I Got High and Watched Tello’s Latest Lesbian Christmas Movie, “A Holiday I Do”

This piece contains spoilers for Tello’s A Holiday I Do.


I’m back with another high movie watch! In the past, I’ve gifted you my ramblings during lesbian cinema classic Elena Undone and hard-hitting documentary Saving the Gorillas: Ellen’s Next Adventure. This week, I’m here to ring in the Christmas spirit with Tello’s latest lesbian Christmas movie, A Holiday I Do.

If you’ve never heard of Tello, they’re the company that was doing lesbian Christmas movies back when inclusive Christmas was barely a twinkle in Hallmark’s homophobic eye. They may not have the biggest budgets, but I do think they deserve credit for being there first when more mainstream markets were still choosing bigotry.

That is about all the hard-hitting cultural analysis you’ll be receiving in this review, because, again, I watched this film while delightfully stoned. Instead get ready for lots of confusion over simple plot points, lots of Christmas spirit, and lots of lusting over Rivkah Reyes.


(I couldn’t remember A Holiday I Do so I titled my Google doc: Marry Me a Little Christmas Time I Do)

We open on rainbow decorations at a lesbian bar. I am in.

I’m struggling to take notes and eat ice cream so pausing in this lesbian bar. I’m eating Ava DuVernay’s Ben & Jerry’s flavor?? Lights, Caramel, Action! Vanilla ice cream, caramel swirl, graham cracker swirl, and chocolate chip cookie dough. People asked me last time to be more thorough in explaining my weed strain but I’m clearly more qualified to discuss ice cream flavors. (I ate a hybrid 10mg cherry-flavored gummy.)

Back to the movie!

Who is this blonde woman? Why does she look so familiar? She is Jane. But like who is the actress?

All Gender Restroom sign. Tello said no TERFs.

SHE RUNS HER FAMILY’S HORSE FARM.

A Holiday I Do: Lindsay Hicks in a sweatshirt and a beanie pets the noses of two horses as the sun rises.

Finally some Christmas movie representation for the lesbian horse girls.

Why is there a little girl here telling her to get married? I thought it was her younger self but it might be a sister? Or the sister of her best friend?

I can’t believe she is a full horse girl.

Horse Girl is on the phone with a stripper? Is this her love interest?

This is like an avant-garde film. I will not explain.

I love a movie that makes you think: they sure did put a camera there to film actors on a set.

OMG SHE’S IN SUICIDE KALE HORSE GIRL IS IN SUICIDE KALE LINDSAY HICKS

Omg Horse Girl’s dad died :(

Oh so the lesbian was married to Mark and Mark is getting remarried and Mark and Horse Girl are now best friends (platonic) and the little girl is their daughter.

Wait, is Horse Girl going to steal Mark’s fiancée?? Kind of like Gray Matters without the incest.

Is the “daughter” Lexi a trans guy? I’m getting vibes.

They keep making horse metaphors.

Grandma is mad they’re buying cupcakes with penises on them instead of asking her to make nice cupcakes.

The Givens boys. Who are these boys? The Givens Boys.

Oh is THIS the love interest? The Givens Boys’ sister? The Givens Girl. But she looks like a teenager?? And what was the scene with the stripper for? Givens Girl really seems way too young for Horse Girl. Wait Horse Girl was Givens Girls’ babysitter?? That is fucked up?? A Groomer I Do.

My girlfriend Elise is telling me Givens Girl is NOT the love interest. It’s just a sweet subplot and this is NOT that kind of movie. (But you should watch May December from Todd Haynes, the director of Carol.)

A teen girl in a Santa hat and and a blue and white sweater smiles.

(Very Carol voice) “I like the hat.”

Horse Girl almost drove over someone? Is THAT the love interest? She was age appropriate.

Santa is here. Is Santa the love interest??

The kid is talking to Santa about self-expression. I think Lexi is transmasc and is going to change their name to Lex.

Omg Rivkah Reyes!! THEY are the love interest. Thank God.

Oh they’re really elevating this. Okay here we go now we’re cooking.

Rivkah’s name is Sue!!

A Holiday I Do: A close up of Rivkah Reyes in a grey coat looking at Lindsay Hicks.

They could save my Christmas any year.

Oh sorry it was boob cupcakes not penis cupcakes Mark is a straight man.

New wife hates Horse Girl. This is uncomfortable.

Oh there’s a scene happening. This is so wild. This is experimental art. This strip club scene is really wow.

Oh no! Grandma turned the boob cupcakes into Santa cupcakes! She thought they were unfinished so she turned the boobs into Santa! They’re gonna taste so good now! She made them with love!

What a wonderful dynamic of lesbian and ex husband/best friend. That should be in more movies.

I wonder if they’re going to have sex and then they’ll be like that was just for nostalgia. What movie was that? I feel like lesbians in movies are always having sex one time with their exes for nostalgia no matter their gender.

She’s saying they can’t be best friends anymore? Because it’s not fair to Heather?? This is so toxic??

WHAT IS HAPPENING

Who is this woman in the community bank??

Omg Rivkah is Mark’s… wedding planner?

Oh right the horses.

I like that this movie has a lot of side characters and subplots. Remember the Givens family??

A teenage boy and a teenage girl wearing festive clothes sit next to each other at a dinner table.

“Our last name is Givens because we’re given this movie some fun subplots.”

There is score under all the movie but it doesn’t change. It’s very experimental.

Are the grandma and the community bank manager lovers? I’m confused.

Elise is telling me that the bank manager is there because Horse Girl and Grandma are going to lose their farm.

“I keep running into this woman.” Babe you ran into her twice.

I like that they’re letting Lindsay Hicks improv.

Why is her towel so gay?

I like the evil fiancée Heather.

A man in a dark coat and scarf looks at a woman in a light coat and scarf who is talking to someone off camera.

“I’m being mean to you because I wish we could make out.”

Wedding Planner just said: “We have a long way to go for representation of crossgender platonic relationships.”

Rivkah is so hot.

Elise thinks Lex(i) is a ghost because of how she pops up in scenes

Wedding Planner is horny seeing Horse Girl in a dress. There is something about a soft femme tomboy wearing a dress for a special occasion. A very hot archetype. (Archetype isn’t the right word but you know what I mean.)

Why do they talk to the Elf on the Shelf like he’ll talk back and why do they call him Shirley??

Sue! Wedding Planner’s name is Sue and Horse Girl is Jane. Maybe I already said that.

Givens Girl is back! She works at the coffee shop.

A Holiday I Do is kind of like Short Cuts (1993).

I would kill for a hot drink

Sue just said roses are their favorite flower?? Rivkah is SELLING this though. Act. Ing.

Heather’s parents’ flight is delayed so our main lovers are stuck together. Givens Girl is here to pitch yoga to the lovers?

Sue is doing yoga and it’s hot.

Wow Rivkah really said I will be stealing hearts like the Grinch stole Christmas.

“I would have such sex with them” – Elise

They’re stuck in the car!! Mark and Heather and Lexi (who I think is transmasc and Elise thinks is a ghost). This is just like a Stephen King story. If a big dog started clawing at the car it would be like snow Cujo. Cujo 2: Arctic Frost.

Not quite sure why there are all these Lynchian subplots in A Holiday I Do but the main love interests are hot and good together I am pleased.

Grandma is talking to the elf again! It’s so scary!! Early season Christmas movie means Halloween just ended so it feels like this could get murdery. It was the Elf, on the shelf, with a knife.

An old woman sits at a table and looks at a small stuffed elf.

“Oh Shirley. Who will you murder today?”

There’s a fine dining scene. I guess planning a wedding is just going around and doing fun little tastings of things. How nice. I do think I want to get married someday. Not a big wedding but something cute.

They cut to our trio in a hotel room? So not trapped in the car? No Cujo 2: The Abominable Snowdog.

There’s sad body image stuff happening. Or maybe it’s inspiring? She’s eating the burger now! Oh maybe this girl isn’t transmasc just a cis girl learning to accept her body?

Wait Jane was a lawyer? She dropped out of law school when she got pregnant. That sucks. I wish she was running her family’s horse farm AS A PASSION, not because she’s stuck. Oh this horse farm is not doing well, she’s not doing a good job running it. Because it’s not her passion!!

The main plot of this is so good. Them having to do these pre-wedding things together. Gold.

Lindsay Hicks and Rivkah Reyes make eyes at each other in a horse drawn carriage.

Chemistry!

Grandma believes in miracles !

We’re going tobogganing! Tobogganing scene !!!! Oh baby baby

I’m self conscious about how many notes I’m writing

Elise is telling me the grandma is a witch?? I missed that?

Oh this scene is just like Mulholland Drive

Elise hasn’t seen Mulholland Drive !!!!!

Double feature?? Elise said YES OH MY GOD

I’m so excited.

But if Jane had known she was a lesbian then she wouldn’t have had her daughter Lexi. I wrote an essay about that.

I like the hijinks more than the sappy moments personally.

The almost kiss! Interrupted!

A Holiday I Do: Lindsay Hicks and Rivkah Reyes almost kiss

“No! Stop! If you kiss there you’ll be legally married!”

THE WEDDING VENUE WAS DOUBLE BOOKED !!!!! To the Mendelsteins?? I hope the Mendelsteins are two Jewish lesbians. The one is taking the other’s name because she isn’t on good terms with her family. Who will let me write the Mendelsteins spinoff movie??

Sue is saying the double booking happened because they got distracted with love???

“What are we going to do? Have it in a barn?” OMG THEYRE GOING TO HAVE IT IN THE BARN

I want spiked eggnog so bad right now

A lot of emotional stuff happened but what matters most is they turned the barn into a wedding venue.

A thing about me is I like wedding-related porn scenes and I’m not totally sure why.

The wedding has been a success. A holiday “I Do” indeed.

They’re going to use the barn for Bat Mitzvahs! Somebody call the Mendelsteins!

The bank manager is giving the grandma $10,000?? For nothing?? Of her own money?? They didn’t even turn out to be lovers and the grandma didn’t even turn out to be a witch!

Why was the end kiss so short??

I am feeling the Christmas spirit and I am delighted. But I do think they should have made out after all that.

Time to watch Mulholland Drive!!

(Note: It was very late and we did not end up watching Mulholland Drive.)

A old woman talks on a landline while leaning against a wooden wall.

“Silencio.”


A Holiday I Do is now available to stream on Tello

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Drew Burnett Gregory

Drew is a Brooklyn-based writer, filmmaker, and theatremaker. She is a Senior Editor at Autostraddle with a focus in film and television, sex and dating, and politics. Her writing can also be found at Bright Wall/Dark Room, Cosmopolitan UK, Refinery29, Into, them, and Knock LA. She was a 2022 Outfest Screenwriting Lab Notable Writer and a 2023 Lambda Literary Screenwriting Fellow. She is currently working on a million film and TV projects mostly about queer trans women. Find her on Twitter and Instagram.

Drew Burnett has written 536 articles for us.

16 Comments

  1. I had a great time here and I want to watch Cujo 2: Arctic Frost. ALSO. as someone who didn’t grow up with it (not a UK thing) can we all acknowledge how elf on the shelf is the most horrifying thing ever, conceptually. Panopticon!

  2. A Gummy Bear XMas ! This is a High Holiday tradition I can get behind.

    These reviews are simply amazing and I appreciate the tang-team banter.

    Also, I saw what you did there with the feature image, chef’s (near) kiss.

  3. Aaaiiiiii!!! I’m the screenwriter of this film and this is in fact the best review I have encountered (for any film) thus far. You have a new HUGE fan. 🌈🪴🍿Thanks for the love. (PS: Cujo: Arctic Encounter is now on my to-do list. ❄️🐾)

  4. Loved this! My partner and I watched this high and then read your review high and it was perfect. Is it just me or did mean bride and horse girl have great chemistry when mean bride (Heather)was getting dressed for the wedding?

  5. After seeing the post for this review on insta, my friend and I decided to watch it high as well and then read the review. UM, how could you leave out the Givens’ dad?! And the dinner scene omg. We were convinced the dad was a vintage animatronic character from Chucky Cheese’s circa 1990s. Thank you for inspiring a hilarious evening full of laughs and “wtf is happening” moments.

  6. Honestly I’m a sucker for cheesy sapphic holiday romcoms so I love Tello so much. If you haven’t watched it already, check out Season of Love too. It’s my annual holiday tradition <3

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