Buddy: Lorraine wants me to come home for Christmas. She wants me to take your girls there.
Buddy (Ronny Cox) has just had a stroke, apparently, but he suffers no adverse effects. The brush with death makes him absolutely hell-bent to return to Trinity, the small mountain town where he and his wife, Lorraine, now deceased, raised their two daughters. As adults, the daughters are very dissimilar from one another – one the artsy type who takes care of their aging father (Tracey Needham) and the other a high-powered corporate type who avoids her remaining family as much as possible (Natasha Gregson Wagner). Apparently they’re so estranged that corporate one didn’t even invite artsy one to her wedding in Italy. When they arrive at their childhood home, they find it in dusty disrepair, making it evident that no one has been there in years. No matter, however, because a quick cleaning montage set to Xmas tunes brings it back into working order in no time.
They’ve only been home a few hours when strange things start happening… Beds get made, doilies get set out on tables, a pie is baked, coffee gets made, the exact after-school snack they used to have as kids is laid out. The daughters assume it’s their neighbor, Nellie Thompkins, hitting on their father, but there’s a strange familiarity to all of the happenings. And their father is acting bizarrely, talking to no one – no one visible, anyway – and seen walking hand in hand with a woman around the lake! They don’t assume it’s their mother because, well, she’s dead. But something magical is happening whether the cynical daughters like it or not.
If your mom had been dead for several years and she just appeared out of nowhere, you’d freak out, right? Even mean ol’ corporate sister has to crack emotionally in the face of that kind of stunner! Artsy-fartsy Sarah doesn’t take it as well at first, but blah blah blah, they get one last Christmas together.
Sarah: That is not our mother.
Beth: What are those?
Sarah: …those are mom’s cinnamon rolls.
Buddy is delighted, of course, but what’s he going to do when she has to go back to wherever she came from? Or does Ghost Mom get to stay forever and ever? You’ll have to watch this movie from 2004 to find out! It’s actually not the worst.