A Dash of Christmas (2022) - full transcript

A renowned romance novelist famous becomes involved in a love triangle between her childhood crush and a reporter.

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An entire year
had passed since Derek and Holly

their childhood romance.

But her life was
in New York now,

and Derek's was here
in the town of Good Hope.

The plan was to wait a year

and if their feelings
were just as strong,

return to the spot where
they said their last goodbye.

But as the last passenger
departed the train,

Derek's hopes
were quickly fading...


Holly! I knew you'd make it.

Wait, this isn't hello, is it?

You came back to say goodbye.

Holly tried to speak,

but the words wouldn't form.

No, don't...

do this. I love you.

I know you feel the same.I'm...
I'm scared, Derek.

What if love isn't enough? It has to be.

Holly, please.

Will you make my candy
cane wishes,

mistletoe dreams come true?

Marry me?

With her head
and heart still in a tug of war,

Holly threw caution to the wind
and followed her heart.

Yes! I'll marry you. Yes!

The moment their lips met

they knew it was their destiny

to spend their lives
blissfully in love.

The end.

Or, as this tired writer
likes to say...

finally finished.

Hey, baby. Hi.

Come here.

Oh, no. I know that look.

It's that "I'm looking at last
week's leftover meatloaf" look.

Interesting choice of words.Okay.

Okay, Gloria.

Are you gonna tell me
what you thought of it

as my editor or as my friend?

Editor. NATALIE: Cool.

Give it to me straight.

But first,
tell me what you loved.

The title.

Without even cracking
the binding

it sounds like a bestseller.

Your favorite part
was the title, okay.

Now tell me what you hated.

The last 30 pages.

"Candy cane wishes,
Mistletoe dreams?"

You are killing me.

Yes. I know that the dialogue
was a little cliché

and maybe I reused
certain tropes

and perhaps the ending
is a little bit schmaltzy.

Oh, what am I doing?

You tell me.

It's a perfect storm where
crippling writer's block

meets a hard Christmas deadline.

Natalie, you are
the queen of Christmas romance

for a reason. But this isn't it.

Your problem is
you're stuck in a rut.

You're always holed up
in this apartment.

What? I don't like going out.

Your publicist
mentioned something

about an anniversary
book signing in Buffalo

to commemorate
your very first novel.

Yeah, no.
He's begging me to commit.

It's the first story
to carry my book,

but I'm not doing it. You used
to love doing book signings.

Yeah, that was before I realized

that selling a million copies
meant that

at least a million people
have read my book.

That's a million people.

A lot of people
who expect me to be

as clever and as witty
as my characters.

Not to mention the press
who expects me to be perfect

and I am not. GLORIA: Ryan said

there would only be
a handful of fans.

No publicity outside
the store itself.

Can't I just do it on Zoom? GLORIA: No!

Right now.

You are two cats shy
of becoming a total recluse.

I'm gonna push you out
of your comfort zone

until you turn this into
the next Natalie Wolfe classic.

Is there coffee?

I just wanted to remind you all
that "SHE" stands for:

She Has Everything.

Now, so far,
not one of these story pitches

is worthy enough

to be on the cover
of our holiday edition.

Well, what about my story?

About New York's hippest
new dating app

promising you a new boo
by New Year's.

Just 'cause you pitch it
to me twice

doesn't make me any more excited
about it, Nick.

Look, Tucker-Thomson Publishing
has us in their sites.

If we do not manage

to hold our own
this holiday season

and by that I mean substantially
boosting subscriptions,

they are going to merge us
with POV magazine

which means that half of you
will be gone and the other half

will be writing fluff pieces
for that monthly rag.

Fayennes want us
to find a white whale?


Uh, sorry, what's a white whale?

It's an exclusive, an almost
impossible to get scoop

that's gonna cut the knees off
of all our competition.

Yes, so,
scour the internet, okay?

Call every publicist,
every agent,

every department store, Santa,
you have in your contact list.


you may find
someone else in your cubicle

in the New Year.
Back to work, people.


How did I get roped
into being your pet sitter?

Because you are the one
pushing me out

and I wouldn't ask,
but Blitzen's a little clingy

because he's used to me
being home, alone.

Well, that's the root
of your writer's block, honey.

What are you talking about?
You sit in here all day,

writing about
how to find the ideal man.

You're so busy creating
make-believe Mr. Rights

you can't even find one
for yourself.

I'm leaving it up to fate.

What's fate supposed to do?

Slip him under the door?

You haven't been
on a date in years.

You can't write any new ideas

because you don't have
any new experiences to draw on.

That's part of the block.

I don't know
what I'm looking for outside.

You're looking for someone
to fill your list.

What list? When I was your age,

my mother sat me down
and had me write down

five traits I was looking for
in a partner.

Five deal breakers
I couldn't live without.

So, I did what she said.

I wrote my list, tucked it away
to put it out to the universe.

About a year later,

I'm stuck in an elevator
with a complete stranger,

desperately trying
not to have a panic attack.

He's doing everything he can do
to try to calm me down.

Nothing works.

Until he starts telling me
corny jokes.

I couldn't stop laughing,

I completely forgot
about panicking.

Because he had a sense of humor.
First thing on my list.

Followed closely by compassion.
For the next four hours,

we sat there
waiting to be rescued.

We talked and he quickly checked
off everything else on my list.

And I married him.
That's how you met Manny?

It all started with the list.


do you really think
we can find a cover story

big enough to save the magazine?
We've got to.

There's gotta be something
in the public zeitgeist

we can put a holiday spin on,


Hang on,
you read romance novels?

Oh. Uh, yeah.

David turned me onto them
when we first started going out.

By the time we broke up,
I was addicted.

I can't read that stuff.

I'm much more interested
in facts than fiction.

So, you've never read
Natalie Wolfe?

She is
gonna change your life, bro.

"The New York Times
declares Natalie Wolfe

the queen
of Christmas romance."

Wow. Is that the equivalent
of a People's Choice Award?

Joke all you want, Nick.

But with everything going on
in the world,

these books give us
a safe place to escape.

And what's wrong with that?



I really wish I didn't have
to drag you away

from everything
that you're doing

just so you can come up
to Buffalo to hold my hand.

Oh, your first time
out in public in six years?

I'm pretty sure you're gonna

be needing an emotional
support gay.

No journalists, right?
Just fans?

No journalists, just loyal fans.

And you have a fallback plan,
in case I have a panic attack?

Fallback plan is, we're gonna
have fun on this girls trip.

What's that?

Gloria's convinced the only way
to find my soulmate

is to write down the five things
I'm looking for.

Sounds a little old school
but I'll bite.

Couldn't be worse than
constantly being swiped left

under a sea of unanswered
power likes.

What do I do when I'm done?
Just put it under my pillow

and wait for the date fairy? No.

You, uh, put it away
and let the universe

run its course.Hmm.

How'd you get done so fast? I
know what I want. Your turn.

Ah, okay. Um...

Well, Gloria's first one
was sense of humor.

Everybody finds that attractive.
RYAN: Yeah, you'd think.

Not that it's done me any good

I'd trade humor for looks
any day of the week.

Looks fade.

It's what's inside that matters.

Yeah, and try explaining that
to a coffee date

who's asking why my profile
picture is 20 pounds old.

Keep going.

But don't rush me if I'm putting
this out into the universe

I want to get it right.


Was that Gloria's
second one, too?

Yeah. Come on.
These have to be your own.

If you're not gonna commit,
let the universe move on

to someone who's actually ready
to find true love.

Ah, it's...

That must be our car.
Let's go Buffalo.

I found our scoop!
Natalie Wolfe.

She's this generation's
Danielle Steel.

Only, platinum.

I know who she is, Nick.
But she's a recluse.

I know, I want to write
about that.

But she hardly ever leaves
her apartment

and she never grants interviews.

But if I could get to her,
it would be our white whale.

If you could get to her,
it would be our cover,

but you do understand
the word "recluse?"

So she is taking a rare trip

to Buffalo tomorrow
for a book signing.

I have an in at the bookstore.
I fly in.

I pour on a little
of that Nick Winters charm

and I use my journalistic

to get her to open up.

This story needs someone
who understands fiction.

Her novels are all geared
towards hopeless romantics.

When it comes to matters
of the heart, Nick,

you're just hopeless.

I know, but I'm not writing
about her books.

I'm writing about her.
She's a mystery.

A recluse who writes about
strangers finding each other

and falling in love.
I mean, how does that work?

It's not a bad story. RYAN: Mm-hmm.

You'll never get it.
She won't talk to you.

I mean, did you see the article

The Journal ran on her
a few years ago?

"Queen of romance,
Dunce of Dating" I read it.

It's a takedown piece
and that is not my style.

I will get to her.

I am the most tenacious writer
you have on staff.

There's a fine line
between tenacious and annoying.

Look, Fan? Hmm?

You and I both know this
magazine's going down

without a Christmas miracle,


Nick, you get Natalie
to agree to be on our cover.

Or don't bother coming home.

Oh no! You okay?

You want me to see
if there's a back entrance

so you can avoid the fanfare?

No, isn't being
around the fanfare

the whole point of me
leaving my apartment?


I'm ready to meet the public.

You're a dork.

You know that? Yeah.

Okay, I'll head inside and make
sure they're ready for ya.

It's nice to see it's not just
women who love Natalie Wolfe.

No. I'm...
Actually, I'm a journalist,

working on a story about Natalie
for SHEmagazine.

But you're not a fan
of her novels?

I didn't say that,
I mean, I read, uh,

Bumped in Buffalolast night
and, yeah, I get the appeal.

Right? Her stories
are always so compelling.

Mm-hmm. She's like

the modern-day Emily Bronteë.

I suppose.
You don't think her stories

are just a wee bit dated
for the modern world?

Dated? How?

You have to admit
that she perpetuates the myth

that a woman secretly desires
to be rescued by a man.

I don't believe that
to be true at all.

Yeah, neither do I.

OMG, you're Natalie Wolfe.

See you inside.

"Dylan's gaze slid over Paige
on that chilly Christmas Eve

like a veil of fire."

"Then, with one tender kiss,

they entwined their souls
for eternity."

"The end."

Thank you.

Now, before, uh,
Natalie starts signing books,

she would love to field
some questions.

No.She would love to.

Any questions?

Okay.Uh... yes?

Natalie, I always wondered
if real people

inspire your lead characters?


Yes. I think there's always

a part of me
in all of my heroines.

Only I'm, uh... maybe
12 percent as brave as Paige.

As for Caleb, he was based
on my first high school crush.

You mean Dylan?

Dylan. Yeah, Dylan.
I said Dylan,

didn't I say Dylan? Caleb.

Dylan was based on my first
high school crush, Caleb.

Oh, he sounds dreamy.
Did you ever go out with him?


But uh, that is a story
I might share in the next book.

So, you know, look for it.

So has the Queen of romance

found her own
happily ever-after?

Let's... Let's raise hands
to ask questions.

No, I'll answer it.

I believe
that happily ever-after

is more of a journey
than a destination.


Great. Okay.
Anybody have other questions?

Oh, here! WOMAN 2: Yeah, over here!

Thank you. WOMAN 3: Thank you so much.

You're welcome.

Hi. Uh, Nick Winters.


I really didn't mean anything
by my comment earlier.

My boss says
that I'm hopeless and annoying.

So far I agree
with the assessment.

Nick with a "K", right? NICK: Yes.

So, I... I'm a writer
with SHEmagazine

and I tried contacting
your publicist for an interview

but all I seem to get
is a runaround.

That's what I pay him for.

But surely your fans would love
to get a peek at the life

of America's favorite
romance novelist?

Been there, done that.
Still licking my wounds.

don't take this personally,

but I just don't talk
to journalists.

The truth is,
I'm a bit of a bore

and it's bad for business

to let the word out. Oh, I doubt that

and if you would just give me
a few minutes, I...

Sorry, Nick with a "K".

Nothing you could say
would change my mind.

So you'll think about it.Oh.

You were a huge hit.

Looked like you were having fun.
Oh, so much fun.

Mission accomplished.
Let's go home.

It turns out that's
gonna be a little tougher

than it ought to be.

Uh, there's a major blizzard
on the way into town

and the airport's
already been shut down

but, hey,
it's not all good news.

With the Buffalo wing
convention in town

there's not a hotel room
to be had for 30 miles.

Ryan, this is Nick Winters.

The journalist from SHEmagazine
who up until now,

you've successfully
managed to avoid.

Oh, right.

Always nice to put a face
to an unanswered voicemail.

Yeah. I cannot get stuck here.

I have a Christmas deadline,
remember? I...

Well, as fate would have it,

I have a roomy Sedan
with heated seats

and I really don't mind sharing

as I white-knuckle it
over the mountain pass

to avoid that blizzard.

Well, that is very generous,
Nick, but we rented our own SUV.

Well, in that case, would you
mind giving me a lift

back to the city,
'cause I really don't want

to white-knuckle it
over that mountain pass alone.

You really don't give up,
do you?

Hey, look, Natalie.

I respect that you
are a very private person.

But if you just give me
a chance,

you will see
that I will surprise you.

In a good way.

In a really, really, really,
really, really, really good way.

You know, there's a study
about first impressions

and it shows that they are
way overrated.

Really? NICK: Hmm.

How overrated are they?

Way. Wow.

All right.

If I take this card from you... NICK: Hm?

Will you walk away?

Are you kidding me?
I... I will gladly

take a foot in the door
over two in my mouth.


Now let's get
over that mountain pass

before the storm hits. RYAN: Mm-hmm.

It's really starting
to come down, isn't it?

How much further to the pass?
I lost the signal on the GPS,

but using my uncanny
New Yorker sense of direction,

I can almost smell the dirty
water hot dogs on 47th.

Nick was right
about getting on the road.

Nick? You're not...
You're not seriously considering

granting him an interview?

Because People Magazine
is dying to sit down

with the Queen
of Christmas romance.

Right now, the Queen
remains mum on the subject.

Why is that always
your clever go-to line

anytime I try to do my job?'Cause it works.

I... I know you were stung by... Uh-huh.

No... by the unnamed

publication's article,
but that was years ago.

Yeah.Okay. Nick's not wrong in saying

it's time to give your fans
a glimpse of the real you.

I'm not sure I'm ready
to give them the glimpse

of the real me.

Do you know what Nick said?

He said my novels
perpetuate the myth

that a woman secretly desires
a man to rescue her.

What's wrong with that? You agree with him?

Uh, who doesn't want to be swept
away by a knight one day?

Of any size,

color, or denomination.

I just don't think
of my characters

as needing to be rescued.

They're more
like kindred spirits

who come together
despite all obstacles.

Well, your novels certainly
give us a sense of hope

that we all might find
our one and only.

You really mean that? Really, really.

Trust me,
there is absolutely no reason

for this damsel
to get distressed.

She said, she'd think about it.

Uh, yeah. Yeah.

Well, no, not exactly,
but that was the gist.

That sounds like a grade A
blow off to me, Nick.

Look, you know me.
I will find a way in

even if I have
to turn the charm up to 11.

Well, this is gonna take
more than just charm.

I mean, she was burned
by a journalist like you.

I know, and we'll make
that part of the story.

I... I'll tell her
that I'm not looking to write

some tell-all exposé.

Well, let's try to remember
we are selling magazines here.

And I'm sure we can do that
if I show the world

what the true heart of their
Queen of Hearts looks like.

Well, good luck with that.

You'll have to talk
to her first.

Actually, first I have
to make it past this snowstorm.

Then I have to find her,
and then I have to talk to her.

Date, marry, kill. Go.

Oh, well, I'd date Ryan Gosling,

but not just any Ryan.

I want the Crazy Stupid Love
Ryan Gosling.

That's wildly specific. Marry?

Uh, Jake Gyllenhaal.
No brainer.

From? Brokeback Mountain.

It's the only Jake Gyllenhaal
I'd wanna marry.

"You can't quit me." Ryan! Watch out!

I don't have a signal!

Oh, I got a bar! Yeah?

Oh, wow. Maybe our luck
really is changing.

You have a signal? No, a single.

I... I got a power like
on my dating app

and he's totally my type. Dude!

I lost the signal.Ugh.

There's a tow truck. Hey! Oh, God.

Hi! Oh, thank you.

You folks having some trouble?

Yeah, something like that.

Natalie? Caleb?

Natalie! What...

I haven't seen you since... High school.

Oh, he's that Caleb?

What are you...
doing here?

Small world, huh? Yeah. Oh, yeah.

You look...

great.NATALIE: You look even better

than I remember.

Hey, I'm Ryan Turner.

Natalie's apparently
invisible publicist.


Yeah, so the closest town
is Cranberry Falls.

It's just a few miles
over the pass.

It's clear on that side.

Why don't you two hop
in the warm cab

and I'll hitch you both
to safety.Okay.

Okay. CALEB: Okay?


Right. Thank you so much.

So kind. RYAN: Just get in the car.

You're welcome.
Can't leave you out here.

Well, Miss Natalie.

This is truly a surprise
and an honor

to have an author
as famous as you,

staying here with us
at the St. Nicholas Inn.

Well, the honor is mine.
You're inn is incredible.

I believe you're the second
famous author

to grace our doors.

Charles Dickens stayed here
when the place was new.

Wow. Your literary hero.

I know,
I just got a little chill.


Um, I'm gonna take your SUV
down to Mike's garage

and it should be fixed
by tomorrow afternoon.

Thank you.
You're a lifesaver.

I don't know
what we would have done

if you hadn't come along.

I guess we both got lucky.

Caleb, there
are three more in the pass.

What's your ETA? Well, duty calls.

Um, maybe we can catch up

while you're in town? Yes!

That would be good.

Okay, uh, Ms. Olivia,
she sets up quite the breakfast.

I could swing by around 8:00?Great.
It's a date.

It's not a date.
It's, uh, uh, breakfast.


See you tomorrow.


Okay. Now can we finally talk
about that juicy spark

I saw between you two
out on the road?

Juicy spark. First of all,
you didn't see anything,

it was a snowstorm.
Second of all, it wasn't a spark

it was shock at not having
seen each other for years.

Okay. Well, deny it all you want
but I know what I saw.

Well, I am going to get
into bed and pass out.

And try to forget this day
ever happened.

I'm just down the hall.Okay.


Oh, man.


Natalie Wolfe?

Huh? Oh, no.

Oh.NATALIE: Wow, Nick.

What are you doing here?

Oh, well the storm
was just impossible

so I had to pull off
to the side of the road.

How 'bout you? Uh... we
got stuck in a snowbank

and had to be rescued.

Sounds like the start
to a good story.

Nope, not res...
Wrong choice of words.

We had to be...

Towed? NATALIE: Towed.

And it wasn't just me,
it was my publicist, male,

who was the one
who drove it off the road

and he had to be rescued.

Got it. NATALIE: Yeah.

Well, I'm glad you're okay.Thanks.

Why do you have my books?

Oh, you know...

doing my research.

Um, you said,
you'd think about it

so I'm just building
on that faith.

Well, I hope
you don't find them too dated

in the modern world.

Uh, yeah. See, about that,

I... I was... I'm tired.
I'm gonna go to bed.

And did I mention, uh...
I don't talk to journalists?


The door is kind of tricky
with the cold.Yep.

Sure you don't need some help?
Nope, don't need to be rescued.

I got it.

Good night, Natalie.
NATALIE: Goodbye, Nick.

You look quite rested.

I trust you had
a good night's sleep?

Oh, Miss Olivia
I had a great one, actually.

I can't remember the last time
I woke up feeling so rested.

People say that all the time.Yeah.

I think there's something
special in the air here

in Cranberry Falls. NICK: Hmm.

Good morning, Miss Olivia.

Good morning. CALEB: Have you seen Natalie?

I'm meeting her for breakfast.
Not yet, Caleb.

But I'm sure
she'll be down shortly.

Caleb? Uh,
you're a friend of Natalie's?

We went to high school together.

Why? You a friend of hers?

Well I wouldn't be
a very good one

unless I invited you to sit
and have a cup of coffee with me

while we wait for her.
And you can tell me

how you met up again
after all these years.

Sure. It was a wild coincidence,

I found her stranded
on the side of the road

as I was passing by
in my tow truck.

What are the chances?

I've been saying that a lot.

And I... I bet
she was shocked to see you.

We both were, actually.

You know, I have to admit,
back in the day,

I had a bit of a crush on her. All right.

Do tell.

Uh, I... I'm sorry.
Just naturally curious.

Romance writer, old crush,
rescued from a snowbank.

I mean it sounds like something

from one of the stories
she writes.

I know, right?

I had no idea
how famous she actually was.

Until I looked her up last night
found out a few things.

Her social media is crazy.

Millions of followers
all over the world.

New York Times
bestselling author.

They don't call her
the Queen of Christmas romance

for nothing.

And I'm wondering
where all that started.

Um, what was she like
in high school?

Hmm. She was beautiful.
She was shy.

I was a grade ahead of her.
We talked a lot.

Hung out a bit. Did you ever ask her out?

You know, you do ask a lot
of questions.

I don't mean to pry,
it's just...

When you talk about Natalie...

you light up.

She was special.

But I dated a lot back then.

I was all over the place.

And then by the time college
came around

and I thought it was good
to settle down,

I made the mistake of marrying
the first girl I fell for.


And after the split...

I started wondering
what life would have been like

if I had made
different decisions.

Caleb, there's a bull hauler

that needs a lift on two-seven.

Oh, looks like it wasn't meant
to be, so...

Uh... Well, I know
that she would love to see you

and she's just running
a few minutes late.

So, maybe you have a message
that I can pass along to her,

or your phone number?

8:30! Oh, no! No! No! No!

Please, take that to room-four.

Good morning, Ms. Natalie. Good morning.

I'm afraid you just missed him.


No, that Nick fellow.

He says you're gonna wanna
see him once you get a coffee.

He's in the drawing room.
Why would I want to see Nick?

He didn't say. He left shortly
after chatting with Caleb.

Thank you.

Hey! You're like gum on a shoe,
you know that?

Impossible to get rid of.

A little peanut butter
will take that gum right off.

Oh, does that work
on nosy journalists?

Not usually.

Although, this time it seems
like you've come to me.

I am only here to tell you
to stop poking around

in my personal life. I didn't poke.

Although, I do admit that
curiosity got the best of me

when I ran into a certain
someone named Caleb

this morning at breakfast.

What did you tell him?
NICK: I didn't say anything.

But he could not stop talking
about you.

Okay. I'll bite.

He kind of let it slip
that he had a thing

for you in high school. Yeah, yeah.
He didn't say that.

I swear, it's true.

He said that seeing you again
caused him to start wondering

how his life would be if he'd
only made different decisions.

Uh... why are you
telling me this?

Since you mentioned that he was
your inspiration

I just thought it was
the right thing to do.

Yeah, right.
What is your angle, Nick?

I really am just trying
to build good faith here.

I mean, think about it.
If we hadn't met in Buffalo,

and you hadn't accidentally
mentioned Caleb

and the three of us
hadn't accidentally ended up

in this sleepy little town,

then I wouldn't have been able
to give you this.

His cell number's on the back.

Who knows?
This might be the start

of a Christmas romance
of the Queen's own.

I really like this one...
NATALIE: Thank you, Nick.

See, I knew that
there was something there.

And Nick's conversation
with Caleb confirms it.

Yeah, see.
That's what's bothering me.

If I had just kept my mouth
shut in Buffalo,

none of this would be happening.

None of this?
Uh... you just found out

your old crush
still has a thing for you.

That should
give you butterflies.

The look on your face is
like you got a deadline due.

Well, there's that.

And the fact that you've got me
out in public.

Sitting in a tea shop, wondering
if some random journalist

is gonna put my whole life
on blast again.

Okay. We both know
this isn't about Nick

or you finishing your novel.

What's really going on?
I'm nervous about Caleb.

Back in high school,
he wasn't just a crush,

he actually kind of
broke my heart.

Kind of? Yep. And he may not
even know that.

Maybe that's what's bugging me?
Well, that was a long time ago.

I'm sure you've both changed
a lot since then.

Yeah. Yeah, you're right.

I'm acting
like a silly teenager.

I'm... I'm gonna call him.
It's no big deal.

We'll have a quick catch-up
and that'll be that.

Or, you'll discover
your old crush

is still the man of your dreams,

only slightly older,
and a whole lot hotter.

And I'm nervous again.
Just start dialing. Dial.

Random question,
but do you believe in fate?

I think that's the thing
that people like to credit

for when things work out.

But in the end we'll never
really know,

so I say why worry about it?

I'll drink to that. Why do you ask?


I was supposed to meet a guy
here a half an hour ago

and I don't know
if it wasn't meant to be

or if he just plain old
stood me up.

Well, let's give the guy
the benefit of the doubt.

And the next drink's on me.
Oh, that's very nice, Sal.

Hey. Natalie.

Thank you. Hi, Nick. SAL:
Nick Winters for pickup?

So, drinking alone, huh?

Nope, I'm not alone. Sal's here

Hey, Sal, how do you wish
somebody good luck

on a first date?

It's not a date, Sal. Here's your to-go.

Oh, you hear that Nick?
It's time for you to go.

You have fun.

Yes, Mr. Hansen.
Nick told me to expect you.

So, welcome
to the St. Nicholas Inn.

Your room is just up the stairs
and around the corner.

Oh, thanks.

I see Nick didn't waste
any time calling in the cavalry.

And you must be
Natalie's publicist.

Ryan, right? Lucas Hansen.

Staff photographer and a huge
fan of your client's...

Look, if Nick just sent you in
to butter me up,

tell him nice try. No, no, no, no.

I'm not trying to butter you up.
My passion's real.

My ex put me onto
Christmas Can Wait

and I've read it
like seven times.

Go ahead. Test me.

Okay. Uh,
at the end of the novel,

when Rich pulls Beth
into a surprise embrace

outside the Christmas tree
at Rockefeller Center,

what does he whisper
into her ear?

"I can't seem to remember
a moment before you."

"Or imagine another one
without you in it."

It's impressive.

And maybe you should be
the one interviewing Natalie.

She doesn't mind talking
to her fans.

I'll pass that on to Nick.

And I'll dog-ear all the
right pages for him to read.

Oh, sure. Everyone knows Caleb.
He's something of a local hero.

He works part-time
as a volunteer firefighter.

So he's a part-time firefighter.

Mm-hmm. Full-time hero. Wow.

Uh... how so? Oh, he started the toy drive

at the firehall for kids

and he's the one who started
the festival

to attract Christmas traffic
for the local businesses.

"The Dickens Festival."

Yeah, it started
as a regular Christmas market

and then he changed it
to the Dickens theme.

So they wander around
drinking mulled wine,

eating roasted chestnuts,
celebrating the day

that Charles himself
strode these very streets.


And Caleb came up with this
and the toy drive?

For the kids.

For the kids.

Natalie! Hey.

Sorry I'm late. I got hung up
at the fire station

with our upcoming toy drive.

That's okay.
Sal kept me company.

But first impressions
are everything.

They are, and I was the one
who overslept for breakfast,

so I guess we're even.

Even it is.

Hey, when were you gonna
tell me about this festival

and the toy drive?

Uh... this morning
at breakfast.


Well, do you want to tell me
what else you're famous for?

Me? Yeah.

How 'bout you?

Let's get a table.

We got a whole lifetime
to catch up on.


Caleb started the festival
by canvassing local businesses

to become sponsors to the event
to promote tourism.

Smart, considering
the charm of the town.

Yeah, you'd think.
The years have gotten leaner.

We've all had to look
at creative ways

to keep the festival going

and no one works harder at that
than Caleb.

So he's a "never take no
for an answer" sort of guy?

Once he zeros
his sights on something,

just get out of his way.

Like the stunt
he pulled last year

to help promote sales.

The firefighters
of Cranberry Falls.

There's no lengths he won't go
to keep our festival on track

Wow, that's, uh, bold.

Yeah. So, how did he end up here?

Well, he moved here
with his girlfriend

looking for a fresh start
after his divorce.

And how long ago was that?
Uh, four years ago.

He started a towing company
and she started Trish's Pastry.Oh.

The relationship fizzled,

but he and Trish,
they still remain close.

That's a little unusual, but...

refreshing. Yeah, yeah.

I still see them out and about.Yeah.

I mean, it's impossible
not to like that guy.


So, after a promising
football career

got sidelined
by several concussions,

I found myself...

at a job I didn't love

in a city I didn't want
to be in,

with a girl
I wasn't meant to marry.

I'm sorry. CALEB: Don't be.

My philosophy is, "Ever tried."
"Ever failed." "No matter."

"Try again." "Fail again."

"Fail better.""Fail better."

Samuel Beckett. Yeah.

When I read that quote

I thought to myself
that that's gonna be me.

And when you lose
your fear of failure,

your odds of success
instantly increase.

I wish
I could be more like that.

After the success
of my first novel,

I feel like I'm always
competing against myself.

Too busy to get married?

Uh... I'm writing all the time.

Plus, I kind of took
a break from people

after this horrible article
came out about me

with a bunch of stuff
taken way out of context

and it hurt my brand.

And it hurt me.

I guess, I'm just getting
back out into the world now.

Hmm. I'm sorry
that happened to you.

Thank you.

Hey, do you remember

that you once asked me out
on a date?

Uh, yeah.
It was to a dance or something.


I... Those years were

a bit of a blur to me.Yeah.

I probably came off
full of myself.

No. Oh, no. I would
never describe you as that.

Oh. So how would you
describe me?

If I was one of your characters?


Um... Caleb had
an easygoing charm

that was like a hidden
superpower to those around him.

He had a smile that instantly
put everyone at ease.


I like the sound of that guy.Yeah.

It's your turn. Describe me.

I'm not a writer. So?

Okay, I'll give it a shot.

Here it goes.

Everything about Natalie
is an understatement.

From her innocent gaze
to her shy smile.

She might not stop a party
when she enters a room,

but if she could see herself
through my eyes...

she'd know how truly special
she really is.

How'd I do?

Yeah. I wouldn't change a word.

He is a small-town
firefighter who is spearheading

the local Christmas festival
and a toy drive.

Well, sounds like he's the guy
who gets introduced

on page-two of every book
she's ever written.

Dude, totally.

She has found herself
a real-life hero

who is going to rescue her
out of her funk.

I'm telling you,
this story is so good

it's practically writing itself.
Yeah, it is.

If you can convince her
to let you tell it.

Quick, quick, quick, come on.
Come on! Bring it.

Get the camera.

I heard you were a swimmer.

I gotta be honest.
This is the most fun

I've had in a very long time.

Then why don't you stick around
Cranberry Falls?

Just for a few days,

until the Dickens Festival.

I gotta get home.

I'm chasing a Christmas

Come on.

We just said hello.

Are you sure
you're ready to say goodbye?

Okay, this shot's for the cover.


Yep, it's Gloria, my editor.

She's calling
to sound the alarms. I...

Just tell me you'll stay.

You make it very difficult
to say no.


Hi, Gloria. So?

How are we doing
with our rewrites?

Well, it's a work in progress.

But you will be happy to know
that I've started my list

of must-haves in a mate.

Oh, look at you
taking my advice.

What have you got so far? Oh.

Okay. Sense of humor is one.Copycat.
It's a good one.

he has to have a kind heart.

Always helpful.

And tonight I thought,
I have to be with someone

who isn't afraid
to be vulnerable.

That is a good one for you.

So it sounds like it was good
that you took the evening off.

But your time off be over now.

I am back at it.

And, uh, I've decided to stay

until I nail down
those last 30 pages.

I'm gonna turn this book into
the next Natalie Wolfe classic.

So much for our
big kiss goodnight.

Nick, come on.
This is the magic moment.

The smoldering gaze
in their eyes.

Their hands just
gently touching.

Yeah, I suppose, but...

no kiss.

You will never see on a cover
of a romance novel

the leads kissing.

But they almost kiss.

Now that's actually
more powerful

'cause it confirms
to the audience

that we're invested in them
getting together at the end.


The lines between real life
and fiction begin to blur.

That might be my way in.

Oh, hey. So how was your
big night out with Caleb?


Okay. But I can see the answer
written all over your face.

You don't have to tell me.

But, if you do want to tell me,
I'm all ears.

You are relentless,
you know that?

Look, I am trying
with everything I got here

but it's really not easy
with your whole

"hey, let's keep everybody
at arm's length" thing

you have going on. Not everybody. Just you.

Just give me five minutes,
talk to me

and if you still
really don't like me,

then you never have
to see me again, I promise.

Five minutes.

Tell me something, Nick.

Why does your boss
call you hopeless?


Well, let's just say, uh,
my once upon a time

didn't exactly end
in a happily ever-after.

Oh, that's the story
I want to hear.


Well, look, if you really
want to hear

the long dreaded tale
of love gone awry,

you're gonna have to ply me
with a little hot cocoa first.


Well, when I was growing up,

my dad worked at this train
museum in Brooklyn.

And every Christmas Eve,

the museum would host
this potluck

for those less fortunate.

I would always go down there
to help out...

and it was magical.

The lights,
the glittering decorations,

the smiles on everybody's faces.

But the real showstopper

was this old-fashioned
locomotive called The Hudson.

And it looked just like the
train from the Polar Express.

And as a kid, I was convinced

that if I just wished
hard enough,

at midnight on Christmas Eve,
that train,

it would take me
to the North Pole to meet Santa.

Aw. I love that.

Eventually, that boy
became a man.

A man, who in his senior year
of college

met and fell for the woman
of his dreams.Oh.

And she was so smart
and she was ambitious...

and for whatever reason
she seemed to love me too. Uh...

So, one Christmas Eve

I invited her to share
my favorite tradition.

Although, end of the night
I've got a surprise.

When everybody's gone,

I invite her back
to the Polar Express train.

I get down on one knee...

and I propose. And she turned you down?

If only it were that simple.

No, that is just the tip
of the proverbial iceberg

that sank my heart.

No, uh, as a matter of fact...

she was having an affair.

With my best friend.Ugh.
Nick, I am so sorry.

You must hate Christmas now.

That year? Yeah.Yeah.

But no. I love Christmas.

I really do.
I love everything about it.

And I even went back
the next year

to that train museum
and I've been back

every year since.

And I love to see the looks
on everybody's faces

when we make their Christmas Eve
just a little bit brighter.

Tell me something, Nick.

Do you think you could
tell my story with the same...

honesty as you told yours
just now?

We wouldn't be sitting here
if I didn't.

The real question is,

are you brave enough
to let me tell it?

It's better at night.

Talk to me, Holly.
What are you afraid of here?

Is it fear of the truth?

Is it fear
of getting hurt again?

What's missing?

What do I need you
to say, Holly?

Tell me, and we can all
walk away happy.

You're extending our stay
through the Dickens Festival

and you're giving Nick
an exclusive?

I take it last night's date
must have been off the charts.

It's hard to describe.
It wasn't that it went well

then it just felt so effortless.

It tends to happen when you
already know the guy's into you.

I guess.

Gosh, it's been so long
since I've had a date

I forgot some of them
could actually be fun.

Ah! I'm jealous.
I want one of those.

Oh, uh, Natalie,
this is Lucas Hansen.

The photographer for SHEmagazine

and your number one fan.

Oh.And I know fans.

I follow your blog every morning.
- Oh.

Starting with your daily
affirmations, of course.

Well, you actually have Ryan
to thank for that.

He handles all my social media.

Oh, wow. You must
really love what you do then.

Some of this stuff you come up
with is like this beacon of hope

to the recent members
of the lonely hearts club.

Really? I must have overshot.


Well, uh, I'm off to Buffalo.

Nick's got me getting some
establishing shots

for where it all began for you.

To create this sort of
once-upon-a-time theme.

It's a clever idea.

Why do I get the feeling
it was yours?

I can neither confirm
nor deny that.

But, if you're not too busy,
I'd love some company.

Oh, uh... Yeah, go.

I can handle the interview
on my own.

Well, it appears my day
has suddenly opened up.

Awesome. Just parked outside. RYAN: Sure.

This is huge.

Nick, our ad sales doubled
with the news

that Natalie Wolfe
is on our cover.

So, how did you manage to crown
the Queen of Christmas?

Well, I stopped
trying to get a story,

told one of my own.

Well, this could be a real
game changer for the magazine

and for you. I know. Classic no pressure.

Now, I just have
to get it right.

Then get it right, Nick.

Lagging ticket sales
spooked two of our top sponsors

and they've decided to pull out
of this year's festival.

Chief, pre-sales never determine
our final tally.

Let's just scale back the venue.

We only have half the vendors
that we had last year.

Wait, you're not thinking
about cancelling the festival?

The only way the festival

is if we stir up interest.

Then let's contact the news
outlets in Buffalo.

Newspapers, radio. I've tried.

They're not interested.

To them, Cranberry Falls
is small potatoes.

I got an idea.

Of course, you do.

So, if you could go back in time

and give your 16-year-old self
just one piece of advice,

what would it be? I would tell her

to stop overthinking.

Huh. Yeah, and be more confident.

Thank you.
Be more confident, um...

Don't worry so much
about what other people think.

You know?

Find a work-life balance.

Oh, and stop procrastinating.
That's huge with me, even now.

She needed a lot of help.
Oh, I see.

The truth is though,
no matter what I told myself...

I probably wouldn't listen.

And see that's exactly
what I thought you'd say.

Oh right, because you did

your research. Right. NICK: Mm-hmm.

Mm-hmm. Okay, Mr. Research.

What was the one thing about me

that you found
the most surprising?


That you've never actually
admitted to being in love

and yet have delivered

a seemingly endless treasure
trove of love stories.

You think I'm lying
about who I am?

Not at all, no.
From what I can tell,

deception is the trait
you loathe most in a person.

Trust for me is everything.


You create a world
we wish exists,

just not necessarily
a reflection

of the world we live in.



Caleb, isn't it?

Telling you how much fun
he had last night.

Can't wait to see you again.
All good guesses.

He wants to show me around

the firehouse this afternoon.

You go. Um... you've been

more than generous
with your time. Yeah? Okay.

The problem is, what I really
should be doing

is getting back upstairs
to my computer

so that I can do the sit
and stare for hours.

Uh-oh, words not coming, huh?

Oh, no, they're coming.
They're just not any good.

I've got writer's block.

Ah, a problem I know
all too well.

Uh... hey, if...

if you want, I could show you
a tried and true method

that's guaranteed to chase
the creative blues away.

Oh? Yeah. If you want.

Okay, my turn.

Uh... "You pierce my soul."
"I am half agony, half hope."

"I have loved none but you."

You're trying to trick me.

That's not
one of Natalie's books.

That's Jane Austin's Persuasion.

I love that book. Oh, me too.

My David hated it
for some reason.

Ah, you're really killing
the spirit of the game,

bring your ex into it, again.
Oh, no. I'm sorry.

I'm turning
into one of those losers

that can't stop talking
about their ex.

How long's it been? Six months now.

Hm.Time to move on, right?

Oh, I really don't think

you should be asking me
for dating advice. What?

I can't imagine a guy
who can quote

all my favorite parts
of Jane Austin would be single

for any length of time.

Uh... Well, then you're
not imagining hard enough.

I've been on
so many bad coffee dates,

my dating profile should read,

"Save us the trouble
and just swipe left."

You know, I think dating apps
actually do more harm than good.


But to answer your question

about when to dip a toe
back in the dating pool...

you'll know
when you feel the spark.

I think that writer's block
is your subconscious

just telling you
to shake up your routine

and try something new. New
is being out in public.

New is coming to this town
and none of it is helping.

I'm pretty sure that your
routine is sitting in front

of a computer
and just making things up.

Okay. That's over-simplifying...
Hey, hey, look. We all do it.

For instance,
I ask questions for a living.

Yeah, I noticed that.

I ask questions and then people
give me answers

and then I sit
in front of a computer

and I spill it all out

and I hope it comes together
in some semi-cogent way.

Whereas I ask and answer
all the questions,

plus come up
with the characters,

the settings and the arcs.Yes. Exactly.

Quite literally everything.

And then, you make everything up
from all of that information

inside of your head.Yeah.

I have to come up
with new questions all the time.Exactly.

So, maybe you just need someone
new to ask you questions...

so you can focus
on some answers.

Okay. Fine. Have at it.

What's your story about?

It is a story about two former
high school sweethearts,

Holly and Derek, who years later
meet up by chance

and start to fall in love.
Okay, and what happened

when they first broke up?

Well, they are from a small town
and so she goes away to college

and he stays
and blah, blah, blah.

Stop it right there.

Your answer lies
in the "blah, blah, blah."

What happened
when they were teenagers?

Somebody broke
somebody's heart, right? Yes.

So, inevitably,
that is going to inform

how they get back together.

That is exactly
where my block is.

You're not gonna believe this.

My ending takes place
at a train station.

Trust the process.

Should we go try something new?
Absolutely. Come.

All aboard!

This is even better
than I imagined it in my book.

Okay. I want you
to stop thinking

about the work right now
and just imagine

what it would be like
to be on this platform

with your high school

And all those old feelings
start to resurface.

I see what you're doing

and my book is not
about Caleb and me.

That is just a point
of reference.

What would you do?

What would I do?

I would...

have to let go
of a lot of hurt and...

learn to trust again.

And where does that hurt
come from?

Caleb was my first crush,

and I'm not even sure he knew.

So he broke your heart. My teenage heart.

And what broke it?

My junior year...

Caleb asked me to go
to the Christmas dance.

I was thrilled.

My mother went out
and got a new dress

and I did my hair

and I stood by the front door,
waiting for him to come get me.

And he never showed up?

He ended up taking someone else.

Ouch. Yeah.

Two days later, when I finally
got the courage

to ask him what happened...

he said,
he didn't remember asking

and he may not have.

I'm not even sure anymore,
but he was very apologetic

and he asked what he could do
to make it up to me,

blah, blah, blah. Now, you see

where the "blah, blah, blah"
comes from.

He was very, very sorry
and I did my best to let it go.

It takes a lot of strength
to do that.

I don't know about that.
It didn't feel strong.

It just felt like I was trying
to preserve the friendship.

He was such a good guy. NICK: No, no, no.

Don't you dare deflect that.

That takes real strength.
That is your strength.

Thank you.


That in mind, back to the book.Okay.

Take that strength in. NATALIE: Mm-hmm.

And hand it to Holly.

An entire year had passed

since Derek and Holly rekindled
their childhood romance.

The plan was to wait a year

and if their feelings
were just as strong,

return to the spot where
they said their last goodbye.


Holly. I knew you'd make it.

Wait, this isn't hello, is it?

I'm here to apologize.

Something I should have done
a long time ago.

Look, back when I left
for college,

we said that we would try

to keep a long distance
thing going

but then the calls became fewer
and the emails drifted off

and then you sent
that text saying,

"maybe it's time for us
to talk."

And you never called me back.
I couldn't do it.

I thought it was because
I was scared,

but now I know the truth.

And that's that I chose
not to call you back because...

I wasn't ready to let you go.


what are you saying? Don't you see, Derek?

I have never stopped loving you.

And now fate
has given us this second chance

and this time,
I am not running away.

I am standing right here
and I am telling you...

that I am not letting you go.

Nick, you did it!
I... I have my ending!

Oh, my Gosh, thank you,
thank you, thank you!

You're welcome, you're welcome.

Okay. Well, I guess,
I gotta go to the firehouse.

All right, go.

Thank you!

You must be so excited
for the Dickens Festival.

I know I can't wait.
Actually, we just found out

that some of our sponsoring
businesses have backed out

and there's a chance that we'll
have to cancel the festival

unless we pull a rabbit
out of our hat.

Oh, no. I'm sorry.
How can I help?

Maybe I can make a donation?

That's very generous, Natalie.
I can't ask you for money.

What we need
is public awareness.

People don't know about us.

We're like New York state's
best kept secret.

I get it.
Why try to save the festival

if no one shows up
to support it.


Maybe I can help.

I don't want to put you out,
but you certainly do have

a fanbase that could turn
this around in a hurry.

I can't make any promises,

but let's see if my publicist

can get the, uh,
snowball rolling.

Thank you! You're the best.

This is a pretty big favor
for Caleb to ask.

Given that you barely know
one another.

He didn't ask, I offered.

Well, if you really want
to make a splash

and take a giant leap
out of your comfort zone,

you'd speak directly
to your followers.

You mean like a live feed of me,
on camera to millions?

To millions of your hardcore
fans who love you.

Yeah, no. Just forget it.

I'll wave your magic wand
like I always do.

I'll do it.

It's time for me to step out
of the shadows.

Really? NATALIE: Mm-hmm.

Wow, so you must really
like this guy.

This time, I'm not running away.

I'm standing here,
telling you...

that I'm not letting you go.

Hey guys, if you're looking
for true Christmas spirit,

check out the Dickens Festival
here in Cranberry Falls.

You'll be magically transported
into one of those

quaint Christmas towns
I'm always writing about

and you'll be helping to make...

so many
deserving children's holiday

a lot more special.

How did you get Natalie
to do this?

It was her idea.
I mean, we had to do something.

I'm just glad we didn't have
to cancel the festival.

When Buffalo news caught wind
of her post,

they ran a story and the phones
immediately began to ring.

Well, I guess my festival
isn't small potatoes anymore.

Holly throws Derek
a breathless gaze

and as he leans in to plant
a tender kiss on her lips,

soft Christmas snow
begins to fall all around them.



No. Okay...

There you go, Gloria.



Thank you.

You put the Dickens Festival
and Cranberry Falls on the map.

We're at full capacity. Wow, that was fast.

I want you to know, you made

a whole lot
of people's Christmases

a whole lot brighter.

Not to mention mine.

Hey, uh...

what do you like better
in terms of description?

Lingering or wistful?

Nick, look.

You totally surprised me.

I really don't know
how to thank you

or what to say...

other than
the other night...

I forgot to give you this.

Hey, uh, let's...

let's give them their privacy.

Really? Yeah. We don't need the kiss.

Thanks to you I am
a complete wreck.

Yay! Yay!

Now that
is a Natalie Wolfe ending.

I don't know where you got
these 30 pages from,

but it's like it came
straight from your heart.

You know Gloria,
it's this place.

There is something
about this place.

I love it.

I think it's the best thing
you've ever written.


It's authentic. It's heartfelt.

You really touched me.
And from your prose,

it seems like Natalie managed
to touch you, too.

Oh, yeah.

Well, I mean, if you were here
you'd have a hard time

not getting carried off
in the moment.

And I love the way you feathered

the whole theme
of the Dickens Festival

into the story.
It's just brilliant.

Welcome to Cranberry Falls.

Where real life and fiction
begin to blur.

Well, your article's
already sent to copy.

Lucas is sending shots
of the festival tonight.

We'll embed them
as soon as possible

and hit the newsstands
first thing tomorrow morning.



Hey. You must be Trish.

And you must be the writer
from SHEmagazine.

Mm-hmm. Caleb told me about you.

So, Dickens Festival.Hmm.

I understand you and Caleb
used to be an item.

Yeah. Who told you that?
Ben, down at the firehouse.

Well, to be honest,
Ben doesn't know

that Caleb and I still have an
on-again, off-again thing going.


Let's just say
my Caleb has a hard time

resisting temptation.

Which shouldn't have come
as such a shock

since I was the girl
he cheated on his wife with.


Oh, no.

I am not letting you sneak out
of here without a look first.


Very nice.
But you're missing something.

Your hat. Follow me.

And while I'm searching...

maybe you'll explain to me
the million mile away gaze

you have in your eyes.

Oh, uh...

It's that obvious, huh?

I guess, I'm a little worried
that someone might be falling

for a guy who's not exactly
all he's cracked up to be.

Someone you've come
to care about?

You know, I seem to have broken
the cardinal rule of journalism

by getting emotionally involved
with my subject.

And how did that happen?

This place. Uh...

Their chance meeting. Uh...
I guess I couldn't help myself.

I just don't want
to see her get hurt.

That really isn't in your power,
is it, Nick?

Found it.

What do I do?

Maybe it's time you trust
that thing inside your chest

that started beating again.

Oh, no.

Now what are you supposed
to be, an undertaker?

Uh, the ghost
of Christmas future.

I mean, I asked for
the Miss Havisham costume

but they only had it
in extra petite.

But, you'll be happy to know
because of you

my New Year's resolution
is me deleting my dating app.

Oh, wow.

Well, in that case,

what are you doing
Christmas Eve?

'Cause I would love
to take you out to dinner.

Maybe. If you agree to stop
whining about your ex.

Done. I will never mention
him again.

Well, then, of course,
I'll have dinner with you.

Now that we have so much more
to talk about.

Shall we? LUCAS: Absolutely.

Don't tell me, spirits.

What are you here to show me
the shadows of?

Christmas past? Maybe.

What do you think? You look great.

Of the festival?

Oh. It's, uh...
it's perfect. It's perfect.

I can't believe you brought
this whole festival to life.

Thanks. It's far from perfect

but you certainly helped make it
more than it could have been.

Caleb, we're ready for you.

Ah, yeah, and...
of course

the Chief is eager for me

to continue capitalizing
on the 15 minutes of fame

that you brought
to our little town.

Why don't you go wander?
I'll come find you.


♪ Hark the Herald angels sing ♪

♪ Glory to the newborn king

♪ Hail, the Heav'n-born
Prince of Peace ♪

♪ Hail, the Son
Of Righteousness ♪

♪ Light and life
To all He brings ♪


Friends don't let friends
drink mulled wine alone.

Oh, hey, I'm just sitting here

toasting Christmas
Dickens style.


Hmm. What about you?
Where's Caleb?

He's busy for a sec

but I wanted to come by
and say thank you.

To say thank you for what?

For pushing me.

Well, I just hope
I didn't push too hard.

I'm glad you did.

I just think that
you're cautious

and that's not such a bad thing.

What's going on with you, Nick?

You look like Ebenezer
when he sees his tombstone.

Hey, Nick!

Oh, uh, it looks like...

Uh, yeah, Lucas is ready
to take some shots.

Okay. Come on.


Oh, that's the one. Yeah.

Perfect. Look at that.


Thanks, Natalie.

Uh... how about just a few
with Caleb and Santa?

Yeah, sure. I don't mind.Yeah.

He's really something, isn't he?

Sorry? Caleb.

When you're in his company

it's like the whole world
suddenly vanishes, right?

That's a part of his charm.

I'm sorry, do I know you?

No. But I know you.

And why he broke up with me

three nights ago
for the fifth time.

I just want to let you know
that when Caleb grows bored

of his latest conquest,
he always comes back to me.


whatever Trish said to you,

you have to know
that it's been over between us

for a long time. Three days ago?

Natalie, I meant everything
that I said to you.

Why should I believe you, Caleb?

You literally just tried
to lie to me.

Look, I'll admit, I'm no angel
but I'm not a bad guy.

No, but I'm not sure
you're a good guy either.

Ryan, can we go?


You just used her, didn't you?

You used her for her celebrity

and you used her for her
social media platform.

Just to help your festival.

You don't know me. NICK: Oh, I think I do.

And I know that you just blew
the best thing

to ever come back
into your life.

Trish! Baby, wait up!

Thank you. MISS OLIVIA:
I hope to see you again.

Natalie! I'm so sorry. You knew.

That's why you were acting
strange before.

Look, I had run into his
ex-girlfriend and she mentioned

that she was the woman
that he had had an affair with

when he was married
and that they had this weird

on again, off-again thing,
but I didn't know

if they were off or on.
I trusted you, Nick.

Why wouldn't you just
tell me that?

Especially, because the same
thing happened to you.

But I get it.
Why let a thing like that

stand in the way
of a good story.

Hey, um... RYAN: Yeah.

♪ Joy to the World

♪ The Lord is come ♪

♪ Let Earth receive her King ♪

So you gonna join the party

or am I gonna bring
the party to you?

♪ Prepare Him room

♪ And heaven
And nature sing... ♪

♪ And heaven
And nature sing... ♪

Look, bud, you gotta
stop kicking yourself.

You wrote what you thought
was happening at that time.

Yeah. But I could have told her.

It's not your job
to burst her balloon.

Also it wasn't my job
to fill it with air.

You wanted to believe
what we all thought

was unfolding
before our very eyes.

And Nick, all that means is
that you still believe in love.

Yeah, maybe.
But at Natalie's expense.

Okay. Hear me out.

'Cause I think your problem is,

is that you have feelings
for Natalie...

and you were afraid
that she might interpret it

as the reason why you weren't
telling her about Caleb.

No. She trusted me.

Yeah. She did.

And now you gotta go talk to her
and tell her the truth.

She doesn't want to talk to me.
Since when have you

let a little thing like that
hold you back?

Go get her.

I'm touched by the invitation

but what kind of first date
would it be

with me tagging along?

Well, it's gonna be
a memorable one.

Aw. I love that he bought
you flowers.

Oh, uh...
actually these aren't for me.

Nick asked me
to give these to you.

♪ Round yon Virgin

♪ Mother and Child

"Because of you,
I'll never stop believing...


It wasn't about
getting the story, Natalie.

Nick really cares for you.
And I don't know,

being around you
somehow hit his reset button.

Did you see he signed it
with a red heart?

That's a lot for him.

You really don't see it, do you?

Do you know where he is?

I want to thank him for these
and wish him a Merry Christmas.

Yeah, he's volunteering at the
potluck for the less fortunate.

At the train museum.

That's his favorite part
about Christmas.

I can't believe I missed it.

Missed what?

The fifth thing I need
in a soulmate.

One, must have a sense of humor.

You know, there's a study
about first impressions

and it shows that they
are way overrated.

Really? NICK: Hmm.

How overrated are they?

Way. Wow.

Two, must be kind.

Takes a lot of strength
to do that.

It just felt like I was trying
to preserve the friendship.

He was such a good guy. NICK: No, no, no.

Don't you dare deflect that.

That takes real strength.
That is your strength.

Three, must be vulnerable.

I invite her back
to the Polar Express train,

I get down on one knee...

and I propose. And she turned you down?

If only it were that simple.

Four, must be trustworthy.

Do you think
you could tell my story

with the same...

honesty as you told yours
just now?

We wouldn't be sitting here
if I didn't.

And five...

I love Christmas.

I really do.
I love everything about it.

And I even went back
the next year

to that train museum
and I've been back

every year since.
And I love to see

the looks on everybody's faces

and we make their Christmas Eve
just a little bit brighter.

And five...

must love Christmas.

They seem pretty obvious to me.

Me too.


- Oh! Because I write Christmas...
- Yeah.

I have to go.
Have so much fun tonight.

Merry Christmas!

♪ I don't care, I don't care ♪

♪ If I got it all
And no one to share ♪

♪ All the magic and mystery ♪

♪ Won't be the same
Without you with me ♪

♪ I can see Santa fly
I won't believe it if I try ♪

♪ Until you're here with me
Because you make it real ♪

♪ You make it real ♪

♪ All the magic and mystery
Won't be the same... ♪

Wow, Nick.

This is everything
you said it would be.

Natalie? NATALIE: I couldn't sleep.

I figured I'd come
check it out in person and...

thank you for the flowers
and the card.

Yeah, you're welcome.

What did you mean
in the card about believing?

When I saw you and Caleb
come together

in Cranberry Falls,
it made me start to believe

that all those fairytale endings
you write could be real.

It really did feel like that,
didn't it?

And then when we found out
that he wasn't exactly the hero

that either one of us
wanted him to be,

well, I thought that would
change everything but it didn't.

It didn't? Because there was you.


The real story
was finding you, Natalie.

Look, ending up together
in Cranberry Falls,

that happened for a reason
and it wasn't because of Caleb

and it wasn't because
that you needed to be rescued.

It was me.

And me. I needed
to be pushed to go out.

To open up, to question

the way I was doing things.
NICK: It was me.

I needed to be reminded
of what it felt like

to fall in love.

Both of us needed
to be reminded of that, Nick.

I was hoping you'd say that.

It's Christmas.


The end.

Oh, no.
Natalie, you are not putting me

in one of your books.
I am totally putting this

in the book. This is gold! NICK: No!

Please, do not. No, no, no.
The story of us.

And it shall be called
Must Love Christmas.