Review | Need to get in the holiday spirit? Try ‘Holiday Home Makeover with Mr. Christmas’

Want to feel like your holiday decor is deeply inadequate? This is just the show for you.


Photo courtesy of Netflix

I’m a simple woman. I love Christmas; I love home renovation shows and I always have the overwhelming desire to DIY something fun. So when I saw “Holiday Home Makeover with Mr. Christmas” on my Netflix homepage, I clicked play immediately.

If you could guess from my opening paragraph, “Holiday Home Makeover with Mr. Christmas” is about a man named Benjamin Bradley (affectionately known as Mr. Christmas) and his team of “elves” who travel all over the country decorating people’s houses for Christmas and spreading holiday cheer. With only four episodes out, I finished the season in one night while at home for Thanksgiving.

“Holiday Home Makeover with Mr. Christmas” is a mix of “Fixer Upper,” “Queer Eye” and “The Great Christmas Light Fight”. 

In the first episode, Mr. Christmas and the elves, who are just DIY experts with green aprons on, meet a couple who want to host Christmas for the first time in their new family home. For this case, Mr. Christmas has very little to do, as the family has already renovated the entire house. All he did was throw a Christmas tree up, hot glue some peppermints to a cone-shaped piece of styrofoam, and help paint some scary-looking reindeers for the outside. 

Mr. Christmas is by far the star of the show, so much so that the elves (who do most of the work) have few personality traits. Rosie is the youngest elf and she’s bubbly, obsessed with Christmas, and constantly breaking ornaments or decorations. Then, there’s Louise and Barb, who are two older women known for being grandmotherly and loving decor. Lastly, Chris is the “builder elf”, which means that he stands outside in the cold and drills holes into the exterior to put up wreaths. 

Mr. Christmas himself is actually not that interesting. He’s just a man who loves Christmas, has a dog named Ebenezer and likes telling people what to do. 

Unlike lots of home renovation shows, Mr. Christmas only helps families who don’t really need help. Most of the families (except for the fire station in episode two) live in very nice, already renovated houses and have nice furniture and curated rooms. This consistency makes the show a little boring because Christmas decorations aren’t really anything that anyone needs. In other shows, the people receiving the help have their lives drastically changed by the TV show. In “Holiday Home Makeover with Mr. Christmas,” Mr. Christmas comes in and slaps some holiday lights everywhere, buys ten Christmas trees for the family, and they all love it. Roll credits.

However, the show does have some emotional and memorable parts. Episode two centers around a fire station that needs some holiday cheer after their fire chief, who was in charge of Christmas decorations, suddenly dies of cancer. Unlike any of the other episodes, the holiday decorating benefits the whole town, who all come and see the final product. One of the ending shots is of Mr. Christmas hugging the fire chief’s crying widow.

In this episode and this episode alone, it seems like Mr. Christmas might be doing some actual good for the world. In all of the other episodes, it just seems like he helps rich people decorate their already beautiful homes.

In episode three, Mr. Christmas and the elves visit an Italian American family who live in a literal mansion and already have a buttload of Christmas decorations. Their problem is that one of the daughters is marrying a man in the army so she’ll probably be deployed when next Christmas comes, making this Christmas her last at home.

While this episode is abundantly over-the-top, it defines Mr. Christmas’s decorating methods. For this family, he runs with the Italian American theme, decorating the entire kitchen with Italian food and art in a bid to personalize the Christmas experience. However, instead it comes across as gaudy and ridiculous because he’s using lemons to decorate for Christmas.

Also in this episode, one of the daughters requests a winter wonderland theme in the foyer. What does Mr. Christmas do? He puts loose fake snow on the wooden staircase in a magnificent display of a slipping hazard. When he first shows the family, the mother’s mouth drops as I imagine she’s thinking about the fake snow that’s going to get tracked all over her house.

While episode three is the worst in my opinion, episode four has the potential to be super cool but all is wasted when Mr. Christmas comes into the picture.

In episode four, Mr. Christmas and the gang visit a Jewish family who celebrate both Christmas and Hanukkah because of the parent’s differing religious backgrounds. Although the mother tries to tell Mr. Christmas that she doesn’t want too many Christmas-themed decorations in the house, Mr. Christmas puts up more than three Christmas trees and uses the color red to decorate the entire house, both inside and outside. The only remnants of the Jewish faith is the menorah left in the window and a blue and silver tablecloth on the dining room table.

The show wants you to think that it prefers DIY-ing over consumerism. Throughout the forty-minute episodes, Mr. Christmas himself gives DIY crafts and tips, making the family DIY ornaments, trees, and more in the name of saving a penny or two. However, at the end of the episode when they reveal the newly decorated house, it’s so over-the-top and features mostly bought items rather than DIY. In fact, it turns the houses into a consumer capitalist’s dream.

When we finished the show, my mom and I were overwhelmingly in the holiday mood and we decorated the mantle, the TV stand, and put a wreath on our door in a Mr. Christmas-inspired haze. “Holiday Home Makeover with Mr. Christmas” is the perfect ad for all things consumer Christmas. It’ll have you looking at the garlands and wreaths on your last-minute grocery store trip, wondering if they’d fit in your house.

To be clear, “Holiday Home Makeover with Mr. Christmas” is boring. However, it is one of those shows that you can watch while doing homework or online holiday shopping because it requires very little brain power to watch. 

You won’t regret watching “Holiday Home Makeover with Mr. Christmas” but you will end the show wondering what you just did for the last four hours or so. If anything, it’ll jumpstart a holiday mood but don’t expect to learn anything about holiday decorating. You’ll come away with just as much knowledge as you started with.