Christmas at the Palace (2018) Script

["Joy to the World" playing]


Keep your arms up. Don't forget to smile.

Nathan, you're still recovering. Don't do the triple axel.

Yeah, I won't, I promise.

Have an ice pack ready. He's gonna try the triple axel.

-Get the ice. -Perfect spiral.

-You were amazing! -[laughs]

You know, I got a little emotional out there, thinking that this is our second-last show ever.

You're not second-guessing leaving the tour, are you?

No, no, I'm not. I'm so excited.

We're finally gonna do it-- buy an ice rink, start our own training center.

And after four years on tour, finally be home.

Be in the same place for more than two days, have a real Christmas.

-What's a real Christmas? -[chuckles] I forget.

Something that's not in a hotel or on a tarmac.


I'm gonna get a tree from the Miller's farm and take all my Christmas decorations out of storage.

I'll decorate the house exactly like my mom used to.


I can't wait to finally be home.

Me too.

We should finish packing.

We have to be at the airport at five.

Where are we going again? Santa...

San Senova.

San Senova, right.


Tiny country, big tourist destination.

I hope it's nice.

It'll be great.

-Thank you, Dawson. -Sir.

[Nicholas] Your Majesty.

Nicholas, you've spent the last 30 years as my best friend calling me "Alex."


That's when you didn't use more colorful names.

Would you prefer one of the more colorful names?


Thank you, Paul.

...the west wing, extensively refurbished by the late Christmas King and--

-Oh, sir, I'm so sorry. -[cameras clicking]

Didn't we discuss keeping the tourists to the east wing?

I'll inquire about it again, sir.

Where did that come from?

Uh, Princess Christina requested that it be placed in here.

Why do I somehow think that that relates to this?

How is my father the Christmas King, and I'm the Grinch King?

Well, your father founded the Christmas Market, and the caroling concert, and the holiday benefit for the community center, while you, when asked by the press about your feelings towards Christmas, remarked that it's "good for the economy."

It is good for the economy.

Alex, it's your third Christmas as king of a country founded around the holiday, and you're yet to show any Christmas cheer.

I know that Christmas can be a hard time for you, but--

It's not hard. Look, I'm just busy.

Look who's here.

I can see that I've walked in on something.

-Hello, Aunt Patricia. -[chuckles]

The princess is wondering if you'll be having dinner together tonight.

You've got your meet-and-greet with the dignitaries this evening.

Can it be moved?

It's already been rescheduled twice.

Tell her I'll do my best.

This place is like a storybook come to life.

Yes, one where my fairy godmother gives me a cute boy and some mistletoe.

[both chuckle]

They really love Christmas here.

According to this, this country was founded on Christmas Eve.

There are nonstop holiday events, traditions.

There's even a tour of a decorated palace.

Unfortunately, it's during our show time.

There is a Christmas Market we can visit.

Ooh, perfect. I knew I left my Christmas shopping till the last minute for a reason.

-[laughs] -[horse whinnies]

[man] Excuse me, ma'am, is this dog yours?

[woman] Oh, no, right. I'm so sorry.

-I turn around for one second-- -[man] Oh, no, no. It's fine.


I'm so sorry about dinner.

Tomorrow night, I promise.

How was your skating lesson?

I'm learning a spiral.

A spiral! Marvelous.

Perhaps I can come down tomorrow and watch you practice.

It's getting late. It's time for sleep.

But I haven't finished my movie.

A Christmas movie.

Well, let me guess how it ends, as there is only one fitting ending for a Christmas story.

The tree is lit, the mistletoe is kissed under, and a merry Christmas is had by all, and to all a good night.

I love you, Tina-bear.

I love you too.

Daddy, it doesn't matter what anyone says.

You're not a Grinch.

Good night, Christina.

[door closes]

["Deck the Halls" playing over P.A.]

It does. Looks happy.

There's nothing to worry about.

You know, you'll make your speech opening Christmas Market, shake some hands, wish some Merry Christmases.

It'll be good.

Yeah, it'll be great.

It's a chance to connect with the people and... move past this whole Grinch King business.

Who knows? After today, I might be known as the second Christmas King.

All right, you'll do great.

Just, um, you know, be yourself and, uh... you know, speak from the heart.

Just not sure I can do both.

Well, then, um, just stick to the speech.

All right? I'll go speak to the press.


It's so magical. Look at these decorations.

This is so cute.

We should get it as a souvenir.

It can be a good luck charm for our skating arena.

Oh, by the way, I spoke to a real estate agency this morning.

They're gonna start looking for rinks for us.

-That's great. -Yeah. [laughs]

You should go get warmed up for the show.

I'll buy this. I'll meet you there.

Sounds good. I'll see you soon. [chuckles]

-Oh, sorry. -I'm so sorry.

[bell tolling]


No. "Christmas honor."

"Honor Christmas.

Honor it with all my heart."


-I'm-- -[gasps]

-I must apologize. -No, I'm sorry.

I didn't see anyone hiding there.

Well, I wasn't hiding.

Right, of course.

I mean, it kinda looked like you were hiding.

Really? And from whom would I be hiding?

I don't know, the Christmas crowds?

Hiding from Christmas.

If only that was an option.

[laughs] I take it you're not a fan of the holiday.

Oh, no, no, I am a fan.

Big fan. The biggest.

I honor Christmas with all my heart and... and...

And try to keep for all the year?

Yes, that.


That was very believable.

Well, it was believable because it's the truth.

Blessed is the season where--

Which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love.

I knew it was something to do with conspiracy.

What are you, some sort of Christmas quote book?

I just like Christmas. [chuckles]

So I see.

Well, whatever you're doing, good luck.

Hope you find your Christmas cheer.

Thank you, and I don't need to find it because, well, I'm brimming with it.

Behold. Christmas waves a magic wand across the world and makes everything more beautiful.

-Good luck. -Well, I don't need luck.

[Katie giggles]

Okay, it's time.

I told the press you'd do a quick photo op before the speech, -Are you good? -Yes.

Great. Okay, I'll see you on there.

Hi. Excuse me. Excuse me.

[announcer] Ladies and gentlemen, King Alexander of San Senova.


[microphone feedback]


-[crash] -Ooh.

-Merry Christmas. -[sighs]

[Katie] Good luck.

You're gonna be great. It's gonna be great.

It's our last show.

It's a good thing. We're finally going home.

I know. You're right.

[laughs] We'll have stability.

-Yes. Yes. -We'll plant roots.

And we can finally see some friends.

Yes, and maybe even start dating again.

I think the curtain's going up.

Yeah, of course you do.

-Good luck. -Thank you.

["O Come All Ye Faithful" playing]

-He was covered in plum pudding! -[laughter]

Are you excited about the show?


Well, I've got a little surprise for you.

How about after the show we'll go around and meet the skaters?

-Really? -Yes.


[holiday music plays]


[all] Cheers!


We did it!


Thank you.

That was so good.

-You were beautiful, as always. -Thank you.

Excuse me. Hello, are you by any chance--

[gasps] Katie Hendricks!

[laughs] I am.

-You must be Princess Patricia. -How do you do?

Thank you so much for inviting us backstage.

Of course. And you must be Princess Christina.

Just Christina.

This is the talented Jessica Lewis.

Lovely to meet you.

[Jessica] Wonderful to meet you.

-Wonderful show. -Thank you so much.

-It's so nice to meet you. -It's nice to meet you.

Should we curtsy?

[Christina] I can't believe I'm meeting you.

You're a three-time world champion.

Didn't you almost go to the Olympics?


But you weren't in the show.

Did you stop skating?

I did. I just choreograph now.

Oh, and by that, she means choreograph, train, and constantly put out fires. [laughs]

Jessica, I'm a huge fan. I love your routines.

[Jessica] Oh, thank you!

I hear you're being coached. Learning any new tricks?

-A spiral. -Wow!

Well, pro tip: A good spiral's all about a great banana position.

Could you show me? I have a rink at the palace.

You have a rink at the palace. [laughs] Wow.

We could skate. I could give you a tour.

Well, we were sad that we missed the public tours.

Well, then you must come visit us.

This afternoon?

-Yeah, that would be great. -Lovely!

[both] Thank you.

[Patricia] This is San Senova's first royal family.

That painting is almost 500 years old.

[Jessica] I actually think I have that dress.

And this is exactly like our apartment.

-[laughter] -Really? Where do you live?

New Jersey.

New Jersey.

Excuse me. Where's your ladies' room?

Oh, it's up the stairs to the right, third door on the left.


Third door on the left.


You. Uh, what are you doing here?

Oh, you're on a tour.

Yeah, I got a little lost. What are you doing here?

Um, well, I-- Well, I work here.

You work in the palace, like for the king?

Something like that.

The king. Cool. [laughs]

What's he like?

Um, magnanimous and beloved.

That sort of thing.

Well, I'm sure it's amazing to work in this palace.

It's gorgeous.

Although between you and me, I think it could do with a few extra Christmas decorations.

'Course you would.

Well, I think it's just perfect as it is.

Of course you do.

So can I help with where you're headed?

Thanks, but I'm good.

Of course you are.

[door closes]

Oh, there you are.

-Sorry. I got lost. -Oh, no need to apologize.

I've lived here my entire life, and I still get lost.

Now, Christina and Jessica are at the rink, so I'll take us.



-I know. -[Katie chuckles]


[Katie laughs]

Christina, this is amazing.

Do you ever put on shows here?

[Christina] No.

Well, actually, my grandpa did want to host a show here.

An ice skating pageant for Founder's Day.

[owl hooting]

-Daddy. -I'm sorry I missed dinner.

That's fine, but I have a question.


Um, do you remember how Grandpa used to talk about hosting an ice skating pageant for Founder's Day?

Yes, the retelling of how San Senova was founded.

Well, what if we hosted it?

That's a marvelous idea.

We'll start planning after Christmas.

No, not for next Founder's Day.

For this Founder's Day.

Christina, Founder's Day is on Christmas Eve, and that's two weeks away.

A pageant would be a massive production.

But the figure skating stars are here.

Katie and Jessica came to the rink today. They could do it.

And I'll inquire with them for next Founder's Day.

But, Daddy, then you'll be the Grinch King for a whole year, and that's not who you are, and everyone should know that.

[sighs] Tina-bear...

I'll talk to this Katie and Jessica, all right?


Good night, Tina-bear. I love you.

I love you too, Daddy.

[door closes]

[Katie] Bye.

[Jessica] Bye. Merry Christmas.

Miss Hendricks, Miss...


The king has requested a word with you at the palace.

-We have to catch our flight. -Don't worry.

We'll make sure it doesn't leave without you.

Do you think we're somehow in trouble?

Uh, if this is the dungeon, lock me up.


I can't believe we're going to meet the king.

Let's just be on our best behavior.

What, me?

Let's just not offend anyone or break anything.


Sorry. [laughs]

Sorry to keep you waiting.

-You? -[Katie] You?

What are you doing here?

I'm meeting the...


[chuckles] You're the king.

Should we curtsy?

So you're the Katie and Jessica that Christina's spoken so highly of.

I'm Katie, and this is Jessica.

-Sorry. -[chuckles]

Well, nice to see you again.

Shall we get to the business at hand?

So my daughter has gotten an idea to host an ice-skated retelling of our country's founding.

It'll be performed on Founder's Day, which is Christmas Eve, and it's 13 days from now.

Wow. That's ambitious.

I think so too.

She would love you both to star in it, choreograph, and coach.

Look, I know it's a tall order, but I promised my daughter I'd ask.

However, I understand how highly illogical and quite impossible it all could be.

-We'll do it. -No.

I'm sorry, we can't.

Well, what's your final answer?

-Yes. -No.

Skating in a pageant in a palace.

I mean, that's a once-in- a-lifetime opportunity.

To put on a pageant in 13 days?

Plus, we said we'd be home for Christmas this year.

Yeah, but San Senova's like walking into a snow globe.

I mean, what could be better than that?

Being home.

Ladies, if you've decided to leave, then a car is waiting to take you to the airport.

However, if you're still considering, the Crown's offer for your services.

If you need some more time, I can simply reschedule your flight to leave tomorrow.

Oh, we've already checked out of our hotel.

Since you're in San Senova, you should be a guest of the Crown.


You mean we'd be staying here?

I wouldn't get too excited.

Gets quite drafty.


-He is so cute. -[both laugh]

Oh, come on! Don't you wanna stay at a palace?

No! I wanna stay in my own bed.

And there's nothing that's gonna make me wanna change my mind.


What about this?

That's a very generous offer.

Katie, this is the money that we need for the ice rink.

What exactly does the pageant entail?

I'll go find out.

So did our guests reach a decision?

They're still considering, sir.

What is there to consider? It's a ludicrous concept.

-Produce a pageant in two weeks. -13 days.

To say no now would disappoint Christina, but the show going awry would be a much bigger disappointment.

I just know how much this means to her.

I know you want to protect her, but what if the show didn't go awry?

-Oh! Sorry. -Oh, sorry.

Uh, I was just looking for Christina and Patricia.

Oh, well, I can show you. Follow me.

Okay, thanks.

So have you guys decided whether you're gonna stay or not?

Uh, not yet, no, but I'm hoping for yes.

Yeah, me too.

It'd be nice to have you as a houseguest.

-Yeah, follow me. This way. -[Jessica] Thanks.

[door opens]

Have you decided to stay?

Not quite yet. We were hoping to find out a little bit more about your vision for the pageant, about the stories that we'd be telling, something like that.

[Patricia] Originally, San Senova wasn't a kingdom, but it was a large estate of a wealthy family:

William, Catherine, and their daughter Sonia.

Should we sit down?


Well, about 500 years ago, there was a terrible avalanche in the kingdom across the lake.

It destroyed a village, and all the villagers had to flee their homes.

So when William found out about this, he set off with a team on horseback to rescue them.

Well, when they hadn't returned after several days, Catherine and Sonia, who was about Christina's age, decided to set off and find them.

And Sonia and Catherine skated across the frozen lake to find William and the villagers snowed in, and then they brought them to the safety of San Senova.

[Patricia] Where they all celebrated Christmas together.

And they stayed through the winter, and in spring, they didn't want to leave, so they declared our family the royal family, and that is how the kingdom of San Senova was born.


That's such a beautiful story.

-Isn't it? -It is.

That's the story we tell in the pageant.

And then maybe the pageant would be a new Christmas tradition my dad gives the country.

And then everyone would stop calling him the Grinch King because he's not a Grinch at all.

He's not who people think he is.

He's funny and nice and the best dad, and everyone should know that.

And maybe the pageant could remind him how much he loves Christmas, and then he'll do Christmas stuff.

You don't do Christmas stuff?

[Patricia] In the past few years, the palace's Christmas festivities have been, well, more for formality's sake.

Photo ops and a very stuffy traditional Christmas Eve dinner.

You don't decorate a Christmas tree or bake Christmas cookies?

We used to do that with my grandfather.

Come on.

See? Christina just wants a real Christmas, like somebody else I know.

[both chuckle]



...with plum pudding all over his face!


Girls, we're having a formal dinner tonight for the visiting dignitaries, so we've put some dresses in your rooms.

Wow! Thank you!

Your Madam.

Good day, Madam.

[squealing] Can we stay here forever?

No, but we can stay until the pageant.



[classical music plays]

We should put that into our currency.

[indistinct chatter]

-[woman] The groat. -The groat.

It'll be amazing.

I can certainly speak to the chancellor.


You look... different.

Thank you.

So I heard you're staying for the pageant.

I hope you don't mind me asking, what made you change your mind?

Christina can be very persuasive.

That, she can.

And your generous offer didn't hurt either.

Christina loves figure skating more than anything, and I love the joy and magic it brings to an audience.

We all deserve a real Christmas.

I'm not sure what you mean, but something tells me I'm going to find out.

Shall we?

Okay, I've choreographed some simple numbers we'll weave through San Senova's founding story.


I will start on costumes, crew, props, sets, and you're on casting and scheduling rehearsals?

Yeah. I have tryouts for the villagers starting in one hour.

And you're gonna play the queen?

Well, of course. I was born for the role.

And it'll be fun to skate with Christina.

I assume she's playing the princess.

Patricia actually said that Christina wanted to hold tryouts for Sonia.


I guess Christina just wants to be fair.

-That's sweet. -Mm-hmm.

Okay, so I am heading into town, uh, to work on the set decor and costumes.

[Jessica] Okay, I'm heading to the rink.

See? We're doing this.

Twelve days? No problem. We'll get this thing done.

It is the season of miracles.

Also, I talked to the real estate broker who's finding us the rink.

She's starting to put out feelers.

Exciting. [chuckles]

Katie, Jessica, I wanted to offer my assistance in organizing the pageant, -however I can help. -Thank you.

I've always had a penchant for musical theater, and this seems pretty much the same, only colder, on ice.


-Merry Christmas. -[woman] Merry Christmas.

The king's asked me to organize an ice skating pageant for Founder's Day, I was wondering if it would be possible to rent set decorations from you.

No need to rent. We'll be happy to donate.

-Really? -Of course.

-[chuckles] Great. -[door chimes ring]


Your Majesty.

What brings you here?

Pageant prep. You?

I'm just running errands.

Kings run errands?

Not typically, but I came to pick up the Christmas presents for the palace staff.

That's really sweet of you.

You don't have to look so surprised.

What are you getting everyone?

A specially-made card and a monetary gift.

You're getting the staff money?

Well, it's traditional and practical.

It sounds like a generous gift, but maybe you should consider adding a personal touch.

Well, I appreciate your unsolicited advice.

I should run.

Thank you.

Good day.

Do you think that my gift could be perceived as... impersonal?


[classical music plays]

Aunt Patricia, have you seen Christina?

She finished her homework and ran off to the rink.

Thank you.

You were amazing! That was great.

Why weren't you at tryouts?

Because I don't want to play Princess Sonia.

Why not?

I guess everyone will be watching, and what if I mess up?

Everyone messes up sometimes.

Back when I was skating, I used to be so worried about messing up my jumps.

But my mom, who was also my coach, would always remind me that in competition, you get points for trying.

It doesn't matter if you fall.

And she would also tell me, and I really wish I had listened to her while I was skating, it doesn't matter if you mess up.

All that matters is that you love being out on the ice.

And I hate to typecast you, but you're an incredible skating princess, and the pageant needs an incredible skating princess.

[Christina] And you'll be coaching the skaters?

Yeah. We'll have lots of time to work together.



Yes! High-five!

I'm not sure princesses are supposed to high-five.

Okay. Low-five?

Shall we start with your spiral?

[door opens]

How's the planning?

Well, despite being highly illogical and quite impossible, it's going well.


I overheard you at the ice rink earlier with Christina.

I hope I didn't overstep.

No, not at all, um...


Actually, I wanted to thank you.

She can be tough on herself and take herself too seriously.

It's been hard for her, She lost her mother six years ago and her grandfather three years ago.

And she knows that despite being a child, everyone sees her as the person who will be queen.

I just know that skating is truly the place where she can just be herself.

I understand that feeling.

Well, thank you.

You know, she's putting this pageant on for you.

I had my suspicions, with the whole Grinch King fiasco.

Yeah. She thinks you're pretty great, wants everyone else to know too.

But I think she also hopes this pageant will remind you how much you love Christmas and then get you into the holiday spirit.

Well, I'll give it some thought.

And as ever, I appreciate your unsolicited advice.


Good night, Katie.

Good night, Your Majesty.

Just Alex.

Good night, Alex.

The guest list for the Christmas Eve dinner.

Ah, the Christmas Eve royal dinner.

Reigning contender for the worst night of the year.

I wouldn't say contender, sir, I'd say the heavyweight champion.

You know, it was tolerable when my father hosted it.

Now it's unbearably stuffy.


By the way, I need you to reschedule my afternoon meeting with the chancellor, I have a surprise planned for Christina.

The seamstress is working on costumes, the set decorations should be delivered today.

The set designers start tomorrow.

Great, and I'd love to set up a meeting with the lighting crew.

Oh, I'll arrange that.

And let me know anything else I can help with.

Thank you so much.

No, thank you.

It's not often we get to have this much fun around here.

[both giggle]

Don't worry. Everyone falls down.

Even me. All the time.

I promise you're gonna get it.

Just takes a little bit of practice.

She's having trouble with her spiral.

She's hard on herself.

Yeah, well, she reminds me of somebody else I know.

I have to head to rehearsal for the villagers.


Christina, you're doing great.

-No, I'm not. -Yes, you are.

But there are only 10 days until the pageant, and I still haven't got the spiral perfect.

And everyone's going to be watching.




-What are you doing here? -Well, last night, I was thinking of something your grandfather had said.

That in a palace filled with Christmas trees, we must have decorated one ourselves.

You mean we're going to decorate a Christmas tree?

-We need to pick one out first. -Yes! Can Katie come?

-Oh. -Oh.

Well, I'm sure Katie's quite busy, but if she can spare an hour, we could certainly use your Christmas expertise.

Christmas is my middle name.

Then you must join us because my middle name is William.


[gasps] This one, this one, this one! Can we get that one?

[Katie laughing]

No, no, this one. I really like this one.

Please, please, please, please, please, please.

-[Katie laughing] -[cameras clicking]

This is turning into a photo op for you.

-[chuckles] -[Katie gasps] Oh, please!

My life is one long photo opportunity.

The joys of being king.

Mm. Don't have to tell me. I was prom queen.

-[chuckles] -I think I found it.

I think I found the perfect tree.

-[chuckles] -This is the one.

It is perfect.

I'll ask Nicholas to organize delivery.

-What? -Well, my family tradition is no Christmas tree shopping is complete without struggling to get the Christmas tree home.

-Really? -Mm-hm.

[all laughing]


That was nearly the last of me.

[all] Whoa!

[all laughing]

Oh, okay, be careful.

[Jessica] ...there? Okay. Like here?

-[Nicholas] Oh, yeah. -[Patricia] Oh, it's beautiful.

[Jessica] Okay.

-[laughing] -[Katie] Hot chocolate?

Oh, how lovely.

-Thank you very much. -You're welcome.

-Thank you. -[laughter]

I just love this one.

Why did I get this job?

I think I assumed, since you rule a country, you could probably untangle some Christmas lights.

Well, I've once more proved you wrong.


First, the struggle with the Christmas tree home, and now the lights.

Christmas should come with a warning.

-Yes. Warning: Fun ahead. -[chuckles]

Do you want some help?

-Yes, please. -[chuckles]

Some of these ornaments are hundreds of years old.

Oh, then I probably shouldn't touch them.

[both laugh]

I'm not used to Christmas trees having so much history.

Well, I'm used to being surrounded by history.

My family's always worked for the Crown.

And my father assisted Alex's father.

My grandfather, his grandfather.

[Katie] You gotta keep untangling it.

I think it would look really good around you.


We grew up together like brothers.

So was working at the palace something you always knew you wanted to do?

There was never any question of doing anything else.

I mean, it's a wonderful job.

[whispering] Sometimes I get to sit on the throne when no one's looking.


What about you? Did you always know you wanted to skate?

I did actually, yeah. And so did Katie.

We met when we were three. We grew up on the ice together.

All we ever dreamed about was skating and competing and performing.

-[both laughing] -And now we have a new dream.

We wanna buy an ice rink, start a training center where we can coach skaters.

Oh, I love to skate, but I could always use some coaching, if you need the practice.

Or we could do something else.

Uh, I could take you on a tour of San Senova.

I'd love that.

-Let's have a look. -It looks great.

-Well done. -It looks so beautiful.

[Nicholas] Looks very nice, guys.

[Jessica] Oh, it looks stunning.

[Katie] It's twinkling. Should we take a photo?


Miss Hendricks, you're needed at the rink.

What's wrong?

Jessica's hurt.

I've already called the palace doctor.

[Jessica] Yeah, it's fine in there.

The outside's, yeah. That's where it's--

[Katie] What happened?

I slipped and fell wrong.

She'll be fine. It's just a bad sprain.

Walking will be fine in a couple of days, but, um, no skating for at least three weeks.

-Three weeks? -Three weeks?

But the pageant's in nine days.

[Jessica] Katie, you know the choreography, and you will skate it better than I ever could.

I can't. I-I have my old injury.

And I haven't been on the ice in years.

We'll figure it out.

This country is full of ice skaters.

We'll find someone to replace you.

I'll hold tryouts.

Oh, right, because you've got nothing better to do.

I have few things I need to do.

[sighs] Well, not to add to your list, but I heard from the real estate broker this morning.

We have some forms we have to fill out, and she told me that there might be an ice rink in Trenton going up for sale.

It's like a half-an-hour from us.

Don't know why we've never seen it.

I haven't seen pictures yet, but it sounds perfect.

That's great.

-[giggles] -[knocking]

I hope I'm not interrupting.

I, uh... I brought you some, some flowers.

-Thank you. -Well, you know, beautiful flowers for a beautiful lady.

[Jessica giggles]

How is your ankle?

It's feeling a lot better, thank you.

-Brilliant. Great. Oops. -Thank you.

Um, I'll leave you two alone, and I'll catch you later.

Okay. [laughs]

[both giggle]

What's going on with you two?


[sighs] But he is handsome.

And odd, but in the best way.

-[laughs] -And he's really smart.


And I'm leaving soon.

Well, you never know how things will work out.

Remember what my mom used to say?

"Christmas is a time where we open our hearts."

Oh, well, you know, maybe you should open yours... to skating in the pageant.


Could you help schedule tryouts for the queen role tomorrow?

Christina needs to skate with someone as soon as possible.

-Happy to help. -Thank you.

-[door opens] -[Alexander] Excuse me.

Aunt Patricia.

I'm so sorry to hear about Jessica.

-[sighs] Thank you. -[Patricia] I'll just...

The pageant being illogical and impossible is growing increasingly real.

Well, I have faith in you.

And actually, I have a little matter I could use your advice on.

I've reconsidered your take on the palace staff Christmas gifts.

-You did, did you? -I did.

And I could see how my gift could be perceived as--


I was going to say "unsentimental," but...

That's the word I was looking for.

I know you've got a lot on your plate, and heaven knows nobody needs this pageant to succeed more than the Grinch King.

I was hoping you could help with some pointers on my gift giving.

I would love to.

For the palace staff, the kitchen crew, Regina, Margaret, Dawson.


Perhaps a coffee cup for Dawson.

Does he drink a lot of coffee?

No, he doesn't.

-[laughs] -Help. I'm failing Christmas.

[laughs] Okay, well, everyone who knows me knows how much I love Christmas ornaments.

I have a collection, although I'm never home to hang them on the tree.

But, as gifts, I receive a lot of ornaments with personal significance, and I love them.

So I get the staff ornaments?

I think the key is to give something that tells everyone the place they have in your heart.

Okay, let's see what we can find.


I'll take one of these.

Two of these. Here, hold that.

I'm sorry, but the gift is socks?

Aren't socks considered universally the worst Christmas gift?

Not socks. Christmas stockings.

You'll hand-make them for the staff, and we'll hang them above the fireplace.

You can fill them with the cards and the personal gifts to show them how much you care.

I'm still struggling with the handmade part.

I'll help you.

Okay, I'll sew, you decorate.

Well, it definitely won't be the other way around.


How do you know how to do all this?

I used to do it with my mom.

She loved Christmas, went all out.

Everything handmade, DIY.

My mother passed away when I was very young.

I never really knew her.

But my father, he loved Christmas.

Sounds like a great guy already.

What was he like?

Magnanimous, beloved.

I feel like I've heard that somewhere before.

Often it was actually true with him.

I'm not quite the king that he was.

You miss him.

Yeah, I do.

All the time, especially at Christmas.

I get that.

The first couple Christmases after my mom passed away, every garland and carol reminded me of her.

It was hard.

But now Christmas has become a way of celebrating her memory.

Shall we?


Sorry they're late, but some good press.

Katie is, uh, rather something.

Yes, I suppose.

Alex, it is okay to get close to someone again.

I know losing Victoria was hard--


the menu the kitchen sent over for the Christmas Eve dinner.


Can you pass it along to Patricia and ask if she'll handle it?

Yes, Your Majesty.


-Hi. -Hi.

How's it going?

Well, given there's a week until Christmas, better than expected. [chuckles]

Do you want to sit?

Yeah, sure.

How's the ankle?

Uh, it's healing well. Walking's fine.

It's just bad timing with the pageant and having to find a replacement.

And what about you?

I'm ready for something new.

-The training center. -Mm-hmm.

What about you?

Do you think you'll stay at the palace forever?

I'm not quite sure what else I'd do.

Well, what else would you want to do?

Well, I've lived in San Senova my whole life, so maybe go somewhere different, try something new, throw caution to the wind.

-[laughs] -You know, have an adventure.


Sounds exciting.


Speaking of adventure, didn't you promise me a tour of San Senova?

I'm not quite sure it's an adventure, but yes, I did.


It's a date.




We're supposed to be rehearsing.

Jessica's replacement's coming to practice with you.

Um, well...

What's going on?

I don't want to play Princess Sonia anymore.

When I was skating with Jessica, she's a star.

I knew everyone would be looking at her.

But now everyone will be looking at me, and they'll expect me to be perfect.

Why would they expect that?

Because princesses are supposed to be perfect.

Like Cinderella.

No one's perfect.

And Cinderella definitely wasn't perfect.

She was always running late and losing things, like the glass slipper.

[laughs] It's one thing I'll never understand.

If that slipper fit perfectly, then why did it fall off?


And Cinderella was a terrible figure skater.

-She was? -Mm.

How could she not be? Her coach was a pumpkin.


Sometimes it's just a little hard being out there on the ice.

It is.

But I think that's part of it.

We can't let our fears hold us back from doing what we love most.

What if I were to skate the queen role?

You'd skate with me?


But aren't you hurt?

Well, let's just hope I'm all healed up.

[Katie laughs]

["Silent Night" playing]

San Senova is so beautiful.

You should come back in summer when everything's in bloom.

I'll take you to the mountains.

I'd like that.

-Ohh! -Are you okay?

I'm fine.


No, it's okay.


He's so sweet and so hilarious, and he just... he just makes me feel all fluttery.


Yay! I'm so happy for you.


Oh, and not to change the subject because I do want to hear everything, but I did sign the forms that we need to send back to the real estate broker.

Oh, perfect, okay.

[Alexander] Excuse me, ladies.

I would like to invite you to the royal Christmas tea tomorrow afternoon.

It's an age-old tradition.

We'll have tea, finger sandwiches, and traditional Christmas desserts.

My father and I used to bake cookies for it.

Maybe that's something Christina would love to do.

Well, I'm not much of a baker.

Well, Katie's a great baker.

Yeah, she used to make these delicious frosted gingerbread cookies with her mom, and I'm sure she'd love to help.

[Alexander] I know you're very busy, Katie, but if you could spare the time, I'm sure Christina would love it.

Anything for Christina.

[Alexander] Very well.

Good afternoon.

-[door opens, closes] -[sighs]

What was that?

That? That was awkward.

-But-- -No, he's not interested.

I have seen him looking at you, and yes, he is.

No, Jessica, he's not. He dates...

I don't know who he dates, but not people like me.

Why is it that you always think you're not good enough?

I don't. I think I'm great.

-Good. -But he's a king who's here, -and I'm-- -Also here right now.

And as you pointed out earlier, leaving.

What was that thing that your mom used to say about Christmas?

That it's a time when you should open your heart.

And I opened my heart to skating in the pageant.

Speaking of, I should go rehearse with Christina.

It's my first time on the ice in years.

Wish me luck.


[man] Nice. Good job, Laney.

Good, Samantha.

[laughs] Oh, pick up your feet.

Seth, pick up your feet a bit.

Are you ready?

Uh, you know...

Actually, your dad wanted us to make Christmas cookies, so why don't I get everything ready in the kitchen, and you can rehearse with the other kids.

But I don't know them.

Then show them who you really are because everyone loves that person.

I know it can be scary to put yourself out there, but it's worth it.

[man] Faster, Anita.

And then David with the hat said, "Yay."

And then the other kids invited me to carol with them at the Christmas Market on Friday.

Can I go?

Yeah, of course you can, honey.

Oh, we'll perform on Friday at 3:00.

Katie, can you come?

Yeah, definitely.

Dad, can you?

I'll try my best.

So I'm stirring, your dad is still rolling out the dough, although why it's taking him so long is a great mystery.

Well, I'm trying to get it perfect.

It's a sugar cookie, not an amendment to the Constitution.

My mom used to say no matter how good the cookie looks, you should always taste it just to make sure.

Well, a job that important definitely needs all of us.

Thank you very much.

Mm, thank you. Cheers.

-Cheers. -[all laugh]


[classical music plays]

[quiet chatter]


Thank you for the baking lesson.

-It was marvelous. -For me too.

It's been a long time since I baked Christmas cookies.

So are you enjoying yourself, or does the question need not be asked?

It's very well-organized.

Mm, it is.

You know, it could do with a little bit more holiday cheer.

You should come to the Christmas Eve black tie dinner.

In comparison, this is a carnival.

[laughs] I'm confused.

If your father loved Christmas so much, then why is it so... not festive?

My father was the one who made these events festive.

-He enjoyed the gatherings. -You don't?

Not so much.

Maybe you should start your own traditions.

New traditions.

Speaking of new traditions, I have something I want to show you.

Does it mean we get to leave?


Here we are.


For Regina, my driver, a cashmere scarf and some driving gloves.

That's perfect.

And then for Margaret, the head chef, a set of antique serving spoons she's always admired.

That's a great idea.

Thank you so much.

[chuckles] Okay, you...

Wow, they look cozy.

They sure do.

-All right. -[laughing]


[Alexander] Hello.

What has you awake at this hour?

I couldn't sleep.

Thought I'd make some hot chocolate.

Curing insomnia with sugar and caffeine?


I can ask the staff to help.

No, I'm perfectly capable of boiling milk and chocolate.

So you're sure don't need any help at all?

Maybe a little.

So do you often have chocolate in the middle of the night?

Well, I figure chocolate comes from cocoa, which comes from a tree, which makes it a plant, which means I'm kind of having a salad.

-I like your logic. -[giggles]

Can you keep a secret?

I keep a stash of candy in my office.

Ooh, a state secret.

So the pageant's in five days, and then you go home?

I do.



I guess I've-- I've been in such a big rush to get home, but lately I've realized why I spent the past four years on the road.

To me, home is where my mom was, especially at Christmas.

I guess I'm not so sure if going home is actually gonna feel like home.

I mean, back in New Jersey, I have a lot of people I love-- friends, family.

A beau?

No, no beau.

Oh, no, um...

Well, I find that hard to believe.

Why not?

I was dating someone, but touring and distance took a toll, and...

I don't think I really wanted to get close to anyone else.

How come?

After my mom passed away, I...

I didn't want to lose anyone else.

What if you didn't have to lose anyone?

What about you? Do you date?

Not since Christina's mother passed.

I've devoted all my free time to Christina.

Plus, dating in the national spotlight's

-a little bit daunting. -Mmm.

Although I think I'm ready to find someone.

I know how much Christina wants a family.

And when I see her with you...

I should get back to this.

What is it, some more state secrets?

It's the Christmas Eve dinner plan.


So it's who's invited, who sits where.

The diplomats with the diplomats, and the cabinet is separated, so they don't fight.


Where would a commoner like me sit?

Well, there's nothing common about you at all.

So I mean, if you were to come to the Christmas Eve dinner, I would seat you right next to me.

I have some news.

I just got off the phone with the real estate broker.

The rink I was telling you about in Trenton, -it just came on the market. -That's great.

Except that there's already some potential buyers interested, so I was thinking maybe I should go home and take a look at it.

Okay, well, uh, I--

Besides, you're gonna be home in five days, and until then, I will fill you in on everything.



I'm so sorry I have to leave so early.

Will you come back soon?

I hope so.

And I'll come visit you in New Jersey.

New. And then we'll go visit Old Jersey together.


-Bye, guys. -Bye!

-I love you. -[Katie] Call me when you land.

I will, I promise.

Are you sure you're able to travel in this state?

I'll be okay.

You don't need any assistance?

Is that an option?

I'll come visit.

I'd love that.

[engine starts]

♪ Silent night, holy night ♪

♪ All is calm, all is bright ♪

♪ Round yon virgin Mother and child ♪

♪ Holy infant So tender and mild ♪ You sound so beautiful, Tina-bear.

I'm just practicing for caroling tomorrow.

And everyone asked me to go sledding after.

Can I go?

Well, do you have time?

Well, I already know my part.

I'm just waiting for Katie.

And what's wrong?

I'm waiting for her to want to practice together.

I don't think she wants to skate.

What are you doing?

Going over the pageant choreography in my head.

Why in your head? Why not just skate it?

I tell myself that even though in my dreams I'm on the ice, and every time I hear music, I envision myself doing a routine, I still tell myself I'm okay not skating.

But agreeing to be in the pageant and working with Christina, it's made me realize that I miss skating... so much.

I'm scared to get back out there.

You know, I'm terrified to be king.

But I can't not do it just because I'm afraid.

[applause, cheering]

♪ Silent night ♪

♪ Holy night ♪

♪ All is calm ♪

♪ All is bright ♪

♪ Round yon virgin ♪

♪ Mother and child ♪

♪ Holy infant ♪ I didn't think you could make it.

Do you remember this is where first met?

When you were hiding.

I wasn't hiding.

♪ Sleep in heavenly peace ♪


♪ Sleep in heavenly peace ♪


[Alexander] San Senova is famous for its night skies.

Is that why you have a star on your flag?

Partially, um, but legend has it that the star on the flag is actually the Christmas star.

You're familiar with the story of Princess Sonia--

Very well by now.

Well, the legend says that as the night fell, Sonia and Catherine followed the Christmas star and guided the villagers back to safety.

I didn't think the Christmas star was real.

You know, my father use explain it as like a personal guiding light, something inside of us.

He used to say that if I was ever lost and didn't know which way to go, I could come out and find the San Senova star, the Christmas Star, and it'd guide me home.

That's what you're doing out here.

Looking for guidance.

I guess I am.

You know, I don't always know how to be king, so I come out here, and I find that star and try and remember who I am, what I want, and what I love.

What star do you imagine it to be?

Ah, that's easy. It's... It's that one.

Oh, it's that one?

No, no.


that one there.

[phone ringing]


[chuckles] Of course.

-Hi. -[Jessica] Katie, hi.

Um, I'm at the rink, and it's-- It's perfect.

But there are other buyers, and one's already putting in an offer.

-What should I do? -I don't know.

Do we have to make an offer now?

The pageant's in three days. I'll be home in four.

[Jessica] Okay.

Okay, yeah, um, I'll try to buy us some time.

Okay, yeah, just keep me posted.

-[Jessica] I will. Bye. -Bye.

It's getting cold.

We should probably go in.


Do you have a grievance with that parcel, sir?

Would you like to try?


What is it?

It's a little something for Katie.


She's leaving soon, so it's the least I could do.

After all, she produced the pageant, helped with the staff Christmas gifts.

Christina really loves her and--

And you have feelings.

What makes you think I have feelings?

Oh. The article in the paper, sir.

[Alexander] Ha-ha.

Alex, relax.

You're allowed to have feelings.

No one's gonna judge you for it.

In fact, people will like you all the more.

-Katie's leaving. -So?

I've heard there's this miraculous invention called "the aeroplane."

You could go there, she could come here.

It's just not that simple.

She can't imagine how difficult this whole situation is.

No, you're right. She can't imagine it, so you're going to have to tell her.

Okay, first run-through in five.

Katie, Alex is asking to see you.

Now? We're about to do our first run-through.

Well, I can take over for you for a bit.

I get to pretend I'm in charge.

Mustn't keep the king waiting.

Thank you.

-Hello. -Hi.

Uh, I didn't know if you'd seen this.

Oh, uh, I didn't.

What do you think?

I think the photographer got my good side?

I like that about you.

My photogenic angles?

Your ability to see the good in everything.

Because you don't see the good in this.

It's just not so simple as a flirtation when the country's watching and Christina is growing attached, and you're leaving.

I understand it's not so simple a flirtation.

-That's not what I meant. -It's okay because it's true.

That's, that's all it is.

You're a king, and I'm...

[sighs] leaving.

So what else is there to say?

I should get back to rehearsal.

[phone ringing]


Hey, I'm at the ice rink.

Someone's already put in an offer, and the real estate broker's asking us what we want to do.

Well, what do you think we should do?

I want to put in an offer, but that seems crazy to me when you haven't even seen it.

I mean, what if you don't like it?

I trust you.

[Jessica] Katie, this is a huge decision.

I can't make it for both of us.

["Nutcracker March" playing]

[man] Well done, very good.

It's almost time for our rehearsal.

[man] Watch your hands. A bit higher.

I'm so sorry, Christina.

But Jessica needs me. I have to go home.


I found a replacement for the queen role.

She's a great skater.

You're leaving?

I'm so sorry.

This is for you.


Is that Katie's costume?

So she's finally going to practice with Christina?

I'm sorry. I thought you knew.

I knew what?

Katie went home.

[tablet playing movie]

[woman] I'm sorry, do I know you?

How do you know my name?

Sir, where did you--

What are you watching?

A Christmas movie.

Well, we both know how that's going to end.

[woman] Excuse me, have you seen a--

Excuse me, is there a man with a...


Any chance you've changed your mind about performing at the pageant?


I don't want to play Princess Sonia.

Besides, Katie's replacement doesn't know the part.

Well, Tina-bear, you do know your dear old dad is quite the skater.

What if I replaced Katie?


The part's for a queen.

But it can be for a king.

It's our Christmas tradition.

And we may not have a queen, but we have a princess, and we have a king.

There's nothing more important for me than spending time at Christmas with you.

[Alexander] Aunt Patricia, I was wondering if you could help me with something.

Well, of course.

I've decided I want to cancel the Christmas Eve dinner.


I think we can start a new tradition.

A quiet family Christmas, just us.

Sounds lovely, Alex.

Come on, let's go.

You heard His Majesty.

-Hey! -[keys jingling]

Look what I picked up this morning.

We're still in escrow, but everything looks good, and the old owners said to make this rink our own.

-So... -Okay.

[laughs] Where are you going?




Kind of like a real Christmas.


Thank you.

You were so close.

Why did you stop?

I guess I didn't want to get hurt.

I didn't want to get close and lose someone again.

It doesn't make sense anyway.

Alex and I come from completely different worlds.

We want different things.

I was asking about skating.

-Oh. -[laughing]

But you and Alex want the same things-- each other and family.

And I think the home that you were hoping you would find here, you found in San Senova.

I know how scared you are of putting your heart into something and really wanting it and not getting it, but you didn't get what you wanted with skating not because you weren't good enough, but because you gave up on it.

You shut down to it.

You are my best friend, Katie.

You're like a sister to me.

I don't want to watch you waste any more time wishing that you'd gone after the thing you really love.

What was that thing your mom always said about Christmas?

[laughs] It's a time where we open our hearts.

Or reopen them.

Even when we're scared, even when we've been hurt.

Especially then.

Go back to San Senova.

I can't.

I can't leave you. You're family.

Yeah, but wherever we go, we'll always have each other.

But we just bought an ice rink.

Yes, we did. [laughs]

But I was thinking, if you wanted to do something else, then maybe you could be a silent partner here.

How are you going to start and run a business alone?

Well, actually, I might have some help.

[Nicholas] And some help has arrived.

-Hi! -Hi.


-It's good to see you. -Good to see you, too.

Our Jessica leaves quite the lasting impression.

-That she does. -[giggles]

And we felt, as crazy as it is, we had to give it a shot.

[chuckles] Have an adventure.

And I feel that running a training center could be in my wheelhouse.

After all, I've spent the last decade overseeing the politics of a nation.

I believe I'm well-versed in performance and spectacle.


From the king.

Thank you.


[door opens, closes]

[Alexander] Dear Katie, I remember you said that people who care for you give you ornaments at Christmas, although I'm sure you will argue this isn't an ornament.

It's my Christmas star, and I hope it guides you home.

Love, Alex.

[majestic music plays]

[man] Five, everybody! Places in five!

You look beautiful, Tina-bear.

Alex, Alex!

I thought before you went on, there's something you ought to see.

"San Senova's new Founder's Day tradition hosted by the new Christmas King."

The new Christmas King.

Now, curtain's almost up, so you'll give your speech, and then... we'll begin.

Come on.

["Joy to the World" playing]

I'll see you out there in a second.


Merry Christmas Eve, and welcome to San Senova's Founder's Day Pageant, which I hope will be the first of many to come.

It was always my father's dream to celebrate our founding with a Christmas spectacle.

-Christina. -Katie!


You came back!

I'm so sorry I left. Can you forgive me?

[Alexander] ...of how San Senova came to be.

-[laughs] -Daddy!


This has been a very special Christmas, perhaps the most special because I was shown the true meaning of the holiday, that Christmas is a time that no matter where we are or how we are, we're brought back to one another, that Christmas is a day that reminds us of our greatest gifts: our family, our friends, our community, and our country.

The people we love.

That Christmas is a day that guides us home.

So from my family to yours, I wish you all a very merry Christmas.


-[laughter] -Cheers.

[applause continues]

The ice is yours.

["O Come All Ye Faithful" playing]

-[chuckles] Merry Christmas. -Merry Christmas.


I'm very glad I didn't have to do that.

I'm so happy you came back.

Me too.

I realized that I don't want to train anymore.

I want to skate.

And I was thinking San Senova has the tourists, you've got a rink, we've got the perfect makings for a permanent show.

With a role for me, I hope.

Mm, you'd have to audition.

Katie, it doesn't matter to me if I'm a king, and you're the prom queen.

I'm just a man who loves a woman who he hopes loves him back.