Ashley is a love-scarred knitter desperate to get home to Seattle for Christmas. She misses her plane after a freak snowstorm grounds all air traffic and decides to rent a car, but a dashing man dashes in front of her in line and snags the last rental car at the airport.
Dash Sutherland is also traveling to Seattle and offers to let her tag along if she’ll pay for gas. He’s also an undercover agent who’s been assigned to follow Ashley because the Feds believe she’s a foreign spy.
Ashley mulls it over and agrees. What woman wouldn’t hop into a car with a stranger for an 18-hour drive that will involve an overnight stay somewhere?
Dash and Ashley (Dashley?) appear to be in no hurry and make several stops. Like any good G-Man, Dash subtly digs into Ashley’s background and discovers she had been the victim of identity theft. He realizes the person who stole her identity is the suspect the Feds are after and alerts his superiors to call off the chase. They don’t buy his cockamamie story and order him to stay on top of Ashley.
Dashley stops at a small town for the night, but the Inn only has one available room (that’s one more than they had for the Baby Jesus, so Dash considers himself lucky). After dinner and dancing, they retreat to the hotel, where Dash comes clean and tells her he’s an undercover FBI agent. Unfortunately, Ashley has fallen asleep and doesn’t hear his mea culpa.
Since he couldn’t unburden himself to Ashley, the next day he unloads on a street corner Santa Claus, who peers into Dash’s soul and discovers he’s in love.
Alone in the car with Ashley again with plenty of time to kill, Dash still can’t bring himself to reveal his true feelings for her. When she stops to deliver some gifts to a friend, the Feds swarm Ashley and haul her away as Dash stammers an apology.
After being released, Ashley heads home to her mother and mopes around the house. Mom drags her to the Christmas festival, but even seeing the town Christmas tree come to life doesn’t cheer her up. It only serves to remind her of her dead father. That, and the fact that everyone in town comes up to her and tells her Christmas just isn’t the same without her old man and his tractor.
Unable to stop thinking about Ashley, Dash hurries to Seattle, hotwires a tractor festooned with Christmas lights and drives it up main street in search of Ashley. They express their love for each other and chug out of town at five miles per hour.
Dead parent alert: Dashley’s father bought the farm recently for reasons unknown.
Actual line of dialogue: “I never even got to convince her that I believe in Santa Claus.”
Relationship update: Dash quits the Bureau to help Ashley start her fledgling crafts business.
For my hot takes on Hallmark Channel movies, follow me on twitter at @tv_xmasmoviefan. I try to live tweet as many as I can.