’Tis the season for change and Becky Brandon (née Bloomwood) is embracing it, returning from the States to live in the charming village of Letherby and working with her best friend, Suze, in the gift shop of Suze’s stately home. Life is good, especially now that Becky takes time every day for mindfulness—even if that only means listening to a meditation tape while hunting down online bargains.
But Becky still adores the traditions of Christmas: Her parents hosting, carols playing on repeat, her mother pretending she made the Christmas pudding, and the neighbors coming ’round for sherry in their terrible holiday sweaters. Things are looking cheerier than ever, until Becky’s parents announce they’re moving to ultra-trendy Shoreditch—unable to resist the draw of craft beer and smashed avocados—and ask Becky if she’ll host this year. What could possibly go wrong?
Becky’s sister demands a vegan turkey, her husband insists that he just wants aftershave (again), and little Minnie needs a very specific picnic hamper: Surely Becky can manage all this, as well as the surprise appearance of an old boyfriend–turned–rock star and his pushy new girlfriend, whose motives are far from clear. But as the countdown to Christmas begins and her bighearted plans take an unexpected turn toward disaster, Becky wonders if chaos will ensue, or if she’ll manage to bring comfort and joy to Christmas after all.
As usual, Becky brings Christmas Shopaholic to a new level as she struggles to host Christmas. Her parents have moved to Shoreditch and are trying out a new kind of life. The usual suspects, like Becky’s vegan sister Jess, are all making their own needs known, and Becky, in the spirit of a true shopaholic is trying to find the perfect gift for each person.
As only Becky can, she finds the chaos in any situation, making her own plans expand continually as she tries to do what nobody expects of her. Bring forth the perfect Christmas without stopping to consider the ramifications of each choice.
I had to laugh at all the strange ways that Becky tries to turn into the perfect hostess, while still maintaining some kind of control.
Then when everything seemingly turns upside down, with the holiday at risk, I had to smile at how everyone came together to save the day. 4.5 stars.