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  • I agree with Jim and the other comments. I recorded this on the off chance as I was at work and settled down to watch it a couple of days later. From the first few moments which seemed to echo my own Bah Humbug sentiments, to the final revealing of the Secret Santa, I was enchanted! In fact, having watched that film, I suddenly found some Christmas spirit and had a good old cry throughout!

    What a joy to find a sweet, innocent, moving film amongst all the other rubbish and repeats that were on British TV this year.

    As another reviewer said, its a shame that it will only ever been seen at Christmas time! I'm soooo glad that I haven't recorded over it so that I can watch it again and again!

    Lets face it, it will never win any awards, will always be dismissed by TV reviewers but will ALWAYS be loved by those of us that discovered it one Christmas and hold it close to our hearts!
  • Rebecca is tired of reporting on 'fluff' stories for the Indianapolis Sentinel. When her editor wants her to do a story on the 'Secret Santa' who gives anonymous gifts to people in the small town of Hamden, she doesn't want to do it, until she realizes that she can prove herself by making the story more than a fluff piece. (A last-minute change of plans also helps.)

    After some misfortunes, Rebecca starts getting to know the people of the town, and she suspects the 'Secret Santa' is one of the town's richest men, a lawyer named John Martin Carter. There are plenty of clues, but getting to the real answer is not easy. She gets splashed by a careless driver ... in this type of movie, when a young woman despises a young man, you can almost predict what is going to happen.

    Jennie Garth was great. Not only adorable and sometimes funny, but also determined, and quite pretty too. There were lots of good performances, including Charlie Robinson as an employee at a rest home, who, despite his image as a comic actor, gave one of his best performances ever later in the movie when he wasn't even being funny. Also good was Barbara Billingsley as one of the rest home's residents who teaches Rebecca a lot.

    The movie was sometimes funny, but it was also touching. And it was appropriate for the whole family, with a TV-G rating, a rare thing these days on broadcast TV.
  • So far this TV Christmas, 'Secret Santa' really stands out. The three films I watched involving Santa's marital status were okay if somewhat implausible (!) and I liked 'A Song for the Season' (aka 'A Holiday Romance') and 'A Christmas Gift', but Jennie Garth's performance as reporter Rebecca Chandler has been easily the best treat this holiday to date. If I like a piece of music, my pleasure and appreciation grows each time I hear it. Movies work the same way for me, and this is a movie that I will enjoy every time I watch it. Apologies to all those who belong to the 'seen that' brigade, who only live for what is novel.

    It's personal taste, I know, but the humour tickled, the plot interested, the schmaltz was just right (I like sugar in my tea), the events believable and the ending was full of promise and hope. In the story, Rebecca was having quite a run of bad luck, as some would see it, and I could imagine certain folks regarding some of her reactions as unrealistic. For example, her behaviour on being splashed. Rebecca is resilient, and I identify strongly with her. Having dropped a case of 10pt Times type fifty odd years ago, all I said was "Bother!" and got busy sorting the type back into the tiny compartments. If there weren't ten thousand bits, it sure seemed like it. You can't change what's happened, so why not deal with it and carry straight on living. Another attractive trait to her character is that she's no fool, and all her dealings with the despicable Ryan are most pleasing. In fact, Rebecca seems a real person - not perfect, but the sort of girl you'd be really pleased to know.

    Other performances in this title are also strong. The variety of characters ranges from the normal, through the competent and fulfilled Russell and John Martin Carter, to Rebecca's autocratic editor - all of them, with the possible exception of Ryan, having a thoroughly worthwhile side to their natures. Aren't actors and actresses blessed? They get to leave a snapshot of themselves which lives on as they age, and even after they've passed on. Secret Santa will stand as a memorial to Jennie Garth. Just in case Jennie consults the IMDb, I would like to offer her the link (the secret of life, no less?) in appreciation of her gift to the world by taking part in this movie.

    Isn't it sad how the nicer things in life seem so little valued? Even the TV guide only included this in the 'Also on today' section, dismissing it as 'intensely predictable Christmas fluff'. Not having a tragic ending does not equate to predictable in this case. I would love to buy a DVD of 'Secret Santa', but none is available. This is something I find frequently, and wish the TV companies were better geared to making their family films available in this format. Perhaps I'm part of a very small market, but I'm sure it isn't an insignificant one. There must be others like me who love people, love what is good and right, know the reality of happy ever after, value fidelity, and like their films to reflect these qualities. I heartily recommend this title, if you ever get the chance to come across it.
  • j-phil61029 December 2015
    I began watching this movie several years ago, and try to watch it each Christmas. Sharing it with family, and friends, is great, too. I've seen some of the actors, in other movies, and in other roles, but they seem to come to life, in this movie, as though they wanted to get the point, of the story, across to all who viewed it. I've seen many other Christmas themed movies but this one has touched on something truly meaningful; something that the general viewing audience could benefit from, not just to see a movie, but to see one with the true meaning of Christmas. This movie has all the heart that is necessary to prove that there are still "nice" people, in this world. Those who want to brighten other people's lives without receiving a "pat on the back" for a good deed, are still out there, not seeking glory, for themselves. It sets a good example, to all of us, that we should follow this premise, and think of others and not just of ourselves. This can be done at other times of the year, as well, and not just at Christmas time. I enjoy watching this movie, every Christmas, as a reminder of that fact. God bless the ones who made the movie, and those who took part in it.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This film nearly passed me by, but as I'm involved in this year's Reddit Secret Santa, the name of the movie jumped out at me, and I am SO glad I watched it.

    On the surface, it is a schmaltzy, sweet, moral Christmas story. There were many well known TV actors in the film, which actually helped telling the tale.

    Jennie Garth is very likable as the investigative reporter sent to a small town to find out who is giving those in need gifts and is known as a Secret Santa.

    Garth's character assumes that its the local millionaire, an easy but obvious choice. She sets about asking members of the town about this secret Santa. They all know the story, but not who it is. Some have ideas which gives the reporter hope in cracking the story.

    As time goes on, She starts to get like the the town and where at the start of the film she was a big city girl with a good job, (an unfaithful) fiancé and a car, she discovers there is more to life than material things.

    I have to be honest, (maybe I wasn't as observant as another reviewer) I thought I knew who the Santa was, and was pleasantly surprised at their reveal. Maybe in retrospect it was easy to spot, but I thoroughly enjoyed the film, and as it is a TV movie, I'm kinda sad that its not available on DVD! This is a must see movie that will warm the cockles of your heart!
  • fr2214 December 2003
    About eight minutes after the opening credits, I identified the Secret Santa to my companions. As the movie progressed my friends began to believe me more and more. Finally, it turned out that I was absolutely correct. How did I figure it out so fast? I have a nasty habit of always reading the credits...carefully.

    The story - Jennie Garth as a reporter is sent to a town called Hamden to identify a mysterious Christmas benefactor. Along the way she meets the citizens of the town, gets to know them, and ends up liking them. She does find out who the benefactor is at the last minute, which disappoints me because the clues were in front of her face most of the time. Even if she could not see them, she should at least done a better job of listening.

    Still, it was cute to watch and young ones can learn a great deal from the story's moral.