Olivia is a dedicated arborist for the University of Connecticut who is known as the tree whisperer. She’s also a major disappointment to her parents, who despite her shortcomings invite her to come home for Christmas anyway.
Olivia was supposed to get married over Christmas, but she called it off six months earlier. Not wanting to get grilled yet again by her taciturn parents, she searches for any excuse to avoid going home. When a hapless tree farmer calls her three weeks before Christmas to see if she can help figure out why all his trees turn brown a few days after being cut, she leaps at the chance to spend the holidays traipsing around the frigid woods of his farm instead of going home to her parents, who exude even less warmth than she’ll find in that frozen tundra.
Olivia’s GPS navigation system short circuits. She stops in the middle of a roundabout while she tries to figure out where she is and is promptly rear-ended by Jack, the aforementioned hapless tree farmer. He had spilled his coffee in his lap and wasn’t paying attention when the accident occurred, yet somehow blames it on Olivia.
Jack and Olivia overcome a start that is rockier than his farmland and get to work figuring out what is going on with his trees. Well, sort of. She spends most of her time taking in all the small-town charms of Avon, winning the design-your-own cider contest and charming all the townsfolk. While investigating his problem, she encourages Jack to diversify his crops, but he is hellbent on growing only trees and resents her meddling.
She figures out they are suffering from indigestion and concocts some colorful Alka Seltzer pills in her fancy lab at the university (now we know why tuition costs are sky-high). Her potion keeps the trees green a few days longer, meaning the town won’t become a living fire hazard until after Christmas.
A few plops and fizzes later, Jack’s trees are once again selling like hot cakes. Her work means the town will buy the official Christmas tree from his farm yet again, foiling the efforts of rival tree grower Duane, who somehow has a tree farm even though everyone in town hates him. Those people refused to buy trees from him even after Jack’s crop proved worthless.
Fueled by a jealous rage, Duane pays a couple of local ne’er-do-wells to poison Jack’s tree, but Olivia discovers their plan and saves the day with more of her magic potion.
Relationship update: Olivia cements her reputation as the tree whisperer, but when Jack follows her advice and plants a crop of tomatoes that wither on the vine the next summer, he dumps her.