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On the 12th Date of Christmas

“On the 12th Date of Christmas” aired on November 1, 2020.  It starred Mallory Jansen and fan favorite Tyler Hynes, with principal photography taking place in Winnipeg, Canada despite taking place in Chicago.  In fact, the Devonshire Hotel in the movie was portrayed by the gorgeous Fort Garry Hotel.  Christine Conradt (“Pearl in Paradise”) and Jamie Pachino (Christmas Under the Stars) provided the screenplay.  Gary Yates directed.  He has directed quite a few Hallmark movies in the past, and some eagle-eyed fans noticed in “12th Date” that there was a booth selling candy canes from the company featured in last year’s Merry & Bright! Looks like Yates is joining in on the fun that Ron Oliver has with connecting all his Hallmark movies (Oliver has a recurring Kenny character played by Nelson Wong).

In a nutshell

I really, really enjoyed this movie.  No, I take that back.  I loved it.  I knew it would likely have some comedy now that Hynes has shown he can handle comedy very, very well.  It’s also a well-needed continuation of a lighter touch from the Hallmark movies.  I’m SO HAPPY that comedy is coming back into these movies!  Add in the delightful Mallory Jansen, and I had a smile on my face throughout this movie.

Plot (from Hallmark Channel website)

Jennifer and Aidan, two seemingly incompatible game designers, team up to create a romantic, city-wide scavenger hunt themed for the “12 Days of Christmas.”


I knew I recognized Mallory Jansen from somewhere, and sure enough she played Queen Magdalena in “Galavant,” a musical comedy TV show that my daughter and I recently binge-watched on Netflix (it’s worth finding – it’s witty and fun!).  What intrigued me about Jansen in “12 Date” is that in several scenes she was lit in such a way, and the camera held at a particular angle, that she had an air of Audrey Hepburn about her.  I know that’s big talk, but Jansen could EASILY play Hepburn in a biopic, I think.  Jansen is Australian and did an American accent quite well, so there’s no reason she can’t pick up Hepburn’s lovely British-but-European accent.

And what can I say about Tyler Hynes?  Dang, he’s fun.  He plays dry, sardonic men who are secret softies SO SO well. I just truly enjoy his movies.

On the 12th Date of Christmas
Image: Hallmark Crown Media

Six Degrees of Polaha: Mallory Jansen is 4 degrees away from Polaha.  I think that might be a new distance record!  Okay, stay with me here.  Jansen starred in the aforementioned “Galavant,” which also featured Hugh Bonneville.  Bonneville co-starred with Kristin Scott Thomas in 2005’s “Man to Man.”  Kristin Scott Thomas starred in 1996’s “The English Patient” in which Colin Firth also performed. Firth went on to co-star with Polaha in 2013’s “Devil’s Knot.”


I thought Jansen and Hynes had great chemistry together.  Her character was winsome and optimistic while his was initially cranky and acerbic. A perfect match!  He was overly confident in his skills, she nervous and worried.  In the end, he encouraged her to be more confident, and she showed him that perhaps he works better with others more than he thought.  I enjoyed their dynamic a lot, and I sincerely hope that Jansen pops up in more Hallmark movies in the future.


Tons of tropes in this movie.  Big city drone opening shot, promotion on the line, tons of cookie baking and a baking montage with the Bûche de Noël, a cute kid, and small town girl in big city.  I can’t find my notebook with my notes at the moment, so the rest has to go by from memory.  They drank hot cocoa, they didn’t like each other at first, they took a selfie, she wore a big scarf, and they went Christmas tree shopping.  I assume they also decorated the tree, too.  I know Aidan helped his niece do some crafts for the school fair.  That’s all I can remember off the top of my head without my notes.  If I can find my notebook I’ll add the rest that I wrote down.  Feel free to comment and remind me of any I missed in the meantime!

On the 12th Date of Christmas
Image: Hallmark Crown Media

Bingo Card Score for “On the 12th Date of Christmas”

It seemed fitting that my card had 12 spots covered, but I was sad I got no bingo.   Feel free to download my free bingo cards and play along!

Did I Hear/See That Right?

My main issue with this movie is the timing between the app creation, the app push, and the game.  Did I miss something, or was it really a one-week turnaround from concept to promotion to distribution to party?  I don’t know about you, but I have to imagine that the creation, promotion and implementation of a phone app takes much, much longer to create.  I imagine for the app being described in the movie, these are just the large steps that a professional company would require the development team go through:

  • Concept creation (including design and functionality)
  • Coding the game to include not just clues, but an ability to track your success and post photos to prove you’ve completed the clue in order to allow the app to give you the next date.
  • Testing the game to work out the kinks and make sure it works properly
  • Promotion of the game to get as many participants as possible
  • Release the game
  • Allow players enough time to do 12 events (there’s no way they can do them all in one day) AND
  • Give them enough time to go home and get fancy for the big party at the hotel

Am I really to believe they got ALL of that done in a week?  Especially in a week where they personally went all over town testing the various things they want the players to do? Get out of here with that nonsense.  And I get why they had to do it this way.  You can’t have a Christmas movie when they spend a year planning and developing the app.

And how do you promote an app just for one city and one hotel within that city?  I know at some point Aidan mentions that they hope that a few thousand will play the game.  How does this provide good promotional value for the hotel?  Don’t they want MORE than just locals to come to the hotel?  Shouldn’t the app be for an international audience so that ANYONE coming to the Chicago area will want to stay at the Devonshire?


But even with that GAPING issue with the basic story, the fact is, I just didn’t care.  I loved this movie.  I did love how she was the out-of-towner from Iowa, while he was the lifelong Chicagoan, and yet they discovered the city together while researching potential clues for the game.


I have already re-watched this movie.  =)

The Ranking

The Christmas movies continue to dominate thus far in 2020. “On the 12th Date of Christmas” sits comfortably in the second spot.  It will take a lot to unseat it from the Top 5, I think.

  1. One Royal Holiday (air date: Oct 31) – 722 pts – weighted score: 121.8 (85.5%)
  2. On the 12th Date of Christmas (air date: Nov 1) – 707 pts – weighted score: 119.2 (83.6%)
  3. Sweet Autumn (air date: Oct 17) – 693 pts – weighted score: 118.5 (83.1%)
  4. Deliver by Christmas (air date: Oct 25) – 697 pts – weighted score: 117.4 (82.4%)
  5. Cranberry Christmas (air date: Oct 31) – 650 pts – weighted score: 112.1 (78.6%)
  6. Matching Hearts (air date: Feb 8) – 640 pts – weighted score: 109.0 (76.5%)
  7. Winter in Vail (air date: Jan 4) – 623 pts – weighted score: 108.8 (76.4%)
  8. Wedding Every Weekend (air date: Aug 15) – 639 pts – weighted score: 108.3 (76.0%)
  9. Love in Store (air date: Feb 22) – 637 pts – weighted score: 108.2 (75.9%)
  10. Hello, It’s Me (air date: Sept 27) – 628 pts – weighted score: 107.8% (75.6%)
  11. Love on Harbor Island (air date: Aug 8) – 634 pts – weighted score: 106.9 (75.0%)
  12. The Secret Ingredient (air date: Feb 15) – 617 pts – weighted score: 105.2 (73.8%)
  13. Country at Heart (air date: Oct 3) – 611 pts – weighted score: 104.1 (73.1%)
  14. You’re Bacon Me Crazy (air date: Apr 4) – 591 pts – weighted score: 104.0 (72.9%)
  15. My Best Friend’s Bouquet (air date: Oct 10) – 599 pts – weighted score: 103.4 (72.5%)
  16. Fashionably Yours (air date: Apr 11) – 594 pts – weighted score: 102.6 (72.0%)
  17. Follow Your Heart (air date: Oct 4) – 585 pts – weighted score: 101.6 (71.3%)
  18. Christmas Tree Lane (air date: Oct 24) – 574 pts – weighted score: 100.3 (70.4%)
  19. A Valentine’s Match (air date: Feb 1) – 562 pts – weighted score: 99.8 (70.0%)
  20. Love On Iceland (air date: Jan 18) – 563 pts – weighted score: 99.4 (69.7%)
  21. Hearts of Winter (air date: Jan 25) – 561 pts – weighted score: 98.2 (68.9%)
  22. Jingle Bell Bride (air date: Oct 24) – 558 pts – weighted score: 97.9 (68.7%)
  23. Just My Type (air date: Mar 28) – 565 pts – weighted score: 95.4% (66.9%)
  24. Bad Date Chronicles (air date: Feb 28) – 520 pts – weighted score: 91.0 (63.9%)
  25. Love in Winterland (air date: Jan 11) – 508 pts – weighted score: 90.7 (63.6%)
  26. Nature of Love (air date: Apr 18) – 520 pts – weighted score: 90.3 (63.3%)
  27. Chateau Christmas (air date: Oct 25) – 502 pts – weighted score: 87.3 (61.3%)
  28. Amazing Winter Romance (air date: Jan 20) – 487 pts – weighted score: 85.6 (60.1%)
  29. Love Under the Olive Tree (air date: June 20) – 473 pts – weighted score: 85.0 (59.6%)
  30. In the Key of Love (air date: Mar 14) – 470 pts – weighted score: 82.5 (57.9%)
  31. Love in the Forecast (air date: Jun 13) – 440 pts – weighted score: 72.5 (50.8%)
  32. Midway to Love (air date: June 26) – 410 pts – weighted score: 69.0 (48.4%)
  33. Falling at Look Lodge (air date: Sept 26) – 350 pts – weighted score: 64.0 (44.9%)
  34. Romance in the Air (air date: Aug 1) – 367 pts – weighted score: 63.2 (44.3%)
  35. Follow Me to Daisy Hills (air date: Sept 19) – 337 pts – weighted score: 62.8 (44.1%)
  36. How to Train Your Husband (air date: May 16) – 350 pts – weighted score: 62.5 (43.9%)

To see where this movie lands in my overall rankings of Hallmark movies, visit my Hallmark Movie Rankings page!

I will likely not have time to review “Holly & Ivy” ahead of the weekend since 1) it is already Friday, 2) I have yet to watch the movie, and 3) new movies come out this weekend! If I have time, though, I’ll definitely get it viewed and summed up as soon as I can.

In the meantime, what did you think of “On the 12th Date of Christmas”?  Comment below and let me know!

I've been a fan of Hallmark movies as long I can remember. In 2018 I decided it was finally time to write about it, and thus this blog was born.

One thought on “On the 12th Date of Christmas

  1. I really liked this one. I just didn’t understand how the scavenger hunt went. It would have made more sense for it to be a 1 thing a night.

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