Sierra's dad wants her to be in the hotel business, but she doesn't want to. He wants to give her the position of "Vice President of Atmosphere: and even she realizes that's not a real job and he probably just made it up to give her something to do. She's on the phone with her boyfriend, Tad, telling him all this, but Tad, who is an influencer, seems more concerned with how many followers he has and keeping up his social media appearance than he does about her. He even hangs up on her when she's telling him she loves him. He doesn't do it on purpose, he just gets distracted with something on his phone, but still, it's a dick move.
While Sierra is on the phone, we see she is very pampered as someone is working on her hair, someone is filing her nails, and another person is putting a champagne flute up to her lips so she can take a sip, But here's the thing: even though Sierra is clearly wealthy and is a bit spoiled as literally she has to have everything be done for her, she's not your typical snobby, hoity-toity hotel heiress. She's actually quite nice and pleasant. Yeah, sometimes she has her moments, but honestly, she's not that bad. For a movie like this, you want a character to really go through some growth, but eh, does she really?
So Sierra has a boyfriend who's a bit full of himself (and even though he does some questionable things in the movie, even he gets a happy ending. It's like the move was too afraid to make anyone a villain) so we all know she's not going to end up with him at the end. On the slopes, we are introduced to Jake Russell (Chord Overstreet) who owns the North Star Lodge, a cozy little lodge that's a bit more affordable than the Belmont Summit Resort. When I first saw him, I go, "Oh, look, it's Matt from Glee." Uh, apparently his character's name was Sam. Oops. But in my defense, I only watched that show when it aired and haven't seen it since. Also, I'm pretty sure there was a character named Matt on that show...
This scene make me miss skiing. I used to go skiing in Colorado pretty much every winter when I was a kid. Oh, don't get me wrong, many of these ski trips ended up in tears because I was too cold or got altitude sickness (THAT was the worst) or one of my skis got detached from my boots when I was in the chair lift because I was tapping my skis together or the one time I was too scared to get off the chairlift and they had to stop it (heh). Oh, and don't get me started on when we had to get fitted for our skis and ski boots. That was the worst. It took forever and it was so hot cuz you were already dressed in your ski gear. Wait, why do I miss skiing again? No, I'm joking. It's actually really fun to go schussing down a mountain. As long as there's no icy patches or moguls! Shoutout to Breckenridge (my favorite!), Copper Mountain, and Keystone, the ski towns in Colorado where I've skied.
Anyway, Jake sees Mr. Belmont on the slopes and introduces himself to him. They go to the Belmont resorts to chat and Jake says Mr. Belmont has "a world class" resort, but not everybody can afford to stay there. He tells him, "Studies show that 70% of beginners learn to ski at smaller resorts." (Who is doing these studies?) He adds that when they become better skiers, they move up to resorts like Mr. Belmont's. I'm confused. Just because they become better skiers they can afford the fancier resort? What does that have to do with anything? Just because they become better skiers doesn't mean they're making more money. Beau realizes Jake wants to invest in his lodge and tells him he wishes he could help him, but he has his own investors. I'm not really sure what that has to do with anything, but whatever.
While eating lunch with her dad and Tad, we learn that Sierra "doesn't do bacon" when the waiter asks if she wants some with her wedge salad. Okay, I understand if she doesn't eat the strips of bacon one would normally have for breakfast, but this was "artisan house-smoked bacon". That sounds delicious! And who doesn't enjoy a crisp wedge salad without some pieces of bacon to elevate the flavor? Apparently Sierra, that's who.
I wasn't sure if this was Beau's first time meeting Tad, but he kept calling him "Ted" and Sierra had to correct him. When she tells her dad that Tad is an influencer and millions of people follow him, her dad replies that he's basically a salesman, hee!
Beau is going out of town for a few days and will be back by Christmas Eve. We get some backstory where Sierra's mother died when she was five, but she still remembers things like her mother's perfume, her laugh, and how she used to brush her hair. How anyone can remember anything when they are five is beyond me. Do you know what I remember when I was five? Absolutely nothing.
Even though she can't ski, Tad is taking Sierra to the mountains for a photo shoot. Must be for one of his Instagram stories. Like any proper Christmas movie, everything is red and/or green (mostly the Christmas decorations at both establishments and the wardrobe), including the car they're driving in. It's red with two dark green stripes. Very unusual. While driving, "Jingle Bell Rock" starts playing on the radio and Sierra sings along with it after turning up the volume. Hmm, could this be a shout out to Mean Girls? Tad turns down the volume and tells her that her singing is "a little pitchy". Who does he think he is? Randy Jackson? Sierra asks him, "Where's your holiday spirit?" and turns the volume back up and proceeds to sing. This time Tad changes the station. What a prick! That would have been a deal breaker for me. Sierra just turns and stares out the window.
Tad is such a himbo. There's a snowmobile attached to the car and he tries to unhook it by telling it to unhook and an exasperated Sierra tells him it's not voice activated. I don't know how they got it unhooked (because Sierra told him she didn't know how), but we see them riding on it through the snowy mountains in the next scene. They go past a snow covered sign and after they zoom past it, the snow falls enough to reveal to the audience that they are heading towards dangerous terrain as the sign proclaims, "Waring! Danger! Do not pass! Turn back!" Do you think they made it clear enough?Sanderson sisters. All of a sudden, a snowstorm starts brewing.
Back on the mountain, the wind is getting stronger and Sierra, still on her skis, starts to slide backwards. OMG, that would be terrifying! Tad manages to grab her hand, but just takes the ring off (we know what his first priority is! I still can't believe by the end of the movie, he's pretty much deemed a good guy....wtf!) and she slides down the mountain. She does start going down backwards (absolutely terrifying), but then we see she has turned around and even though she's out of control, at least she's facing forward. She falls and hits her head on a tree and becomes unconscious. I don't mean to sound morbid, but isn't this what happened to Lindsay's The Part Trap co-star, Natasha Richardson? Tad tumbles down the mountain in a different direction.
At this point, Jake is taking a couple on a horse drawn sleigh ride with his trusty equine friend, Balthazar. (Okay, how cool would that be? I'm pretty sure I've been on horse-drawn carriage rides, but never on a sleigh!) Sierra is hard to miss in her brightly colored ski outfit. He stops the carriage to check on her and calls in for help.
We jump to the hospital (more like a small clinic) where the doctor tells Jack that the woman he brought in is physically all right, but she does't remember anything prior to the accident. Sierra assures them she knows her name when asked, but can't think of what it is. She didn't have any ID on her (gee, how totally convenient for the plot!) and while they took her fingerprints, she's not registered in their database which means she's never been arrested or possibly never been employed. You know, I don't think I've ever had my fingerprints taken either, come to think of it. But I'm pretty good at usually carrying an ID with me, so if I'm ever found unconscious (God, I'm bringing up a lot of morbid topics for a light Christmas movie, aren't I?), they should be able to identify me. And I usually have my phone. Which begs the question, didn't Sierra have her phone with her? Obviously Tad had his, but I find it hard to believe that Sierra wouldn't have her phone in her coat pocket or something. Of course, if she did have her phone, this movie would be over by now.
So Jake suggests she could stay with him at his lodge and they're all like, okay. Which....I find hard to believe they would just let him take her like that, but I guess he is a valued and trusted member of the community so they know he's not a serial killer or anything. (Another fun topic!)
We all know Netflix loves promoting itself, so it should come as no shock to anyone when she wakes up the next morning, grabs the remote and turns the TV on and we hear the unmistakable Law & Order-adjacent-esque sound when you turn on Netflix. This is a call back to the opening scene when we see Sierra's wake up routine where she grabs a remote to open the blinds. So subconsciously, she remembers some things about her daily life.
After taking a shower, Sierra asks Avy where she can get a blow dryer. Shouldn't this lodge have a blowdryer in all the bathrooms? Isn't that standard in most hotels? But we need this as a plot device so Avy can take Sierra to her room to let her use her blow dryer and ask her what they're supposed to call her since she doesn't remember her name. She tells her she can use a name she calls one of her stuffed animals which she introduces to Sierra: Frankie, Wallace, Potter, and Sarah. Gee, I wonder which one she's going to pick? (Although I guess Frankie could be short for Francesca). Sarah is also conveniently similar to her own name. I'm surprised it didn't ring any bells. By the way, Sarah is a stuffed llama. As someone who also has that name, it's weird to think of someone naming a stuffed animal "Sarah".
At breakfast, Avy (what do you think Avy is short for?) offers Sierra (I know they're calling her Sarah, but I still remember her name, so I'm just going to refer to her by her real name) bacon and she replies she doesn't do bacon, another thing she subconsciously remembers. After Avy tells her it's delicious and how does she know if she doesn't like it if she's never tried it, Sierra tries some and decides she loves it.
While this is happening, Jake and his mother-in-law have a hushed conversations and he tells her he thinks he's met Sierra before, but he can't seem to remember she's the one he spilled a dollop of whipped cream on at the Belmont Ski Resort. I'm telling you, that scene where they bump into each other was really not needed as this is pretty much the closest we'll get to a callback.
So you might be wondering what happened to Tad while all this is going on. Well, he wandered off and found some guy named Ralph in an ice fishing hut and the storyline is so pointless and I really don't care about him, so I'll return to him when he becomes relevant to the plot again (in fact, for a big chunk of the story, the movie forgets about him too!) Also, before she had left with Tad, Sierra had told staff at the Belmont Resort that she didn't want to be distrubed, but after twenty-four hours of not hearing from her or seeing her, they go into her room where they find her bed is still made. The silly security guard suggests maybe she had made the bed, but Terry, the concierge, scoffs at this and tells him she would never do that, "not in this lifetime."
Lots of people are cancelling their reservations at the North Star Lodge to stay at Air BnBs instead. They are losing money (I guess that explains why they can't keep a hair dryer in all the bathrooms) and Jake says they can't afford a housekeeper. He realizes he can use Sierra for just that job when she tells them that the doctor told her if she did normal things, her memory might come back. The joke is on Jake, though, because Sierra never did chores. We get a montage of her attempting to do chores and struggling greatly with them. When she tries to make a bed, I had a lot of empathy for her because trying to put a fitted sheet on a bed is a pain in the ass. Like, I have spent way too much agonizing time trying to put on my stupid fitted sheet on my stupid bed. And even when I do manage to get it, in a couple of days, it will just come off again. Aurgh! We see her clean the toilet, but she gets the scrubby thing stuck in it and then a bunch of water starts spurting up at her. Eww. But I'm not sure how or why this would happen or if it could. While doing the laundry, she knocks a whole bottle of detergent in the machine (c'mon, how does she not even notice that?) and continues to put the bedding in. Of course, the machine overfills and there are bubbles everywhere. Jake is pissed about it and snaps at Sierra who runs off to Balthazar (he's the horse, remember) in the barn where she tells him, "I'd introduce myself, but I have no idea who I am. I can tell you I'm pretty much a useless human. I can't do anything right." She leaves to get firewood and that's when the camera pans and we see Jake was inside the barn on the other side of the stall the whole time. Wait...how did he get there so fast? Wasn't he just in the laundry room?
They (this includes Sierra, Jake, and Avy) attend a Christmas tree lighting. I need to address a few things:
-There's no way this Christmas-crazy town is JUST NOW lighting this Christmas tree. It has to be around December 18-20th; remember Beau told his daughter he would be gone for a few days, but he would be back by Christmas Eve.
-The mayor (who is doing the lighting) invites a little girl to help him light the tree and I'm shocked it wasn't Avy.
She attends a Toy Drive with Jake that he helps run and while he's off helping someone, Louise, a woman who volunteers every year, tells Sierra how this town wouldn't get along without Jake because he volunteers and donates money and she wishes that "there was some way that Summit Springs could show him how much he means to [them]." In case you couldn't tell, Jake is pretty much the antithesis of Tad.
While they were at the Christmas Market, they had ran into "Santa" who was watching a stall for a friend. A snow globe catches the eye of Sierra and Jake buys it for her. In a previous scene with her dad, Sierra was admiring a snow globe that her parents picked up when they were in Gstaad (the Aspen of Switzerland; hell it's probably even bougie than Aspen). The snow globe reminds her of something, but she can't quite figure it out.
Sierra tells Alejandra and Avy her idea for how to help the North Star Lodge. She wants to have a fundraiser/Christmas party and invite people. Luckily, Alejandra has the contact information for almost all the guests they've had the past three decades (I bet some of that info is out of date!) When Sierra mentions this to Jake, he's against the idea. He doesn't want people looking at him differently and thinking he needs a handout. He also tells her it wouldn't be such a bad thing if he loses the lodge because he's tired of struggling with it and tired of everything always breaking down and wondering how they'll "make it to the end of the month." Sierra reminds him to think of the memories and he says he'd be more than happy to let some of them go. He rudely asks her, "What do you know about memories? You can't even remember your name." She walks away and he quickly follows her to apologize. They only have so much time, so they need to do that quickly. He tells her that ever since she's been staying with them, she's made him "feel things that [he] didn't ever think [he] was ever going to feel again." Hmm, could he be talking about love? He also tells her he's afraid of making new memories at the lodge.
It's now Christmas Eve and Sierra and her host family are getting ready for the Christmas Party/fundraiser for the lodge .
So you may have guessed that since it's Christmas Eve, Beau must be back. Well, he is and when he asks Terry where Sierra is because she's not answering her phone, Terry tells him he doesn't know where she is. After he explains the situation and says he thought Sierra and Tad went away for some private time together, Beau realizes that his daughter has been missing for four days. They check her room to see if she went away, but her luggage is still there. (You think Terry and the security guard would have checked that before Beau had returned...) Anyway, the sheriff is called and somehow, Ralph and Tad are found at a bar or somewhere. I don't even remember how they were found, but they are and Tad tells Beau that he proposed to Sierra. I did laugh when he says, "Looks like I'll be calling you, "Dad"." The sheriff was also at the hospital when it was decided Sierra would stay at the North Star Lodge, so he's able to take Beau and Tad there. But it will be a little while before we see them show up...
While Sierra is looking for something to wear to the party, Alejandra brings a box with a red dress (that shows a fair bit of skin - it's a little weird that Jake's dead wife's mother is pushing him into this relationship so much, but I suppose you could say she wants her granddaughter to have a mother figure in her life). She tells her, "You make Jake smile. He hasn't done that in a long time."
It's only when Tad pulls out the gaudy ring and puts it on her again and she says it's too big, that she remembers saying that to him on the mountain and she does remember Tad. Everything starts coming back to her as she remembers she fell down the mountain and hit her head. She's pretty much taken away by Tad to go back to her father's resort without so much of a goodbye to the people who have been taking care of her and as she goes home, we get flashbacks of "heartwarming" moments between her and Jake even though we have just literally watched this movie, so we have seen all of these moments not that long ago. Do you remember when sitcoms used to have episodes where certain characters would reminisce about something that happened in the past and they would show scenes from previous episodes? Well, I absolutely despise clip shows (I will skip them!) and sometimes they're showing us things from episodes that aired years ago! Imagine my irate when I'm seeing something again that I just saw not even an hour ago! Did they really think we were going to forget what happened during the movie? Sierra and Jake are in love; I think we know that. You're really not fooling anyone, movie.
The next morning, Sierra is wearing a white sweater and jeans instead of her usual designer duds. And instead of caviar for breakfast (caviar is yuck anytime, but double yuck for breakfast), she's eating bacon and makes her own eggs and pancakes in the hotel's kitchen.
While Sierra is giving a press conference about what happened to her, Jake, Avy, and Alejandra are finished opening presents when they see it's about to begin. Sierra is now able to properly thank Jake and his family for taking care of her and highly recommends the North Star Lodge (which will get them a lot of business). When asked about her engagement, Sierra tries to tell that that Tad did ask her to marry him, but she technically hasn't said yes, but they won't let her get a word in. When Beau (who is also there) is asked if he's excited, he replies, "Excited doesn't come close to describing how I feel." Ha! I mean, he wasn't lying!
This is when we find out what Avy wished for as she tells her dad, "Guess my Christmas wish didn't come true after all. I wished for you to find someone to love. You take such good care of all of us. I just wanted you to have someone take care of you, too." He explains to her it's not that easy, but she tell him all he needs to do is tell her that he likes her since he never actually did when she was staying with them. Oh, kids! It doesn't take much convincing for Avy to motivate her dad to tell Sierra how he feels.