Finding Father Christmas (2016) Script

Spirit, show me no more, I do not wish to see it.

Conduct me home and haunt me no more.

Scrooge, what you see are only shadows of the things that have been.

They are what they are.

Cannot be changed.

Scrooge turned to look at the ghost.

He could see... that they were parts of all of the faces that had shown him from his past.

Spirit, remove me.

I cannot bear it.

Soon, Scrooge was conscious of being exhausted and... and overcome by an irresistible drowsiness and further of being back in his own bedroom.

He barely had time to reel to his bed before he sank into a heavy sleep.

Awaking later to the sound of his clock as it struck 1:00.

Scrooge could see a ghostly light from the adjoining room.

He got up softly and shuffled to the door.

Peeping around the door, he heard a booming voice.

I am the Ghost Of Christmas Present.

Come in and know me better, man.

Mum?

Mum?

# The snowflakes are on the ground #

# And Christmas is in the air.. #

Yes, the furniture will be on the truck first thing in the morning, we'll have the units staged and ready to show by lunch hour.

People will be standing in line to sign a lease.

Great, great.

I'll have my assistant email over the contract.

No, thank you.

And call Kevin in the warehouse.

Make sure there's a truck standing by first thing in the morning.

Where is he going? Garber's new building on Fifth.

I just closed the deal to stage all three condo floor plans.

I thought he already turned us down.

Annie, what's the first rule of staging any new home?

Let the potential buyer see themself in the home.

Which is why I told Garber we will put a Christmas tree in all the model units.

Nothing says welcome to your new home like that fresh holiday smell.

Nice.

Oh, could you ask Mr. Turner if we can push back that meeting by a few hours?

The folks from Portland are in town and I told them we could have lunch.

Speaking of Mr. Turner, he wanted me to remind you about his Christmas party on Saturday.

Is that this Saturday? Well, yeah.

I mean, with Christmas only a week away and all.

Um, tell him I will let him know.

The Sandlers called again about Christmas dinner at their house.

I will let them know.

Your building super wants to know what you're gonna bring to the holiday potluck this year.

You'll let him know. Right?

Hey, I will let them know.

I just, I have a lot on my plate right now.

It's Christmas, Miranda.

You're supposed to celebrate.

Give thanks, exchange gifts, eat too much, wear ugly sweaters.

Annie, I appreciate what you're trying to say but I have work to do.

Speaking of which, are there any messages that aren't about Christmas?

Um... a guy named Rick Torrance called.

He said it was important and wants to talk to you right away.

Doesn't ring a bell. If he calls back, find out what he wants?

Will do.

And so there I am with a room full of third graders so distracted, they can barely stay in their seats.

Not that I can blame them.

It's almost Christmas. Yeah?

Thank goodness, there's only one more day to the break.

Though, I'm not exactly looking forward to flying for the holidays.

No, you'll have a good time with your folks.

What about you?

Any plans this year?

Um, yeah, yeah.

Um, I'll-I'll probably just catch up on work.

You mean, like last year.

And the year before that.

Okay, why is everyone suddenly so concerned with my Christmas plans?

Because, my dear, we care about you.

Being alone for Christmas is hard for anyone.

But for you...

I can't imagine how it must feel.

I don't know what's wrong with me, Blair.

I mean, it's been 20 years.

She was your mother.

You lost her at Christmas.

Yeah, but she loved being an actress and to go that way, on-on the stage performing "A Christmas Carol," she's probably still smiling.

That doesn't make it any easier for you.

No.

But I am not a little girl anymore.

I have stability, I'm not wandering the country the way we used to.

But it's the same thing every year.

All this, the music, the lights... the smell.

It just reminds me that maybe she would have eventually told me who my father was but she never got the chance.

She must have had her reasons.

Maybe.


Annie, are you out there?

Turner-Dorset, this is Miranda.

Miranda Chester?

Yes. Great. Hi.

Uh, look, you don't know me. My name is Rick Torrance.

I'm sorry, Mr. Torrance, whatever you're selling, I'm really not...

Your mother was Eve Chester, the actress?

Hello?

Um... yes, my mother was Eve.

This is gonna sound strange but I found something that belonged to her.

I think you might want it.


Hello?

Miranda?

Mr. Torrance. No, it's Rick.

Hi. Hi.

Sorry about the mess, everybody's at lunch.

Come on up.

Watch your step.

It's right back here.

I'm so sorry. I wasn't thinking.

Oh, it's alright, I just...

I haven't been back here since that night.

I remember your mother real well.

Eve was a wonderful person.

You know, always said hello and asked about my family and an amazing actress.

Yeah.

I remember you too.

Yeah, the way you'd run around here sayin' her lines.

I figured you'd follow in her footsteps.

Nope.

I suppose not.

I was here that night.

It was..

Sure, I'm sorry.

Thank you.

Anyway, uh, when I found this, I remembered Eve had a daughter.

And I thought if I could find you... you might like to have it.

Are you alright?

Yes.

Thank you so much. Oh.


What...


Miranda.

And who are you?

"Carlton Heath, Vermont."


"Carlton Heath, Vermont."


He's still there.

"Carlton Heath."

Yeah, it's a small town in Vermont. I looked it up. It's beautiful.

It's like a Christmas card.

Maybe when your mother was on tour. I thought of that.

In all her years of touring she was never in Vermont.

"The Tempest." Mm-hm.

When I was a little girl, I asked her how she chose my name and she told me she did a production of "The Tempest" in San Francisco.

She played Miranda.

And she always loved the name.

Well, if she had such fond memories of the show why hide the program?

And what does a little boy in Vermont have to do with Shakespeare and California?

There could be a dozen reasons she kept that picture.

But why keep it hidden?

Maybe she wasn't ready to talk about it?

No, she could talk to me about anything.

She was always honest with me.

The only thing she didn't talk to me about was my father.

Miranda, you don't know that this has anything to do with him.

This was hers.

I remember she wore it all the time.

The only time she ever took it off was when she was on stage.

And I think, it's from that same town in Vermont.

But she was never there.

What are you gonna do?

I don't know.

But my whole life, I've wondered who he was.

And now I feel like I finally have a clue.

I have to do something.

I have to find out.

No, everything's alright, Annie.

It was a spur of the moment trip.

I'll be on my cell if you need me, and...

I don't know how long I'll be here.

OK. Merry Christmas.

Thanks.


Welcome to the Carlton Heath Inn.

Seattle? Oh, my goodness.

You're a long way from home.

What brings you to our little town?

Uh, just visiting.

Well, you picked the perfect time of the year.

Oh, yeah, it's beautiful.

Here you go. Thanks.

My name is Katherine.

I am the owner of the inn along with my husband, Andrew.

If you need anything, please don't hesitate to ask.

Thank you.

How about a nice cup of tea after your long trip?

You can cosy up by the fire.

Um, there's actually something I wanted to see in town first.

Could I take a rain check? Anytime you like.

And your room is at the top of the stairs.

Thanks. Enjoy your stay.

Thank you.

Come on.

Come on!

Need some help?

Yeah, my GPS isn't working.

Uh, cell service is a bit spotty up here.

Where you headed?

Um, I need to find an address in town.

It's 2625 Bexley Lane.

Oh, no problem.

It's 3 blocks down that way.

You'll run into the old church. That's Bexley Lane.

Then hang a left, go another two blocks and you'll be there.

Thanks.

Yeah, my pleasure.

You work at the inn? Yeah.

I just checked in. It's really nice.

Miranda.

Ian.

Ah. Nice to meet you.

That looks heavy. Little bit.

Sorry.

Maybe, I'll see you around? Yeah.

Three blocks? Yeah, you can't miss it.

Thanks. Again.


I thought you might be hungry.

Those are our scones, we make them right here.

Kind of our specialty. No, I'm fine. Thank you.

Did you find what you were looking for in town?

No. Hm.

Maybe I can help.

Andrew and I have lived here all our lives.

We know Carlton Heath as well as anyone.

Yeah, it-it's really not important.

You come all the way across the country the week before Christmas all alone to a place you've never been before to find something.

I have a feeling it must be very important.

Only to me.

I'm pretty sure now that I'm here it would just sound silly to anyone else.

Though it never hurts to try.

Alright, um, ahem..

Have you ever heard of the Carlton Heath Photography Studio?

Yep. On Bexley Lane.

It was run by the Halverson family for years. But it's closed now.

Right, but, um, do you know where they are?

The-the family who ran it?

The kids grew up and moved away years ago.

Jane and Eric, they retired to... Arizona, I think.

Are you a friend of the family? No, um... this was taken at their studio.

What a cutie.

Who are they?

Um, that's why I came.

To find out.

You came all this way because of a photograph of someone you don't know?

Told you it would sound silly.

Well, where'd you get this?

My mother, um... it was important to her and I wanted to find out why.

You couldn't just ask her?

I never got the chance.

That doesn't sound silly at all.

Well, doesn't matter anyway.

The studio's closed, and I'm sure they threw everything away.

There is something familiar about it.

Really? Yeah.

Maybe it's just the way Santa's dressed.

We called him Father Christmas back then.

It was an old tradition around here from when the English settled the village.

But you've never actually seen that photo, have you?

You know who you should talk to? Andrew, my husband.

At the very least he maybe able to tell you where the Halversons retired to.

Do you think he'd mind?

Not at all.

But he's still in town and I have to keep an eye on things around here.

I'll get my son. He'd be happy to show you the way.

Ian.

What's up, mum?

This is Miranda.

Hi.

You didn't tell me your parents owned the inn.

No, you asked if I worked there, which I do.

Chopping wood?

I also shovel snow, clear brush, clean out gutters.

And in a pinch, I make a pretty decent maid.

Ah, a man of many talents.

Well, I threw in that last part to impress you.

This town is so beautiful. Yeah, I love it here.

I've travelled a lot, but I always knew I'd come back home.

What about you?

Your family, all in Seattle?

No family, just me.

Yeah, well, mum told me about a, a picture.

A picture and a lot of questions.

Well... hopefully, we can help you find the answers.

Listen to that.

I didn't think towns like this still existed.

It gets better, come on.

When this was built, it was the first brick church in New England.

Before the Revolution, the locals met here to plot against the British.

Really? Mm-hm.

Legend has it that one Christmas Eve the British surrounded the church to try and catch them during the service.

But when they went inside, there was no one to be found.

What?

They didn't know that there was secret passageway that led from under the church and into the woods.

But some say that on Christmas Eve if you listen closely enough you can hear them singing from under the church.

Get out of town. No, it's true.

I mean, it's not, not, that I've ever heard them myself or anything...

Oh, of course not.

We have all kinds of stories and legends.

Not to mention our traditions, especially at Christmas.

Hm, well, my only Christmas traditions are avoiding crowds and traffic.

Well, you came to the right place then.

Sounds perfect.

Come on, let's go find dad.

Yeah, it was in pretty rough shape until the town renovated it about 30 years ago.

The first show they did was a Christmas play.

It became a tradition.

They've done it every year since.

You okay?

Mm-hm.

"James Whitcomb."

Yeah, he was a pretty well known actor in his day.

He was also one of the founders of the theatre and helped pay for the renovation.

After he passed away, they named the theatre after him.

That was nice of them. Yeah.

Look, you better get inside, before you catch a chill.

It's beautiful.

You sure you're okay?

Yeah, no, I'm just travelling all day.

It's probably just catching up with me.

Right, well, let me poke my head in.

Dad's probably about ready to knock off.

I'll be right back. Okay.

"Soon, Scrooge was overcome

"by an irresistible drowsiness.

"And further of being back in his old bedroom.

"Awaking later as the clock struck 1:00

"Scrooge could see a ghostly light from an adjoining room.

"As soon as Scrooge came peeping around the door

"he was greeted by a booming voice.

"I am the Ghost Of Christmas Present!

"Come in and know me better, man."

"Soon Scrooge was overcome by an irresistible drowsiness."

Miranda!

"And further of being back...

"Awaking later as the clock struck 1:00

"Scrooge could see a ghostly light from the adjoining room."


Weatherman says there's more snowfall on the way.

I'm afraid that Seattle jacket won't do you much good.

I don't have much experience with New England winters.

Well, we'll have to see what we can do about that.

Sorry, about leaving.

I just needed some air.

It's probably jet lag. Mm-hm.

Though you're not the first person to go running off into the night after seeing our rendition of A Christmas Carol.

There are parts I'm sure that even Mr. Dickens himself wouldn't recognise.

Well, I'm sure it's wonderful.

Well, I will say what we lack in talent we make up for with volume.

I'm not exactly what you'd call a theatre person.

Well, then come see the show with me.

Maybe it'll change your mind.

I think maybe this was a mistake.

What do you mean?

Coming here.

I don't think I'm gonna find the answers I'm looking for.

I'm not sure what brought you here, Miranda but I'm glad it did.

And while you are here, you might as well enjoy it.

After all, it is Christmas.

All those questions you have they'll still be waiting for you.

I bet that's pretty amazing when it's all lit up at night.

You have no idea.

Okay, now, I'm getting cold.

Ian, no, no, no, no.

What about you? I'll be fine.

You can talk to my dad tomorrow.

Right now, we should get back to the inn before we both freeze.

Thank you.

Yeah.

Um, we, uh, we maybe, kinda, walk a little faster?

Sorry, sorry.

Good morning! Hi!

Hope you slept well. Great. Thank you.

Good! Um, I have a table for you right there.

Come on in, and, uh, continental breakfast.

So, please, help yourself. Thank you.

Alright, Katherine, off we go.

Oh, before you go.

Ellie, um, I'd like to introduce you, Miranda.

Uh, this is Miranda Chester, she's visiting our little town for the first time ever.

Welcome to Carlton Heath. I'm Ellie Whitcomb.

This is my daughter, Julia and my son, Mark.

It is very nice to meet you.

We had hot chocolate with a candy cane to stir it with.

Oh, that sounds delicious. It is.

We have it every Christmas before we go shopping for presents.

A little Whitcomb family tradition.

Whitcomb?

I saw a plaque at the theatre yesterday.

Are you related to James Whitcomb?

Yeah, that's my husband's father. Mm-hm, wonderful man.

We wouldn't have a theatre if it wasn't for him.

Oh, speaking of which, I hope you plan on attending the Christmas show while you're here.

I'm not sure how long I can stay.

Aw. That's a shame.

Well, you must come to the tree lighting tonight then.

Yeah!

Yes, you should.

Yeah, we have a fire and we sing carols, it's a lot of fun.

And a certain someone makes a special appearance every year.

She means Santa Claus.

Yes, she does. Well, I hope we see you tonight.

It was a pleasure to meet you, Miranda.

You too. Bye.

Bye. Bye.

Bye. Merry Christmas!

What?

Oh, someone looks nice and cosy.

It's perfect. Thank you.

Yeah, we can't have our guest getting frostbite.

I have a question.

Is there somewhere in town I can get internet?

Library or something.

Well, you could use my office.

Your office? Uh-huh!

Yeah, it's just inside here.

I'll show you.

Thanks. Yeah.

I'll be running around most of the day but you can work in here as long as you want.

This is... nice.

Oh, it's not what you were expecting?

Not unless you're Batman.

No, I just do the books for the inn.

Bills and inventory.

You know, stuff like that.

And that set of law books, discreetly in the corner?

Oh, those...

Yeah, I'm also a lawyer.

Excuse me?

I mean, I have my degree and passed the bar.

I even practised for a couple of years in Burlington.

But not any more?

I still know my way around a tort in a pinch.

But mainly I just help people with estates.

You know, wills, reading contracts and adoptions.

Those are the best.

Adoptions.

Hm.

You are a Batman.

Well, let me know if you need anything else.


Miranda. Hi!

Hi, this is my husband, Andrew.

Miranda, such a pleasure to meet you.

And welcome to Carlton Heath. Hi. Thank you.

Um, Catherine's told me a bit about your quest.

Sounds like a real mystery.

So, may I have a look?

Oh, sure.

Oh, yeah.

Now, that's Father Christmas, alright, yeah.

Do you recognise the boy?

No. No, he doesn't look familiar.

Katherine thought you might know how to reach the Halversons.

To see if they can remember?

Well, it hasn't been that long.

I'm sure somebody in town still sends some Christmas cards. So, I'll ask around.

Thank you.

Well, I'll leave you to it then.

Thanks. Yeah.

It's such a beautiful day.

It seems like such a shame to come all this way just to sit in my son's office.

You're welcome. Merry Christmas, Mrs. Harris.

We'll, see you tonight.

Well, hey. Hi.

How did the computer work out? Good. Thank you.

You're playing Santa Claus?

Oh, another one of our holiday traditions.

Tea and Christmas cookies for some of the locals.

Wow, looks like a lot of work.

Well, it's not work when you're doing it for someone you care about.

And these folks are like family to us. Especially at Christmas.

Big family. The bigger the better.

Sounds noisy. That's half the fun.

I should let you get back to your... Santa Claus-ing.

Why don't you come with me?

What?

Yeah.

We'll make the rounds, I'll introduce you to the locals.

Really?

Really.

So, what do you do for the holidays anyway?

Um, my mother was an actress.

So we spent most of our Christmases in hotel rooms.

Well, that's not exactly festive.

Don't get me wrong. She was a really good mum.

And she did whatever she could to make Christmas special.

But even now, after all these years on my own I still don't really see what all the fuss is about.

It's about life and love and sharing it with those who are dear to you.

# It's Christmas again... #

Merry Christmas, Ruth. Oh...

Yeah?

Mm-hm.

Mm...

Oh!

Where to next? Oh, that was the last stop.

Oh. Wait, okay.

Thanks for coming along.

Thanks for letting me, I had fun.

You made a lot of people happy today.

That's what Christmas is all about.

Usually when people ask me what I'm doing for Christmas I just tell them I'm catching up on work or staying home or basically anything but the truth.

Which is?

That I'm avoiding it as much as possible.

I can't believe I just told you that. I don't even know you.

Well, what would you like to know?

What it's like to do this every year?

It's nice.

Let me give you a lift back to the inn.

# Christmas... #

Hello?

Ian? Katherine?

Andrew?

GONE TO TREE LIGHTING. BACK SOON! # Tis the season to be jolly #

# Fa la la la la la la la la... #

# The snow may fall but I don't mind at all #

Merry Christmas! Merry Christmas, Miranda.

Merry Christmas! Ho-ho-ho-ho...

Santa knows my name.

# It's cold and wet #

# But I won't get upset #

# With you #

# I'm always winter warm #

Merry Christmas! # The skies are grey #

# But I'm not feeling blue...

Merry Christmas. Ho-ho-ho-ho!

Merry Christmas. Ho-ho-ho!

Merry Christmas, everyone. Ho-ho-ho-ho!

Oh, my goodness.

Why don't you help me light the tree?

Ready?

Five, four, three, two, one.

Whoa! Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas. Ho-ho-ho-ho!

Merry Christmas.

# My true love sent to me #

# A partridge in a pear tree #

# On the second day of Christmas my true love gifted me #

# Two turtle doves and a partridge in a pear tree #

This is amazing.

It really is amazing. The music, the lights.

It's really Christmas. Santa even knows my name.

Yes, Santa knows everyone's name.

Oh, there's your mum. It's so nice of her to help.

Your dad couldn't make it? He's here.

Off you go, off you go, that's wonderful.

Ah, young lady. Up you go!

Ho-ho! Oh, my...

Seriously?

He's so cool.

It looks like my mum needs some help.

Um, Miranda, just enjoy yourself, okay?

And if you need to warm up, the church is right there.

Thanks.

# Four calling birds #

# Three French hens two turtle doves #

# And a partridge in a pear tree #

# On the seventh day of Christmas #

# My true love gifted me... #

...there you go. Right.

Miranda, hi! Hi, Ellie.

Oh, here you go, love. This will warm you right up.

Thank you. Oh, Peter.

This is Miranda, the young woman I was telling you about.

Miranda, my husband, Peter.

Well, it's nice to meet you. Hi.

What do you think of our town's little celebration?

I love it. I think it's wonderful.

My favourite time of year.

Oh, Peter, you and Miranda have something in common.

Is that right? Mm-hm.

You both were raised by parents who made their living on the stage.

Really?

Yeah, um...

I didn't know word travelled so fast.

Small town. You'll get used to it.

Your father?

My mother.

Ah.

Tell me, what was it like for you growing up in the shadow of the theatre lights?

Uh... it was different.

Yes, it was.

I should help Ellie.

Enjoy your visit. Thank you. Thanks.

Bye. Bye.

What have we got?

Miranda.

Hey.

Um, listen, my parents and I, um... we're going carolling with a bunch of friends and then we're heading over to Peter and Ellie's afterwards to celebrate.

We just thought we'd invite you if you're up for it.

Oh, that's really sweet, Ian, but I don't want to impose.

No, you wouldn't be imposing.

Besides, I have a feeling that carolling is another one of those things that you might have missed out on.

There's just one tinsy problem.

I can't carry a tune in a bucket.

Welcome to the club.

# Deck the halls with boughs of holly #

# Fa la la la la la la la la #

# Tis the season to be jolly #

# Fa la la la la la la la la #

# Don we now our gay apparel... #

Oh, hi.

Did you go carolling when you were a little girl?

Actually, this is my very first time.

Really? Mm-hm.

I didn't exactly have a traditional Christmas growing up.

Didn't you miss it?

Well, I will say this:

I always wanted to have a house with a fireplace so I could hang a stocking by the chimney with care.

If you lived here, you'd get to do that every Christmas.

Wouldn't she, mummy? Hm, yes, she would.

# Fa la la la la la la la la #

Wouldn't that be something?

# Fa la la la la la la la la #

# Hail the new ye lads and lasses #

# Fa la la la la la la la la... #

Dad. Andrew, are you alright?

I'm fine, I'm fine.

Are you sure? Aah!

I just needed to catch my breath.

Uh, Merry Christmas, on to the next.

Hey.

Are you okay?

Yeah, yeah, sorry, I'm... my dad's been runnin' on fumes the last couple of weeks.

He does this every year.

Well, he really loves Christmas.

Yeah, he sure does.

But he tends to overdo it.

Do you wanna call it a night?

Oh, no, no, no. He's not gonna let us do that.

We better catch up.

Here, you'll need these.

Thank you. You're welcome.

# We wish you a Merry Christmas #

# And a happy new year #

# Dashing through the snow #

# In a one horse open sleigh #

# Over the fields we go #

# Laughing all the way ha-ha-ha-ha #

# Bells on bob tails ring #

# Making spirits bright #

# Oh what fun it is to laugh and sing... #

It really feels like Christmas.

Thanks for inviting me.

# Oh what fun it is to ride #

# In a one horse open sleigh... #

Hi, guys.

Oh, Ellie, you have such a beautiful home.

Aw, thank you, love. This is Peter's family home.

He grew up here. Oh.

Well, I love the way you've decorated it.

Every year, it gets a little more festive.

Pretty soon, we won't have room for furniture.


Come in.

Hey. Hey.

Uh, I hope it's not too late. No.

I just, um, you hardly said a word on the way back, so I-I wanted to make sure you're okay.

Yeah, I think I'm just a little tired, that's all.

Look, if you need anything... if you need to talk or... I'm fine.

Okay. Um, goodnight then. Goodnight.

Ian.

Earlier today, Ellie Whitcomb mentioned my mother... about her being an actress.

And you're the only one I told about that.

Oh, um... yeah, it-it just kinda came up.

Should I not have said anything?

I met her husband, Peter, and we talked about both having actors in the family and he didn't seem too happy about it.

Yeah, well, his father was away a lot while he was growing up.

Doing shows and all that.

I'm sure that was tough on Peter.

Yeah.

Maybe that's why he's always stayed so close to his family.

Because he missed his father so much.

Thanks for checking on me.

Sure.

Goodnight. Goodnight.

Good morning. Hi.

Oh, good morning.

Mm. Morning.

I wanted to let you know I may have a lead on that photograph of yours.

Really? Yes.

I was speaking with Ben Hailey this morning, he's the pharmacist.

He got a call a few months ago from a pharmacy in Tucson.

Now, they were inquiring about a prescription refill for Eric Halverson.

He's the fellow that owns the photo studio.

Turns out, he and his wife, Jane, are still there.

And, uh, Ben gave me his email address... somewhere...

Ah! Here it is.

And I thought if you wanted to get in touch with him they might be able to help.

If you still want to, that is.

That is why I'm here.

Well, I'm off to learn my lines!

Only two more days until the show and my mind has been such a sieve lately.

Thank you, Andrew. You're welcome.


Ian?

Miranda.

Hi! What are you doing here?

Uh, I'm workin' on the set before rehearsal starts.

After last night, I wanted to give my dad a break.

You know, I saw him this morning. He really seemed fine.

Yeah, well, the way he looks forward to the show every year he wouldn't let a little thing like exhaustion keep him from that stage.

He's been playin' this role ever since James Whitcomb passed away.

Wish I could've met him.

Well, stick around for Christmas. You can meet Margaret.

Margaret?

Yes, his wife.

She comes back for the holidays.

They were married almost 40 years.

40 years, wow.

I'm sure she has lots of stories to tell.

Come on, check out the set.

Um, actually, I... have to go home.

But I thought that you...

Oh, okay, well, I-I'm sorry to hear that.

Um, I-I guess you won't get to see the show then.

No.

I gotta go, I'm sorry.

It's the theatre.

For someone whose mother was an actress... you sure get very nervous inside a theatre.

I have stayed away from theatres since I was 9 years old.

Why?

I was in her dressing room just like every other night.

And I couldn't understand why she just... stopped.

She was gone before I made it to the stage.

I'm sorry.

I didn't have any other family and nowhere to go.

If it wasn't for a friend of my mother's I don't know what I would've done.

Then what about your father?

She never told me who my father was.

And I have spent my whole life wondering.

I used to walk down the street and wonder, "Is that him?"

"Is that my father?" "Is that him?"

Um, then, a few days ago...

I found this.

This is the picture mum told me about?

Mm.

Yeah, my mother kept it hidden and I came here to find out why.

And you think he lived in Carlton Heath because of this.

Uh-huh, and... this.

It belonged to my mother.

That's our Christmas Angel.

What?

It's kind of an old tradition around here.

You give it to someone you care about to let them know that they're always in your thoughts.

Um, I also found this.

My mother played Miranda. Hm.

That's how she picked my name.

And when I found it I just... assumed that was why she kept it.

What, there's another reason? Mm-hm.

After I got here, I realised that the dates of the performances... they're 9 months before I was born.

That's why I asked to use your computer.

I wanted to... look up the names.

You think your father had somethin' to do with the show.

I do.

Only now I'm afraid of the answer.

Why is that?

Last night at the Whitcombs, I saw that photo.

And I have to ask...

"Is that him?"

"Is James Whitcomb my father?"

James...

I know, it...

His name isn't anywhere in the program and he doesn't seem to have had anything to do with the production, but...

"Special thanks for the support of the Gray Hall Theatre."

Yeah, I saw that, I've never heard of the Gray Hall Theatre.

You're sitting in it.

The name was changed to the James Whitcomb Theatre.

He was there.

They met...

Um, I...

I have to go.

Miranda... This isn't your problem.

Let me help you. You can't.

I can try. Please... just stop feeling sorry for me.

I know I never have to feel sorry for you.

You came all this way to find the truth.

Takes a very strong person to do that.

Then why don't I know what to do?

You will.

Wait for me... at the inn.

Miranda!

Oh, Julia, hi!

Well, hello, Miranda. Hello.

We've come for rehearsal.

And the show's tomorrow. Christmas Eve.

I didn't know you were in the show.

Mark's in it too. He even has lines.

Yeah, I play young Scrooge in scenes with the Ghost of Christmas past.

And then, the next day is Christmas.

How exciting.

You two should get a move on. You don't want to be late!

Bye. Bye!

Bye. Bye!

Have fun.

I hope you enjoyed the party last night.

Very much.

Yeah, I couldn't help noticing, but you seemed interested in one of the family photographs.

Oh, yes, um, it was the one with the little boy on Father Christmas' lap.

He had such a sweet smile.

You couldn't tell by looking, but that little boy was me.

And behind that beard was my father, James.

Your father?

With all of his travelling at Christmas, it was the one time that I knew I would be with him.

Well, you must've looked forward to that time very much.

Well, as I'm sure you know, life as an actor puts a lot of strain on a family.

Yeah, I treasured those times when everyone was happiest.

It made Christmas... very special.

Well, it's a lovely photograph.

I have to go.

Whoa! Whoa!

Whoa! Whoa!

Hey! What do you think?

Um, what?

Well, say hello to Prancer.

Hi, Prancer.

And, yes, in case you were wondering this is what they wrote the song about.

A one horse open sleigh?

Mm-hm. With one minor adjustment.

Wheels. Much more practical.

Of course. Come on up.

I had to borrow him from Santa so we have to have him back in a couple of hours.

Where are we going? Where ever you like.

Thanks. Here we go. Mm-hm.

I also have hand warmers. Okay.

And a thermos full of hot chocolate.

And best of all... a hat, with ear flaps guaranteed to keep your head nice and toasty warm while you look utterly ridiculous.

Yeah, no.

I guess that will be optional.

Step up!

Another Christmas first? Definitely.

Ho-ho-ho! What?

Easy.

I am beginning to understand why you never wanted to leave.

Wait until you see the next heavy snowfall.

I'd like that.

You can.

I don't belong here, Ian, not the way you do.

It's a tricky thing, belonging.

Tricky? Huh? What does that mean?

Well, take me for example.

After I finished law school, I had job offers coming in from all over.

New York, Los Angeles, you name it.

Some of them were pretty good too. I'm sure they were.

When I told them I was happy here they assumed that it was because this was were I grew up.

'Cause it was so comfortable. It's true though, isn't it?

Yeah, but there's something else too.

It just feels right.

And when you find that, that connection in your heart why would you want to go anywhere else?

How do you know when you find it?

You just do.

Whoa! Whoa!

It's beautiful.

Yeah, I've been coming up here since I was a boy.

I always felt like I could see things more clearly from up here.

It's a good place to think.

I made up my mind, Ian.

I have to go. But you still don't even know...

I saw Peter at the theatre earlier.

And he told me.

He's the little boy in the photo.

And he's sitting on James' lap.

Father Christmas is his father.

My father.

You're sure?

There really isn't any other explanation.

I mean, they had to have met during that play.

Who else could've given her the bracelet?

And then when it was time for James to go back to his family my mother wanted something to remember him by and so she took the picture.

Okay, even if you're right... even if that is the truth it-it still doesn't mean you have to go.

Ian, if I stay and they find out the real reason I'm here... nothing would ever be the same for that family.

Everything that James ever was or did... everything he meant to them all these years... they would question.

Doubt... and lose.

Whatever happened between my mother and James, I know now she was right to keep it a secret.

Even if it means never being a part of that family.

It's better than hurting so many good people.

Okay.

So we don't say anything.

Ian..

No, what about what's right for you?

You said so yourself, you don't have anyone in Seattle to have Christmas with.

So... have Christmas with us.

With me.

I have wanted to do that since the first time I saw you.

I made reservations to fly out of Boston tomorrow morning.

I'm leaving, Ian. I-I have to.

Well, um, I'll drive the cart back to the stable and get Prancer bedded down.

I think I'm gonna take a walk.

See the town one more time before I go.

Really?

It's, it's pretty cold.

Guess I'm getting used to it.

Yeah. Uh, excuse me.

Hello?

Peter?

What? What happened?

I'll be right there.

Is everything alright, Ian?

It's my father.

They rushed him to the hospital.

Mrs. McKendrick?

Yes? I'm Dr. Colter.

Andrew's resting comfortably.

He's tired, but he's gonna be just fine.

Oh, thank goodness.

What happened, doctor?

We've been running some preliminary tests and it appears that Andrew had a mild heart attack.

What exactly does mild mean?

His ECG didn't show any signs of permanent damage to his heart.

Oh, thank God. But this is a warning.

Andrew's in good shape, but we need to take a closer look at his diet and his schedule to make sure this doesn't happen again.

Okay. Absolutely. Of course.

Right now, what he needs most is rest.

I'd like to keep him overnight for observation and then, for the next couple of weeks he's gonna have to slow things down.

Take things very easy.

Okay.

Hey.

Hey.

What are the two of you looking so glum about?

I just got a little dizzy, that's all.

No, that's not what the doctor said.

Oh, what does he know?

There's nothing wrong with me that a good night's sleep wouldn't cure.

I-I told them, I need to get out of here.

We've got that show tomorrow night.

Andrew, no.

That is absolutely not possible.

What are you talking about?

You've been overdoing it for weeks, dad.

You need to rest up. Take better care of yourself.

Those are the doctors orders.

Oh, what about the show?

Can't do "A Christmas Carol" without Scrooge.

And I can't imagine getting through one single day without you.

Thirty years.

We've never missed a performance.

Just won't seem like Christmas around here without it.

Well, it's a small sacrifice for us to make sure that Scrooge is back to do the show for many more years.

As long as Andrew's gonna be okay, that's all that matters.

Well, but he's so disappointed.

He didn't wanna let everybody down. Not after all these years.

Well, can we do the show anyway?

I-I don't see how, Ellie.

I mean, all the lines and the blocking.

It's too much for someone to learn in one day.

I'm afraid Katherine's right.

We have to cancel.

But there must be something we can do.

I mean, Peter, the show meant too much to your father.

It's too important.

We don't have a choice, Miranda.

Sorry.

I'm stayin' at the hospital with dad tonight.

Gonna give mum a rest.

I have an early flight, so I probably won't see you again.

No.

So...

Yeah.

Thank you for... everything.

Take care, Miranda.

If you're ever in the northwest...

Sure.

Bye.


Looks like they were right.

We're havin' a white Christmas.

I've never seen anything like it before.

Yeah, feels like home.

Shouldn't you be with your dad?

Uh, my mum went to the hospital first thing this morning.

She's with him now.

How's he doing?

Better.

I'm glad.

Please say goodbye for me.

I'd rather not. Ian...

Look, you've told me all the reasons why you should leave.

But you're ignoring the one reason why you should stay.

You've had to be strong your entire life... with no one to depend on.

I-I can't even imagine how hard that's been.

But coming here to find the answer to who you are... that has to be the hardest thing you've ever done.

But if you leave now... nothing changes.

Yeah, but I didn't come here to change anything, Ian.

I came here to see if this might be a place where...

A place where you could belong.

A place that you could call home.

With people you could depend on.

Who care about you.

Who could love you... if you let them.

Believe me, I know how that sounds.

People don't just do this.

They don't just meet and suddenly everything fits.

Except...

Tell me you don't feel the exact same way.

And we can say goodbye right now.

You can, you can get on that plane.

You can go on with your life.

And nothing changes.

Stay.

Is that a yes?

Yeah.

I've wanted this for my whole life.

But you have to promise me something.

Can you promise me you won't say anything to anyone?

'Cause... no one can know why I came here.

I promise.

Thank you.

I have to ask you for something too.

Yeah, what is it?

Can you help me with my lines?

Are you serious?

My dad was so disappointed so, I-I actually said that I would play Scrooge.

What? I mean, I-I know the play.

I-I've been around it since I was a kid.

But I still only have one day, so...

It's crazy, huh? Yeah.

It's wonderful, are you kidding?

So, you'll help me?

Of course.

Good, because I've got a long way to go.

We better get started.

You sure you're okay to be back in the theatre again?

Yeah.

I actually kinda miss it.

Ian. Peter.

Hi. Hello, Mrs. Whitcomb.

Hello, Ian. How is your father?

He's better, thank you. Oh, I'm so glad.

Well, Peter told me what you've been doing.

Stepping in at the last minute.

James would be very, very pleased.

Thank you. I'm happy to do it.

I have a long way to go.

Speaking of which, Mrs. Whitcomb this is Miranda Chester.

She's been drafted to help me out.

Miranda. Very nice to meet you.

Nice to meet you too.

And thank you for helping to see that our little show goes on.

Oh, I'm, I'm just running lines, he's really doing all the work.

Do you live in Carlton Heath? Just visiting.

And what brings you to our little town?

Why, I've always wanted to see Vermont in Christmas.

I've heard it's very beautiful.

Hm... and here you are.

Ian told me about your husband.

About how the theatre was named after him. You must be very proud.

Well, this place does hold a lot of memories for me.

Which is why I come every Christmas, not just to see my grandchildren, but to indulge in... nostalgia.

And also to enjoy my favourite Christmas show, which reminds me you two have a lot better things to do than listen to me jabber on.

Well, we'll see you tonight, Mrs. Whitcomb.

I look forward to it, Ian.

And, Miranda, every year we have a cast party back at the house.

After the show, it's become sort of a Christmas Eve tradition.

Why don't you join us?

Thank you. Good.

Just breathe.

I don't know what to do.

It was light as a feather.

I, am, as happy as an angel.

A merry Christmas to everybody.

I don't know what day it is.

I don't know anything.

I'm... quite a baby.

Never mind.

I don't care. I'd rather be a baby.

Oh, glorious, glorious.

Bravo.

Still got a long way to go.

# Snow is falling #

# Everyone is so happy #

# To be here #

# And Santa Claus is coming along #

# Just to bring you some cheer #

# Well snow is falling down #

# How can you be blue? #

Wish I could do it the way dad does it.

You don't wanna do it like your dad does it. Do it like you do it.

Cheers.

Cheers.

# Snow snow snow #

You go in.

Oh, good. Thank you.

"I don't know what day of the month it is."

"I don't know how long I've been among the spirits."

"I don't know anything. I'm quite a baby."

I know the line.

Thank you.

Thank you.

You helped me remember all the things I love about being in a theatre.

I don't know anything.

I'm quite a baby.

Break a leg.

Thank you.

# God rest ye merry gentlemen #

# Let nothing you dismay... #


Wow.

So I told that doctor

"I may not be able to act in the show, but there is nothing in the world that will stop me from watching it."

No, thank you.

Could you see me on stage?

Yes, I could, and you were wonderful.

My grandfather was a great actor.

I think I might be an actor too... when I grow up.

Well then, I will have to come and see you in all of your shows.

Miranda, be a dear and put this on the table.

I got something in the oven. Sure.

Mm...

Hi.

Let me get some more wine.


"By the lake shore in the moon glow

"first time, only time

"beguiling eve once now ever in this failed heart."

"Beguiling eve."

Eve.

What do you think?

Sorry.

I shouldn't be in here, I was just...

All those people. Oh.

So many faces, so many names.

Don't give it a thought.

And not many people know that my husband wrote poetry.

It relaxed him when he was on the road touring.

Really?

Yeah.

And his work always had a particular... pattern, except for this one.

It's always been sort of a mystery.

What do you mean?

Well, it's different.

I-it's beautiful, that's why we framed it, but it, it just... it doesn't sound like him.

We found it after he died, so... afraid we were never able to solve the mystery.

Well... some mysteries are better left unsolved.

Perhaps you're right.

Uh, Miranda, that's the character from "The Tempest."

Well, take your time.

Andrew, don't forget the potatoes.

I got them right here. Okay.

Ian... will you let Miranda know that we're almost ready to go?

Okay, mum. Okay, good.

And can you grab my jacket while you're up there?

Fine.

Hey.

Hey.

Wow, you look great.

Thanks, you too.

Well, um, I hope you're hungry.

There's gonna be enough food to feed an army.

I need to ask you something.

What's wrong?

Last night, did you tell Margaret about me?

About the photograph? What?

No. No, of course not.

I told you, you could trust me.

I saw you talking to her and she was holding it, so I just thought...

It's Christmas, Miranda. It's a picture of her husband.

She still misses him very, very much.

Sorry.

Just when I was talking to her later, the way she looked at me, just... felt like she... knew something... about me.

Maybe I, I shouldn't go.

Like, I really don't belong there.

I wasn't sure when I was gonna give this to you.

Now seems like a good time.

What?

Open it.

Oh.

Ian...

That's your very own Christmas Angel, to remind you, no one else can tell you where you belong.

It's what you feel in your heart that guides you home.

Merry Christmas.

It's beautiful. Thank you.

Ready?

Mm-hm.

Oh, where are we going?

Come see. It's a surprise.

What is it? It's for you.

Oh, Julia.

It's beautiful, thank you.

Don't thank me.

It was Santa. Of course.

I will be sure to thank him the next time I see him.

Well, come on.

Don't you want to see what he brought you?

Yes, I do. Thank you.

Uh-oh, posture.

You know, Andrew, I think Ian may have stolen some of your thunder in this year's show.

Well, he's always been a bit of a ham.

And I wonder where he gets that from?

Oh.

Let me say, for the record that I am perfectly willing to pass the dramatic torch to the next generation.

Oh, no, no, no. No, you don't.

I am not going through that again.

Oh, what? What?

Oh, no, but you were so wonderful.

Oh, no offence, Andrew. None taken.

Now, Miranda, I'm sure you've never seen A Christmas Carol quite like ours back in Seattle, have you?

I don't think anyone has.

Oh. Oh! Oh! Ow!

Oh, no, no, no. I didn't mean it like that.

No, I really enjoyed it.

I-I can't remember the last time I've had this much fun.

This whole trip, you all have been... so generous welcoming me into your home and you've really reminded me that Christmas can be very special.

So, thank you. All of you.

It's a lovely bracelet, Miranda.

I see that you've discovered our town's Christmas Angel.

Ian gave it to me.

Hm... Oh!

Ian. Oh.

Tell me, were you born in Seattle?

Um, no, mm-hm, I was born in California but we moved to Seattle when I was very young.

How come?

Well, my mother got a job there. What kind of job?

She was an actress.

Like my grandfather? That's right.

What about your dad?

Good heavens, where is my head?

Do you know that I have another present for you two upstairs?

I completely forgot. Really?

Mm-hm, so why don't you two run upstairs?

They're on my bed. You can open them up there.

Thanks, grandmother. Thank you.

Beautiful kids.

Was your mother a stage actress?

Mm-hm, yes.

And what was her name?

Eve, Eve Chester.

Eve?

"Whoever in this failed heart."

You know, I should, um...

I-I really think I need to... And your father?

My father was also an actor.

And... his name was James Whitcomb.

My mother never told me who my father was.

And my whole life, I never knew his name.

And then, a couple of days ago, I found this photograph and all it said was Carlton Heath, and... and that's why I'm here, to, to find out...

Stop. Peter, I can show it to you.

It's the same one that you have here.

And when you told me that that was him your father, James Whitcomb, that's when I knew.

I said stop. I was sure.

They-they did a show together. I-I have the program.

I can show you the program. What?

Can't you see what she's doing?

This is obviously some sort of scam.

She-she wants money. No, please..

You had it all planned.

You fooled us all with your touching story.

Well, I won't listen to another word of it.

I want you out. Leave.

Alright, that's enough, Peter.

Stop. What?

You have your father's eyes.

You knew.

I suspected... from the first moment I saw you.

But it was the poem that convinced me.

Eve was your mother.

Just never knew her name.

Mother, I don't understand...

Peter, you were too young to remember.

You were just a toddler when your father started to have success as an actor.

The more successful he became... the harder it was for us to be together.

Finally, I just had had enough and I, I asked him for a divorce.

What?

We were waiting for the divorce to become final when James got a call from a friend of his in San Francisco who was directing a production of The Tempest.

He had to replace his lead actor and he begged James to step in and... he was on a plane that night.

And that's when he met your mother.

Initially, it was strictly professional.

But... soon James began to open up about our divorce and they grew closer, and...

finally, they fell in love.

So, why did he leave?

Now, the story might've ended there, but Peter got sick.

Pneumonia.

James told Eve, and she was the one who convinced him to come home to look after his son, to take care of his family.

She let him go.

And when Peter started to recover we realised that we really wanted to try to save the marriage, and-and... we did.

I mean, it-it wasn't easy, but we, we worked things out and...

I was with him until he died.

I still don't understand how you know all this about my mother.

Because he told me everything.

Except for her name.

And I forgave him.

I realise that your mother...

Oh, she must have loved him very, very much.

So much that she was willing to let him go.

I have no idea how she did that.

I...

I mean, I can only imagine how heart-broken she was.

But I have always been grateful.

But wh-what about me?

Miranda...

Honey, I promise you if James had had any idea that he had another child he would have moved heaven and earth to find you to take care of you.

Yeah.

That's why she never told me.

Because it would've been too painful to see him again, knowing she couldn't be with him.

So she raised me on her own.

And she gave me all the love that she couldn't give him.

Oh..

God, he would've loved you so much.

Thank you.

Come here.

Miranda... about what I said...

I'm sorry.

It's alright.

The truth is, growing up I used to wish I had a brother or a sister.

Maybe we can find out what that's like.

Yeah.

Listen. Can you hear them?

Dad, they're coming down the street. Can we go out to listen to them?

Put on your coats.

# In excelsis deo #

Mystery solved. Thank you, thank you.

Now, you and I have a lot to talk about, don't we?

Yeah.

And we're gonna have plenty of time.

This is just our first Christmas.

There are gonna be many more.

Hut, hut!

Ho! Ho!

Do you think she's right?

Do you think it's possible every Christmas could be like this?

Possible.

I'm counting on it.