The Holiday Calendar

Movie review by
Andrea Beach, Common Sense Media
The Holiday Calendar Movie Poster Image
Warm holiday romance is cute but predictable.
  • NR
  • 2018
  • 95 minutes

Parents say

age 8+
Based on 4 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 2 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Friends stand by each other through thick and thin. When it comes to romantic relationships, the most important thing is how the other person makes you feel, and how you make that person feel. Keep working hard, never give up on your dreams.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Abby and her family are close-knit, model warm, loving, supportive bonds. No villains here -- everyone's basically a good person; all model working hard to achieve goals. Lots of racial diversity among main characters, minor characters, background people in community. Lots of positive representations of and role models for African Americans in particular.


Josh half-seriously offers to beat up the guy Abby just broke up with.


Major plot elements about Abby trying to figure out her love life, how interested she really is in dating Ty. A few light kisses; one briefly shows mouths opening and closing.


"Sucks." Abby jokingly calls Josh "stupid" once or twice.


Uber mentioned. Netflix shown prominently on a computer screen. Gummy candies shown prominently, a few other candy and snack food packages briefly shown.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Ibuprofen mentioned. Several scenes show adults drinking wine, champagne at parties, celebrations. Mention of putting something "special" in an adult's eggnog. Friends hanging out have a bottle of beer each; their glasses are clearly shown with beer still in them at end of evening. No excessive drinking or drunk behavior shown, although Abby mentions she probably said something embarrassing because of the eggnog.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Holiday Calendar is a romantic Christmas story with a mild magical element: an advent calendar that seems to be predicting the future. There's little content of concern for most ages, but the few kisses and adult situations make it best for tweens and up. A character uses "sucks" a few times, and main character Abby (Kat Graham) jokingly calls her friend "stupid" once or twice. Adults drink alcohol in social situations, but no excess is shown. The only violence is a joking offer to beat up an ex-boyfriend. Expect lots of positive representations of diverse races; Abby's close-knit, loving family offers a lot of great role models for African Americans especially.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byAllieRosen November 19, 2018

This heroine needs the Scrooge treatment

So. Our heroine has problems.
She wants to be a photographer.
She isn't brave enough to travel the world to follow her dreams like her best friend.
S... Continue reading
Parent Written byKristen S. February 29, 2020

Some issues not mentioned in Commonsense review

In the first half hour of the movie, I was surprised by some elements which were not mentioned in the review. The movie repeatedly mentions "murder" -... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old January 21, 2019


So sweet and cute and funny
Kid, 10 years old December 28, 2018

Awesome! Great for all ages 10+

I love this movie! I have watched it 3 times an I DEFINITELY recommend watching it!

What's the story?

Abby Sutton (Kat Graham) inherits THE HOLIDAY CALENDAR from her grandmother at a time in her life when both her career as a photographer and her love life are going nowhere, fast. Each new day opens a new door in the antique advent calendar, and before long it seems like the calendar is trying to tell her something about the handsome Ty (Ethan Peck), who she recently started dating. Ty is a dreamboat in many ways, but is he really the one? Meanwhile, her best friend, Josh (Quincy Brown), has returned home after traveling the world. Josh is pretty dreamy too, and has been there for Abby almost her whole life. Will Abby ever realize that it's always been Josh?

Is it any good?

This warm romance with a dash of holiday magic is a sweet story about a young woman trying to jump-start her career and her love life, but it's too predictable to have broad appeal. Tweens and young teens will enjoy The Holiday Calendar as they root for Abby to see what's obvious to everyone else, namely, what a great guy Josh is. They'll also enjoy seeing her photography career start to take off after so much hard work. And kudos to the movie for the diverse cast, all modeling positive behaviors and interactions.

The dialogue is often stilted, but romance fans won't mind too much. The main characters are appealing, but more mature viewers will find the performances a bit forced. Add to that a lack of a real sense of mystery about the calendar and an ending that was never in doubt, and you've got a movie that's fine for romance fans but not one the whole family's likely to enjoy together.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the positive role models in The Holiday Calendar. Which characters are the best role models? What are their character strengths?

  • Why is diverse representation important in movies and TV? Does what we see influence how we think about others? What other movies have you seen that have a diverse cast?

  • What about holiday times feels magical to you? Do you think the calendar is really magic, or is what happened just fate? What about coincidence?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love the holidays

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

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