Each and every holiday season, streaming platforms and TV networks release an avalanche of movies set in a conservative dream utopia of small town supremacy. These provoke few thoughts and lots of feelings… but what if the big city gal being swept off her feet by a hot widower at the maple syrup farm was forced to confront the current political realities of white rural America?
We’ve dared to dream.
After eight years of big-city living, Lydia Poppycock is elated when her boyfriend Grayson McGrady tells her that he bought them a farm for Christmas. The pair hit the road and drive for about an hour when Grayson turns down a private road that takes them to a clearing with a giant cement warehouse. That’s when he makes the big reveal: It’s a crypto-mining farm!
Lydia’s chicken coup and herb garden fantasies exit stage right as she reckons with Grayson’s visions for the future. Is this relationship for real? Or is it just an NFT?
Magnolia Fern is a labor rights organizer in the city who’s forced to go home for Christmas when her grandmother falls ill. Her beloved hometown of Twinkletrot has been down and out since the ornament factory shut down, but her mood brightens when she meets Chuck Kringle, a dashing man who chats her up at the newsstand. Later over hot cocoa by the fire, he mentions workers at the last remaining business in town—the mistletoe maker—just announced their plans to unionize.
Mags springs into action, using her skills to organize a rally outside the law office of Scrooge & Scrooge (the firm trying to bust the union). When Chuck suddenly emerges to tell the workers they’ll lose their jobs if they don’t disperse, Mags realizes he’s the scabby lawyer on the case.
Can she put their differences aside, or is this Christmas more than she collectively bargained for?
A Conspiracy for Christmas
Plucky journalist Sabrina Shortbread spends her days and night investigating the dark underbelly of city life and resents her hometown for being so — well — merry. So when she begrudgingly drags herself to Reindeer Ravine, she’s pleasantly surprised to meet Billy Snuggins, a handsome widower with a young daughter in tow. He’s intrigued by her job and invites her over to his cottage to listen to some recordings of his favorite writer. Maybe this town has some depth after all!
When Billy flips on his Bluetooth speaker, the voice of Jordan Peterson fills the fire-lit room. Sabrina’s mind reels: Does she have it in her to provide a thorough fact-check to bring Billy to his senses? Or does she leave him to incel-ebrate on his own?
A Different Carpenter
Hazel Haberdash has it all: A fancy, high-powered job, a great apartment, and a cute new boyfriend with a refreshing aversion to social media. So when Caleb Carpenter invites her to meet his family back home this Christmas, she’s thrilled beyond words.
Hazel begins to imagine her very merry future in Sprinkle Creek, until out of the corner of her eye she spots Caleb tweeting something she can’t quite see. When she’s finally alone in the Carpenter’s holly-filled home, she opens the app and finds that Caleb does indeed have a Twitter account… that was banned for hate speech before being reinstated by Elon Musk just last week.
Will Hazel be able to forget what she’s seen? Or will Caleb’s chestnuts be roasting on the open fire?
Run-off, Rudolph, Run-off!
Shelby Willoughby is so not into the holidays, and decides to just quickly stop through at her hometown before her Christmas trip to Machu Picchu. When she opens the paper the morning after elections in Georgia, she spots a photo of a handsome, smiling man wearing an “I Voted” sticker and a caption describing him as “Marty Maplewood, 35, progressive activist.”
Shelby’s heart is aflutter when she stumbles into Marty at the Christmas Tree lighting, and she begins to think maybe she was wrong about holiday magic. That is, until she finds him on TikTok talking about how he lied to the local paper about his politics just to “own the libs.”
Will Shelby run-off on her trip…or will Marty run-off with her heart?
Marisa Kabas writes and reports on politics, media and gender, and their many intersections. She’s an MSNBC Columnist, and her work has also appeared in Rolling Stone, HuffPost and The New Republic. She is based in Brooklyn, New York. This week, she’s also guest hosting the Morning Announcements daily podcast.