Shenae and Chris star in the heartwarming holiday film and the sixth installment from Blake Shelton, based upon his song, Time to Come Home. Recording artist Grace Leer also starred.
The film opens with Carly (Grimes-Beech) traveling to Waterford Creek to help a choir prepare for Christmas Eve, hoping it will lessen the pain of recently losing her mother. Shortly after she arrives, she meets Matthew (Carmack), who has just returned from serving in the Army.
The film took viewers on an emotional journey as they watched Carly grieve on her first Christmas without her mom and find happiness in a new community of friends. As Carly connected with Matthew and her new friends, she wondered if she’d been brought there for a greater purpose.
Part of this film’s charm was that it focused on a small-town’s commitment to each other, a slow-burn romance, and classic Christmas carols.
I was so excited about this holiday film because I’ve followed the careers of Shenae-Grimes-Beech and Chris Carmack for years. While Grimes-Beech has been in a few Hallmark films, this is Carmack’s first one.
The two reminded me of old-school romances where they kept almost running into each other and experienced a meet-cute of nearly bumping into each other.
They didn’t have an overly passionate chemistry but an angsty, longing one.
They wanted to be together but had emotional baggage to deal with first. Matthew hadn’t been home in years, and so much had happened in that time, while Carly had to accept the changes in her life.
Spending your first Christmas without a parent is awful. I’ve done it, and I admire Carly for lining up a gig so she wouldn’t be alone. She wasn’t expecting the small-town community to adopt her as one of their own, but they did, starting with Pastor Jon and his wife, Susan.
While I suspected they had an ulterior motive, they also needed her to breathe life into the choir. I love holiday music, and the choir’s biggest problem was they weren’t in sync.
It was such a wise choice to give Matthew’s sister Riley (Leer), the solo. It gave her a chance to use her singing talent and develop a friendship with Carly.
I loved how Carly had them realize why they enjoyed singing and find joy in doing it. She really connected with them, even though it took longer with some, like George. I think she related to George since he recently lost his wife and joined the choir because it reminded him of how she loved singing to bring joy to others.
Carly’s mom gave her a gift, partly her musicality and her ability to help others.
I appreciated how much time the film spent on her time-honored traditions with her mom, from picking a new holiday album to her snow globe.
It meant something that she shared those traditions with Matthew, and she let him see how lonely she initially felt.
You know, family doesn’t have to be blood. The men I served with, I consider them brothers. We have each other’s backs. Family can be chosen too.
As the two of them became more comfortable with each other, they had such a relaxed banter, whether he was helping her select a tree or she was harassing him to join the choir.
As Carly became more involved with Matthew and the community, she became one of them and started seeing Christmas miracles at work. One of my favorite scenes was when everyone chipped to decorate Tyler’s house.
Nothing is more complicated than when your parent is overseas, and you step in to do everything, but you can’t do it alone. Matthew understood that being in the military and the choir had become like a family, too.
When Csrly took the choir caroling, she wanted to make George smile, whereas when she planned the peppermint egg creams, she wanted to do something special for Matthew.
Spreading Christmas cheer was part of Waterford Falls, and she almost didn’t want to leave.
I almost thought the film would include a traditional love triangle, and I was grateful they did not.
Matthew and Jenny sometimes wondered if they should’ve taken their friendship to the next level, but it was never the right time.
It seemed like they were in different places in their lives. After being gone for so long, Matthew was ready to reconnect with his family just as Jenny wanted to spread her wings and move away.
I wonder if Susan sensed her daughter’s restlessness and brought Carly there for several reasons < UNK> so she’d have someone else to bond with and matchmake for Matthew, whom she loved as a son.
The central mystery involved solving why the Shephards hired Carly to lead the Christmas choir. Susan seemed to know more about Carly for her to be a random person.
Jenny grew suspicious of her mother, first when Susan let Carly into her candle-making studio and when Carly mentioned that her dad’s last name was Fernie, but she hadn’t heard from him in years.
Mom, what aren’t you telling me?
It made sense that Carly was Susan’s niece. The casting was perfect, and Carly, Susan, and Jenny looked related.
Carly took the news of learning she had more family on her dad’s side better than expected. After an initial meltdown, she seemed to believe that her mother sent her to Waterford Creek to meet her dad’s relatives for a reason.
In true HMM fashion, both Carly and Matthew received their Christmas miracles. While Carly discovered she now had an entirely new family to spend the holidays with, Matthew realized dreams could change.
He had no regrets about returning home because it led him to find her, and she taught him about believing in miracles.
So, what do you think? Do you want another installment of the Time to Come Home holiday films next year? What has been your favorite so far?
Let us know in the comments below.
Laura Nowak is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on X.