What’s Christmas in Boston? If I had a dollar for every time, I heard this when I recommend the film to someone I’d never have to work a day in my life. But I can’t blame anyone either—the film isn’t from Hallmark or Lifetime. It initially aired in 2004 on ABC Family/Fox Family (at the time? Who knows.), and it basically went unnoticed. But before he was the photographic memory lawyer marrying human perfection Meghan Markle‘s character on Suits, Patrick J. Adams was stealing my heart as the awkward, utterly precious Seth on Christmas in Boston.
Starring Patrick J. Adams, Marla Sokoloff, Lindy Booth, and Jonathan Cherry, Christmas in Boston follows two pen pals who are finally about to meet for the first time in years, except they’re both goons who sent their best friend’s picture instead. When the two eventually meet as themselves, it’s while they’re both at the movies spying on their best friends on a date as themselves? Listen, most of this movie is probably problematic and wouldn’t hold up today, but still, I rewatch it every year because of this cast and, well, because of Boston.
Don’t send use your best friend’s picture as a dating profile, ever. That’s cat-fishing.
Essentially, as the two start over as friends again, with Seth knowing he’s with the real Gina and Gina holding out for the fake Seth, their organic friendship in person proves to be the very reason why they should be together. You get every sense of their relationship’s quirks, their heart, and even the lovely ways in which they are both able to comfort and understand one another.
Pen pals aren’t always one of my favorite romance tropes, but with these two, it works flawlessly because it’s evident right from the start that they are each other’s soulmates. And in the moments where we see their friendships without being told about it, the dark cloud of Seth knowing the truth makes for a fun plot point.
It even features one of my favorite declarations of love ever (yes ever), is from this film when Seth tells Gina, “it has to be me, it has to be me because for me, it has to be you.” Because ultimately, it’s this idea that when you know, really and truly, with your whole heart, then it must be true for the other person too. If Gina didn’t feel the same way then Seth’s feelings wouldn’t have been so profound and the awkward confidence he projects her is just lovely.
This film is my introduction to overly cheesy holiday films, and I wouldn’t change a thing about that. It’s the first I ever watched, and it’s the one that stands as the example I use to determine whether I love a film or not. Does it hit me in all the ways Christmas in Boston does? Plus, Gina loves Christmas as much as I do and she gets all the extra gingerbread and reindeer antlers points for that.
And the thing is, it’s far from perfect. As I said, some of these elements wouldn’t work as well today, but back then, it struck hard. This movie is the reason I chose to watch Suits. It might even be a nostalgia thing.
Christmas in Boston is the movie that made it clear Patrick J. Adams can convey thousands of emotions with a single look, a tonal shift in his voice, and the embodiment of a character through nuances distinct to personality traits. Precious doesn’t even begin to sum up just how well this film works. Precious doesn’t even begin to sum up Seth as a character.
Similar Christmas Film Recommendation: My Christmas Family Tree starring Aimee Teegarden and Andrew Walker
The problem? Christmas in Boston isn’t actually available to stream anywhere. Years back I realized it’s on DVD so I purchased it right away, so, if you ask me, it’s absolutely worth the $12.99 price. It’s cheesy. It’s sweet. The two best friends pretending to be them also fall in love and it’s utterly ridiculous.