“Once Upon a Holiday” premiered on Hallmark Channel on Nov. 25, 2015, as part of Hallmark’s “Countdown to Christmas” programming. The original Hallmark movie stars Briana Evigan, Paul Campbell and Greg Evigan.
The movie opens with a festive holiday scene in New York, with a mother and daughter enjoying the holiday decorations together. They are part of the royal family from Montsaurai, a tiny European country that appears to be in the Alps. They are in New York to perform royal duties because the mother is a princess, not by birth but by marriage to the prince. The mother has an interest in photography and gives her first camera to her daughter as a gift.
Twenty years later, Katie (Briana Evigan) is a princess and her parents are apparently dead. Katie is in New York with her Aunt Margaret (Jacqueline Samuda), who is trying to impress Katie’s royal duties upon the reluctant princess. The schedule is so tight that Katie does not even have time to take an hour to tour an art gallery. Princess Katie whines that being a princess is hard work and wonders why such a small country even needs a princess.
Katie visits a family lawyer, who sympathizes and tries to give her wise advise. Actor Greg Evigan (“My Two Dads,”BJ and the Bears”) and actress Briana Evigan are real life father and daughter.
The princess takes a coat from a charity box and uses it as disguise to walk about the city. She wants to be undependable and she succeeds, because she is shirking her royal duties by being a runaway princess.
Katie has lived a protected life of privilege and even though she has had a great education she has never had to handle money. She is a babe in the woods as she goes sightseeing. It does not take long for predators to rob her purse and precious camera. Jack (Paul Campbell – “Window Wonderland”) is a good Samaritan who witnesses the theft and tries to help. Katie has no idea that she could be in danger and she refuses his offer of a ride to her hotel and continues to wander.
Later that day, Jack finds Katie, apparently cold and lost, and invites her into a party of Santa Claus impersonators, where she meets Harry (Jay Brazeau) and Dixie (Beverly Elliott) and Jack’s sister Emily (Tara Wilson). Katie finds warmth, food and friendship at the party.
Jack is a contractor who loves working with his hands but his humble trade is by choice. He was once had a successful career in real estate and has a MBA, so he is well educated. He chose a different career path and is happy in his work. Romance blossoms between the tradesman and the princess, but he is not aware of her true identity.
Meanwhile, Katie’s aunt and security detail, headed by Simon (Tony Alcantar) are frantically searching for the missing princess. They nearly find her a few times, but the princess evades them and stays on the run, even though she has already made her point and is letting people down with her bratty behavior.
An obnoxious reporter is also searching for Katie, thinking that this story could be his big break. Little does he know that he already knows her because he is dating Jack’s sister Emily and they met at the Santa Claus party.
Eventually Jack learns Katie’s true identity and she returns to her small country. Can love overcome their differences and her deception? See the picture slideshow to find the answer.