The Borrowed Christmas and the Christmas Wish (Movie Review)

John FarrellBy John Farrell5 Minutes

What is the most unusual thing you’ve ever borrowed or rented? What about the strangest thing you’ve ever wanted for Christmas?

For me, nothing immediately comes to mind in the way of odd things I’ve borrowed or rented. Outside of movies, cars, tools, and maybe an article of clothing or two, I don’t think I’ve borrowed or rented anything else. However, I wouldn’t classify any of those as weird.

I have, however, had some unusual requests for Christmas over the years. One year I asked for a foosball table. Another year all I asked for were filaments for a 3-D printer that I didn’t own and knew I wasn’t getting. I’ve asked for a real, functioning lightsaber; a Lego set that cost upwards of $800; and a life-sized Fathead poster of Han Solo in carbonite. Unfortunately, I didn’t receive any of those last three items (the last of which is still on my Amazon wish list).

However unusual these requests may be, they aren’t as unusual as John Dale’s single Christmas wish in the heartwarming 2014 Rossetti Productions film, The Borrowed Christmas. The movie is an adaption of the play, “The Rented Christmas.” Both the play and flick were written by Norman and Yvonne Ahern, with Chip Rossetti joining them for the screen version.

Affluent and Alone

Dale (Jeff Rose, The Farmer and the Belle: Saving Santaland) is a wealthy man who has almost everything he could ever want: money, fame, a nice job, a nice house, and servants who lovingly dote on him. However, the only thing he doesn’t have is what he desires the most—a family.

With everything seemingly at his disposal, where does he turn to fulfill his wish? Of course, the local rent-all store. As strange as it sounds, that is where he goes.

He enters Anne Weston’s (Sherry Morris, The Book of Ruth: Journey of Faith) struggling store and tells her that he has a rather odd request. He wants to rent a family for Christmas so he can experience the nostalgia of Christmases long ago—and he wants it to be as Norman Rockwell-like as possible, complete with five children and a wife.

Before I go any further, I must state that regardless of how original this plot seems, it does seem a bit strange … or creepy. I guess that goes right along with my above discussion of weird Christmas wishes I’ve had over the years. And before I get any hate mail or nasty comments, I do think the movie has a charming, romantic, Hallmark-esque feel to it that made it entertaining and leaves you feeling good.

Now, back to the movie.

Role-Playing and Stepping Up

Weston is immediately taken aback by this strange request. Who wouldn’t? Due to her rent-all company’s struggles, she decides to take on the challenge of providing Mr. Dale a nostalgic, Rockwell-like Christmas. Besides, the money she would make from just this one project would help turn her store’s fortunes around.

She turns to a local theater guild who rounds up five kids to play Dale’s children. However, finding a fake mother/wife is more difficult than Weston imagined. Unfortunately, all five children actors back out, leaving Weston nowhere to turn but the local orphanage. For the role of Dale’s wife and the children’s mother, she has to take on the role.

Are Weston and the kids from the local orphanage able to pull it off and give Mr. Dale the Christmas he dreamed of? Is she able to save her rent-all store? How do the children feel about being hired as a fake family and what do they do with their earnings? After the Christmas holiday, do they all go their own ways – the children back to the orphanage, Weston back to her store, and Dale back to his wealthy, but unfulfilled life.

Although the strange Christmas wish is at the root of the movie’s plot, The Borrowed Christmas is still an enjoyable, family-friendly film that runs rampant with love, humor, devotion, and a yearning for connection to others and the past.