.  Erica wants to purchase the land, but Heidi doesn't because she'd rather invest the funds into expanding the business, which includes buying their own sugaring house and pursuing more retail opportunities.


A final sore spot is the rocky relationship between Aaron and his father.  Aaron wants to be loved and valued, but his dad is a workaholic who has never forged an emotional bond with his son.

All of these conflicts add layers to the movie but detract from the warm fuzzies viewers crave.

My Christmas Tree Rating

There are several festive elements to this movie, including the farm's Christmas-themed horseback rides, candy cane forest, and the family's Pioneer Christmas, but the spark is missing between the main characters.

Peyton List exudes no warmth, and despite their best efforts, there is just no zing flowing between her and Andrew Walker.  

A Maple Valley Christmas is worth watching, but it's just an average rom-com with nothing special to set it apart from the status quo.  It earns 3 out of 5 Christmas trees.


A Maple Valley Christmas





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