Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Tired of being given nothing but "fluff" pieces, Rebecca Chandler (Jennie Garth), a reporter for the Indianapolis Sentinel, demands to write a story with some teeth in it. Unfortunately, her dyspeptic editor Bob Bolton (Victor Raider-Wexler) doesn't see things Rebecca's way, thus he dispatches the reluctant newshound to Hamden, Indiana, there to cover a sappy human-interest story about a mysterious "Secret Santa" who each Christmas bestows money and necessities upon a selected needy person. Not only does Rebecca hate the assignment, but she hates Hamden--especially since she was originally slated to have gone on a Hawaiian honeymoon with her ex-boyfriend. Thus, our heroine is hardly full of the Christmas spirit when she arrives in Hamden and is forced by the holiday tourist crunch to take a room in a nursing home where a fellow named Russell (Charlie Robinson), who has already managed to get on Rebecca's bad side, is the main helper-outer. Inevitably, Rebecca's cold heart is warmed up, not only by the looney but likeable Russell, but also by an unusually perceptive nursing-home resident named Miss Ruth (played by the great Barbara Billingsley). However, Rebecca still has a story to file, and she thinks that she has zeroed in on the elusive "Secret Santa", fingering local millionaire John Martin Carter (Steven Eckholt) as the most likely suspect. But even if Carter is the man in question, the townsfolk aren't about to help Rebecca expose their unknown benefactor--it seems that over the years they've come to believe in the Secret Santa, and they're not about to shatter their own illusions for the sake of a cheap headline! Adapted for television by Beth Polson and Robert Tate Miller from their own novel, Secret Santa first aired December 14, 2003, on NBC.
Christmas, editor, reporter, small-town