‘Navigating Christmas’ Ending Explained & Summary: Do Melanie, Jason, And Peter Save The Lighthouse?

Our New Year’s resolution is to be as consistent as the Hallmark channel when it comes to spitting out the same repackaged Christmas movies every year. For those of us who are old and bored, Navigating Christmas has the added bonus of starring Chelsea Hobbs of ABC’s Make It Or Break It (if you watched that when it was airing, congratulations on feeling ancient). Of course, we were excited to see another broken white family trying to fix their problems through a Christmas vacation. Well, if you’re somewhat down in the mouth (welcome to the family), this is the perfect time to make things worse (or better, whichever you prefer) and watch these sappy films. 


Spoilers Ahead

What’s Going On With Melanie?

Recently divorced, Melanie is struggling to get through to her teenage boy, Jason, who blames her for the big breakup. To add insult to injury, Max, the ex-husband, plans on whisking the boy out to a ski-cation in Whistler with his new girlfriend, while Melanie has to spend the holiday all by herself (a dream, really). Melanie is also very uninterested in seeing anyone new because she’s quite stuck in the past. On the day Max is meant to take Jason, Melanie gets a call from him saying the trip is cancelled. It turns out his new girlfriend is 3 months pregnant, but Melanie doesn’t have the heart to tell Jason, who would be gutted to know that he’s so easily replaceable (kids, amirite?). Unable to bear the thought of Jason having a bad Christmas, especially with her, Melanie decides to book a last-minute Christmas holiday. She finds a St. Nicholas Island where guests are invited to vacation in a lighthouse (shady). Of course, she books the lighthouse for a week on a whim.


What’s The Big Scam?

Obviously, there’s something strange going on in this Christmas-obsessed town, and the big plot twist is that Melanie and Jason have to help decorate the lighthouse as a part of their stay there. It’s Melanie’s fault for not having checked the booking instructions, but Peter, the owner of the lighthouse, is not very hospitable either (imagine Luke from Gilmore Girls, but not as pleasant). Legend has it that years ago, there was heavy fog, and St. Nicholas, who was lost at sea, was guided to safety by the sudden appearance of the light of this same lighthouse. So now, it’s called the “North Star” (how adorable). While at first Melanie is absolutely against the idea of doing any chores, the story makes her change her mind a little bit. Plus, they’ve already booked the place, and she really hopes to make things (somewhat) right with her son. In the meantime, Jason is trying to cheat on a paper and has paid $25 to copy someone else’s work. Learning about this, Melanie decides to punish Jason by forcing him to do the Christmas chores with the additional bonus of making the townsfolk happy. 

Why Does Peter Help Melanie And Jason?

Peter learns about Melanie’s divorce and her struggle with Jason when she’s talking to the town softie Ruth. He decides to help them decorate the lighthouse, even though he’s allergic to Christmas. It can’t be a Christmas movie without romance, and of course, there’s plenty in the air with Melanie and Peter as well as puppy love for Jason and a girl named Sara. Christmas festivities ensue, and everyone has a blast at the pre-Christmas party. While things are getting better, Jason does miss his father, and he seems to like Peter. Jason is certain his father has forgotten about him, but Peter tries to convince him otherwise.


What’s Peter’s Secret?

Peter and his father didn’t have the best relationship back in the day. Seven years ago, when he passed, Peter had been terrible to him, and before Peter could make it back to apologize, he heard of his passing. Because it happened at the time of the Christmas festival, something Peter used to adore, he now hates the season and festivities. After spending time with Jason, he realizes he has to forgive himself at some point and starts to take things as they are, his feelings for Melanie included. However, amidst all the tidings of joy, there’s a massive secret Peter’s been keeping from the town. He’s been meaning to sell the lighthouse because his father left him with too many taxes and debts to pay. Peter tries to tell Melanie the truth, but they’re distracted by some townspeople inviting them to dance (this movie is too long for what it is). After all the trouble caused, since Jason is having such a wonderful time, he learns about Peter’s father, who was a great messiah amongst the people of the town and specifically anyone coming by sea. He decides to write his paper about the lighthouse, all thoughts of cheating erased.

Are Melanie And Peter Able To Save The Lighthouse?

Peter musters up the courage to tell Eric (a friend in the town) about the lighthouse. At this point, it’s already too late for anybody to help him (or so he thinks), but he’s realized he’s made a big mistake in wanting to sell it. The person interested in buying the place wants to demolish it and build a holiday condo or something (ew, who would want that?). The buyer turns up at the lighthouse on Christmas Eve to do an inspection, and this is when Melanie finds out about Peter selling the lighthouse. Obviously, this makes her mad (yeah, like this is her new holiday home; no arguments allowed), and the two of them have an infuriating fight. Melanie calls Peter dishonest, and he calls her a hypocrite because she hasn’t told her son about his father having another child. Sure, Peter, it’s Melanie’s place to tell Jason his father’s secret. As you can guess, Jason overhears this conversation and decides to run away.


Sara had previously shown him how to use her family boat but warned that winter is not the time to take it out. Jason escapes by the boat alone without telling anyone and not even leaving a note for his mom, something he’s never forgotten before. According to the legend, when St. Nicholas arrived at the lighthouse, he kissed a particular spot in front of the lighthouse as a thank-you for the miracle of finding shore. To this day, people kiss the spot (hygiene thrown out of the window), which supposedly gives people the “gift of divine direction”. Peter, who is a skeptic, suddenly has the urge to believe and kisses the spot.

Of course, it works, and Peter finds Jason, who is using the little Morse code that Peter taught him (how to spell Happy Holidays). A Christmas miracle! Jason apologizes to his mother, tells her how much he loves her, and then asks her to choose herself by going after Peter. Peter, on the other hand, is convincing the buyer that he’s not going to sell. Melanie intervenes, stating that she’ll be Peter’s business partner (this is when we learn that she has a knack for investments). In the end, Melanie and Peter end up together, and Christmas on St. Nicholas Island is saved forever!

Ruchika Bhat
Ruchika Bhat
Ruchika, or "Ru," is a fashion designer and stylist by day and a serial binge-watcher by night. She dabbles in writing when she has the chance and loves to entertain herself with reading, K-pop dancing, and the occasional hangout with friends.

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