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MRS. CLAUS MATCHMAKER: SUGARPLUM INN
By Tessa Shaffer

GENRE: Romance, Family
LOGLINE:

With Christmas at risk of becoming extinct, Mrs. Claus sets out to bring the magic of the season back by taking on the role of matchmaker at Sugarplum Inn, a former year-round Christmas destination that now refuses to celebrate the holiday. 

SYNOPSIS:

With the rise of women in powerful positions, it’s no surprise that MERI CLAUS is ready to step out and take Christmas into her own hands when the North Pole starts losing believers rapidly. The lights on the MAP OF BELIEVERS have never been dimmer as the hearts who believe in Christmas are fading, and NICHOLAS CLAUS is ready to throw in the towel on Christmas. There’s only four days until Christmas to save the dwindling number of believers and add more to ensure the holiday won’t be cancelled. Meri’s worked on the Holiday Board of Directors and the Cupid Committee long enough to know that love can make a believer out of anyone, so she packs her peppermint-striped high heels, her magical jingle bell bracelet, and her Christmas spirit, with her sights set on spreading holiday cheer through matchmaking.

Tween head-elf ELLIE, who has her own unique holiday flair with handmade ugly Christmas sweatshirts, is the only one to know of Meri’s plan to save Christmas—and good garland will Meri need Ellie’s help if she’s going to pull off a Christmas miracle. Meri leaves the North Pole, bound for Sugarloaf Island in the Florida Keys to find out why Sugarplum Inn, which has long been a top destination for Christmas, has completely lost its spirit.

Once she arrives, Meri discovers she’s in for the challenge of her life. There’s not an ounce of Christmas to be seen at the Inn. Worse than that, Meri finds out that HECTOR, the new owner of the Sugarplum Inn, has banned both Christmas and children, re-branding the Inn as an anti-Christmas destination. Meri is devastated and finds her own Christmas spirit dwindling fast. She uses two of her five magical jingle bells within minutes of her arrival—one to decorate her room in traditional Christmas style to lift her spirits, and another to remake the entire third floor of the hotel into a “Christmas candy lane.”

Meri meets CLARA, a helpful maid at the hotel, who gives Meri insight into how the Inn used to be run. Meri also makes quick friends with KRISTIN and JANIE who are on a friends-cation to get away from the holidays. When Meri finds out that it’s Kristin’s birthday, it’s the perfect excuse to throw a little party. After all, Christmas birthdays at the North Pole are a big deal. Meri doesn’t think Clara will mind if she uses the hotel’s kitchen to bake a few dozen cookies for the party, especially after she discovers Clara’s five-year-old son ZACH hiding in the kitchen. Meri takes it upon herself to keep an eye on Zach, but when Hector finds Meri and Zach in the kitchen—he fires Clara on the spot.

Meanwhile, back at the North Pole, the lights on the Map of Believers are fading faster than little marshmallows melt into hot chocolate, and despite how hard Ellie is trying to keep Christmas moving, the other elves are becoming aware of the pending doom. Meri is filled with doubt, and not even the third bell of Christmas magic she uses to turn the bar cocktails into Christmas drinks can cheer her up. It’s a call from Ellie with a forceful pep talk that gets Meri focused back in on the task at hand—love. Meri decides to fix a handsome young man, PRESTON, up with BIANCA who has had her head buried in her laptop since Meri arrived. But instead, Meri accidentally ruins Bianca’s laptop and her stay at the Inn. Preston meets Kristin and they have an instant connection, both being from New York and bonding over their love of nature. Kristin being a vet who owns an animal rescue and Preston having just bought a farm, they go on a nature walk together where they discover a wounded dove that they nurse back to health.

Meri doesn’t think she could feel any worse about getting Clara fired, until she finds out that Clara is HOPE and EDDY’s daughter, the original owners of the Inn. Meri learns from an employee that the reason Hector owns the Inn now is because Clara’s parents passed away five years ago and she couldn’t afford to keep the Inn. Meri goes to Clara’s house to apologize, and it’s there that she learns how deeply it hurt Clara when Hector removed Christmas from the Inn. Ellie once again saves the day by looking back into Christmas records to find out when exactly it was that Hector stopped believing in Christmas—when the love of his life, Clara, got engaged to someone else.

Meri uncovers a soft side to Hector and convinces him to apologize to Clara for removing Christmas from the Inn but when he does, Clara shuts the door in his face before he can tell her the real reason that he banned Christmas. Clara already has plane tickets for the day after Christmas to move Zach up the coast and live with extended family. All is lost when dozens of guests including Bianca wait in line to check out of the Inn early, all with complaints they are missing the joy of the holidays. Ellie calls Meri to warn her that Nicholas knows she’s not at the North Pole and is coming to pick her up that night. Meri knows the only way she can fix things now is to get Hector to admit his love for Clara and to throw a big Christmas Eve party just like Clara’s parents used to do every year.

Meri only has a few hours to turn it all around with a Christmas Eve party so magnificent that it will help Clara to see that love and the spirit of Christmas still exist at the Inn. She enlists the help of Kristin and Preston, Janie and the bartender, along with Bianca and the scuba instructor to help her throw a Christmas party like no other. However, getting Clara to come back to the Inn, even for a Christmas party, proves difficult—until Zach runs away from home. Meri finds Zach and rushes her crew of helpers to finish decorating while Clara is on her way to pick him up. Meri uses her last bit of magic to materialize twelve white doves to the island for a dove release just like Clara’s parents used to do every Christmas Eve. Releasing the doves and making a wish on one as they flew away was Clara’s favorite Christmas tradition.

When Clara refuses to come inside to the party, Hector sits her down outside next to the doves and opens his heart to her. He takes back his apology for firing her. She’s even more defensive with him until he adds that she deserves to be a partner of the Inn instead of just a maid. He finally admits to her that she was the reason he took Christmas away from the Inn, but it’s not what she thinks. After her parents passed away, Clara said that she didn’t think she could handle Christmas at the Inn all year-round. She forgets ever saying this, but remembers feeling it. After she took a year off to raise Zach, end her engagement, and deal with her parents’ estate, she returned to the Inn thinking that Hector didn’t care about the traditions and threw them all away. In Hector’s heart he just wanted to make the Inn a fresh start for Clara so that she could come back to work. He did it because he missed her being a part of the Inn, but after he took Christmas away he lost himself.

Clara agrees to become a part owner and to help turn Sugarplum Inn back into the Christmas destination it had been. Hector promises they will start re-Christmas-ing the Inn at the start of the New Year with the third-floor renovations, not knowing that Meri has provided them with a head start.

When Nicholas comes to pick up Meri in his sleigh, he brings her an early Christmas present—a new jingle bell bracelet with magic-filled bells. He believes it’s time for his wife to become a bigger part of spreading the spirit and joy of Christmas through love. When Nicholas walks into the Sugarplum Inn Christmas Eve party, the unknowing guests think he’s a hired Santa, but when he starts handing out the perfect present for each person, including a new sign for Preston’s farm named after the dove he and Kristin rescued, mistletoe for Kristin and her not so secret crush on Preston, and a new laptop for Bianca, the guests start to wonder how someone could have found perfect gifts on such short notice.

As Meri and Nicholas ride away, Nicholas fills Meri in on the ways that the love of the couples she brought together at the Inn will cause Christmas miracles to ripple for years to come. Nicholas creates snow flurries as they fly, and the guests and employees at the Inn gather outside for the dove release. Sugarplum Inn is back on the Map of Believers—in a big way.

Back at the North Pole, Meri has a special present and promotion for Ellie. She gives Ellie peppermint shoes to match her own and an offer to make her Vice President of Christmas Matchmaking Affairs. With Ellie on her team, Meri promises years of adventures to come, keeping the spirit of Christmas alive by matching couples in locations on the Map of Believers whose lights have gone out. The North Pole is filled with celebratory music as the elves celebrate all the many Christmases to come.

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