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Monday, April 12, 2010

An Old-Fashioned Christmas, Hallmark Channel Christmas Movie


An Old-Fashioned Christmas

AN OLD-FASHIONED CHRISTMAS is a sequel to the highly-rated An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving starring Jacqueline Bisset.

Network: Hallmark Channel

Original Air Date: December 11, 2010


Jacqueline Bisset ... Isabella Crawford
Catherine Steadman ... Mathilda "Tilly" Bassett
Robert O'Mahoney ... Earl of Shannon
Marion O'Dwyer ... Lady Shannon
Leon Ockenden ... Cameron
Kristopher Turner ... Gideon Hopkins, "Gad"
Ian McIlhenny ... Sean Bassett


from Hallmark:

This story follows the movie, An Old Fashioned Thanksgiving...

It's December 1870, and we pick up on the adventures of Mathilda "Tilly" Bassett and her rich grandmother Isabella, having toured some of Europe's cultural centers and are now arriving in Dublin for a month-long stay. Tilly's inner struggle is between being a society woman in-the-making and the Yankee farm girl that are her roots.

Isabella's mission is to expose Tilly to the world of letters; that's why she's bringing her to Dublin, to meet Ireland's poet laureate, the Earl of Shannon. But there's a saying throughout Ireland: "If you want to make God laugh, try making plans."

"An Old-Fashioned Christmas" is the next chronicle in the saga that began with esteemed American novelist Louisa May Alcott's short story, An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving, which premiered as the Hallmark Channel Original Movie, "An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving," (Original Air Date: 11/22/2008), and which received critical acclaim while becoming the highest-rated cable television movie of the week.

"An Old-Fashioned Christmas" continues the narrative of Isabella (Jacqueline Bisset) and Tilly (Catherine Steadman, "The Tudors") traveling the globe so the wealthy grandmother can teach her talented writer/granddaughter the nuances of character development and refined living. The story finds the pair in Ireland with Isabella hoping her long-ago suitor, the Earl of Shannon (Robert O'Mahoney, "Blood Royal: William the Conqueror"), himself a talented writer, can assist Tilly in getting her work published.

When the pair arrive at Shannon Castle, it becomes quickly clear to Isabella that the Shannons are in dire financial straits. The Earl is wheelchair-bound from a stroke. Although there is no longer any money in the family, Lady Shannon (Marion O'Dwyer, "The Clinic") has a plan - her ne'er do well son Cameron (Leon Ockenden, "Heartbeat") will marry Tilly Bassett and inherit Isabella's vast wealth. One minor detail creates a conundrum for Lady Shannon - Tilly is engaged to Gideon Hopkins, "Gad" (Kristopher Turner, "An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving"). Lady Shannon demands Cameron step up attempts to charm Tilly, and it is working!

Without Isabella's knowledge, Tilly secretly agrees to come to Ireland to meet her paternal grandfather Sean Bassett (Ian McIlhenny, ""The Tudors"), a meager potato farmer whose son Ellis has died in America. Tilly's mother Mary harbors a grudge toward Isabella because her wealth could have helped the family after Ellis' death, but Isabella stubbornly refused. How dare Mary fall in love with someone beneath her social standards? Potato farmers? Now, staring down the father of the man she denied as family, Isabella learns that atonement begins when one realizes it is necessary. Without the weight of guilt, Isabella realizes she has budding feelings for Sean.

Days before Christmas, Cameron makes a play for Tilly in full view of Gad who packs his bags for America - engagement over. Tilly knows in the moment that Gad is her true love, and she never wanted to be Lady Shannon. A collision of events finds Tilly and Isabella without lodging on Christmas Eve. As their lone carriage rolls toward Bassett farmhouse, the night air suddenly fills with dancing snowflakes. This Christmas in Ireland, both Isabella and Tilly discover it takes the taste of an occasional turnip to make one truly appreciate the plain potato.

Click here for Pictures, Movie Plot, and My Movie Review of:
An Old Fashioned Thanksgiving

Movie Review:

An Old Fashioned Christmas

The Movie began... and suddenly I was swept away in an old fashioned period of time ... where people wear beautiful old clothing - hats and lovely dresses. The buildings, too, were old, yet beautiful... castles and mansions right out of Jane Austen, except it was Ireland, not England... and the language..... well, I'll get to that...

In the very beginning - Mathilda Bassett (Tilly) and her Grandmother Isabella - visited the Shannon family. He had been an old suitor of Isabella's and was now a well-known poet. Isabella's hope was that he could help Tilly with her writings.

The Shannon's live in a fine home, a Castle, yet it was easy to see they were not doing well financially - their servants were all gone and the place was run down, dusty, and not in order. Tilly and her Grandmother soon realized the family was scheming for her to marry their son, Cameron, to save them from ruin - thinking Tilly's Grandmother, Isabella, would financially support them. However, Cameron didn't want much to do with Tilly, until realizing she wouldn't be an easy catch. He decided he liked the challenge. It was all a game to him.

Trying to win her heart, Cameron sang to them all a Christmas Carol one evening. I thought it was lovely, but then... I noticed something very odd in the lyrics to the song - he replaced the Name of Christ, with the word, He.

The song was "O Holy Night" and the phrase was supposed to be:

"Fall on your knees

Oh hear the angel voices

Oh night devine

Oh night, when Christ was born

Oh night devine

Oh night, Oh night devine"

He instead sang: Oh night, when "He" was born.

I found that to be the most disturbing part of the movie. It was very offensive that the lyrics would be changed and the name of Christ would be removed from this very beautiful and old fashioned Christmas Carol. I even researched the lyrics to the song and found it written originally with the name of Christ included. They purposely removed it. I was deeply offended.

Of all the Hallmark Channel Christmas Movies this year (2010), I had been looking forward the absolute most to this movie - An Old Fashioned Christmas. I had loved the original movie, An Old Fashioned Thanksgiving and I was eager to see the love story continue between Tilly (Mathilda Bassett) and Gad. (Gideon Hopkins)

I was expecting so much in that first moment when Gad and Tilly first see each other again after two years of her being gone - and he, crossing an ocean just to be with her for Christmas! But there was no spark, at first... just a rather formal greeting... until he let her down from her horse - and they kiss. Then, as they go for a walk, she actually tells him she didn't wish for him to come there, but she apologizes, he forgives her, and they eventually do kiss, again... sweetly.

There were moments of the movie I liked very much, since I like old-fashioned movies, but there were such distasteful moments, too - behaviors, words, and phrases - I didn't feel belonged in this period of time, for instance: "bad boy", "hangover", the word "burp", instead of maybe, belch, and "boys behaving badly". That last phrase was the worst!

Tilly seems to be attracted to and at other moments - not at all, to Cameron. Late one night, she opens her bedroom door holding a candle - and says, with a disappointed face - "Oh, it's you." when she sees Cameron standing there. She seems disappointed it's not Gad there, yet, seconds later she acts as if she likes Cameron and proceeds to kiss him. This seemed so odd because both Tilly and her Grandmother knew that Cameron and his Mother, Lady Shannon, were only angling for Cameron & Tilly to marry to save their family's fortune and home. So, why would she, an engaged young lady, allow herself to kiss him - knowing it was all a lie and he was known to all as a drunken player... who would go out drinking nearly ever night, talking immodestly of "busty barmaids". One night, Cameron even takes Gad out drinking - to the point of drunkenness, of course, and convinces poor sweet, trusting Gad that he has Tilly's heart, now.

In the midst of all this, Tilly has found her grandfather (her late father's father) and uncle living nearby - and convices her grandmother, Isabella, (her mother's mother) to go and visit them. He repeatedly calls her a "witch" and we all know what he really means. I wonder if that sort of term would have been used in that time period to mean what it does today. I think it probably would not, but I do not know.

(SPOILER below....)

All in all, Tilly realizes the truth of what her heart really wants and there is a Happy Ending! She reunites with Gad just before he is about to leave on a boat and return home - to America. She begs of him to forgive her and admits she is still immature and naive. He is so noble and loves her so dearly that he, of course, forgives her, and they pledge their love again to one another.

In the meantime... Tilly's Grandfather and Grandmother have grown closer and more fond of one another. They decorate his house, cook a Christmas feast, and have a wonderful Family Christmas together! That part was rather lovely and sweet - I wish there could have been much more of the family coming together.

See or Skip:

For a Family Movie Night, I must suggest skipping this one.

For those who love period movies, then you'll want to see this one, as well.



  1. I was just thinking how much I loved An Old Fashioned Thanksgiving and was wondering if they were going to continue Tillie's story, so I Googled and came upon your site, and sure enough you have all this great information about An Old Fashioned Christmas. Thank you!
    I am really looking forward to the Holiday season, and looking through your blog.

  2. I was in Ireland last week and stumbled upon this program being filmed. We were in Shannon, at the Bunratty Castle. Saw a scene with a young, dark haired girl, and a young man. Cool to see!

  3. We ran into the shooting at Bunratty too - looking forward to the movie! When we asked one of the Irish crew members what they were filming, he offered us a drink and biscuit from their snack table - Irish hospitality. :)

  4. This looks really interesting! I loved An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving! It's interesting that they decided to make a sequel when Louisa May Alcott didn't write any more about Tilly's life. They changed the actress who played Tilly too! As much as I have enjoyed Catherine Steadman's other performances I have some question as to her suitability because she's British and not true blood American. But in my experience Brits seem much better at copying American accents than we Americans are at putting on a British accent.
    But all that said I am really excited about this news! And their costumes are so beautiful!! :)
    Thanks for this!

  5. we were in Ireland at Bunratty Castle in mid-May! I was intrigued when I saw the movie was based in Ireland, and then as I started watching, I thought some of it looked familiar!

  6. We were in Ireland in mid-May this year, and visited Bunratty Castle while staying in Limerick. I was intrigued when I saw that the movie was set in Ireland, and as I began watching, I thought some of it (like her grandfather's thatched white fisherman's house) looked familiar! Soooo makes me want to go back! =)

  7. Does anyone know why they re-cast the part of Tilly? Or did Tatiana not want to do the part?

    1. I don’t know for sure, but my guess would be that the people who created the movie wanted to show that a certain amount of time had passed since the events of the first movie (An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving).

  8. Part suits steadman down to the ground.well done girl keep it up.

  9. I hope this won't be the end . I would love to see " An Old Fashioned Wedding" , Tilly & Gad and maybe something about the rest of the family. The sister deserves a story!

  10. I have an elderly mother who watches these movies over and over. I found An Old Fashioned Thanksgiving on The Hallmark Channel Site, but I am looking for An Old Fashioned Christmas. Please help. How can I find this movie so she can have that "feel good" feeling all year.

  11. You are so sweet to do this for your Mother. An Old Fashioned Christmas is not, yet, available on dvd to purchase. If it does become available, I imagine it will not be until next fall of 2011. That has been the trend in the releasing of Hallmark Christmas Movies to dvd in the past. I will post it here as soon as they do!

    1. Have they released an Old Fashioned Christmas yet Please help

  12. I have my fingers crossed for 'An Old fashioned Wedding"!

  13. I loved both of these movies...it would be great to see "An Old Fashioned Wedding," part 3. Please continue these movies they are so much fun to watch!

  14. We loved this movie, too! Too bad Hallmark Channel changed their schedule. Earlier, they said it would air 2 times today (12/27). But they since changed the schedule and are no longer showing it. :-( In fact, we can't even find it on their website like we once did.

    Could you please go to Hallmark Channel's website under "community" and post some favorable comments there? At this rate, we're concerned they may not even put it on DVD next year. And maybe they'll even show it before this year ends! We can hope!! ...the power of the people! ;-) Thank you so much!!!

  15. I just love this movie! The costumes, the handsome actors, the setting - everything about it makes me happy. Why oh why won't Hallmark put this on DVD?

  16. I sooo need this on DVD, please Hallmark!!!!

  17. I agree , a wedding follow up would be sweet, and maybe include the new couple :) her grandma

  18. Hallmark needs to make An Old Fashioned Wedding!

  19. I remember watching this years ago and was disappointed that they removed Christ's name in The hymn, O Holy Night. I agree that it was deliberate. You'd think with the title OLD-FASHIONED, they would stick to the original lyrics.

    Thank you for your helpful movie reviews, Net. I hope you have a blessed And happy Christmas this year.


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