It’s Christmas time and what better way to celebrate than to pile onto the lounge with the family and watch Christmas movies together.
If you’re a parent or carer with children at home these holidays, you may find yourself relating to the mum in this film.
With the children on school holidays, Paula (Britani Bateman – The R.M.) is desperate to create a peaceful household over the Christmas break, but with four rambunctious children constantly arguing with each other, things aren’t going as well as expected. Throw into the mix the arrival of Paula’s 17 year old troubled niece Jordan (Madison Bontempo – Without a Paddle), could this be the last straw?
As Paula and Richard (Adam Johnson – Frozen) embrace Jordan into their home, eldest daughter Kelly makes it very clear she is not welcome. This, on top of the squabbling between Kelly and her brother Eric, leaves Paula feeling more than a little frazzled.
Almost at her wits end, Paula takes some time out for a walk. Pausing to look at Christmas decorations, she comes up with a great idea! With her husband Richard on board with her plan, all she has to do now is present the idea to the family.
With jubilant excitement from the younger children and the rolling of eyes by a couple of the older ones, the family decides to build a crib for baby Jesus. Oldest son Eric, takes on this job and enlists his neighbour Mr G (Corbin Bernsen – Christian Mingle) to assist in the building of the crib. But the crib must be filled, and this cues the involvement of the family.
To fill the crib for baby Jesus to ‘sleep in heavenly peace’, each member of the family must add a piece of straw to the crib. The catch is: a piece of straw can only be added when someone does something nice for their designated person and does it in secret.
This proves to be very difficult for some. Eric and his sister Kelly can’t seem to be in the same room as each other without arguing. Cousin Jordan doesn’t even want to be there and Kelly has made it known that Jordan is not welcome.
As everyone takes a name out of the hat, the secret names just happen to be the opposite of who some would consider ever wanting to do nice things for. This is where the challenge is tested.
As youngest children Randi and Mike, enthusiastically jump into their new tasks and encourage the others to join in, the crib gradually begins to fill with straw. The household soon takes on a new atmosphere of giving, and even cranky old Mr G from next door and his grandson Landon, get in on the action.
Jordan soon realises that Mr G is actually pretty cool – and so is his grandson. As a romance gradually develops between Landon and Jordan, Landon also helps Jordan deal with a bullying incident she had been involved in and Jordan seeks forgiveness for the hurt she has caused.
Kelly begins to realise that she and her cousin have more in common than she thinks and as they grow in understanding of each other, they learn to make their peace, not only with each other, but also with those around them.
As personal differences arise that need to be resolved, will Paula get her peaceful Christmas after all? Will baby Jesus have enough straw to sleep in?
With themes of forgiveness, loving when it is difficult, as well as the gift of giving in secret, this film, inspired by a true story, reflects some beautiful biblical wisdom. Christmas for this family turns out to be a big lesson in what it means to truly love.
So gather the family this Christmas Eve for a fun and meaningful Christmas movie that may even inspire the beginning of a new family tradition in your household.