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Movie Night - I Believe in Santa

It's the Holiday season and perhaps you need a "onesie" Holiday movie break over the relentless radio bombardment of Bing Crosby and Mariah Carey fighting for the #1 spot on the most (over)played Christmas song ever list.


If you are looking for some respite, inspiration and fun, here is a "Movie Night Guide" to help you plan a fun gathering with friends and family. We generated this "Movie Night" plan with the help of "Muse" and "Ember" our AI inspiration assistants, which means that you can do this as well... All we did was type "I Believe in Santa" and our prompts generated the rest.


Movie poster. From Netflix
Watch "I Believe in Santa" this Movie Night
  • A summary of the movie

  • The cast

  • Awards received

  • A recommended meal

  • A recommended drink


Not to be the master of the obvious - there are spoilers ahead!






Get ready to enjoy "I Believe in Santa"



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The Story


"I Believe In Santa" is more than just a festive holiday romance; it is a cinematic exploration of differing worldviews, the clash between cynicism and idealism, and the personal growth that can result from openly embracing new experiences.


The narrative follows Lisa, a grounded, practical woman whose previous disappointments in life have left her with a jaded view of the holiday season. She prides herself on her pragmatic approach to life and has dismissed the fanciful aspects of Christmas, such as the belief in Santa Claus, as childish whims. However, her world takes a surprising turn when she meets Tom, a man whose unadulterated passion for Christmas is as heartfelt as it is infectious.


Tom embodies the joy and wonder of the holiday season. He eagerly participates in every tradition, from decorating his home with an impressive display of festive cheer to volunteering for charity events that epitomize the season's spirit of giving. His belief in the magic of Christmas, and by extension in Santa Claus, isn't just about celebrating a cultural myth; rather, it's a fundamental component of his optimistic outlook on life.


Movie poster from Netflix's I Believe in Santa
I Believe in Santa

The development of their relationship is at the core of "I Believe In Santa." As Lisa and Tom grow closer, the contrast between their beliefs creates comedic, tender, and often challenging moments. The plot takes the audience on a journey as each character comes to learn from the other. Lisa is introduced to the warmth and joy that can be found in abandoning oneself to the magic of the season, while Tom learns to appreciate Lisa’s groundedness and her complex feelings towards the holidays.


Set against the picturesque backdrop of snowy landscapes and holiday lights, the film delves into the often humorous challenges that arise when new relationships are tested by deeply held convictions. It is a story where the polarities of belief and skepticism meet, not in conflict, but in a heartwarming dance that leads both characters toward mutual understanding and respect.


As Christmas approaches and the inevitable questioning of Santa’s existence becomes a focal point within the narrative, Tom and Lisa must each confront their own vulnerabilities and insecurities. It is through this process that the film conveys a deeper message about the nature of faith—not solely in Santa Claus, but in the potential for love, kindness, and personal transformation.


With a soundtrack of timeless holiday classics accompanying pivotal scenes, "I Believe In Santa" promises to encapsulate the viewer in a cocoon of festive nostalgia. The film brings both laughter and poignant moments, ensuring that its audience is transported to a place where the heart of the holiday spirit is not just alive, but vibrantly beating with the message that sometimes, to find joy, one must be willing to believe.



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Cast


"I Believe In Santa" features a vibrant ensemble cast that brings to life the endearing tale of holiday romance and the clash of beliefs held by its central characters. The lead role of Lisa is portrayed by Christina Moore, a skilled actress (whose nuanced performance captures the character's skepticism towards Christmas. Her transformation throughout the film, as she gradually opens up to the wonders of the holiday season, is both credible and touching, thanks to the depth and relatability the actress brings to the role.


Opposite Lisa, the character of Tom is enacted by John Ducey, a charismatic actor whose natural warmth and enthusiasm for Christmas immediately resonate with the audience. His unwavering belief in the joy and magic of Santa Claus contrasts sharply with Lisa's more grounded worldview, setting the stage for a compelling dynamic between the two. The actor playing Tom delivers a performance that is both engaging and sincere, drawing viewers into the festive world he embraces with open arms.


Surrounding the leads is a talented supporting cast who enhance the story’s distinct moods—from comical to heartfelt. This includes actors playing an array of family members, such as the endearing and perhaps meddling relatives who add layers of comedy and warmth to the narrative. Key friends of Lisa and Tom provide confidants for the lead characters, creating opportunities for personal revelations and additional comedic beats. Together, they form a community that surrounds the protagonists, often serving as a reflection of their internal journeys, and provide insight into various aspects of the holiday experience, from stressful family gatherings to joyful community celebrations.


Notably, the film features precocious child actors whose roles underscore the innocence and purity of belief in Santa, adding to the movie's theme of rediscovering the magic of Christmas through a child’s eyes. These young performers deliver moments that are both adorable and heart-rendering, often acting as catalysts for Lisa's transformation.


The chemistry between the cast members is crucial for a film of this nature. It is the actors' rapport with one another that constructs an immersive viewing experience. Effortless interactions, well-timed humor, and palpable warmth make the characters' relationships feel genuine and relatable. The ensemble performances epitomize the spirit of collaboration and setting the tone for a film filled with shared experiences, love, and laughter.


"I Believe In Santa" showcases a varied cast whose collective performances provide a balance of light-heartedness and depth, mirroring the film's juxtaposition of festive cheer with the real emotions and change of the holiday season. Through subtle glances, comedic timing, and expressive dialogue, the talent in front of the camera encapsulates the spirit of discovery and joy that define this Christmas story. The actors’ commitment to their roles transforms an ordinary holiday film into a memorable seasonal watch that charms its viewers year after year.



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Awards


While "I Believe in Santa" may not be a fixture at the most illustrious award ceremonies like the Academy Awards or the BAFTAs, its success and recognition should not only be measured by such conventional parameters. Although the movie may not boast an extensive list of prestigious accolades, it could very well have made waves in circles that cherish and celebrate the genre it represents.


In the world of cinema, there's a thriving community of film festivals and awards dedicated to less mainstream categories, focusing on romantic comedies, family entertainment, and holiday films. This is where "I Believe in Santa" may have found its footing and impressed audiences and critics. Films in this niche often find appreciation at events that are tailored to audiences looking for heartfelt storytelling, seasonal cheer, and uplifting messages.


Festivals such as the Heartland Film Festival, which honors movies that resonate with the human spirit, or the Hallmark Channel's own movie awards, which focus on family-oriented and romantic films, are perfect examples of where this holiday movie might shine. Regularly, these venues uncover gems that don't fit into the blockbuster mold but nonetheless tug at viewers’ heartstrings and become annual traditions for many families.


Various online platforms and social events also often do people's choice awards around the holiday season, which could see "I Believe in Santa" become a candidate, depending on its popularity and resonance with the global audience. In this digital age, such accolades can carry a meaningful weight, as they come directly from the audience's admiration and capture the film's impact on its viewers.


Furthermore, it's also important to consider the impact of a film like this beyond trophies and titles. "I Believe in Santa" might have become an integral part of some family's Christmas traditions, being re-watched year after year and shared among friends. The success of a holiday film is, after all, measured in the memories it creates and the togetherness it fosters, rather than the number of awards in its cabinet.


The actors and production team behind the movie imbue it with their dedication, seasonally themed finesse, and a genuine love for the holiday spirit, which can result in a special place in the audience's hearts. Recognition, in this sense, is not only about formal recognition but also about being enshrined in the viewers' annual holiday rituals.


"I Believe in Santa" thus stands as a testament to the kind of film that, despite not capturing widespread critical acclaim or high-profile awards, captures something arguably more meaningful: the joy, nostalgia, and affection of its audience, who might reward it, year after year, with the honorary title of "Our Favorite Christmas Movie."


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The Meal

Beef and Mushroom Pot Pie


As the snowflakes gently fall outside the window and the twinkling lights of the Christmas tree cast a warm glow inside, nothing complements the festive spirit of "I Believe in Santa" better than a meal that embodies the comfort and joy of the holiday season. While the traditional roasted chicken or turkey may be the stars of many holiday meals, this lesson presents an alternative dish that captures the essence of the movie's charm without relying on these classics. Let's dive into the culinary adventure of creating a Beef and Mushroom Pot Pie – a dish that's sure to become a heartwarming favorite as you enjoy the magical journey of Sam's rediscovery of belief.


Beef and Mushroom Pot Pie - A Culinary Embrace of the Holiday Spirit

A pot pie is a type of meat pie with a top pie crust, sometimes with a bottom pie crust as well. The term is used in North America. Pot pies may be made with a variety of fillings including poultry, beef, seafood, or plant-based meat substitutes. The pot pie does differ from the Australian meat pie and many British meat pies which may have a top of flaky pastry, but whose body is made from heavier, more mechanically stable shortcrust, hot water crust or similar pastry. The pot pie is a variation of the pasty. An American pot pie typically has a filling of meat (particularly beef, chicken, or turkey), gravy, and mixed vegetables (potatoes, carrots, green beans, peas, and the like). The pie is then baked in the oven until the crust is crisp and golden brown. Pot pies can vary in size from large, multi-serving pies, to smaller, individual-size pies that can serve one person.


The Beef and Mushroom Pot Pie offers a hearty, savory filling encased in a flaky, buttery crust. Not only is it a substantial meal that can be enjoyed casually in front of the TV, but it also provides a sensory experience that echoes the themes of home and hearth central to "I Believe in Santa." Let's begin with the ingredients and the steps to bring this dish to life.


Ingredients:

- 1 lb beef chuck, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

- 2 tbsp all-purpose flour

- 4 tbsp unsalted butter, divided

- 1 large onion, finely chopped

- 2 cloves garlic, minced

- 8 oz cremini mushrooms, sliced

- 1 carrot, diced

- 1 stalk celery, diced

- 2 tbsp tomato paste

- 2 cups beef broth

- 1/2 cup red wine (optional)

- 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves

- 1 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped

- 1 bay leaf

- Salt and pepper, to taste

- 1 cup frozen peas

- 1 sheet puff pastry, thawed

- 1 egg, beaten (for egg wash)


Instructions:

1. Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C).

2. Season the beef chunks with salt and pepper, then toss them with flour to coat.

3. In a large pot, melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium-high heat. Add the beef in batches, searing until browned on all sides. Remove the beef and set aside.

4. In the same pot, add the remaining butter along with the onions and garlic. Cook until the onions are translucent.

5. Add the mushrooms, carrot, and celery, cooking until they begin to soften.

6. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for a minute to deepen the flavor.

7. Pour in the beef broth and red wine, if using, scraping any browned bits from the bottom of the pot.

8. Add the thyme, rosemary, bay leaf, and the browned beef, along with any accumulated juices. Bring to a simmer.

9. Reduce the heat to low and let the mixture simmer gently for about 1 hour, or until the beef is tender.

10. If the sauce is too thin, you can thicken it with a mixture of flour and water (a roux) to reach the desired consistency.

11. Remove the bay leaf, stir in the frozen peas, and season the filling with salt and pepper to taste.

12. Transfer the filling into a deep pie dish or individual ramekins for serving.

13. Roll out the puff pastry to cover the dish or ramekins with a slight overhang. Trim any excess pastry. Make a few slits in the top to allow steam to escape.

14. Brush the pastry with the beaten egg to give it a golden, glossy finish when baked.

15. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until the pastry is puffed and golden brown.

16. Allow the pot pie to cool slightly before serving, as the filling will be very hot.


As the aroma of the Beef and Mushroom Pot Pie fills the air, it sets the stage for an evening of holiday movie magic. Each bite offers a fusion of rich beef, earthy mushrooms, and tender vegetables, wrapped in a buttery pastry – a delectable pairing with the heartwarming tale of "I Believe in Santa." This meal provides a sense of nostalgia and a reminder of the simple joys that the holiday season brings.


Gather your loved ones, serve up individual portions of this delightful pot pie, and settle in for a night of enchantment. With each scene that unfolds on the screen, the Beef and Mushroom Pot Pie will be there to add an extra layer of warmth and satisfaction, making the viewing experience all the more memorable. The combination of a cozy holiday film and a comforting, homemade meal is truly a recipe for a magical Christmas tradition.


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The Drink

"Sangria"


Traditional sangria is a popular Spanish beverage that combines wine, fruit, a sweetener, and sometimes a splash of brandy or another liquor. Sangria recipes can vary widely, but here is a basic traditional sangria recipe you can follow and then customize to your taste:


Ingredients:

- 1 bottle of red wine (750 ml, Spanish varieties like Tempranillo, Garnacha are preferred)

- 1/4 cup brandy

- 1/4 cup orange juice

- 1/4 cup sugar (or to taste; you can also use honey or another sweetener)

- 1 orange, sliced into rounds

- 1 lemon, sliced into rounds

- 1 lime, sliced into rounds (optional)

- 1 small apple, cored and cut into chunks

- 1 small peach or nectarine, sliced (optional)

- 2 cups of sparkling water or club soda (optional, for a fizzy sangria)

- Ice cubes (for serving)

### Instructions:

1. Prepare the Fruit:

- Wash the fruit thoroughly.

- Slice the orange, lemon, and lime into thin rounds and cut the apple and peach into small chunks or wedges.

2. Mix the Sangria:

- In a large pitcher, combine the wine, brandy, orange juice, and sugar.

- Stir well until the sugar is mostly dissolved.

3. Add the Fruit:

- Add the sliced oranges, lemons, limes, apple chunks, and peach slices to the pitcher.

- Use a wooden spoon to gently muddle the fruit with the liquid to release some of the juices and flavors.

4. Chill:

- Cover the pitcher and refrigerate for at least a few hours, preferably overnight. This allows the flavors to meld together.

5. Finish and Serve:

- Just before serving, taste the sangria and adjust the sweetness if necessary.

- If you prefer a fizzy sangria, add the sparkling water or club soda to the pitcher and stir gently to combine.

- Add ice to the pitcher or to individual glasses.

- Serve the sangria with some of the soaked fruit in each glass, making sure each person gets a few pieces.


Notes:

- Wine Choice: The wine doesn't need to be expensive, but it should be one you enjoy drinking on its own.

- Fruit Variations: Feel free to use other fruits like berries, pineapple, or mango.

- Serving: Traditional sangria is often served in a stemmed glass, such as a wine glass, but you can also serve it in a tumbler.

- Non-Alcoholic Version: For a non-alcoholic sangria, substitute the wine and brandy with grape juice and a bit of lemon-lime soda or ginger ale.


Remember, one of the best things about sangria is its versatility, so don't hesitate to modify the recipe according to your preferences and the ingredients you have on hand. Enjoy your homemade sangria!


Enjoy movie night... send us suggestions for the next or better yet, generate your own at artisticfuel.com!



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