Christmas Connection (2017) Script


Anyway, these two passengerswere the nicest most upstanding people everthat you could imagine.

But there they were,like two little kids fighting over an armrest.

[chuckles]So, what did you do?

What could I dowith the Christmas travel season in full swing?

I negotiated a truceover Tulsa and by the time we made itto St. Louis they had a date plannedfor New Year's Eve.

Sydney, you're a legend.

[chuckles]What can I say?

I know how to deal with eventhe most troublesome travelers.

Wow! What is the rush?

'I never understandwhy people get so crazy' at this time of year.

Uh, maybe 'cause not everyonejets off to some amazing cornerof the world every Christmas.

I mean, what is itfor you this year jingle bells in Jamaica, or..

No. It's fruitcake in Finland.

A bikini in Bali.- 'Ah!'

[laughs]

I know, all I have to dois just make a few tight connectionsafter this last flight and I will be on a white,sandy beach until New Year's.

You're my hero, I think.

[laughs]Why not?

A book and a beach chairin the tropics suits me just fine.

Oh, boy!

Oh. I think we shouldcatch our flights.

Taxi!

[instrumental music]

Hi, Ted. I'm here for 3:25.- Great! Sydney.

You have an unaccompanied minorinto Chicago.

Uh, she just cleared security.- Okay, great. Thanks.

By the way, my spies in HRsaid your interview went great.

[gasps]Fingers crossed.

I know they're gonna makethe decision soon.

A posting in Rome would open upa whole new continent to you.

Let's just hopethat my dream job isn't just a dream, you know?

I mean, everybody wants Rome.

Yeah, but not everybody'slearning Italian and working as hard.

I mean, if anyone deserves it,it's you.

Kerry, if I don't see youbefore Bali, Merry Christmas.

Same here, think of me when you're relaxingon some tropical beach and I'm working the red-eyeto Topeka.

[both chuckling]

Aw.- See you soon.

You bet.- Okay.

Safe travels.- Thank you.

Thanks, Ted.

[instrumental music]

[elevator beeps]

(Lorenzo on cell phone)Buon Natale.

Buon Natale.

Buon Natale.

Buon Natale.

(Sydney)'Now, we're ready to goto Chicago' because the mostimportant passenger on the flight just arrived.

This is Leah,she's flying home to dad after seeingher grandparents.

Hi, Leah. My name is Sydney.It's nice to meet you.

[whispers]She's a little nervous.

Thanks, Ted.I've got it from here.

You don't look that nervousto me.

In fact, you look likesomeone who knows that her private flying carpetis ready to take her home.

'Let's get you settled.'

And your backpack.

Thank you.

So, how was your visitwith your grandparents?

Well, yeah. I bet your grandmamade you all your favorite food.

And your grandpa probablytold you lots of funny stories?

[giggling]

Well, mine won't bequite as good.

But I can get you foodand tell you stories too if you'd like,just after all the rest of the passengerstake their seats.

And, then, later, whenthe seatbelt sign goes off we can go up front and takea peek at the view. Yeah?

Now, we may not have Santa'sreindeer power under the hood but how would you like to flyalmost as fast?

Buckle up, okay?I'll be right back.

Hello. How do you do?

(Sydney)'So, Leah, what's yourfavorite part of Christmas?'

(Leah)'I think decorating the tree.'

(Sydney)'In that case,I have an idea.'

I bet you we have the onlyChristmas tree at 35,000 feet.

Unless Santa had oneon his sleigh.

But I doubt there's roomwith all the presents.

[chuckles]That's a good point.

But I like the wayyou're thinkin'.

Sydney, what does..

..."U-M" mean?

"U-M" meansUnaccompanied Minor.

Or a kid that's brave enoughto fly all by herself.

Dad wanted to come.

But he had a deadlinefrom his editor at the paper.

Oh.

Wanna see the Christmas presentI made him?

I do.

I made it for him with grandma.

I hope he likes it.

Aw. He is gonna love that.

It's beautiful.What a treasure.

You must have had a great visitwith your grandparents.

Yeah. I even got to trymy mom's old roller skates.

Oh, wow.

My mom's an angel now.

Hey. You know what?

My mom's an angel now, too.

But she's alwayswatching over me just like your mom'salways watching over you.

And speaking of angels you know whatour Christmas tree needs?

Hm..- Wings.

Yeah. Some wings.

What do you think?- It's perfect.

It is perfect.

[airplane alert beeps]

Alright, Leah, I have to dothe food service now.

In the meantime, why don't youjust enjoy the view?

[instrumental music]

Hurry, Sydney! Hurry!

Wow, you're even fasterthan I am. Excuse us.

I didn't even thinkthat was possible.

[Leah chuckles]

Daddy's not here.- No?

Well, I'm sure it's justa delay. Hang on one second.

Excuse me, I know you've gotyour hands full.

I just have a UM here. She'ssupposed to be meeting her dad.

Have you heard anything?

Just got a text.Security's backed up.

He'll be here soon. Hopefully.

Security's backed up,so it'll just be a little bit longer, okay?

No worries.

You've got to catchanother flight, don't you?

I do.I'm sorry, sweetheart.

Just slide me her paperworkand park her in that chair.

I'll do the hand-off.- 'Okay. Thank you.'

Oh, oh!

Let me help you.- Oh, come on.

You see him?- No.

'Oh. Here we go.'- 'Um..'

You know what?

I'm feeling pretty exhausted from losing at hearts to youall day.

So, um, I think I'm just gonnacatch my flight tomorrow.

Are you sure?

Yeah.

I'm telling you,reindeer-powered or not there is no waythat Santa's sleigh doesn't have landing lights.

It's gotta be an FAA rule.

[chuckles]

What do you say we goand get some hot chocolate while we're waitingon your dad?

Mm? Deal?- Deal.

Leah!- Daddy!

He-hey..

Hi, monkey.

Mmm! Hey.

Daddy?- Mm-hm?

You are late.- I know. I'm sorry.

My lucky pen'snot so lucky today.

I forgot I had it in there,and it kept settin' off the metal detector.

Oops.- Daddy's a reporter.

Oh, is that right?- Uh..

And this is my new friend,Sydney.

'She sat with methe whole flight' and gave me a front-row seat.

Wow! That was sure nice of her.

(Leah)'And, we played foosballwith peanuts' and we built a Christmas tree out of coffee stirrersand sizzle sticks.

We did. Swizzle sticks, we did.

Yeah, it's perfect,I figured as much.

[laughs]

Um, I know this sounds crazy,but I do need to actually ask youfor a photo ID before the airlinecan officially release this little charmer.

Thank you.

"Jonathan Murphy."

It's official.- Alright.

Thanks so muchfor taking care of Leah.

I mean, the holidays can bekind of a tough time for us.

So...you really put a smileon her face.

Oh, sure. It was my pleasure.She was great.

Leah, you havea Merry Christmas, okay?

You all set, kiddo?

Actually, daddy Sydney and I were justgoing to get hot cocoa.

Can we still get some?

Well, uh, actually,I have a lot of work to do.

And we got the familycomin' over tonight, so..

Yeah. And I have to geta hotel room, right?

Daddy, where's Bali?- Bali?

Um, Asia, I think. Why?

'Cause Sydney missed her flightto Bali for me.

Bali? Really?Are you kidding?

I'm so sorry.- Oh, no. It's okay.

You told me alwaysto say "Thank you" when people are nice.

Don't we at least owe Sydneya cocoa thank you?

[chuckles]

Yeah, cocoa it is.

No, you reallydon't have to do that.

Oh, trust me, I do.- He does.

[chuckles]Okay.

You're havin'..You're gettin' a cocoa.

[chuckles]Apparently, I am. Okay.

[instrumental music]

Yeah?- Okay. All checked in.

This hotel always holds a fewopen rooms for flight crew which is lucky for usbecause the restaurant serves the besthot chocolate around.

I'll say.

Mm.

Oh, boy!It might be very good.

Slow down.

Rocket fuel.

(Sydney)'That's okay. She's good.'

Yeah, I can see her.- Okay.

So, you're a reporter?

Uh, I'm a columnist now,uh, these days but I used to bean investigative reporter.

Um, then, I needed to workfrom home more so I started a columnin the paper instead.

Oh, really? What's it called?

It's called "Scouter Stories."

Great excuse for me and Leahto get out and chase down adventuresall over the city. Pretty cool.

But, right now,I have a new editor, and, um she wants to use the spacefor ad sales, so I'm like..

If you see beads of sweaton my forehead it's because I've gotwriter's block and a deadline for a great Christmas storythis week.

I totally get it.

If I miss a deadline, 300 people might miss their vacations.

Right. I'm sorry aboutthe whole Bali situation.

Oh, no. It's fine.

I'm sure I can fly out tomorrow with a few creative connections.

Ah, Christmasin Bali, that's..

Yeah.- It's cool, but, um..

Are you gonna missa regular Christmas?

Oh, gosh. Not a chance.

No. It's the best timeto travel.

Christmas day,the airports are a breeze.

But caroling and..

...snowball fightsand snow, I mean..

Come on.

I guess Christmasjust isn't really that big of a deal to me.

And I like how no two daysare ever the same.

I like two days the same,if they're good days.

But don't you miss, like,adventure..

Oh, I think I've gotenough adventure with this little monkey here.

[chuckles]

So, um,where do you call home?

I live in California.

But, uh, actually,I was born and lived here in Chicagountil I was six.

Local girl.- Yeah, I guess.

What part of the city?- North side, maybe.

Does that make sense?- Yeah.

But, uh, do you knowwhat school you went to?

Uh..

Any other details?Streets?

Uh, I'm not really sure.Details are kinda hazy.

Do you remember any storesthat you went to?

Sorry, I'm totally grilling you.That's, uh.. Sorry.

Old reporter habits die hard.

No, no, it's fine. I carry gumfor take-off and landing.

Even when I'm not flying.- Wait a minute.

Um, can't your parentstell you where you lived?

Uh, no. They passed.

Oh, I'm sorry.

That's okay. I grew up withmy grandparents in California.

So, Chicago is pretty mucha blank slate.

It's a great place.

Yeah, I mean,I'd love to see it more.

You know, if I, uh,was ever here for long enough.

Actually, my parents met hereover Christmas time.

What? Really?- Yeah.

Uh, how?

I don't really knowthe details, actually.

Not even a clue? I mean..

Uh, can you..I'm just desperate for stories.

[chuckles]Especially this week.

But it sounds great.Did your grandparents ever..

Uh, I'd love to help you.

I, um,I know my grandparents said that they met hereduring college.

And, um.. Oh!

Actually..- Mm-hm?

Uh, this is from the Christmaswhen they met.

'Uh, yeah, there's picturesof them in here from that time.'

I've always been really curiousabout more of that story.

But, uh..- Yeah.

I'm sorry, it's..

That's probablytoo much information.

No, no, no.Not enough information.

Um, do you mind?Can I see the photos?

Oh. Uh, no,I'll show them to you.

Hey, don't break iton my account.

There we go.

Uh, that's mom and dad.

Wow! Cool photos.

[cell phone beeps]Oh, sorry.

Uh, the ghostof deadlines future.

I should probably grab Leahand get out of here.

Yup.- Hey, buddy, you ready?

(Sydney)Hey, little one.

Leah, I feel like I'm alwayssaying goodbye to you.

Then, let's say it inanother language this time.

That's a great idea.

-Arrivederci.█- Ooh, what's that?

I put in for a job postingin Rome so I've been brushing upon my Italian.

Fingers crossed.-Arrivederci,Sydney.

[chuckling]Very good.

Well done.

-Et Buon Natale.█- What's that?

It means, "Merry Christmas."

You have funwith your cousins, okay?

I will. Bye, Sydney.

Bye, sweet girl. And good luckwith your deadline.

Thanks.Enjoy your tropical Christmas.

Will do.

Mm.

What if I connected itthrough Oakland and then I hoppedto the Bali flight from SFO?

(Anya on phone)'Sorry, Sydney, but betweenthe weather and the holidays'

'right now,it's all completely full.'

'Look, let me check around'

'and try to worksome magic, okay?'

'I'll call you back.'- Okay, thanks for trying, Anya.

I owe you big time.

[instrumental music]

Oh.

[cell phone keys clacking]

Hey, Anya. It's Sydney again.

'Can I borrow your computerskills one more time?'

Now, I need to track downa passenger.

It's important.

[instrumental music]

Wow! These peopleare not kidding around.

[knocking on door]

(Jonathan)Hang on a sec.There's someone at the door.

Hi.- Hi.

S-Sydney,what are you doing here?

I'm so sorry, I tried calling but your phone kept goingto voicemail.

[whispers]Uh, yeah,my editor keeps calling.

Oh, I'll be quick.I just have something of Leah's.

Oh. I'll call you right back.

Sorry.- No.

Hi.- Ooh, Sydney. What's that?

Something special thatI thought you might be missing.

Sydney, you found it!- Yeah.

[whispering]Is that my gift for daddy?

Yeah, I think somehow it got into my thingswhen your bag spilled.

You wrapped it up so pretty.

Actually, the conciergeat my hotel wrapped it up so pretty, because gift-wrappingis not my specialty.

Oh, my gosh. Thanks for runningit all the way down here.

For goodness sakes, Jonathan,invite the poor girl in.

Oh, uh, right, yeah.He's totally right.

You should come in.We're just trimming the tree.

No, thank you so much.I have a cab waiting.

Uh, not anymore.

Oh.

Look, come in.Have an eggnog.

I'll call you another cab.

Oh..- Come on in, Sydney.

Let's have some fun.

[sighs]Why not?

[chuckling]

(Sydney)'Ooh. What's going on here?'

Getting ready for Christmas,of course.

Yeah, my family'slike a human advent calendar.

We throw an event every dayleading up to Christmas.

Today is tree-decorating dayat my house.

Oh, gosh, look.

I don't wanna intrude.- No, no, no.

You're not intruding,you're saving the day, actually.

Leah's been upset ever sinceshe unpacked. Now I know why.

Well, between you and me,she worked really hard on her presentfor you.

Oh, we don't do Christmashalfway in this family.

I noticed.

Uh, so any wordon the Borneo flight?

Uh, Bali.- Bali.

I'm just waitingon a jump seat.

I'm expectinga call any minute.

[cell phone vibrates]Oh, I gotta take this.

Actually, this is my editor.

Uh, meanwhile, Leah willgive you a tour of the house.

Hey..- Merry Christmas.

Oh!- Ho-ho-ho!

Welcome.

[all laugh]

That was Uncle Arthur.- Okay.

And that's daddy's sister Robin over there.

Great Aunt Lindawill be here soon.

Oh, there are my two cousins.

And here's Grandma Fiona.

And Grandpa Tom.- Oh.

You must be that lovely angel that Leah'sbeen telling us about.

She hasn't stopped talking about that nice flight attendantshe met on the plane.

So, uh, Sydney,are you married?

Of course she's not married.Do you see a ring?

Not all married ladieswear rings.

And how do you know that?

And not all married ladiesare suspicious every time their husbandopens their mouth.

My parents made a promisenever to go to bed angry so they've usually been awakefor three days straight.

[Sydney laughs]

Yeah. Mm-hm.- I see.

Sydney, we could use more handshere to string popcorn.

This one eatsmore than he threads.

Sorry, I know.My family can be a bit much.

[chuckles]They're fine.

Aah. Merry Christmas!

Oh, I missed you all!

Hey, Aunt Linda.You actually don't know her yet.

Hi. I'm Sydney.

Linda.- Nice to meet you.

(Linda)Hi, everybody!

Hello! So nice to see you guys.

Um, uh.. I'm gonna call youthat cab right now.

Okay.- Yeah.

[instrumental music]

Okay, get it up..

Perfect!

Ta-da!

Oh, except I think I strung the lightswith the plug on top.

You don't happen to have an outlet in the ceiling or..

No. Don't.- I'm not very good at this.

I don't really dotraditional Christmas.

No?- 'No. Not my thing.'

That was kinda obvious.Um..

I think we're just gonnablame it on the jetlag, uh..

Yes.

Oh, uh, I think that's your cab.

And I'm gonna go in it before I doany more damage here.

So, thank you guys so much.

It was nice meeting you.

[cell phone rings]

Ah-ha!There's the airline calling now.

Hi, Anya. What's the word?

Mm-hm.

Oh, okay.

Yeah. Well, just let me know,um, if anything changes.

Thank you.- Uh, success?

No. No luck yet.

Seems that, uh,every jump seat to Bali is booked until Christmas.

Jonathan, we can't have her stranded over Christmas.

Oh, no, really.I'm totally fine.

I have tons that I can dowhile I'm here.

I've got my Italian tapes and, uh, trust me,I could use the practice.

But, um, a seat will becomeavailable anytime.

Yeah?- Yes.

No, really.

Okay, uh..

I-I think maybe we could helpeach other out.

How's that?- I need a story.

And you've got a story.

You know, how your parents meton Christmas.

Yeah, but I mean,I barely even know that story.

No, I know. That's what'sso interesting about it.

And you said thatyou wanted to see more of Chicagowhen you had the time.

'Yeah, but--'- 'Well, now you've got time.'

Look, hometown girl tracks down her parents' holiday romance.

That is perfectfor my Christmas column.

Are you serious?- Absolutely!

Yeah. Romantic story set againstthe backdrop of Christmas.

Plus, you said, you, uh,wanted a little adventure.

Of course.But I mean, I wasn't..

I didn't mean like--- Okay.

Full disclosure, I've alreadypitched the idea to my editor who's turned down all my otherideas, and she loves this one.

You did what?- Y-yeah.

Sorry about that.But it was a..

Maybe we couldhave a win-win, okay?

I could help youfind your story and you could help me, uh,you know, keep my job.

[both laugh]

Okay.- Perfect.

Ah-ha!- Deal.

(Tom)Come on, Johnny.

We'll start tomorrow,I'll go down to the archives at the paperand see if they can find any information on your folks.

We'll have to scan thosephotos in your locket

'cause thoseare our first lead.

Sydney..- Oh..

Don't forget these.

Can't forget those.

[chuckles]

Adorable!

(Leah)See ya!

[car door closes]

Oh, what did I just agree to.

[instrumental music]

Wow! The whole team is here,bright and early!

You still game?- Oh, yeah.

I mean,it's either this or practicing my Italian with Lorenzo.

Lorenzo?

Oh, I downloadedan Italian tutor.

And, uh, turns out, he's prettytough on conjugating verbs.

Oh, I see. Um..

Before we get started,Leah has something for you.

Since we're gonna beyour tour guides while you're here..

"U-G."- Unaccompanied Grown-up.

[laughs]

That's amazing!

Nice work. Thank you.

And I took the libertyof printing this up.

So, if we can just find where in Chicagothese photos were taken I think we could probably figureout where their paths crossed.

And I have a pretty good ideawhere to start.

So, we're actually doing this?- Yeah.

Well, I promised my editora Christmas column and a deal's a deal.

It's only my job on the line.

Yeah.

Okay.Oh, but first things first.

Ready?- Yes.

I'll take that.- Leah, I love my sign.

I won't get lostwherever we go.

(Leah)Sydney, come on.

Hey, look, hon.Fruitcakes, right there.

We're gonna take a coupleof these fruitcakes, okay?

What exactly does thishave to do with our mission?

(Jonathan)'Nothing, my, uh' family's havinga dinner tonight at my sister Robin's house and I know enoughnot to show up empty-handed.

Look, daddy, cuckoo clocks.

Leah seems to know her wayaround here pretty well.

Yeah. She's got her mom'senergy and kindness.

If I can keep up. Here, willyou hold these for me, please?

Oh, sure.- Thanks.

Oh, hey, can I get three poundsof bratwurst, please?

Ew. Bratwurst, huh?

Christmas tradition.- Ooh.

To each his own.

You ever feel likeyou're missin' out by travelin'over the holidays?

Oh, my gosh.Are you kidding me?

I've been to Christmas massin Salzburg Cathedral and I've seen real reindeerin Russia.

I mean, why would you ever wannastay in one place when you can travel the globe?

To celebrate Christmas.

But I do celebrate.

I just celebrateall over the world.

I mean, at the end of the dayon the slopes, I come home I've perfectedthe hotel room Christmas.

You can make a Christmas treeout of hangers.

You put the little tinypillow mints underneath.

And then, you hang a big old"Do Not Disturb" sign on top.

It's great.- Why am I not surprised?

So, no hanging stockings?

Out to dryon a balcony in Venice.

Or feeding reindeerat a local Santa's village?

That I've never done.

But I've run with the bullsin Spain.

Okay, message received.

Hey, Stan, can I get a coupleof these wreaths here?

And, uh, here.

'I also got a questionfor you.'

You're an arborist, right?

Can you tell mewhat kind of trees those are in the background?

I'd say those curved branchesare Fraser firs.

Do you know anywhere around herethat I could get those?

Christmas tree, lots,but these are rare.

I remember one placethat sold them.

Sorry, it's been years.

No problem. Thanks.

Okay, not a slam dunk,but we have our first lead.

Fraser firs.- Right.

That narrows it downto a larger part of the world.

Are you sure that you'rean investigative reporter?

Oh, so I'm a little rusty. What?

[cell phone beeps]Oh, being side-tracked here.

Okay, what's your favoriteChristmas dessert?

Mine? Why?

Aunt Linda wants to know.

So, you don't have dinner plansfor tonight.

Uh, Lorenzo does not count.

No. But I'm not gonna intrudeon your family again.

I don't wanna go afoulof Aunt Linda.

But if you do,that's-that's on you.

Oh, well, then we shouldlet the sleepy reindeer lie.

That's a smart choice.

Besides, my family really likes a good Christmas mystery.

They can probably help us out.

(Sydney)You got the wreaths there?

Yeah.- Yeah? Alright.

I apologize in advance.- For what?

For whatever's about to happen.

Okay.

[knocking on door]

Ooh! Welcome!

Grandma.- 'Oh, honey!'

[gasps]Oh, and Sydney.So glad you could join us.

C-come in, come in.- Thank you.

Oh, Johnny.

They're here!

Hey, Leah, see these candles.Ooh.

Johnny, let, uh, Sydneyhave the good chair.

Okay, okay. Alright.- Alright?

Then I'll scoot over here, and..Here you go.

And, Sydney, sit on my left,'cause that's my handsome side.

[chuckles]

You like my, uh,you like my tie?

He's had that same festive tiefor the past 21 Christmases.

Tradition.- 'Oh, tradition.'

I don't know if you've noticed,but my dad's a bit of a character.

I think he's charming.- Okay.

I would like to welcomeour surprise guest, Sydney who has takena Christmas stopover

'from her worldwide travels' to share this happy holidaywith us.

Welcome.- Welcome.

Wow. Thank you.

(Arthur)Welcome.

Actually,it's a Christmas tradition that the guest of honorgives the holiday toast.

'Tradition.'- 'Yeah.'

Oh, you want me to do it?- No. Yeah.

Yeah.- No, that's not a thing, is it?

(Jonathan)'No, you'll be fine.Ah, it's fine.'

(Leah)Sure, you are.

You gave the speech on the airplane, remember?

[all laughing]

I'm gonna get you for this.

Um, okay.

[clears throat]Here we go.

Good evening, I'm Sydney and on behalf of the entirecooking crew, welcome.

Tonight, we'll be diningat an altitude of..

Uh, what is Chicago's..600 feet? 600?

Tonight, we'll be dining atan altitude of 600 feet.

So, please be sure to turn off all portable electronic devices and safely stow it beneaththe table until after dinner.

[all laughing]

Thank you.

And, um, may we give thanks for this amazing dinner.

And thank you,and all of you, really for inviting meto be a part tonight.

So, cheers!

Great. Cheers!- Cheers!

Okay!- Well done!

(Tom)Good job.

(Jonathan)Cheers! Well done.

Johnny?- 'Johnny loves to carve.'

What? Johnny.. What? Ugh!

You guys haven't called meJohnny for years.

And all of a sudden..

[indistinct chatter]

Come on, guys.- You can go now. Have fun.

Slowly, slowly.- Hey, you go, girls. Carrots.

[indistinct chatter]

I don't know, if they haven't.It's a theme, I guess.

Anyway, after he wrotehis first short story in marker on our white couch..

Yeah.- 'Yes.'

Mm.- 'Yes.'

...I knew Johnnywould be a writer.

'Aww.'- 'Hmm.'

[chuckling]

Well, you guys are such a crazyfamily I had no choice.

You gave me great materialevery day.

(Tom)'You're welcome.'

So, Sydney, we hearyou're a local girl.

Well, yes, but, um I was actually littler than Leahwhen I lived here.

So, I barely remember Chicago.

Hmm. And you twoare chasing down your parents' Christmas story?

(Sydney)We are.

Um, it will probably end up being a Christmas goose chase.

No. Mm-mm.- 'No.'

It's a story that I've alwayswanted to know.

And Jonathan actuallyfound us our first lead today.

'Ohh.'- 'Oh, great.'

That's lovely.- 'I suppose.'

You know, makes me wonderwhy none of my kids ever ask how we first met.

'Oh, really?'- Because we know.

(Robin)'We know what happened, mom.Uh..'

Dad bumped your carin a hardware store parking lot.

Oh. No.- Oh, yeah.

That's what you think happened.

Ahh!- Ah?

Hm. Truth isI backed into him on purpose.

What? Really?- Oh.. Ohh!

What?- 'Really?'

Well, you had a great smile.

'Oh.'- I had to act fast.

'Wow!'- I had hair. I had hair.

[all laughing]

Like I said, you guys are crazy.I'm gonna get some dessert.

I bet you're learning so manythings about mom and dad.

(Jonathan)'Yeah.'

Dessert and co...Workin' on that.

I'm good, I'm good.- It was so good.

Thanks.- It was good.

So, Sydney, tell us moreabout your travels.

[instrumental music]

That was great.

So, uh, Sydney is super nice.

Oh, I know. Right?- Hmm.

Thank you. And, uh..- Mm-hm.

I mean, beautiful, right?

She's just gorgeous.- Oh.

Yeah, of course.

I mean..

Leah sure seemsto like her a lot.

Leah really likes her.

Yeah.- Look..

What?

We're just helpingeach other out.

And thenshe's leavin' on Christmas.

And you know my lifeis complicated enough already.

Well, there's always timefor more..

More, what, whipped cream?

Yes.

I agree.

You know, I, I don't know whyI bother, because you're just gonna do the oppositeof everything I tell you anyway.

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

No, I'm not.- You're doing it right now.

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

No, I'm not.

They let me wrapin burlap or somethin', but..

'Embarrassed right now.'- 'No, I've been careful..'

(Sydney)Mm-hm.

Um, apparently, your familyis my brain trust.

Oh, we are in serious trouble.

[chuckles]No, I'm not even kidding.

Your dad found somethingin the photograph that we missed.Show him, Tom.

(Tom)'Hey, look, uh, closelyin the background there, John.'

'Those trees aren't cut.'

'They're growing.'- Oh, meaning?

Well, that's nota Christmas tree lot.

It's a Christmas tree farm.

'And there's nota lot of those around.'

There used to be oneout on, uh, Route 31.

Right by Fox Lake.- I remember that place.

Oh, it was lovely.

Mm, well, I guesswe all better turn in early.

Looks like somebody's goin' ona Christmas road trip tomorrow.

(Tom)'You better wearsomethin' warm.'

Oh.- Linda?

I have just the solution.

Oh, now, you're just likeone of the family.

Oh, for me to take?Oh, my gosh!

And you better wear it.

[all laughing]

[instrumental music]

(Lorenzo on speaker)'Buonanotte.'

Buonanotte.


[instrumental music]

(Jonathan)'Classic dad. He markedthe route on the map.'

Oh, Lord.- Yup.

Are you sure about this place?

'Cause it seems kinda far awayfrom the city.

Call it a reporter's hunch.- Okay.

Hey, I read some of your columnsonline last night.

They were really fun.

My favorite onewas the one where you and Leah are tryingto chase down the best cheesesteaks.

Oh, yeah.

Ah, my column's just sent us off on all thesegreat adventures, I mean..

We looked for the best amusementparks, paintball ranges and, of course, best pizza.

Hm, so is Chicago pizzareally better than any place elsein the world?

[laughing]Okay, okay, I'm kidding.

Those are fighting words.- I bet.

Yeah.

Anyway, your columns were great.

Especially the ones with Leah.

They're really sweet.You're a good dad.

Well, I try. I..

It's not easy,I'm usually out of my depth.

Honestly, most of the time,I just feel like a jugglerin a three-ring circus.

I get it.

Well, sorry to complicatethings, you know?

Oh, no, no.No, I'm not complaining.

You're helping me deliver800 words by Friday.

And how manydo you have so far?

Uh, just one.

"Help."

[laughing]

'Oh! Fox Lake.'- Oh?

Yeah, we just have a couplemiles up, past the next turn.

A couple miles, you say?- Mm-hm.

Hmm.

[instrumental music on radio]

[indistinct chatter]

(Sydney)Oh, wow, this is just likeout of a storybook.

Hey, Sydney.

That fits within our timeline.

Yeah.- Mm-hm.

Aww.- Oh, man.

[laughing]Look at this little kid.

Will be right with you, folks.Just three days to Christmas.

Things get awful busy.Feel free to browse.

Thank you.

(Sydney)Hey!

Oh, my goodness.Look at these little guys.

My mom used to collect theseevery winter and we would make littleSanta ornaments out of them to hang on the tree.

I'd like to see you makea Santa ornament out of these little pinecones.

[chuckles]

Gosh, I haven't thoughtabout that in so long.

[cell phone beeps]

Let's see.

'"No open jump seats."'

But my friend at the airlinesis gonna keep trying.

Excuse me, ma'am.Uh, tree farm is a no-text zone.

Put that away.- Fine.

Can I help you folksfind a tree?

Uh, no. But actually you canhelp us find something else.

Yes, we were wonderingif there was ever a guy named Steve Colderwho worked here.

It's, um,for a newspaper article.

I wish I could help you,but lots of kids worked here through the years over Christmas I can't remember 'em all.

Well, it's like,from 30 years ago and he was a college kid.

'It's this guy.'- Hm.

He, uh, would've been a seniorthat year at Northwestern.

My son went to Northwestern.- Really?

I remember that kid.

'Yeah, my son playedcollege hockey with him' and some of the teamhelped here one Christmas.

You sure that's him?

I think I'd remembera kid that determined.

He had a sprained anklebut helped anyway.

Your dad, huh?

I see the resemblance.

[instrumental music]

(Jonathan)'Oh, yeah.'

Oh, my goodness!No, really, I..

Nonsense.You're practically family.

Well, thank you very much.

Listen, laughing boy.Oh, you wanna help me?

Sure. Here, I got it.

Wow. So my dad workedin a Christmas tree farm.

Who knew?

I guess that meansI have to take back everything that I said aboutyour investigative reporting.

Well, apology accepted since you gave mea new paragraph for my column.

And, oh, a pocketfulof these cute little pinecones.

And I learned something elseabout investigative reporting.

Mm?- It's hard work. I'm starving.

Oh, well,first, let's pick up Leah

'cause I know just the place.

(Sydney)Really? Hmm.

♪ Don't want nothingmelancholy ♪

♪ Just a little eggnogand holly ♪

♪ On this holiday with.. ♪

(Jonathan)'Well, we deserved the break.'

And you're brushing upon your Italian.

So, you can, uh,translate the menu for us.

I wasn't gonna let youget away with anything less than deep-dish after your,you know, joke.

[chuckles]Clearly.

Sydney, if you get that job..

...how far away is Rome anyway?

It's pretty far in miles,but only 11 hours by plane.

Anyway, that's, um,it's kind of a long shot.

But this pizzaisfantastico.

[laughing]

Can't believe you've neverhad this before.

Mm, not like this.

How's this week compared toyour usual Christmas adventures?

Mm.

Pretty great, actually.

You know, I just wishI could be more helpful with figuring outmore of the story, you know?

Oh, no, no. That's on me.Have to be a better reporter.

Okay, so your mom's photo..- Mm-hm.

What've we got there?

I guess I just always thoughtit was taken at a ballet you know,because she's wearing a leotard and there's like,"The Nutcracker" in the background, and..

What else can youtell me about her?

I mean, I don't mean to pry,but..

Got my reporter hat on.

Well, she loved music and...to dance.

And my grandparentsalways told me that she also loved to travel.

She always wanted to goto the Sydney Opera House.

Hence, my name.

Hey, maybe your parents' pathscrossed at the ballet.

Maybe.

Although, I really can't imaginemy dad as a dancer.

(Jonathan)'No?'

Maybe I can ask the theatercritic down at the paper if he can dig up any programs from some "Nutcracker"performance from that year or..

I don't know.

Oh, shoot! Wait, we're late.

For what?- Family emergency.

I'm hosting, uh, cookiedecorating at my house tonight.

That can be your dessert.

Our? Oh, no, no, no.

There is no way I am crashingmore of your Christmas plans.

You can just drop me offat the hotel, seriously.

I'm not gonna eatthose cookies by myself.

Really? Are you sure?- He's sure, and I'm sure.

Let's go.

[instrumental music]

[fire crackling]

The place looks fantastic,Jonathan.

Ah, thank you.

Ooh. Thanks, mom.

(Sydney)Ooh, nice. Delicious.

Looking good.

(Robin)'Okay, kids,whoever wants to lick the bowls get in the kitchen,pronto.

Whoa! Leah, is there a cookieunderneath all those sprinkles?

Only way to know is to try it.

(Sydney)Leah, you arethe Frida Kahlo of frosting and the Van Gogh of vanilla.

What does that mean?

It means that your cookies are,without question, the very best.

(Jonathan)You look likeyou're enjoying yourself.

By the way,I left word at the newspaper in case there's any new infoon the ballet.

I thought you said you don'tdo a traditional Christmas.

Oh, who knew?- Oh.

I guess, if you can't beat 'em,join 'em.

Right?- Indeed.

Why don't you dosome decorating yourself?

What is that, a challenge?- Yes, it is.

Alright.- Have a seat.

Okay.- You a reindeer guy?

Or a boot?You're gonna go with the boot?

You're trying to copy me?

Yeah, well, I figuredit's a direct comparison.

[laughing]Oh, no. I have a badfeeling about this.

Me too.- Is your dad good at this?

Oh, oh.

Yeah, I could useall the help I can get.

'Can I borrow some red icing?'- Yes, you may. Right.

Here he goes.

Got it goin' on.- Alright.

Oh, what do you think?- I think it looks yummy.

But I need to know for sure.- Who's my judge?

You have a sweet girl,that's what you have.

(Jonathan)'Take it easy,we have to save some of those' for Christmas morning.

Daddy?- Yeah?

Sydney isn't going to be hereon Christmas morning.

And then, what if someonehas a gift for her?

You are so sweet and not justbecause you're covered in icing.

'But you don't haveto worry about me, okay?'

What do you say we give somepresents out tomorrow night?

Christmas Eve Eve, right?Start a new tradition.

Sounds great.

Jonathan, can you help mewith the dishes?

Yeah, I got this.

Sydney, want to makea snowman outside?

I might be a little rusty..

...but, um, it's Christmas time,so, what do you say?

Let's go.

Let's make a snowmanten-feet tall.

Oh, or we could makea snow-kid that's like,about your height.

What do you thinkabout that?

Let's go.- Okay.

[instrumental music]

[indistinct chatter]

[laughing]

Oh, no!

Kids are readyfor Christmas film fest.

Okay. I just wanna give hera couple more minutes.

Peace! Peace! Truce! Truce!

I haven't seen Leahthis happy in a while.

Yeah. She and Sydneyare having a lot of fun.

I think you have, too.

It's the first Christmasin a while I've seen you this happy.

Yeah, I've been havinga pretty great week.

Look, you're doingan amazing job with Leah.

You always put her first.

But maybe, it's time you thoughtabout yourself again, too.

Seize the day.

My day is seized in-between the...bake salesand the brownies and the birthday parties.

I don't have roomfor more.

When was the last time you wenton a date, last Christmas?

Look, I appreciatethe sisterly advice, but..

But you don't want it.

Exactly.

No, don't throw.Stop it.

I haven't done this since..

Wow! Since I wasprobably about your age.

Like, ten years ago.

Yes!Exactly that.

No, I think it wasa little longer than that.

Sydney?- 'Yeah?'

Are sky angelslike snow angels?

Hm..

That's a reallygood question.

All I know is that they'reboth really beautiful whether they're in the snowor up in the clouds.

And I'm an expertin the clouds because I've spent almosthalf my life up there.

(Jonathan)The cousins are startingthe Christmas movies, honey.

Ooh, I hope they rememberedcaramel popcorn.

Aw..

Thank you.

Oh! Wait!What are you doing to my angels?

Looks like you guysare having some fun.

Yes, I, uh,couldn't have asked for better Christmas chaperonesfor this week.

Hey, I heard from my editor.

Um, your folks didn't show up in any ofthe "Nutcracker" programs.

That was a long shot.

And they're notin the archives either.

So, back to square one.

That's okay.

I just made a snow angel so that is giving mea pretty big sense of accomplishmentright now.

Johnny, the kids want meto watch movies with them.

Uh, you two mind finishing upthe dishes?

Sure, yeah. We're on it.

[chuckling]

(Jonathan)Nice work today.

You're getting into thatholiday spirit, I see.

[chuckles]I am, I'm..

...actually havinga great time.

Yeah, those snow angelslooked sharp. You know--

I was impressed,I was impressed.

I was..We were all impressed.

It's funny, you know like,Christmases bring back so many happymemories for me.

Some bittersweet, as well.

I know what you mean.- Yeah.

Well, I gotta say,this past week Leah's been so happy,you know?

And I don't think thatthe caroling and the cookies are just fun, I thinkthat they're also giving her this sense of stabilityand normalcy that she reallyhas been needing.

I understand.- And if I'm being honest, I..

I don't think I'm beingsuch a great dad all the time.

I'm always on a callor a deadline and trying to be this acecolumnist and this perfect dad and I'm probablyjust floundering at both.

That is so not true.Are you kidding?

Just look at the evidence.- The evidence?

What a great kid you have.

You know what?

I have to thank you.- For what?

For inviting meto be a part of all this.

And, I have a confessionto make.

But dinner around a table definitely beats room service.

I guess I just forgot, like,how much fun Christmas can be.

Careful. Sorry.- I'm sorry.

I'm just gonna--- 'Oh.'

Oh. Okay.- Actually..

'Whoops.'- Oh. Here, did you..

Here, I'll wash.You dry.

Okay.- 'Sure.'

(Arthur)'Jonathan, Sydney,come here, we've got something.'

Oh.- Okay.

Let's go check. Give me that.- No.

No? Come on. Hey!

Okay, so, tech wizard that I am,I managed to scan in the photosat a higher resolution.

Now, take a look, that's nota ballet outfit she's wearing.

'It's an ice-skating outfit.'

(Sydney)'Wait, ata "Nutcracker" performance?'

Oh, no, no, no. Take a lookat the background here.

You see that "Nutcracker" figureis the same one

'they haveat the Christmas display'

'every year at City Park.'

(Robin)'I know exactly where that is.'

'It's just by the ice rink.'- Mm-hm.

'Yeah.'- Well, of course.

I mean,it makes really good sense.

She loved skating.- We're getting warmer here.

Thank you. We're gonna gocheck it out tomorrow, right?

'Thanks. Yeah, definitely.'- 'Okay.'

(Leah)I'm gonna head backto the hotel for now.

'But, thank you, Leah.'

I had so much fun playingwith you today.

Thank you so much,sweet girl.

I hope you don't mind but I've been prayingfor bad weather.

Why?

To keep you here longer,of course.

Come here, you.Thank you.

I'm gonna see you tomorrowthough, okay?

You walk me out?- Yeah.

Okay. Come on.

Good work, sweetheart.- Thanks.

(Lorenzo on speaker)'Lesson 10.'

[speaking in foreign language]

[cell phone ringing]Mm.

Kerry, hi.Where are you?

Tulsa. Just landed.

But the better question is,where are you?

Still in Chicago?- Merrily marooned.

(Kerry)'So, are you stillflying out on Christmas day?'

As far I know..

...three more days to feaston Christmas cookies.

Unless, of course,my flights get cancelled.

So, how are things going?

I'm having a surprisingly goodtime being stranded in Chicago.

Doing what, exactly?

(Sydney)Well, today..

...we made Christmas cookies.

And I made a snow angel.- You made a snow angel?

You should try it sometime.It's actually quite fun.

Just tell me this,in this little Chicago Christmas scenario is there a guyinvolved, perhaps?

(Sydney)No, there is not.

I mean, there's a guy,but it's not like that.

His name is Jonathan.

Mostly, I've just beenhanging out with his family for, like, the last three days.

Aah! I knew it!

You're, you're fallingfor him, too.

I can hear it in your voice.- No, I am not.

I'm not falling for anybody.

I'm not even looking to fall and neither is he.

How's the weather in Tulsa?

Apparently, not as warmas in Chicago.

'Listen, I am,I'm gonna be landing' in O'Hare late tomorrow night.

On my way home for Christmas,do you wanna maybe grab a Christmas mocha?

Yeah, that sounds perfect.- Okay, I'll give you a shout.

Okay.Ciao, ciao.█- Bye.

Mm.

Green one.

[instrumental music]

Our next stopon our Christmas quest..

...is a Christmas tree farm..

...where, along the pines,we discovered..

Got you covered, dad.

...another breadcrumbin our search.

Wow, look at this.Your family comes through again.

There's our Nutcrackers.

'There's our ice rink.'- 'Yeah.'

So, whoever took my mom'sphotograph must've been standing up on that gazebo, right?

We don't know the whole story,but I'm pretty sure your mom

'skated on that rink.'

I guess, skatingran in the family

'cause my grandma always made metake skating lessons growing up.

They sure look likethey're having fun.

Oh, do they?

I mean, we are hereat an ice rink, right?

It would be a shame for usnot to give it a try.

Oh, I don't thinkthat's a good idea.

Come on, daddy.

What's the matter, you afraidof a little Christmas adventure?

Well, I don't think "Afraid"is a strong enough word.

[whispers]I think we should do it. Yeah?

(Sydney)Let's go. You're in.

Come on!

[Leah yelling]

Come on!- Wow.

What are you,a professional skater?

It's coming back to me.

'Slowly?'- Yeah! Yeah!

Literally, literally skatingcircles around me.

(Sydney)'Not really.'

Look at you, monkey,you're doing great.

Aunty Robin thinks I mighteven be ready for hockey soon.

Oh, thanks a lot, Aunty Robin.

Looks like skatingruns in your family.

Well, you know, one of my veryfirst memories was my mom taking me to the ice rink.

She'd put me in betweenher legs and spin me around.

You know, we always usedto have so much fun.

Ah, that's great material.

I'd take notes,but I'm afraid I'd face plant.

Can we take a selfie?- Yeah, you wanna take a selfie?

Just be careful of the otherskaters. Come over here.

Assuming I can stop.

Here, careful,careful, careful.

Are you ready?

Here we go.- I was stomping.

Got it.- Yeah!

Good job, dad.- Good job, dad.

Oh, now you're rubbin' it in.

[chuckling]

Aww. You know what?

The sun's about to set.

You wanna go up and check out the view from the gazebo?

Oh, get out of these skates?Yes, please.

(Sydney)Hm.

Wow.

Yeah, look at that.

The view is just likefrom the photograph.

(Jonathan)'Yeah.'

(Sydney)'Do you think my dadcould've been' the one to stand here and take that photo of my mom?

From this angle, well,I think you might be right.

[instrumental music]

Daddy, listen.

Dance?- My pleasure.

[instrumental music]

[humming]

(Jonathan)'Mm. Nice.'

Okay, Sydney.Now your turn.

Aww. I'm good, sweetie.- Dance, you guys!

Hey, monkey.

[laughing]

[clearing throat]Alright.

[music continues]

[chuckling]

Ha-hah.She's having fun.

You know, it's funny.

These past several dayshave sort of felt like..

...finding an unopenedChristmas present in the closet and gettingto take a peek inside.

When other kids at schoolwould talk about their parents..

...it would always make mewonder about my own.

I mean, even thoughmy grandparents would would talk aboutmy folks all the time..

...I guess..

...I always felt sort of likea puzzle with a missing piece.

Well, I wish myreporting skills were better.

We haven't figured outhow they actually met yet.

No.

Even if we only know a partof their Christmas story I feel like there'sa silver lining.

What do you mean?

I only have a coupleof photographs of my parents and my memories, but I neverimagined that I would be able to actually standin their footsteps and feel so close to themat Christmas.

And do you?- Yeah. I do.

And all while having a blastat the same time.

'Chicago puts on quite a show.'

Whoa, you should seethis town at New Year's.

Yeah?- Yeah.

Well, stranger thingshave happened.

I never even expectedto be here for this long.

It's interesting to thinkabout how many happy memories this gazebohas probably seen.

You never know whena new one might happen.

Yeah.

Oh!

It wasn't quite the memoryI was thinking of.

[laughing]Me either.

Ah! Oh! It's on!

Snowball fight!

(Sydney)Leah! Let's flank your dad.

I don't know what that means,but let's do it!

It means that you get himfrom your side and I'll get him from mine.

Oh, I'm so scared.

Here I come!Here I come.

[screaming]

[instrumental music]

[sneezes]

[instrumental music]

Hi, how are you?

Can I get one coffee please?

Thank you so much.Keep the change.

Hello, sir. You look like youcould use a little warming up.

Oh, thank you, ma'am.This'll sure hit the spot.

You certainly havethe Christmas spirit.

Yes, I do.

[instrumental music]

[doorbell jingles]

Hi, may I help you?

Hi. Yes, um..

There's a little guardian angelnecklace in the window..

That's our display, but..

...I have one right here.

Aah. Yeah, it's perfect.

I know someone who wouldlove that for Christmas.

And I have a nice boxthat'll go in.

Great.

And, uh,I just need one other gift.

You lookingfor anything special?

I'm not really great atpicking out Christmas presents.

[laughs]

Uh, well, over here,we have a lovely, uh vintage mahogany washboard.

'It's very popular.'

Yeah, I'm no Mrs. Claus but I'm pretty sureit's not his style.

You know what I mean?

Oh, I like the typewriters,though, those are nice.

I don't know. Maybe that'll justremind him too much of work.

How about I let you, uh,browse around on your own?

Some people justshop better solo.

Okay, thank you.

Hmm.

[music box chiming]

Sydney, look at my pineconeSanta I made. He's perfect.

Yeah, they did turn outpretty well, didn't they?

Here's another oneready for the tree.

So glad you remembered.

I know, I guess it's sort oflike riding a bike or playing the piano, huh?

Though, I did refreshmy memory by watching a couple of onlinecraft videos.

They look great.- 'Yeah, they do.'

Next step,perching them on the tree.

Shall we? Come on.Great.

Thank you.- Right there.

[music box playing]

What do you think?- Perfect.

Daddy, come seethe ornaments we made.

The ornaments are a hit.

Seems so.

Which makes me think, um..

...could you help me outwith something?

Sure.- R-r-right this way.

(Sydney)Wow. Yours looks so pretty.

Why when I wrap giftsdoes it always look like they fell out of the backof a car?

Yeah.

Oh, no!

You're, like, "I agree."

[laughing]

That's okay. It's okay.- No..

Well, you know,wrapping, like, anything just is an acquired skill.

Yes.- Yes.

Um, okay.Here's something you can do.

Uh, why don't youput your finger right thereso I can make a bow?

Sure. That I can do.

[laughing]

So, you travel a lotfor work, huh?

Yeah, I do.

Mm, life's an adventure though,right?

Hm. Yeah. Well,adventure comes in many forms.

Like you said,"Life's an adventure."

Hey, Sydney.Can I borrow you for a sec?

Oh, sure. Sure, go.

Thank you.- You poor thing.

[laughing]

It's an acquired skill.

(Sydney)'We'll keep workin' on it.'

[music box playing]

(Jonathan)There's too many great choices.

I can only pick three photosfor my column.

Wow, I guess that's gonna bebetween you and your editor.

How's the word count going?

Well, somehow,my writer's block melted away.

Just gotta figure outhow this ends.

And when is itgonna be published?

Well, if my editor signs off,tomorrow night Christmas Eve.

Wow.

Is there anywhere in the worldthat you haven't been?

[chuckles]Of course, plenty of places.

I do like to takea couple of shots of every new place I go.

Wow, those are terrific.

(Sydney)'That's Machu Picchu.'

One of the mostamazing places ever.

And that's theGreat Wall of China.

The pyramids, of course.- Of course.

And Mount Fuji of Japan.

Alright, this is embarrassing.

I've barely been anywhere.

You've seen so muchof the world.

Aw.

Don't sell yourself short.Chicago is, like..

It's a whole worldin itself.

Mm-hm?

[people laughing]

And, besides, I mean..

...look at what you have.

You have such a great life.

And a truly..

...wonderful family.

Nah.

Nope.

I mean, we're pretty crazy, look but pretty terrific.

Hey, you two, we're openingsome early Christmas gifts.

Come join us.

[cell phone buzzes]Oops.

(Sydney)'Kerry's texting me.'

She wants me to call her.

She's gonna bepassing through O'Hare.

Oh, yeah? Well, if she isin town, tell her to come by.

The more the merrier.

Yeah?- Yeah.

Thanks.

We're coming!

You know what? I'll justcall her after the presents.

(Robin)'Come sit, Sydney.'

Our guest of honor goes first.

I cannot believethat you guys got me anything.

You've already beenso very generous.

Nonsense, you're likefamily to us.

And since you won't be hereat Christmas time we'll each opena present early.

Tsk. Okay.Thank you.

Ooh!

Let's see what I got.

Luggage tags.Perfect.

We all wanted to make sure that you knew where to find us.

I love them and I will treasurethem always.

Thank you.

Leah, this one's for you.

[instrumental music]

An angel!

Oh..

(Sydney)'I saw it and thought of you'

'the very first momentthat I did.'

So, now, you can have an angelright next to your heart.

Thank you, Sydney.I love it.

I'm so glad, sweet girl.

And this one is, technically,for both of you.

Oh.

Hmm.

A box!

[laughing]

'Open it.'

[music box chiming]

(Jonathan)'Whoa.'

Oh, look!

Got it?Like your ringtone.

Oh, yeah.

Hey, that's perfect.Thanks.

Side joke, huh?You get the inside joke.

And, Sydney, dad and I have one more gift...for you.

You do?- 'Yes.'

(Sydney)Aw.

[gasps]

What in the world can it..

Wow.

'Guys.'

'That is so beautiful.'

So you'll remember uswherever you are.

Come here.

Thank you.I love it.

Oh, I love it, I love it.

[cell phone buzzing]Ugh! It's Kerry calling meagain. I'm so sorry.

Oh, no, that's fine.- Will you please excuse me?

I have to take this.- 'Yeah, yeah, yeah. Go on.'

She's been calling all day.

(Jonathan)We'll open some other presents..

It's perfect.- That's really nice.

Yeah.

Ker?- Ugh, Sydney!

I've been calling youfor hours.

I know. I'm sorry,I just got caught up in a little bitof holiday fun.

Well, I'm just relievedI've got you now.

How are you?Where are you?

How are your travel plansshaping up?

Never mind my travel plans.

Let's talk about yours.

What do you mean?

My friend in HRsaid you got it.

What? I got what?- You got Rome.

I did?

Wait..

'Uh, I got Rome?I-I can't even believe that.'

(Kerry on phone)'Well, you better startto believe it.'

'Check your email.'

Oh..

Wow! Rome!

'I-I don't even knowwhat to say.'

Well, what's to say?

It's everythingyou ever wanted.

'Hello?'

Yeah.No, I'm here, um..

Are you sayingyou're not gonna grab it?

No, I-I-I guess, I just..

I have to think about it,you know?

Okay.

You work for ten yearsfor this and then you get it

'and then you want more time?'

'You learned Italianfor this, Syd.'

No, I know.I think, it's just, um..

It's just such a surprise,you know?

Okay, listen, I landin Chicago late tonight.

Let's meet upin the hotel lobby tomorrow and chat before youcatch your flight, okay?

Um.. Hey, I gotta go.

I'm gonna call you back laterthough, okay?

I promise.- 'Okay, you better.'

[instrumental music]

[sighs]

Hi.

Hi.

So, uh, you got Rome?

Sorry.

I overheardyour conversation.

[chuckles]That's okay.

Um, it's not definite yet but, um, they need someoneto fill in pretty fast and they said that I'm basicallya shoo-in for the job if I can justget there by Christmas.

That's great.- Yes.

Well, congratulations.I-I know you really wanted it.

Thank you.

It's just, uh..

I guess, getting the newsright now feels like,a little overwhelming.

[sighs]So, you're off then?

I have to leave tomorrow.

[sighs]I, um..

I should probablyget back to my hotel.

Alright.

Okay.

Thank you for everything.

[instrumental music]

[laptop keys clacking]

Whoa!Where's the fire?

I just can't believeChristmas Eve is tonight.

Yes, it is. Oh, we have to hangsome stockings soon.

We are going to seeSydney again...aren't we?

Tsk. I hope so.

But we have Christmasto prepare for.

I thought she wasn't leavinguntil Christmas day.

She doesn't like us anymore?

Oh, no, no.It's not like that.

So, why did she leave early?

Sometimes someone comesinto your life and can't stay for long but it doesn't mean thatthey don't have an impact.

What's an impact?

It means we're gonnaremember her.

I'm going to miss her.- I know.

Will she be okay?

I think so. Why?

She's travelingall by herself.

Come here.

[speaking in foreign language]

No, Lorenzo, I don't reallyfeel like going to the market.

[speaking in foreign language]

No, I am not avoiding things.

[speaking in foreign language]

Ugh!

"Unaccompanied Grown-up."

[telephone ringing]

Hello.

I do?

Okay, I'll be right down.

[elevator bell dings]

(Leah)'Sydney!'

[chuckles]

Hi.

Leah reminded me thatyou're still in our care for a few more hours,so I wanted to make sure our unaccompanied grown-up waspacked and ready for her trip.

Almost.

My flight's in a few hours.

How's your column going?

All done.- That's great.

Thank you, Sydney,for everything.

Uh..

It was the best Christmasgift of all that you were assigned..

...to look after Leah.

What time's your flight?

It's at, um, 7 p.m.

'So, if you look up in the skyaround 7:15' and you see a plane overhead just know that I'll be wavingdown at you, okay?

So, you're flyingChristmas Eve?

Tsk. Yes, I am.

But, um, I thinkI'm in pretty good company because, if Iremember correctly uh, somebody else flieson Christmas Eve.

It's, um--- Santa.

Oh, yeah.- Santa. Yeah.

And if I see him I'm going to put ina very good word for you.

[clearing throat]

I, um..

Sorry, I'm not really goodat saying goodbye.

(Leah)'Then let's say in Italian.'

Arrivederci.

[chuckles]

Come here.

[mellow music]

Arrivederci,beautiful.

[instrumental music]

[sighs]

[humming]

Hey, you okay?- Huh? Oh, yeah. I'm fine.

Sure about that?

Well, if I told you the truth,you'd just say, "I told you so."

No, I-I won't, I promise.

But let me guess.It's about Sydney?

Come on.I'll buy you an eggnog.

Thanks for not saying,"I told you so."

I don't careabout being right.

I just want you to be happy.- I know.

She's really leaving, huh?

Yeah. She got offeredher dream job in Rome.

Uh-huh.And she took it?

Yeah.

Did you tell herhow you felt?

Let's say, I do tell herhow I feel and let's say...she feelsthe same way.

I-I don't know if Leah's ready.

Leah or you? Maybe you'rethe one who is up in the air.

But to be happy,you have to be ready to finally move on in life.

Are you?

[cell phone buzzing]Oh, maybe this is Sydney.

It's my editor.

Hey there.

Oh.

Thank you.Thanks.

Merry Christmas.

News?

She loved the column.- Oh, great.

Yeah.

Can you watch Leahthis afternoon?

Sure. Why?

Well, the column's done,but I promised Sydney that I'd find outhow her parents met and I haven'tdone that yet.

Okay.Sounds good.

Leah, come on, let's go.

Mm.

[instrumental music]

Sydney, there you are.

Kerry.

Hi.- Hi.

How are you? Mmm.

I got in at midnight,I slept like a log.

What do you say we grabsome peppermint mochas and then headto the airport?

Sure. I could usea sympathetic ear.

You got it.

[indistinct chatter]

[mellow music]

(man on PA)'Okay, skaters, ten more minutesof free skating'

'till we clear the icefor hockey practice.'

"Hockey."

Excuse me? Hey, did they sayhockey's gonna take the ice?

Just for a couple of hours.

Christmas Pairs Competitionis tonight.

Oh. How long have they beendoing that competition?

For as long as I can remember.

[sighs]

Hey, it's Jonathanin Features.

Can I talk to Jeremyin Archives?

Thanks.

Hey, Jeremy.

We need to look througharchives again.

It's a long shot,but I got a hunch.

Look, I knowit's Christmas Eve.

I'll head down there myself.

I know you've hada whirlwind week but Rome will be a wholenew chapter for you, right?

Yes.

I hope so.

I mean, and one thing you neverhave to think about ever again is jetlag every timeyou want to see somewhere new in Europe or Africa

'cause you'll just beone or two time zones away.

That's why I love you.

You always knowhow to cheer me up.

It's my pleasure.

And, you know, I get it.

Jonathan sounds likea really great guy.

He is.

Oh, speaking of..

I think his articlemight be out by now.

Ooh.

Ah. So exciting.

"A Christmas Story."

Oh, your cab's here.- Oh.

Send it to me, okay?- I will.

Oh.- Oh.

[both laughing]

(Kerry)I'm excited for you.

Promise you'll come see me?- Of course!

Soon?- That's a given.

[laughing]Oh, you better.

(Jonathan) For most folks, the days up till Christmas are about searching for trees, treats and gifts.

But for one hometown girl it was a different kind of search for a Christmas story of her own.

A search to discover how her parents Steve and Josephine met, one Chicago Christmas a long time ago.

[mellow music]

[indistinct chatter]

[cheering]

[music continues]

And, in the end, while we may never know the story of how Steve and Josephine met they will always be a part of Sydney's Christmas story and the memories we found along the way.

Our Christmas memories are like lights on a tree each one that lights up, illuminates a moment of happiness past and happiness future.

And these are the lights that guide us home.

[sighs]

[music continues]

[airplane droning]

Jonathan?

Sydney.

You're supposed to beat 35,000 feet up there.

Yeah.But, I'm here.

And why are you here?

I came to take a peekat the pairs skating.

They're having it tonight.

Jonathan, I read your column.

I loved it.

Especially, the ending.

May I?

Sure.

"Our search endedatop a gazebo

"where countless othershave stood.

"Gazing out at the city

"twinkling with a millionmemories and moments and maybe that's a giftin itself."

Thank you.

I had to come back hereand see..

...the gazeboone last time.

The thing is, I've beento so many amazing places and I guessI never expected to feel such a specialconnection with just one..

...place.

'And I do.'

This is home.

Um, Sydney,can I tell you something?

Um, the thing about reporters iswe never give up and I did some diggingand I found something.

Found what?- It's a Christmas gift for you.

A story, actually.

(man on PA)'Hockey's winding up shortly.'

'Pairs, ten minutesand the ice is yours.'

About a young womanwho loves to skate.

And she, uh, would practiceright here at this very rink.

But one year,when she came to rehearse for the ChristmasPairs Competition her partner cancelled.

She was sodisappointed because..

...after all,dancing was her passion..

...on the ice and off.

Go on.

A hockey player saw her on that gazebo.

He worked ata Christmas tree farm.

And he was exhaustedat the end of the day but he saw how muchit meant to her so he volunteeredto be her skating partner.

Now, he wasn't muchof a dancer..

...but he knew the ice.

And with her help,after a couple of weeks they skated circlesaround the competition.

E-even a sprained ankledidn't stop him from winningthe competition..

...and fromfalling in love.

But how do you knowall of this?

It's all in this article,my associate and I

'dug up from the archives.'

I was gonna mail it to Rome.

'It ran as a human intereststory in the paper'

'with a little backgroundof how your folks met.'

First names only,and that's why it didn't show up earlier.

'Josephine and Steve.'

Wow.

Mom and dad.

Jonathan, this is the bestChristmas present that you could ever give me.

Well, I'm glad you like it.

But I'm sorry.- For what?

Well, now, I've made youmiss two flights.

[chuckles]

This is one planeI am so not sorry to miss.

And, you know,Chicago is a hub..

...and..

...a great home basefor adventures.

Are you sure?

Nobody's ever confusedChicago with Rome.

No, they haven't.

But, um, you may not know this but the pizza'stop-notch here.

That's true.

And...if it's Chicago then...it'll be likecoming home.

Would you like to hang outwith Leah and I this evening?

We're gonna drink some eggnog,and sing some carols.

I mean, unless you've gotsome other Christmas plans.

Nothing wouldmake me happier.

[instrumental music]


[instrumental music]