The Christmas Candle, set in the fictional English village of Gladbury and billed as "a timeless holiday film for the entire family," attracted widespread critical scorn as well as dismal box-office results, having grossed just over $1.6m (£988,000) after two weeks on release.
The bad reviews were perhaps predictable, with the New York Daily News saying: "This odd Dickens-meets-Sunday-school movie is as artless as the setup is muddled", while the New York Post judged: "This throwback, made-for-TV-style film takes the easy way out in a cheesy climax, but its resolute quaintness may appeal to the kind of viewers who regard electricity as disturbingly newfangled." The Arizona Republic called it "resolutely stiff and hollow." Former presidential candidate Santorum, who took to the media shortly before the film's release to lambast Hollywood as "the devil's playground" will presumably find it easy to shrug off critical brickbats; less easy to swallow will be the ignominious box office results.
Flipping the Holiday Switch – Nicolas Rapold (New York Times, November 21, 2013).
The Christmas Candle Review – Peter Sobczynski (Roger Ebert.com, November 23, 2013).
Also, it should be noted that the criticisms have been leveled at the film's storytelling (described as hammy by one reviewer), and not at its cast. At the end of that post I shared something of a retrospective of Hans' career.