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November Christmas

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Directed by: Robert Harmon
Written by: Gregg Coppa
P'nenah Goldstein
Release date: November 28, 2010
Running time: 1 hour, 36 minutes
Rating: TV-PG
Available on: DVD

November Christmas is a Hallmark Hall of Fame made-for-television movie that premiered on CBS on November 28, 2010. The film is based on a short story by Gregg Coppa, with the screenplay written by P'nenah Goldstein and directed by Robert Harmon.

Synopsis

From the CBS Press Release:

SPOILER: Plot details or story follow.

In this drama, set in a small Rhode Island community, neighbors band together to create magical Halloween and Christmas moments - several weeks early - for a young girl named Vanessa, who is facing a serious illness.

Told entirely in flashback from the perspective of a vibrant Vanessa, at age 23, the drama begins in the summer of 1995 when the 8-year-old Vanessa (Emily Alyn Lind) has just returned from several weeks of tests and treatments at a Providence hospital. Though deeply concerned about Vanessa's serious prognosis, her father, Tom (John Corbett), is committed not only to her full recovery but also to keeping things as happy and normal as possible for her and his 4-year-old son, Gordon, and his wife, Beth (Sarah Paulson).

As newcomers to town, Tom and Beth choose to keep Vanessa's illness to themselves. As a result, Tom is initially perceived as an oddball by his farmer neighbor, Jess (Sam Elliott), after Tom shows up at Jess's vegetable stand hoping to purchase pumpkins and tag a Christmas tree. Jess cannot imagine why Tom would be crestfallen to learn that it's too soon for either activity. However, after subsequent interactions with Tom and the visibly weak Vanessa, Jess figures out what Tom is trying to do. Jess and his loving wife, Claire (Karen Allen), suffered their own loss years ago, so he is particularly empathetic - and motivated to help bring cheerful holiday moments to Vanessa as soon as possible.

Jess's mission to obtain pumpkins drives him to mend a broken relationship with his former best friend, Ted, whose nephew grows pumpkins south of New England. Soon Vanessa, Gordon and Tom are excitedly selecting from an array of pumpkins at Jess's stand, after which Vanessa's family enjoys a festive Halloween party - in August - thanks to more thoughtful contributions from Jess and the normally gruff Ted.

In subsequent weeks Vanessa must spend an extended period of time in Providence undergoing further treatments. When she's allowed to return home in November, Vanessa worries that she's scheduled to be back in the hospital in late December and will miss being home at Christmas. As Vanessa and her family drive home from the hospital, little does she -- or her parents -- know that Jess, Claire, Ted and other neighbors will welcome her home with a November Christmas she'll always remember.

Back in the present day at the movie's end, we see how people's lives were impacted by the summer of 1995 - and how the "November Christmas" has never been forgotten by these two families and their friends.

Spoilers end here.

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