Is that fondue I smell? Oh, no — of course, it’s a Christmas Cheeseball — the guilty pleasure go-to snack for the holidays. We don’t know what’s in those things but we know it can’t be healthy — but we eat them and enjoy them anyway. And what better to watch while you’re dipping crackers into one than an equally cheesy-but-good retro Disney holiday movie.
Our pick this year is A Mom for Christmas, starring Olivia Newton-John. Originally made as a television movie in 1990, it’s now available to own at the Disney Store. Think this is a movie that was forgotten for good reason? No way — there is definite cheesy goodness here! From the costumes and hairstyles to the 1990 conceptions of “luxury” there is much to enjoy in the way of “era irony.” But you know what? It’s also got a really sweet story and a solid message.
Here’s the lowdown on the plot line. Jessica, played by Juliet Sorcey, is an 11-year-old girl who doesn’t wish for toys, games, or other material items. She wants a mom, and furthermore she wants a dad who is fulfilled and whole, and able to be present in her life. She knows her dad (played by Doug Sheehan) is lonely — and she’s lonely too — not just because she lacks a mom but because her emotionally fractured dad isn’t really “there” for her. He is seldom home, and spends way too much time on his (enormous circa 1990) cell phone when he is.
When Jessica sees mothers and daughters at a department store laughing and shopping together, she gazes with longing at the store’s mom-like mannequins and wishes, more than ever before, that she could have her very own mother.
The next night, Amy (Olivia Newton-John), one of the store’s mannequins, magically comes to life and appears at Jessica’s house as the ideal mother: sweet, beautiful, and kind-hearted. Jessica and her dad fall in love with Amy immediately.
However, there’s a problem: Amy will turn back into a mannequin at midnight on Christmas unless Jessica can find a way to hold on to the magic and keep from losing Amy as her mother forever (Cheeseball alert!)
If you happen to have a daughter between the ages of 8 and 11, she’ll love this movie — it’s pure fantasy as told through the eyes of an 11-year-old. Jessica wants her dad to be happy, so that he can share that happiness with her. There is much here to be taken away by us dads — the movie is a reminder about what our kids need most of all. They need us to be there for them. And they need us to be happy, whole individuals. They need us to have love in our lives apart from our love for them — even if it’s found in someone a little more human than a former mannequin.