A Christmas Miracle (2019) - full transcript

When her boss steals her idea for their magazine's cover story, Emma searches for a Christmas miracle to write about with the help of her son and the handsome staff photographer.

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everyone says

there's nothing
quite like christmas

in the city,

but it's been a long time

since mommy lived here
in denver.

So... I forgot what it's like.

It's so big.

It is big.

And I know
it's not exactly like savannah,

but it's gonna feel like home
in no time, okay?

Do I have to go
to winter camp?

We've talked about this
before, tyler.

With mommy
starting her new job,

I think it's a great way
for you to find new friends

before your school starts
in January.


Let's make a deal.

If you give this a chance,

I promise to make this
the best christmas ever.

What do you say?

That's my tiger.

So what do you think?

What? Is there
something about them

you don't like?

I don't know, marcus.

I guess I was hoping
for a little more pop.

They popped for me.

Thanks, barry.

Good morning!

Would you like a mini tree
for your desk?

Ah... I don't really
have a desk, but...


Merry christmas.

Thank you.

you're welcome.



Oh, you've been here
barely a week,

but it looks like
you're settling in nicely.

I need you to print out my--

phone sheet?

It's already
on your desk, valerie.

Along with your iced coffee--
two creams.

Well, you certainly are
a breath of fresh air.

Come with me.

As you know,

December is one of
our busiest months

here at
"daily lifestyle magazine."

yes, the head of hr

explained to me

that the magazine's
christmas issue

is the top seller.

That it is.

And this year,

the pressure to deliver
a real page-turner

is at an all-time high.

But you've worked
on staff before,

so you know the drill.


After taking time off
to raise my son,

I freelanced occasionally

for the local newspaper
in savannah.

I know
you're a tad overqualified

for executive assistant,

but there might be

a junior staff position
available come January...

If you play your cards right.


That would be incredible.

I am ready to do whatever I can
to make that happen.

While you glance over
your phone sheet,

would you mind if I pass out

the rest of the mini-trees

that I got for everyone
in the office?

You really are a charmer,
aren't you?

Well, I just...

I guess it's my way

of trying to keep

my small-town spirit alive
in the big city.

Don't let me stop you.

Hi. I'm emma.
Valerie's new assistant.

Merry christmas.


- who's there?
- -emma sanderson.

I don't think we've met.

How are you?

Marcus welsh.

And as your typical
mondays go around here,

I'd say that I am fair.

Well, I just wanted to drop by
and say hello

and give you a little something
that brightens your desk.

Oh, thanks...

But I'm not exactly
a ho-ho-ho type of guy.


Come on.

What's there
not to love about christmas?


First off, let's start
with tighter deadlines,

higher expectations,

and a lump of coal
in our stockings

if we fail to deliver.

Last year,

I had to photograph
the 12 days of christmas...

In three days.

That must have been
quite the challenge,

but I bet it made
quite the spread.

Are you always
such a big ray of sunshine?

I don't know.

Are you ever one?

I'm sorry.

It's just my day started off
a little bumpy

with my lifestyle editor.


I'm her new
executive assistant.

I started Monday.

I see.

In that case,
I'll give this back to you,

because you are going to need it
a lot more than I will.

What is that supposed to mean?

I bet by Friday,

you will be answering the phone,
"bah humbug."

and I bet I'll surprise you.


Merry christmas.

Merry christmas.

She's awfully chipper.


As you're all aware,

our christmas issue

is responsible
for boosting subscribership.


the last three years

have seen those numbers
fall significantly,

which is why I'm concerned

that these pitches
that I've been reading

just don't pack the punch
to turn those numbers around.

I completely agree
with you, miss hennessy,

which is why
I invited you down here

to let the staff know

the direction
you'd like to be heading.

I'm looking for something
that is truly unique.

Something new.
Something fresh.

Something captivating.

We need a real page-turner.

How about we do a story
about a celebrity

heading back
to their old hometown

to spend christmas
with their folks?

We did that in 2012.

How about a piece

about christmas traditions
around the world?

Maybe as a feature,

but it's not special enough
for a cover story.

For our cover story,

we need something
that sings of christmas.

Of family.

Of tradition.

I need a story

that is going
to melt people's hearts.

And I am confident
that you will deliver.

Of course.

Okay, then.

I need everyone in my office
bright and early

with something truly inspiring.

how did tyler's day go?

So far,
a bit on the quiet side,

but I'm sure he'll warm up.

Hey, ty.

-How was your day?
-Okay, I guess.

Come on...

I think we can do
better than that.

Why don't you try telling me

what was your best
and worst part of the day?


You picking me up.

The worst,
you dropping me off.

I walked into that one,
didn't I?

A little bit.

How about we turn that around

and we go meet aunt nancy
for a little holiday cheer?


-Thank you.

look, mom--
he's really good.

He is, isn't he?

Aunt nancy!

Folks call him "santa dean."

I'm always amazed at the talent
this city brings out.

I got you both a little treat.

Aw, thank you.

Roasted chestnuts.


So... How are you two
settling in?

So far, as well as expected.

Thank you so much
for helping us find a home.

I'm just thrilled

that you decided to pursue
your career in journalism again.

What finally pushed you
to take the leap?

Well, after my divorce,

I realized that

if I had any hope

of teaching tyler
to follow his dreams,

it was time
to follow my own.

Only now
a little older and wiser.

That's the hope.

How goes the pursuit so far?

It's a little too soon to tell.

I've quickly become aware
of how long I've been gone.

Make any friends yet?

Yeah, one.
If we count you.

Give it some time.

If anyone
can get people to warm up,

it's you.

I hope you're right.

The whole staff is on edge

trying to come up with
the next big christmas story

for our holiday issue.

Sounds like a ripe opportunity
to prove yourself.

You think?

I haven't even
been there a week.

I don't want to come off
as overzealous.

From what I can remember
back in college,

that enthusiasm
was always your strong suit.


But the editor in chief
is being really picky.

She doesn't want just any idea,

she is asking
for a christmas miracle.

What's a christmas miracle?

A christmas miracle?

It's like...

When something truly wonderful
and unexpected happens

this time of year.

I wouldn't mind
finding a christmas miracle.

You will, sweetie.

Didn't I promise you
the best christmas ever?

I'm going to need a miracle
to pull this off.

If anybody can, it's you.

Hey, what happened
to the raisins?

I ate 'em.

Tyler, you were supposed
to use it for the door knob.

I thought we could just
draw it on with icing.

Ah, I like the way
you improvise.

What do you say...

We continue
construction tomorrow?

Okay, tiger.

Time for bed.

Can I sleep on the couch
while you finish your work?

Sure, baby.

Come on.

Are you missing our old life
back in georgia?

I know a big move can sometimes
feel a little scary.

But you'll see.

We're going to make

lots and lots and lots
of new friends.

Lots and lots?

Lots and lots and lots
and lots and lots and lots.

That'll take
a christmas miracle.

You just have to have faith.

Okay, mister.

Now close your eyes
and go to sleep.

you're here awfully early.

glutton for punishment,

or you trying
to impress the new boss?

I can say the same.

The truth is,

I got here early

because I'm working on
something of my own.

Well, you should know

that the company frowns upon

using the office
for personal use.

Well, actually,

I came in here
to work up a pitch for valerie.

So you're throwing
your hat in the ring.

Okay, let me see
what you've got.

Oh, okay.


If you don't want to use
my years of experience on staff

for a little free advice.

All right, okay fine.

When you put it that way,
why not?

Just give me a second
and I'll print it out.



This is...



Interesting good,

or are you just
trying to be nice?

No, it's interesting good.

It is.

But, listen,
it doesn't matter what I think.

Valerie's the one
that you have to win over.

I know that.

I'm just not sure

about how I should
approach her on this.

It's a tough one.

Normally, I'd say,

wait till she's in a good mood,

but that's rare in December.

But then when should I strike?

I don't know...

Catch her in a private moment,


Alone, without
anybody else around.


Keep your pitch brief.

Let her swirl her mind in
the finger paint a little bit.


And the moment you get a nod,
just stop talking.

Okay? Valerie hates it
when people babble.

Fortunately, that's not me.

I mean, can I get carried away
with a subject sometimes?


But I am totally not the person
to keep going on and on and on.

I'm babbling, aren't I?

Just a little bit.

It's okay.
You'll be fine.

Just remember,

if she rejects your idea,
don't take it personally.

And if she loves it?

Then don't let it
go to your head.

With someone like valerie,

you are only as good
as your last idea.

Is this your way
of wishing me luck?

Yes. Good luck.

Thank you.

thank you
and keep up the good work.

How did the staff meeting go?

I think we have some pitches
with real promise.

The question is
will miss hennessy agree?

Well, if it's all right,

I would like
to run by a concept by you.

Go ahead.

My son, tyler, is having

a bit of an adjustment
with the move,

so last night,

I decided to take him
to the christmas fair

to cheer him up.

Anyway, my friend, nancy, and I

got talking about
a christmas miracle,

and tyler looked up at me
with eyes as big as globes,

and asked,
"what's a christmas miracle?"

let's fast forward
to the pitch, please.


That inspired me
to start searching

for real-life
christmas miracles.

So, I went on my computer
last night,

and I couldn't believe
the things that popped up.

There was a firefighter

who was called to put out
a christmas tree fire.

It turns out it was the home
of his childhood sweetheart.

They rekindled their romance
and got married.

And that's just one example.

I found dozens.

A father whose life was saved

when they found
the perfect kidney match

on christmas eve.


But I assume these stories
have already been told.


But I'm sure in a city
the size of denver,

there are plenty
of fresh stories to be told.

Let me think about it.

I wrote up a little something
for you to look at.

You really are eager,
aren't you, emma?

All right.

I'll look it over.

If it has merit,

I'll pass it by miss hennessy
after lunch.

You will?

I will.

That's great.

Thank you, valerie.
Thank you.


Is valerie out of that meeting
with miss hennessy yet?


But I'm hoping she finds a fan

with my real-life
christmas miracle idea.

I need her
to look at the proofs

from the christmas cookie shoot
for the recipe page.

Ah, I see.

What's on the menu
for December?

Reindeer cookies.

Oh, my goodness.

That is adorable.

Thank you.

I just hope
valerie shares your enthusiasm.

But I fear
my timing may be off.


inches away
from a clean getaway.

Yes, valerie.

Are these the photos
for December's recipe spread?

Indeed, they are.

Come with me to my office.
I'll take a look.

Okay, here we go.

Marcus, I don't
have to tell you

how high the expectations are

for this year's christmas issue
to be the best ever.

Is this really the best ever?

Valerie, they're photos
of cookies,

not the lunar landing.

I didn't realize

you put a dial
on your enthusiasm

depending on your assignments.

I didn't mean it that way.

The whole point
of these recipes

is to inspire the reader
to make them on their own.

Be creative.

Give the reader a reason
to run to their kitchen--

not turn the page.


Emma, meet me in my office
in five minutes.

Of course.

How did the pitch go
with miss hennessy?

Not as good as I had hoped.

She approved all our features,

but passed on
the lead story pitches.

All of them?

I'm afraid so.

Fortunately, I came up
with an area on the fly

she seems to like,

so I guess it will be up to me
to impress the editor in chief.

How's your christmas spirit
feeling right about now?

rejection comes with the job.

That part I have no problem
rolling with the punches.


Then what's bothering you?

It's dividing my time
between work and my son.

I know...

It hasn't been easy on him,

and I just keep wishing
I could do more to help.

You're doing the best you can.

Then why
do I run around all day

with a case of mommy guilt?

Because you're a good mommy.

I see how hard you work

to find balance
as a single mom.

I know it can't be easy.

and I'm not complaining.

-You want it all.

I get it.

Plus, I promised

to give that guy
a special christmas.

And you will.

What I remember most as a kid

is that life wasn't as much
about the grand gestures

as it was about the moments.

Moments you probably thought
were trivial

but will end up being
tyler's fondest memories

when he grows up.

That's true.

When I was growing up,

my mom, she used to hide

a secret christmas present
for my sister and I.

And there was something about
finding that one present

that made it more special
than all the others.

The same will happen for tyler.

Thanks, nance.

You're a good friend.

What'd I do?

Okay, it's a new day, people,

and I'm thrilled to report

that miss hennessy has approved

all of our upcoming features
for the christmas issue.

Karl, I managed to salvage
your celebrity concept

by adding in family traditions.

Soap fans have a huge audience,

so I want you to pepper some in
amongst the a-listers.

I'll get on the phone
with publicists right away.

Glenda, I would like you
to do a christmas spread

about the hottest
holiday parties in the city.

Oh, and miss hennessy thought

there was something fun

about the tri-city christmas
carol glee club competition,

so I think annie and sarah,
you should run with that.

Love it.

And as for our cover story?

I'll be responsible
for delivering that.

Details forthcoming.

Anything else?

Valerie, I promised
my son, tyler,

we'd go christmas tree shopping
after work,

and I thought it might be
a morale booster

if I picked one up

and got some decorations
for the office.

Oh, that's a great idea.

You probably need
some help with that.

-Yes, valerie?

Your docket
is a little light today.

Maybe you could lend a hand?


I... I mean, yes,
I would love to.



This is my son, tyler.

nice to meet you, tyler.

How do you like
living in denver?

He's a little shy.

That's okay.

I was shy as well
when I was your age.

I barely made a peep, actually.

My mom called me the "observer."

I think that's why
I got into photography.

So you could take pictures
all day?


Yeah, I do.

That's got to be fun.

It can be...

It can be.

-My mom's a writer.

She likes telling stories.

-That's what I told him.

After taking time off
to raise this guy,

I realized
how much I missed it.

And that's why we came back
to the city.

That was a big move.

So what is it about writing
that you love so much?

I guess it's the power
to move people emotionally

in a way
they didn't quite expect.

Well, I'm glad
you took my advice

and didn't let

valerie's rejection
slow you down.

Oh, trust me.

I realized early on

in order to survive
this business,

you've got to have thick skin.

One of steel around here.


But as I always say to tyler,

you can't win if you don't try.

I found the one!

You did?


What do you think?

I don't know, ty.

I think we might need
to get a crane

to put this in our place.

But you said I could pick out
whatever tree I want.

I know, sweetie, but--

but this is a scotch pine.

Okay, this is a sturdy choice.

These originated in europe,

and they're known

for their excellent
needle retention.

How do you know so much
about christmas trees?

Well, I shot a piece

about the top 10 christmas trees
of the season,

and this tree placed 9th.

Which came in first?

This guy right here.

The forest spruce.

And legend has it,

it was the first christmas tree

that was chopped down
in the black forest.

And you want to know what?

Kris kringle chopped it down.


Yeah. This one right here.

You don't think it's too small?

Not to me.

But it's your decision.

I think I want this one.

Well, okay, then.

We have found our tree.

But, you know what,

I think I like the scotch pine
one for the office.

So, tyler...

This is where mommy works.

- cool.
- it's pretty cool, right?

A little help here.

All right,
so how does that look?

Uh, crooked.

It's leaning to the left.

Okay, how about that?

-Ty, how's that?
-Your other left.

-A little more.

- There?
- -a little more.


-A little more.
-A little more.



All right...



I think my job here is done.

Aren't you going
to help us decorate it?

That's up to your mom.



good job!

-a bit higher.



I don't remember the office
looking so festive last year.

I know.

It really warms the place up.

I'm telling you, valerie,

your real-life
christmas miracle idea

is a stroke of genius.

The more I thought about it,

I think that this actually
has the potential

to be an annual event.

that's a great idea.

Each year,
we find a new miracle

so it becomes a gift
that just keeps on giving.

It was the shot in the arm
that this magazine needed.

Brilliant concept, valerie.

Thank you.

Miss hennessy didn't pass

on my real-life
christmas miracle idea.

She loved it!

And valerie took credit
for the whole thing.

I'm so sorry, emma.

It's not like
I was naive enough

to think that they were going
to hand me the assignment.

I would have settled
for "nice job, emma."

no, I get it.
I get it.

Why did she lie to me?

I think it's because

of miss hennessy's
attitude around her lately

has valerie feeling like
that she's--

you know, that she has
something to prove.

This is just--

it's so disheartening.

I agree, I agree,

but I think, for your own sake,

it's best if you just

don't let valerie know
that you're on to her.


Have you met my face?

It pretty much tells the tale.

I'm being serious.

Okay, if you don't want
a pink slip

under your christmas tree
at the end of the month,

play pretend.

there you are.

-Good morning, valerie.
-Good morning.

By the way, nice job
on the christmas decor.

It's make me feel
a tad more jolly.

I bet.

I'm meeting
with dennis in research,

so if you could print out
my phone sheet and--

and get you your iced coffee.

On it.

Thank you.

How was that?

You had me convinced.

Look, dennis,

the real-life christmas miracle
I'm looking for

doesn't have to be something

as monumental
as an organ transplant.

It needs to be unique
and it needs to be inspiring.

We're a lifestyle magazine,
not a medical journal.

I get it.

That's great.

But I want to keep this
under tight wraps.

Just between us.


I don't have to tell you
how much pressure I'm under.

Find me a true miracle

and you'll be looking at

the biggest christmas bonus
of your career.

I appreciate it.

Valerie is in a meeting,

but I'll give her the message
when she gets out.

Looks like your day
hasn't gotten any brighter?

It's been nothing
but gingerbread and jelly beans.

Well, cheer up,

because I think
I have a solution

that you're going to love.

-No thanks.

Hold on.
Are you giving up so quickly?

Actually, it's the opposite.

I've decided my best hope
of promotion

is to prove my worth
the month of December.

And clearly,

I've been doing
something right.

Hold on.
Come on.


it's not like I have a choice.

I need this job.

Maybe, okay?

But you also look like
you could use a break.

Come on.

I already sense a spin.
Go ahead.

Well, valerie stole
your idea, right?

So what's stopping you
from stealing it back?

I beg your pardon?

Why not find your own story,

somewhere in the city,

and write about it?

I mean, what better way
to prove yourself

than by delivering

a more heartfelt christmas story
than valerie

for our big issue?

Behind her back?

She told you miss hennessy
passed on your idea,

so write it anyway.

And prove to her

that, despite your rejection,
you let passion be your guide.

You have an answer
for everything, don't you?

Tell me I'm wrong.

You're the one
that loves to write.


Why do I get the sense

you're only encouraging me

as a way to turn tables
on valerie?

Oh, I'm just trying
to get you to write.

At least tell me
you'll think about it.

Why are you so keen
on pushing me to do this?

You don't even know
if I'm a good writer.

If valerie stole your idea,
you're a great writer.

Where are you going?

I just want to pop in
and check on tyler.

I'll be out in a minute.

Okay. I'll be here.

look, mom.
Santa dean.

thank you, folks.

Ah, thank you.

And with that,
I am going to take a short break


Warm up the old digits here.

Pretty good, pretty good.



That was very generous,
santa dean.

Well, I just come here
to play music,

not for the tips.

People feel compelled
to give me money anyway.

Of course they would.

Your music, it just has
a way of uplifting our spirits.

For both my son and I.

Isn't that right, tyler?

That's very kind.

Very kind.

Tyler, what's your favorite
christmas song?

Oh, come on, tyler.

Tell santa dean
your favorite christmas song.

It's "silent night."

oh, "silent night."

he would be thrilled
if you could play it for him.


I think I remember it.

"silent night..."

I'll do my best.

-Hey, you two.

Looks like this place

is turning out to be
your favorite hang.

Tyler likes coming here
after camp.

It cheers him up.

And I could definitely
use some of that

after the day I had.

I'm so sorry, emma.

I still can't believe
your boss did what she did.

Taking credit
for someone else's idea

is just wrong.

I know.

As was telling myself

I actually stood a chance
for writing it.

Well, if I were you,
you know what I would do?

Just that.

Write it anyway.


That's what marcus from work
told me to do.


So you've made a new friend?

I guess.

I mean, we started off
a little prickly,

but he seems to be
my only ally at the office.

So are you going to write it?

I don't know.
I just...

I still feel a little torn.

What for?

If this temporary
position of yours

doesn't become
something permanent,

you'll need
a fresh writing sample

come the new year.


But if valerie finds out,

I don't want this
costing me my job.

Sounds to me like
creating excuses to not write.

Think maybe it's because

you're a little scared
to put yourself out there?

My mom's not scared
of anything.

Right, mom?

welcome back.

Now, I have a special request

from a young friend of mine
named tyler.


How do you like that, ty?

this place is really
starting to feel like home,

don't you think?

Thanks, mom.

I mean it.

You always try
to make me feel good.

Aww, tyler...

That is so sweet.

You know when you say
you're proud of me

when I do something good?


Well, you make me proud.

I do?

I know it wasn't easy
coming here.

But you made it happen.

I did.

Didn't I?

Thank you.

For what?

For making us both believe

that anything is possible
if you put your mind to it.

I thought a lot
about what you had to say.

And I decided...

I'm going to go for it.

So now that you're onboard,

where do we start?


I thought I was writing this.

You are--
you're writing it--

but your article
is going to need a layout,

which means you're going to need
a photographer.

I don't even have a story.

Details, details.

We'll find you
a real christmas miracle.

The real miracle

is going to be me finding time
to write a story.

You know what they say...

If you want something done,
ask a busy person.

Henry and carol,

I'd like you to meet
valerie masala.

She's the lifestyle editor
for the magazine.

pleasure to meet you both.

According to dennis,
you have quite the tale to tell.

We like to think so, yes.

lovely earrings, by the way.

Oh, thanks.

I tend to get carried away
this time of year.

Yeah. Our friends call her
"christmas carol."

why don't you tell valerie
what you told me this morning?

Of course.

Well, my wife and I both work

as librarians
at the city public library,

and, well,

carol's also a budding novelist
as well.

I've been toiling
with my first novel

for the better part of a year,

but for some reason,

I suffered a horrible case
of writer's block.

well, that was

until we moved into

this amazing turn-of-the-century
craftsman over at curtis park.

one of the floorboards,

we came across an old book

that looked like

it had been tucked away
for a century.

It was a first edition

of charles dickens,
a christmas carol.

Hand-signed by dickens himself,

to his son, henry.

My name is henry.

not many people
know this about dickens,

but he was a big family man.

Fathered ten children.

And along with
his literary works,

he was also very passionate
about philanthropy.

This is where
we both get a chill.

Well, my wife and I
work part-time

at the city's
children literacy program.

Months ago,

we learned cutbacks

were going to threaten
the program come January.

Yeah. We quickly realized

that we needed a miracle
to save the program.

And the proceeds
from the sale of this book

could help make that happen.

We think it's what dickens
would have wanted us to do.

We're just hoping

that our good fortune

will help encourage others
to rediscover the classics.

So, what do you think?

I think we have

a real-life christmas miracle
in the making.


Easy there, tiger.

All right,
skating is all about balance.

Got it?

Oh! There you go!

That's it!

See, mom, it's not that hard.

Maybe for you!

This mama
needs some training wheels.

Hey, those are the kids
from winter camp.

You want to go over there
and skate with them?

Maybe in a little bit.

I don't think I'm ready yet.

okay, tiger.

hey, marcus!

Hey, what's up, man?

This is a surprise.

Yeah, well, I figured

I'd squeeze in
a little work with exercise.

Why not, right?

Your mom told me

she was taking you skating
today after work.

You're looking pretty good
on those blades.


-It's all about balance.

I know, man.

You're doing good.
You're doing good.

I'm trying to encourage him

to go skate
with the other kids.

So, did you know
when I was your age,

my family moved,
like, six times

because my dad
was in the service?

-No way.

And I realized really quickly

that if let my shyness
get in the way,

then I wouldn't make
any new friends.

So what did you do?

Well, I figured

that I wasn't the only shy kid
in the world,

so I sought out

other kids that were
a little bit like me.

And then?

And then the easy part.

You just walk up to them.

And I said,
"hey, I'm marcus."

and then the rest
takes care of itself.

So what do you say?

You want to go
and skate with the kids?


All right.

hey, guys.

Why couldn't I coax him
to do that?

It's just the message
seems to land a little better

when it's not coming from
your mom.

Well, thank you for that.

you're welcome.

So, seriously...

Why did you come
all the way out here?

Oh, because I think I found

our potential
real-life christmas miracle.

The artist's name
is luca gianello.

He is taking the art scene
by storm.

Okay, this one

is actually called
"a christmas miracle."

come on, emma, the story
practically writes itself.

stories don't write themselves.

They need an emotional component
to make them compelling.

Okay, so find an angle
and finesse it into your prose.

I had a professor
back in college

who once said to me
something I will never forget.

He said if you want to be
a great writer,

you have to trust your gut.

Let your inner voice
be your guide

and it will never
lead you astray.


So what is your inner gut

telling you about
our christmas artist?

Okay then.
Moving on.

I know this can be frustrating,
but you will see.

My gut has never failed me.

Okay, but we are chasing
the holiday deadline,

so is there any way
to make your gut work faster?

I just need
the right inspiration.


I got you.

Thank you.

Hey, buddy.

so this is the exact spot

where I was inspired to find
my real-life christmas miracle.

I see.

So you're hoping that
lightning will strike twice?

Something like that.


They call him "santa dean."

tyler and I
have been coming down

to listen to him play.

There's something about him

that has me keep circling back
for some reason.

what's so funny?

You remind me of someone.


My ex-girlfriend.

But in a good way,
in a good way.

You have this innocent,
guileless nature about you.

It's charming.

I can see your wheels spinning.

I know.

I guess I've always been
sort of an open book.

That's good.

What about you?

Total opposite, actually.


Have a hard time opening up,


I'm working on it.

I think that's why
the relationship ended.

Any regrets?

Not at all.
Not at all.

'cause I think everything
happens for a reason, right?

In that case, there's someone
I want you to meet.

thank you, folks.

Hi, santa dean.

Hey, you're back again, huh?

Yes, I wanted to bring
my friend, marcus, out

to hear you play.

I really love your sound.

Thanks, man.

I wish I could play the piano.

I can't even whistle yet.

Oh, yes, you--

you know what,

if your mother says it's okay,

maybe santa dean
can grant your wish.

What do you think?

What do you think?


come on over here.
Sit down next to me.

Take off your gloves.

And where's your pointer finger?

Okay, now,

I want you to hit--

this is called a key--

when I point to it, all right?

And you just touch it once.

Ready? And...


Now we're going to go up...
Bum, bum, bum, bum... Bum.

good. Good, good, good, good.
Good, good, good.

Keep it up, keep it up.

same one, right there.

Good, good.
You remembered that. Good.

how'd you do that?

-that's great!
-I did it, mom!

I can play the piano!

You really are something.

I have not seen him smile
like this in a long time.

He's a natural.

He's got a great ear.

There's a piano
at the rec center.

I'm going to practice tomorrow!

You'd better.

Santa dean,
I don't know how to thank you.

-No. Oh, gosh.
No, no, no.

Please, please, please.

Watching a child's face
light up

while he's first
discovering music...

Is a gift for the giver.

I can tell you really love it.

And to play like that,

you had to have played

Well, you're very kind,

but I'm just a retiree

who likes to make
some people happy

in my time off.

But your music...

There's something about it
that sounds so familiar.

It's because
I borrow from the greats.

I'm going to continue playing
my christmas music.

Thanks for coming.

I have to say
that I wasn't expecting that.

Definitely not.

You think there's a story here?

I do.

The question is,
what exactly is the story?

he's playing

for the love
of sharing his music,

but I get the sense
he's hiding something.

And I suppose this is your gut
telling you that.

Tell me I'm wrong.

I wouldn't dream about it.

It wouldn't even make a dent.

I can see that you've already
made up your mind.

I have.

Wow, you really are starting
to get to know how to read me.


So, now that you've decided
on your story,

how do we get this
to move along?

I think dean
will only shut me down

if I approached him again.

But someone in the park
has to know something.

So why don't you
just go back tomorrow

and ask around?


Tyler's been sleeping
on the couch

ever since we moved here,

but tonight...

He decided to sleep
in his own bed.

Big boy.

-Baby steps, right?
-Baby steps.

All right...

I should go.

Thank you, by the way.

Tyler and I made these

to share with the kids
at the rec center.

Do you want to try one?

I guess valerie was right.

The spread I shot

encouraged you

to try and bake
the reindeer cookies

for yourself.

It's cute.


Think these are going to slay.

Sorry I'm late.

I wanted to stop by the bakery

and pick up
a few christmas treats.

Good news, everyone.

Miss hennessy is thrilled

with the direction

of our holiday
christmas cover story.

Care to share any details?

Not until
the exclusivity agreement

is signed.

Okay, karl,
how are we doing

with the piece

on celebrity
christmas traditions?

I've already got
three soap stars confirmed

and we're out to an a-list star.


And, glenda,

I want plenty of coverage

at the celebrity parties
that you e-mailed me.

Annie and sarah,

the preliminaries

on the tri-city
christmas competition

is a real hoot.

How do you feel about
expanding it

to a 750-word spread?

-No problem.

Okay, well, let's just keep

this train
on the tracks, people,

and with the deadline looming,

my presence will be

a little less
in the coming weeks,

but emma will be
my eyes and ears.

Oh, and marcus.

I love what you did
with the christmas cookies.

Glad to see you're putting in
the extra effort.

Thanks, valerie.

Keep up the good, work.

will do.

The last time we got pastries,

valerie got the exclusive
with the royals.

Yeah, barry's right.

Valerie must have stumbled upon

the biggest christmas story
since rudolph.


Is there anything
on santa dean?

Nothing other than

he comes out to play

after thanksgiving
and christmas.

Nobody seems to know
anything else about him.


Now that we know that valerie
is off to the races,

we have to up our game.


tyler was thrilled.

My friend, nancy,

offered to take him
christmas shopping tonight.

So how long have you been doing
the single mom thing?

It's pretty much all I know.

Tyler's dad
is in international sales,

so he's away constantly.

Does he ever get
to spend much time with him?

We all make it work.


I wish I could see
the world through your eyes.

It's like you always
find the good in people.

And you don't?

I'd like to say I try, but--

so, in your case,
you are a work in progress.

I like that.


I guess our street performer
has a penchant for take-out.

I wonder if anybody in the diner
knows anything about him.

You should go in there
and ask around.

Oh... Mm-mm.

Emma, you can't write a story

if you don't know
who you're writing about.

I know.

It's just sneaky.

Emma, you're not a girl scout.

You're a journalist, remember?

Why can't I be both?

Do you think valerie
would hesitate to go in?

Probably not.
But I am not valerie.

Okay, I'll go.

No, no, no, no, no.

I'll do it.

Excuse me.
I'm sorry.

That man
who just left the diner...

Not many people
recognize him anymore.

You must be a big jazz fan.

My dad, actually.

I know
I've seen his face before.

Maybe on one of his albums?

His name is dean wannamaker.

Of the wannamaker trio.

That's it.

Thank you very much.


Turns out
your instincts were correct.

I knew there was more to him
than meets the eye.

You were right.

let's go!

I don't want to be late
for winter camp.

Well, this is a change.

Okay, then...

Let's get a move on.

Come on.

I tracked down paul mulligan.

The bassist
of the dean wannamaker trio.

Okay, and?

And the last time they spoke

was when dean
vanished from the music scene

ten years ago.

Maybe the miracle element
of my story

is finding a way
of reuniting the trio.

Or finding out why they split
in the first place.

The good news is,

paul was really eager
to talk to us.

What do you mean us?

You, me and your camera,


What caused dean

to suddenly drop out
of the jazz scene?

Well, in the '70s and '80s,

we had engagements
all over the world,


The pressures
of life on the road

put a strain on his marriage,

and, ultimately, his divorce,

when his daughter
was just a young teen.

He has a daughter?

Yes. Cissy.

He loved that little girl
more than the world.

After his divorce,

their time together
became less and less.

And despite the fact
that we were touring constantly,

he always tried to maintain
his presence in her life.

By the time
she graduated high school,

cissy stopped returning
his calls and his texts.

I think something inside him
just died.

He lost the desire to perform,


We tried
reaching out to him, but...

Paul, I'm so sorry.


I'm just glad that
he's found a way

to start performing again.

Aside from the love
for his daughter,

music was his life.

emma, you're a journalist.

It's not your job
to decide the outcome.

It's not about the "story"
anymore, marcus.

Some things are more important.

I think I need to find a way
to help him.

Listen, your heart's
in the right place, okay?

But don't you think
it's a little dangerous

for you to be getting
emotionally involved?

I think it's a little late.

I knew
you were going to say that.

--go... Here.


quite the change, right?


Tyler made a friend today.

And you must be tyler's dad?

Oh, no, this is marcus--

I'm a friend of the family.


hey, mom,
this is my friend, jacob.

And this is our friend, marcus.

He works with my mom.

nice to meet you, jacob.

nice to meet you.

Looks like someone's
turned things around.

Do you think maybe

tyler can over
to my house for dinner tonight?

I think
that is a wonderful idea.


ah, there he is.


This is your shot.

Wish me luck.

You don't need it.

You got this.


Santa dean?

Oh, hey.
How are you?


I was hoping
we might have a word.

Where's your son?

He's on a play date.


Dean, I have
a confession to make.


I'm not just a fan.

I'm an aspiring journalist

for the "daily
lifestyle magazine."

I know who you are...

And what drove you away
from the music scene.

I can't imagine

being separated from my child
for as long as you have.

How do you know this?

I spoke to paul.

He's worried about you.

I think that
if you'd let me tell your story,

I might be able to help.

Yeah, you'd like that,
wouldn't you?

Write this big expose

about a washed-up jazz musician
in the park

playing for tips.

No, no, no, that is
not what this is about.

You know, I think
you're a very nice woman,

and if you really
want to help me...

Leave me alone.

Dean I'm just--

I'm just trying to help.


Call me if you change your mind.

Dean. Dean...

I'm so sorry
to bother your again.


Emma was drawn to you, okay,

and it is for a reason.

She set out to write a story

about a real-life
christmas miracle.


You are that miracle.


Now, she's had to overcome

a few hurdles
to get to this point,

and if I could help her,
I would,

but that's up to you.

Why don't you give her
a fancy by-line?

Dean, can't you see

it's not about
a by-line for emma?

It's about
bringing a family together

and making them whole again
for christmas.

That's what it's about for her.

Maybe you were right--

maybe I shouldn't have
gotten involved.

Come on, don't start
second guessing yourself now.

Listen, okay,

santa dean
may have given up all hope

on reuniting with his daughter,

but your article
may inspire him.

You're right.

And the fact is,

santa dean
is only half the story.

-There you go.


-Back from assignment?

I need you to schedule
a photo shoot

for the couple we're featuring
on the cover story.

Right away.

And given the tight deadline,

it'll be a working weekend
for you both.

Miss hennessy needs to approve

the layout
for the christmas issue

Monday morning.

Marcus, I need you
to bring your a-game.

That's all I've been bringing
these days, valerie.

Thank you.

Looks like this weekend
I'll be writing for my life.


Oh, um...

What are you doing after work?

Nothing, why?

Tyler got invited

by one of his new friends
to go out caroling later.

And I'm sure he would love it
if you came.

-Of course.
-I mean, you don't have to.

I know you're not
the ho-ho-ho type of guy--

yeah, but I'm not
a no-no-no type of guy either.

So I'd love to.

It's a date!

All right.

I mean, no, not a date.

-You know.
-Yes. I--

-yeah, yeah.


Nothing, man.
I didn't say a word.

I know.


After the staff meeting,

I need graphics in my office
to go over layout.

Will do.


so you're that marcus
from the office

that emma keeps talking about.


thanks for taking her
under your wing.

I don't know about that, but...

this move
hasn't been easy for her.

I can tell you've been
sort of a life raft

for the both of them.

Hey, marcus, come sing with us!

You guys are doing fine
without me.

aw, come on.

Don't be shy.
It's just one song.


All right, so what do you say
we sing "up on the rooftop"?



I know I'm stepping
beyond the boundaries

of being a journalist,

but I was really moved
by your father's story.

Well, I'm afraid
you're wasting your time.

I have nothing to say to him.

Okay, how about listening
to what he has to say to you?

I'm tired of his apologies.

Growing up, he wasn't exactly
parent of the year.

Who is?

As much as I would love
to win that title,

as a single mom,

I can't help but think
I am always coming up short.

Trust me,

even when we're trying our best,
we make mistakes.

I think it's those mistakes

that help make us
better parents.

Come on, cissy.

I have to imagine

there had to have been
some good memories,

growing up with your dad?

Christmas time?

Summer vacation?

I remember once

he spent the whole weekend

teaching me to play
my first song on the violin.

"silent night."

I think it was

because I was about
to give up the instrument,

and he wasn't going to let

the daughter of a jazz great
admit failure.

I think it was
much more than that, don't you?

I think he saw a chance

to share with you
his passion for music.

something must have rubbed off.

I'm sorry.

I have to get ready
for tonight's performance.

So, I guess the apple doesn't
fall too far from the tree.

I can tell
there's a lot of hurt there,

but at this point,
she is refusing to budge.

That's a shame,

because guess who I caught
coming to see her play tonight?

Her number one fan.

I bet he makes the pilgrimage
just to hear her play.


Come on.

Okay, let's get one more
of carol holding up the book.


That's great.

And, marcus,

I want a series of close-ups
on the book

so I can see
the inscription by dickens.

of course.

you must be very excited
about what your story could do

to put a spotlight
on literacy programs?

Oh, yes...

Yeah, my wife and I

are hoping it'll turn out to be
a real win-win.


Oh, yeah.

Carol's an aspiring novelist,

so I can only imagine

what a cover story's
going to do

to help launch her career.

I mean, who knew
this would turn out to be

the best thing
that's ever happened to us?


in a really good mood today.

She actually complimented me
on my work again.

Weren't you the one

to tell me not to let
what valerie says

go to my head?

You're right.

I'm only as good
as my next shot.

What did you think about them,
by the way?

The millers?
Seemed nice enough.

I guess.

There's something about them
that seems a bit off.

Do I detect a note of jealousy?

More like a symphony.

I just wish santa dean

was as much as an open book
as the millers.

Yeah, but I mean...

Hey, at least
you have a story to tell, right?


But my idea was to find
a real-life christmas miracle.

I didn't think my job would be
to conjure one up.


You're just
always so optimistic?

It seems like nothing
ever gets you down.

I might seem that way,

but trust me,
I have my moments.

and this is not one of them.

What is it?

I asked santa dean to call me
if he changed his mind.

-He's in!


-We're in!

Here we go!

For the first time
in longer than I care to recall,

you looked like
you were actually having fun.

Emma sanderson,
are you blushing?

Don't be silly.

Marcus and I are just friends.

That's it.

That's it,

because you won't let yourself
be open to more?

Emma, I know you have
a lot on your shoulders

between work and raising tyler.

But somewhere along the line,

you deserve to make time
to find your happy.

I'm curious,

what made you decide
to talk to me?

Well, watching you
with your son, actually.

There's nothing
quite like that bond.

I remember
the moment cissy was born.

They put her in my arms,

and looked down in her eyes,

and I promised myself

that I would be the best father
in the world.

I think
we all make that promise

when we become parents
for the first time.

It's easy to say.

So many things
I wish I would do differently.

You know, and then cissy...

When she stopped
all communication with me,

it was like...

Like I lost a limb
or something.

That's why
you stopped performing?

Hard to play the piano
with one hand?

When was the last time

you had contact
with your daughter?

Her high-school graduation.

I was supposed to make a speech,

but the plane
was delayed in london,

so I missed...

The whole ceremony.

And we said things
to each other

we probably
shouldn't have said, but...


days turned into months,

months turned into years,


...You know, unfortunately,

I'm not
a very good communicator.

That's because you talk
through your music.

That's the way
it's always been, I suppose.

That's it!

Why don't you perform
a christmas eve concert

in the park with the trio?

Dedicate it to cissy
and see if she comes.

I don't know.

She's a pretty stubborn girl.

like her dad.

But, hey, you--
you finally opened up to us.

Dean, I know
this is hard for you,

but you need to take
a leap of faith.

This isn't about my story.

This is about

bringing you and your daughter
together again.

You can't win if you don't try.

What are you doing
in the office

on a Sunday afternoon?

Man, I know, right?

Valerie got you working
overtime as well?

No, no, no.

I finished the layout
for the christmas carol couple.

I'm working on the proofs
for emma's story.

Your second job.

-I forgot.
-Come on, man.

She's really managed
to press your reset button,

hasn't she?

-Who, valerie? I know.

Your whole attitude shifted

almost the moment you two
started working together.

Oh, I wouldn't go that far.

I mean, yes, her enthusiasm
is a little infectious.

It's more than that.

She ignited a spark inside you.

It's almost like
you started caring again.



I guess I never
really realized I stopped.

where's tyler tonight?

Aunt nancy has been begging me

to let him go over to her place
for a sleep over.

Ah, okay. Nice.

I mean, that we get
to spend this time together.


My alone time has been
in short supply these days.

Well, you must be
really happy.

Finally finishing the article,
I mean.

I think so.


You should be
the judge of that.

wow, emma.

I mean...

I don't know what to say.

I did not know
you had this in you.

I mean, the writing
is so poetic...

Everything is in there.

Christmas. Family. Forgiveness.

It has it all.

Thanks, marcus,

but the truth is,

I wouldn't have gotten here
if it weren't for you.

Come on, come on.

You're giving me
way too much credit.

No. You pushed me when
I really needed to be pushed.

I can say the same for you.

I think santa dean
will be very proud.

I just hope my words
convince cissy

to give her dad
a second chance.

I mean, not just cissy.


I wouldn't be surprised

if this inspires everyone
to do the same thing.

When do you plan
on giving it to valerie?

First thing in the morning,

before she makes her final
presentation to miss hennessy.


Are you worried?

I wouldn't be worried.

It's not that.

It's just...

Something's been gnawing at me

ever since the photo shoot
with the millers.

Gnawing? Like, how?

Carol's husband

was really eager

to talk to me

about how much this story

would launch
his wife's writing career

rather than

save the city's
literacy program.


I mean, that is a big aspect
of her story.

I went online tonight

to see how much

the first signed edition
of a christmas carol goes for.


It's less expensive
than you think.

A few thousand dollars

would be a small investment
against a potential book option.

That's a big leap to make,
don't you think?


My instinct is just telling me
there's something off.

Maybe this whole thing
is a hoax?

a seasoned journalist.

I am sure she had her sources
check out their story.

Details like this
are hard to prove,

which is why I'm going to share

my suspicions with her
in the morning.

Whoa, whoa.
I wouldn't.

I wouldn't do that
if I were you, emma.

I mean, that could backfire
on your own story.

Well, I'll just
have to take that chance.

This could end her career.


She took your idea, remember?


It's not your job
to save the world.

Come on.

I'm not trying
to save the world, marcus.

I'm trying to do
the right thing.


Well, this is a first, emma.

I've never had
my journalistic integrity

questioned by anyone,

let alone my own assistant.

I'm not questioning
your integrity, valerie.

I'm just concerned

that the millers

may have played you
from the start.

And you're telling me this

minutes before my meeting
with miss hennessy?

I only went online last night

to discover how easy it is

to pick up a signed edition of
a christmas carol in the city.

All it would take

is a couple of phone calls
to rule out the possibility.

I've already had

my fact checkers
go over the story,

so I'm afraid
this ship has sailed.

She's right, valerie.

The story is a hoax.

I spent the entire night
searching the internet,

and I found the exact same
signed copy

of a christmas carol

that was purchased

at a downtown gallery
a week and a half ago.

This must be a mistake.

There's no mistake.

It's the same signature
on the book

that I photographed
with the millers.

Well, I guess I have
the both of you to thank

for delivering
this unsettling news.

No, actually,
it's emma you have to thank.

I was a little slow on the draw.

It's a mistake
that I'll never make again.

well, that's all
fine and grand,

but this revelation
has left a gaping hole

in my morning presentation
for miss hennessy.

Not necessarily.

I don't know
what to say, valerie.

You've exceeded my expectations.


It's my staff that did that.

And our cover story,

written by emma sanderson,

layout by marcus welsh.

This story...

Has all the warmth
and the heart

that our readers
look forward to

in a holiday issue.

But it's not really

a completed real-life
christmas miracle, is it?

Not yet,

but with any luck, it will be...

When cissy shows up

at santa dean's
christmas concert.

Well, that's
your first assignment.

You are going to have
a very bountiful career with us

here at daily lifestyle


Thanks, miss hennessy.

You're welcome.

And marcus...

I am so inspired by your work.

It's so poignant.
It's beautiful.

Thank you.

The two of you make
the most incredible team.

I think so.


And everyone... Thank you.

And merry christmas.

merry christmas.

I don't know
how to thank you both.

Obviously, there's no excuse
for my behavior.

With miss hennessy's
faith on the wane

with this year's
christmas issue,

I honestly regret what I did.

And, marcus,
I know I've been hard on you.

There's no excuse for my being
ill-tempered and critical.

I only push you

because I know
what you're capable of.

And as for you, emma...

I should have been

upfront and honest with you
from the start.

I hope you can accept
my apology.

Of course.

After what I did,

I'm not sure I would have come
to my rescue.

Maybe not right away,

but deep down,
I know you'd do the right thing.

I really would like
to believe that.

Thank you.

Merry christmas, you two.

-Merry christmas.
-Merry christmas.


What made you decide
to come running to my rescue?

Well, I promised you
that I would trust your gut.

I just wish
you would have given me

a little more time
before you stormed off.

My story might have had
a different ending

if you didn't come around.

So thank you, marcus.


- I...


I'm so happy for you.

Thank you.

marcus is here!

merry christmas eve!

Merry christmas eve
to you, too.

So I got you and your mom
a little something.

You want to open it?

It's a picture of us, mom!


I don't know what to say.

It's just something

for you both to remember

your first christmas
in the city.

Thank you.

I can't tell you
how much this means to me.

You're welcome.

All right.

So I guess we better head off

to santa dean's
christmas concert, huh?

here, I'll get it.


I have a special delivery
for a tyler sanderson.

That's me!


merry christmas!

thanks, mom!

This isn't from me, baby.

"dear tyler,

thanks for coming out
to hear me play.

If you ever need a teacher,
you know where to find me.

Merry christmas, santa dean."

you kept your promise!

I did?

This really is
the best christmas ever!


I gotta tell you, dean,

yesterday's rehearsal
was just like the old days.

Well, I'm sorry

I shut you guys out
all those years ago.

But you know me,

words are not
my strong suit.

Under the bridge, old friend.
Under the bridge.

Hey, dean,
any word from cissy?

No, not yet.

Well, it's christmas eve,

Anything's possible...

Anything is possible,

and I'm hoping for
a christmas miracle.

I hope you're as proud
of yourself as I am for you.

thanks, nancy.

I would just feel
a little bit better

if cissy showed up.

The issue hit stands
about a week ago.

tyler and marcus
seem to be getting along nicely.

I'm starting to realize

just how much he misses
a male presence in his life.

Maybe not so much anymore.

Any sign of cissy?

I just have to believe
that love will always triumph.

hello! Hello!

Thank you for coming out

on this chilly, chilly
christmas eve

to welcome back our little trio.

This marks
the first performance

for the the dean wannamaker trio
in over a dozen years.

thank you very much.
Thank you, thank you.

We're going to dedicate
tonight's performance

to my daughter,
cissy wannamaker.

You know,
christmas is a time for hope.

Letting go of the past,

living in the moment,

and a hope
for a brighter future.

I've been living a life
with a heart filled with...


I let hope die.

Until I met someone
who opened my eyes,


She showed me
that it's at those times

that you need hope
most of all.

So, cissy, wherever you are,
daddy loves you.

Now and forever.

Okay, you want to hear
some music?


my angel.

Merry christmas, daddy.

Come over here.

Are you gonna play with me?

you did a very good thing here.

No, we did.


Emma, spending this time
with you lately

has really opened my eyes

in a way
I never could have imagined.

How so?

Well, you got me
believing in love again.

Or at least starting to.

That's something
I never thought possible.

You are a work-in-progress,

yes, yes...

But this work-in-progress
is falling for you.

And I hope that you might just
feel the same way as well.


Trust your gut.

It will never lead you astray.

I think you just found
your happy.


I think I did.