A widow (Faith Ford) and a writer (Tom Cavanagh) swap homes for the holidays, but neither getaway goes as planned. Despite the complications, they each meet potential love interests in their temporary new digs.
Widowed almost three years, Emily is still adjusting to holidays without her beloved husband Frank. Her daughter Heather is at college in Boston and, while she loves her mom and misses her dad, she is ready to turn a page. She begins to assert her independence by telling her mom she will be staying in Boston because she is too overwhelmed with her studies to come home. Christmas and its beloved traditions of cookies, trees, family and friends are ingrained into the fabric of Emily’s being, so she is heartbroken at her daughter’s decision. She is unaware that Heather has actually made plans to go to Arizona with her boyfriend, so Emily decides to take Christmas to Heather as a surprise.Emily goes into full mother mode and arranges a house swap with a bookish college professor in Boston who is a writer but despises all things Christmas. He is under the pressure of a deadline and needs somewhere quiet to write. She ends up in his big-city apartment with no holiday trappings and no daughter in town, and he gets her heavily decorated Victorian home in small-town USA with neighbors who won’t leave him alone. When her friend from out of town decides to drop in unannounced to surprise Emily for the holidays, she finds a Scroogish, grumpy professor in her friend’s home and the story takes an even more surprising turn. “Trading Christmas” is a holiday tale of fate and unexpected surprises. We recommend that parents be aware of several innuendos in this film and a moral conflict to make the right decision. Heather and her boyfriend travel to Arizona to spend the holiday alone at his grandparents’ vacant home. With plenty of time and space for poor choices, they are only seen swimming, visiting with friends who drop by unexpectedly, and, at Heather’s request, watching traditional holiday movies together. Emily connects with her landlord’s brother and begins to wonder if love might be hers after all. She is seen lying in a passionate embrace on the sofa with a man she just met a couple of days before, and later Emily’s friend asks her by telephone if she “got lucky”… which she did not. The storyline is fun, festive and emphasizes love, a strong family bond, commitment, laughter and Christmas magic. With the parental caution we mentioned above, we are pleased to award the Dove Family Approved Seal to this film for ages 12 and up.