Happy Christmas in July! It's Day #29 of the Christmas in July party. All month long I'll be celebrating Christmas TV episodes, specials, and movies with a FUN IN THE SUN attitude. Expect a run of Christmas in July stories, tropical yuletides, and island themes. Just a little something different and a way for me to show off the diversity of holiday stories I've collected in the encyclopedia Tis the Season TV (the updated and expanded 2nd edition being released later this year).
Today's Christmas in July
discussion is on the 2020 Netflix comedy series How to Ruin Christmas: The Wedding set in South Africa. The short series is three episodes long. (Although there are hints there will be more installments in the future!)
In the first episode "It’s Not What It Looks Like," Tumi arrives back in her hometown to attend her sister Beauty’s Christmas wedding. Things are not off to a strong start when her mother and family are critical of everything Tumi says and does. But when she drunkenly sleeps with a member of the groom’s family on the night before her sister’s ceremony, Tumi has no one to blame but herself.
In the second episode "I'll Handle This," Tumi’s best friend Khaya wants to acknowledge their past history and shared feelings but Tumi isn’t ready. Beauty’s wedding is called off by both sides of the family and then reinstated. But Beauty can’t move forward until she asks her father to walk her down the isle--the same man who abandoned her as a child. Tumi supports her sister’s wish and accompanies her to their father’s home but the visit doesn’t go as imagined.
In the third episode "Can't a Girl Catch a Break," Tumi spills Beauty’s secret and the wedding is called off. On Christmas Eve, the bride’s family and the groom’s family must clean up their own problems. Eventually Dineo uses the spirit of the season to convince the groom’s family to embrace love and forgiveness. Everyone agrees that the wedding is back on.
The wedding ceremony itself is a melding of traditional and contemporary African culture, as well as Western and South African tradition.
The cast includes Busi Lurayi as Tumi Sello, Thando Thabethe as Beauty Sello, Yonda Thomas as best friend Khaya Manqele, Clementine Mosimane as Dineo Sello, Motlatsi Mafatshe as the best man Themba Twala, and Sandile Mahlangu as the groom Sbu Twala.
Viewers will have to wait until the third episode to see holiday decorations. This South African series isn't as saturated with Christmas content as a typical Hallmark movie yet it doesn't detract from the holiday story.
This was day #2 of Christmas stories set in Africa. Tomorrow's post will circle back to the start of our FUN IN THE SUN Christmas in July celebration.
Joanna Wilson is a TV researcher and book author specializing
in Christmas entertainment. More about the TV programs mentioned on this website can
be found in her book "Tis the Season TV: the Encyclopedia of Christmas-themed Episodes, Specials, and Made-for-TV Movies." Her latest book "Triple Dog Dare:
Watching--& Surviving--the 24-Hour Marathon of A Christmas Story"
was released in 2016. She is currently updating and expanding the
encyclopedia for a 2021 release. Her books can be found at the publisher's website:
*Support this website and its research by purchasing the books at 1701 press.com