We’re all familiar with the concept of comfort foods but we’d be remiss to overlook the idea of comfort films. “Netflix & chill” is like the term “Kleenex” in that it has come to represent the idea of taking time to enjoy the moment and some entertainment. Hallmark has most certainly staked its claim on holiday productions with their “'Countdown to Christmas.” Among the most popular productions of the 2018 countdown was Entertaining Christmas. While the story of family is a staple in Hallmark productions, actress Tamara Almeida was given the opportunity to appear in a relatively new type of role in the film; something which doesn’t happen every day. Her character Anna performs a service that is not dissimilar to what Hallmark itself does, connecting and creating original content on a regular basis. Simply put, establishing and creating a brand is a template which applies to so many things these days and is most successful when done with lots of heart, as in Almeida’s performance.
Candace Livingstone (played by award winning actress Jodie Sweetin who first came to fame on Full House) is the heir apparent to her mother Liz’s (Jane Moffatt) empire as a cookbook author, crafting expert, and TV personality. When a video request for assistance comes to the matriarch’s attention, she sends Candace as a vetting exercise. Sorely lacking in the required talents, Candace avoids revelation of this via a local reporter while being simultaneously spun by the Livingstone Press and Social Media Manager Anna (Almeida). Romance, family tension, self-discovery, and the battle for credible news; there’s more than enough plot to go around in this film. What it does perhaps most importantly is to retain the DNA of a Hallmark movie.
A decade ago, the notion of a Social Media Expert was as foreign as its representation in film. Anna is exactly what you’d hope for in this story: a dreamer, and optimist, and a personal cheerleader. Her wide eyed embrace and affinity for the Livingstone approach to the holidays creates a cycle of inspiration for her. Anna wants Candace to succeed because it means that Livingstone as a brand succeeds. The role took some work for Almeida who concedes, “I'm not very social media savvy. I mean, I can sit on social media for hours but I don't think that makes me savvy in the slightest. It's a bit strange to think that my eleven-year-old little brother or my tween-nieces don't even know a world without social media. I didn't want the introduction of Anna to come off uncomfortable or unnatural at all. I think Social Media Experts deserve kudos for creating a new world that mixes journalism, psychology, and creativity. When I think of journalists, I think of them on the front lines; writing, interviewing, and distributing those in-depth works. A social media expert is a variation of this. I think they are more adaptable and maybe even a bit more impulsive at times. There also seems to be a bit more weight on staying relevant. It's not just about the news or what's being reported on, it feels that the person delivering this has a massive following, and that's something they excel in in addition to what they're delivering. Being Anna gave ample opportunity to present a unique interpretation of this kind of person.”
It’s well worth mentioning that Tamara’s presentation of Anna has a finesseful femininity to her. She’s confident in a relaxed way, at ease with who she is. She takes pride in her work and is employed by a company known for its powerful and talented leaders who happen to be women. Entertaining Christmas was one of the most popular and successful films of last year’s “Countdown to Christmas”, trending on Twitter in several states. This is another reminder that entertainment, communication, and the way we see ourselves and others is rapidly evolving. Even so, Entertaining Christmas ensures that there’s always something comforting amidst this progress.