USS Christmas (2020) - full transcript

Maddie, a reporter for a Norfolk newspaper, embarks on a Tiger Cruise during Christmastime where she meets a handsome naval officer and stumbles upon a mystery in the ship's archive room

Mm. Want to
grab drinks tonight?

There's a singles jingle mingle
happening at O'Donnell's.

Sorry, my sister just invited me

to her Christmas Navy ball
this morning.

I'm kind of her
last-minute date.

Mark had to go out of town
for work.

Maybe you'll meet
a handsome sailor
in uniform.

Don't count on it, Sarah.

- Morning, maddie.
- Morning.

So, it's a wonderful life
is playin' at the rialto.

I love that movie.

Great! It's a date.

"It's a date."

You didn't even say yes.

Wait. What exactly
are you two, anyway?

We've been on a couple dates.
There's nothing serious yet.

"Yet"? I don't know
what you see in him.

I know what I'm getting
with Roger.

It's easy conversation, and...
We have a lot in common.

News flash.
The only thing you two
have in common is the news.

Hey, good morning, maddie.

Look, I just got a tip from
a friend in the da's office.

The president of
Norfolk bank & trust

was indicted on fraud charges
this morning.

- I'm on it, Mr. Bailey.
- This is where you shine.

Bring me back
an exclusive, maddie.

Hey, what's wrong?
That's a really great scoop!

Yeah, I know, it's just...
It's Christmastime, ya know?

I mean, who wants
to write about corruption
and bankers behaving badly?

I would give anything
to get off the fluff beat.

My last piece was
the Moore-bacon
wedding announcement.

Mmm. That sounds like
my kind of wedding.

No, seriously, Sarah, I mean,
come on, you get to bring
joy to people.

I... I remind them about
the harsh realities
of this world.

Well, someone's gotta do it.
And you're so good at it.

Oh, my. I feel like
I should be standing
at attention.

Relax. Even the most disciplined
sailors know how to have fun.

You just wait until
this dance floor fills up.


I'll go get our table number.

- Okay. I'll get drinks.
- Right.

- Hi.
- Hi.

Two red wines, please.

I told him we were together.
He's up this way.

Thank you so much.

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

We have literally
been here for three minutes.

I- i-i-i-i'm...

I'm gonna get your dress

Actually, you know what?
I'm gonna go get you
a new dress.

I'm gonna actually
go to the mall right now.

I finally find
a flattering white dress...

Of course this happens.

I'm so sorry. I feel terrible.

It's... fine.

Accidents happen.

If you'll excuse me,

- mm-hm.
- I am headed to the restroom.

- I'm so sorry.
- Red wine,

the enemy of flattering
white dresses everywhere.

Yeah. It's a fashion emergency
if I've ever seen one.

She'll survive.

Although you might
want to have your date

grab your drinks
for you next time.

Oh, no, I'm not...

Will do, sailor.

It's "lieutenant."


Long time no see, buddy.

Not a fan of Christmas?

It's overrated.

I better get back to my date.

It was nice meeting you.

Maddie! Over here.

Merry Christmas!

It's so good to see you again.

It's good to see you too,
captain Jenkins.

No, no, no,
you're a civilian.
Call me Chet.

I cannot believe
how grown up you are.

I haven't seen you
since dad's funeral.

- Yeah.
- You gave such
a beautiful speech, sir.

Thank you.

John was one of
the finest pilots,

and a great wingman out at sea.

Yeah, he was the best.

He would have been proud
of you girls.

Your stories in the paper,

and, of course,

you following in his footsteps
on the Polaris, Amelia.

It's my honor to serve, sir.

It's a shame, however,

that you didn't sign up
for the Christmas tiger cruise

along with your mom this year.

You could have seen
your sister in action.

I just have so much work
right now.

Big stories percolating.

A chance to watch Amelia
launch a $65 million jet

off the deck of a carrier,
why, that's a big story.

Not to mention
we're gonna make a stop

in New York City this year.

Isn't it too late, sir?

The cruise leaves Norfolk
day after tomorrow.

We carry 6,000 people
on this ship.

I think we can find
an extra bunk for maddie.


Well, thank you,
really, for the offer,

but it's just so last-minute
with Christmas being
ten days away.

Well, the offer is there
if you change your mind.


Ah, yes. If you'll excuse me?

- It was great catching up.
- Mm-hm.

You know captain Jenkins
is my boss,

- right?
- I know.

- Like, my big boss?
- Yeah, I know.

I'm not interested in going
on a tiger cruise, okay?

I didn't want to go
when we were little,
I don't want to go now.

I get it. Now, the more
important question is,

where are those drinks?

Oh, um...

Isn't that your shawl?

Who is that, anyway?

I don't know.

I had a little bit
of an accident at the bar.

Some guy actually told me
to have my date get
the drinks next time.

From the looks
of that woman's dress,

maybe we should the Merlot?


Come on.

Oh, it's Mark.
I'm gonna grab this.


Hi, hon.

I know the military
can be stiff...

But are we really that boring?

Sorry, it's just...
It's been a long day.

- There's your shawl.
- Thank you.

Solo again?

What about you?
Is your date okay?

- She's a little traumatized.
- Seriously?

- She likes things to be...
- Just right.

Oh. Good match for you, then.

Based on...?

I just know most
military officers
are meticulous.

I can be pretty easygoing.

Spontaneous, even.

There you are.

Your tie's a little crooked,


Um, Dan's looking for us.

All right.

Is Mark okay?

He's good.
He'll be back

- Look, I'm real glad
you came with me tonight.
- Me too.

Ladies and gentlemen,
excuse me.

May I have your attention,

The captain would like
to say a few words.

Thank you, commander.

For those of you
who don't know me,

I'm captain Chet Jenkins,

skipper of the USS Polaris,

and I want to wish you all
happy holidays

and thank you for coming
to the Navy Christmas ball.

Now, as you know,

while the Navy
is not about self, but country,

I look around this room tonight

and I see so many
fine men and women

who make incredible sacrifices
for this nation every day.

And I'm not just talking
about the sailors,

but those who love them,
as well.

My apologies...
I know we're not an easy bunch.

And I can't wait to host
your families

on the Christmas tiger cruise.

It's always exciting to me
when they get to see

what an incredible job
you do on the ship.

So during this holiday season,

be thankful for family

and for this fine country.

Raise your glasses in a toast.

To the Navy!

To the Navy!

Merry Christmas.

♪ Well, it's cold out, baby ♪

♪ put a jacket on
for the chill... ♪

Picasso diner's
two best customers.

- Merry Christmas, ladies.
- Merry Christmas, Sharon.

Your favorite table
is available.

Here you go.

- Thank you.
- So, maddie,

I read that story this morning
about the bank president.

He's been in here.
Seemed like a good guy.

Well. Goes to show
you never really know
what's going on with people.

That's for sure.
And Amelia, I saw
the photo that you posted

of the Norfolk Christmas lights
from your jet.

That was absolutely stunning.

Oh, yeah, that was on
my night hop last week.

As always,
thank you for your service.

So, the usual, ladies?

- Bacon and eggs.
- Chocolate donut.

Last one.
They went fast today.

- Okay.
- You are so lucky.

I know. I don't know
what I'd do without
my morning sugar fix.

No, I mean,

'cause you love what you do.

What about you, though?
You've loved writing

for as long as I can remember.

Yeah. Yeah, I...
It's just... I don't know,

it's not as much fun
as it used to be.

Remember when I was in college
and I wrote that article

about the firefighter
who adopted the baby,

and it was dropped off
at his fire station
on Christmas Eve,

and he named her Noel?

Oh, yeah, that was such
a heartwarming story.

Now she's ten years old,
she's a straight- "a" student,

and she just played Mary
in her Christmas play.

- That's amazing.
- I know.

I mean, that firefighter
changed her entire life, and...

Just wish I could
write more stories like that.

Especially around the holidays.


Maybe I'm just burned out.

But you had fun
at the ball, right?

Yeah, of course.

Your fellow sailors
are very nice.

Did, um, did anyone, you know,
catch your eye?

You are relentless!

No! Besides,

I mean, come on,
you remember what it was like.

Every time David deployed
I was was so worried.

I don't know,
it's too much for me.

Yeah, but you guys
didn't work out

because your personalities
didn't match.

I just don't want
to do the military thing.

You remember
how hard it was on mom.

Yeah, I know.

Hey, that guy over there.

Which guy?

There was a guy, he just...

He left. Never mind.

There was a guy there,
I promise!

Hey, it looks like you
could use a break.

Why don't you come on
the Christmas tiger cruise?

No. I told you,
I don't want to go, okay,

and besides, I have work.

The chill of the fresh sea air
will help clear your head.

The chill of the air?
You mean the freezing air.

And honestly,
I don't even actually know

if I could be away
from my phone that long.

Maybe that'd be a good thing.

Sorry, it's my boss.

Apparently the bank president's
brother has now been arrested.

Look, think about it.
No breaking news,

no annoying texts
from your boss.

- We'll be in
the middle of nowhere.
- I don't know.

And you'll be without mom and me
right before Christmas,

which is your favorite
time of year.

Okay, now you're just
playing hardball.

- Do it for us!
- I...

Come on!


Suppose I haven't taken

even a fraction
of my vacation time.

So, sure. Yeah.

Yeah, okay. I will go on
the tiger cruise.

I'll just tell Mr. Bailey
he has to deal.

- It's fine.
- Yay! That's amazing!

Ohh, it's gonna be freezing.

Extra crispy,
just like you like it.

- Thank you!
- Thank you, Sharon.

Okay. "Mr. Bailey..."

Hey, maddie!
Where you goin'
in such a hurry?

Roger, I will explain it
to you later, okay?

I have to talk to Mr. Bailey.

- Hi, Mr. Bailey.
- Maddie, this bank story
just keeps gettin' bigger.

Well, I'm working my sources,
and I should have you something
great for tomorrow's edition.


And then...


I want to go on a cruise.

To, like, Bermuda?

No, a Christmas tiger cruise.

A ship of tigers? India?

It's a Navy thing.

Every year the USS polaris
hosts the families

of the sailors
serving on the ship,

and they call 'em tigers
and they get to see

what life is like
on the aircraft carrier

and, you know, be together
for the holidays.

And why are you
going on this cruise?

My sister's a fighter pilot,
and so was my dad.

- I'm a Navy brat.
- How did I not know that?

I don't talk about
my military life much.

Eh. Learn something new
every day. When are you leaving?


I haven't received
a vacation request.

I know, but I kinda promised
my mom and my sister
that I would go,

and I'll be back on the 22nd.

- Maddie...
- If that's okay.

It's gonna be very hard
to fill your shoes.

This bank story's
not going anywhere
anytime soon.

It's really
important to my family.

All right. Go.

Enjoy yourself.
You've earned it.

I'll give the bank story
to... Roger.

Thank you, Mr. Bailey.

You look happy-ish.

I'm going on a vacation.

Does it include lessons
from a cute ski instructor?

Hot toddies by the fire?

A warship in the middle
of the Atlantic

with rooms
the size of a mattress.

You really need to fire
your travel agent.

I'm going on
an aircraft carrier
with my mom and my sister.

All I heard was "handsome
fighter pilots in uniform."

Now, that's what
I call a vay-cay.

I'll do some recon for you.

I like tall, dark and single.


Sensible shoes, check.

Comfy pjs, check.

Sleep mask.

I miss you every day, dad.

Oh, wow, look!

Your dad used to tell me

that they decorated the ship
for Christmas,

but I had no idea
it was this gorgeous.

Hi, tigers! I'm Amelia,
I'll be your cruise director.

Oh, get over here!

- Hey, honey.
- Hi.

- I'm so glad you came.
- Aw, thanks.

So, where's my little fruity
drink with the umbrella on it?

Hmm. Would you be okay
to settle for eggnog

and a Christmas feast
with all the trimmings?

Contino family!

Aw, Chet. Thank you so much
for hosting us.

It's an honor, Elizabeth.

I'm so glad you changed
your mind.

Thanks for making it happen.

Oh, here he is. Just the man
I wanted you to meet.

Lieutenant Billy Jenkins.

One of my finest f-18 pilots,

and I don't say that
just because he happens
to be my son.

Billy, this is Elizabeth
and maddie.

You remember, I served
with John contino.

Yes, of course.

I knew you
when you were this high.

Well, nice to see you again.

And nice seeing you. Again.

Didn't know our fathers
flew together

and that you're Amelia's sister.

- You two know each other?
- You two know each other?

We met at the Christmas ball.

The wine incident.

Would you ladies like
to join us for dinner tonight?

Yes, thanks!
We'd love to!

Great. I'll see you
at 1800 hours.

- Billy?
- Enjoy the cruise.

Let's get you checked in,
get you to your stateroom.


This is it.

Watch your head.

I don't even touch!

- Aww.
- - Call sign "daddy's girl."


Oh, honey, that is so sweet!

Call signs aren't supposed
to be sweet, mom.

The other pilots choose 'em.

But I got pretty lucky.

They can call me
daddy's girl any day.

He's the whole reason
I became a pilot.

Oh, and there's the grinch.

Ooh, he's a mean one,
that grinch.

Attention, tigers.

The USS polaris
is now departing.

Happy sailing, everyone!

Too late to turn back now,

unless you got
one heck of a backstroke.

See you at dinner.

Come on, I'll show you the rest.

I just want to touch it!

Ladies, welcome.

Please, have a seat.

Oh, my gosh,
it looks so beautiful!

Thank you.
We take our christmases
very seriously on the polaris.


How do you decorate something

that looks like
a rhino in a rainstorm?

Not to mention its size.
I'm guessing, what...

Oh, thank you...

125 maybe eight-foot
Christmas trees
laid end to end?

Well, I've never quite
heard it put that way before.

Maddie has quite a way
with words sometimes,
don't you, darling?

Well, the senior chief
who runs the post office

is in charge of
all things Christmas,

and he's been here forever.

Waste of time if you ask me.

Ships are for combat...
Not Christmas.

And that is why
they call him the grinch.

Great fighter pilot, but a bit
of a Christmas curmudgeon.

Oh, forgive my manners.
Charlotte, welcome.

Thank you for the invite,

Hmm. This is Elizabeth,

maddie, Amelia.

I flew with the girls' father.

Oh! Nice to meet you all.

Charlotte is
a successful writer.

Oh. What do you write about?

I'm a big traveler,

so I find amazing love stories
from around the world

and turn them into novels.

Wow, how interesting.

You know,

I met Billy's mother on
a Christmas tiger cruise

about 35 years ago.

- Really?
- Mm-hm.

I was a young lieutenant
at the time,

and Barbara was
a college student

visiting her brother.

How's that for a unique
love story?

Without the happy ending.

So your father was
looking for Christmas presents
for you girls

at a flea market in Japan.

And he asked the vendor
for a doll...

Using his best Japanese,
of course.

Well, she thought he said...


Well, your father,
he was so confused.

I remember those little
Japanese dolls.

Yeah. He bought you...

A kimono, Elizabeth.

Pink with flowers, if I recall.

Yeah. He did.

It was always
your father's mission

to find you girls something
new and exciting for Christmas.

I used to do the same for Billy.

Most kids find their presents
under the tree.

Found mine in the mailbox
every year.

Dan, hey. You made it.

Sorry I missed dinner.

I was airborne.

Dan's a pilot,

and Charlotte's brother.

Yeah, they're, uh,
old family friends.

Mom said Dan and I needed
more quality time together,

so here I am on a military ship.

So you're not...

Not what?

Oh, together?

No, no. I love Billy
like my own brother.

Oh, Dan, that reminds me.

We promised mom
we'd call her after dinner.

I hope you don't mind
if we sneak out.

No, not at all, not at all.

Looks like we're
finished up anyway.

Yeah, I have to work
the night shift.

Oh. Can I come watch you
for a bit? Please?

- I want to see you in action.
- I'd love that, mom.

I'll get some coffees to go.
Maddie, you want to come?

- No, I'm kind of tired.
- Okay.

Thank you so much.

It was just perfect.

You're welcome.

Uh, Billy,

why don't you walk maddie
to her stateroom.

It's very easy
to get lost around here.

Okay. Ah, well...

Looks like it's just
the two of us.

Can't believe you thought
Charlotte was my girlfriend.

Well, I mean, first
there was the ball,
then she showed up at dinner.

I think it's
a natural assumption.

That makes sense.
It's just funny

'cause my dad's always
telling me

that if I don't meet someone,
I'm gonna be alone forever.

My sister
tells me the same thing.

He say he wants me
to find lasting love.

Amelia wants me
to date an officer,

which is not gonna happen.

Sorry, it's just military life
is not for me.

It's not for everyone.

It's pretty amazing, though,
that your dad met your mom

on a Christmas tiger cruise.
Does that happen often?

Wouldn't know.
I'm not really focused
on that kind of thing.

I'm just here to fly my jet
and serve this country.

You said something at dinner

about it having
an unhappy ending.

What did you mean?

It's not important.

Here we are.

You might want to...

You're facing the wrong way.

- Oh! Right.
- Yeah.


Man, these stairs are steep.

They're actually called ladders.

It can be a little tricky
navigating an aircraft carrier,

but you wanna use both hands
on both railings

with your back to the steps.

Got it. Thanks.

This place is
like a giant maze.

Twenty stories high
and almost as long as the
empire state building is tall.

Wow. Thanks for helping me
get back.

Just call me
a top gun tour guide.

- Staterooms are in here.
- Okay, thanks.

- See you tomorrow.
- See you tomorrow.


Huh. It's Chet.

And come on in, please.

- Good morning, Chet.
- Maddie, hi.

Now what can I do for you today?

Well, I was thinking
about something you said
at dinner last night,

about meeting your wife
on a Christmas tiger cruise?

Ah, Christmas 1984, yeah.

But I should tell you,
Barbara and I got divorced
a long time ago.

I'm sorry. Billy alluded
to something at dinner.

The divorce was tough
on him as a kid.

Well, military life is hard
on any family.

I hear you.

But, you know,

some couples do figure it out.

Barbara and I,
we weren't the first ones

to fall in love
on a tiger cruise, you know.

Do you happen to know anyone
that I could maybe
talk to about that?

I'd have to ask around.

Everybody's kind of
all over the place these days.

Thanks. There must be

such rich history on this ship.

Well, if you're interested,
we do have an archives room.

Photos, records. You might
find something in there.

I'd love to take a look.

What's this for, anyway?

A story?

Maybe, I...
I don't really know yet.

Well, I'd find it interesting.

Tell you what,
I'll have Billy take you
for a look around.

He can help you
with anything you need.

Sir, do you think
he's gonna be okay with that?

Romance and Christmas?

Honestly... No!

But it might do him some good.

No. I have flight ops,

and we're trying to finish
all the maintenance logs
before the end of the year.

I'm too busy, pop.

I'll clear your schedule.

You get maddie
whatever she needs.

That's an order,
lieutenant Jenkins!


Look at
all this old stuff.

I have never been here.

Oh, yeah?

Wow, check this out.

Wow, cool. B29.

Hmm. Found
some Christmas photos.

These look like
fun performances.

Yeah, you know,
we've had all kinds of dancers,

singers, celebrities...

Presidents, even.


You never went on
a tiger cruise as a kid?

I didn't want to give up
even one day at home.

All the baking,
decorating the tree...

I remember driving
around looking at all
the neighborhood lights.

Christmas is the best.

I'm just surprised
we never met as kids.

Oh. Well, I never went
to military functions
as a kid.

I was always buried in a book

or writing stories...
It's kind of my escape.

You cover corrupt bankers
committing fraud, right?

That and some other...
Questionable people.

Did someone look up
my latest story?

Yeah. Yeah, I mean...

I do read the paper.

You should write about
the pilots on the polaris.

We're the best of the best.

That's inspiring.

Yeah, an ego as big
as a fighter pilot's.

Look, an old journal.

It was written by...

A pilot named Sam in 1965.

Wow, she's beautiful.

Looks like a dancer.

Wow. Great artist,
if he drew this.

What's the journal say?

"We returned home from Vietnam

"just in time for
operation tiger cruise.

"December 18th, 1965.

"It was the first time
our families are allowed
to stay with us...

"...To see what we do
every day for this country.

"I've missed everyone so much.

"Today the most beautiful
woman I've ever seen

boarded the ship,
and I helped her with her bag."

He only got her first name.

"I can't explain.
The moment I saw her

"I felt like I was looking
into my future.

There was just
something about her."

It's so...



You know, there actually
might be a story here,

maybe a Christmas story.

You mind if I borrow this?

Yeah. You heard
what my dad said.

Anything you need.

Great. I want to see
how Sam's story ends.

Is that a Santa suit?

Let's see.

Oh! Billy, you know,

I think this looks like
it's just your size.

Yeah, if I wore
two life preservers
under it.

I think that you should
dress up as Santa

for the kids on the ship.

- It's not gonna work.
- What?

Look, I'm sure my dad wants me
to get in your love story

and suddenly discover
the spirit of the holidays,

but I'm just not
a Christmas guy.

Fourth of July. Hmm!

Ten thousand pounds
of crackling explosives
up in the air.

Now, that is way better
than caroling and candy canes.

Who doesn't like candy canes?

You're not gonna change me.
The military is my life.

Christmas on a ship
is a distraction.

End of story.

Fred Bailey.

Mr. Bailey, it's maddie.

Maddie! Are you on the carrier?

Yeah! It's really cool...
And cold.

So why are you calling me?

You're supposed to be
enjoying your vacation.

I know, but I think
I have an idea for a story

from here on the ship.

What, like a war story?

More like love in a war.

What do you think about
finding love on a military ship
at Christmas?

I thought it was
supposed to be a tiger cruise,

not a singles cruise.

Yeah, well, some of the tigers

have actually
come onboard over the years

and they ended up
getting married to sailors
they met while on the ship.

I mean, think of it like...

Duty, honor... romance.

Isn't that the army?

I wasn't being
literal, Mr. Bailey.

The point is,
if I can find a couple

with a love story for the ages,

I think it would make
a really compelling article

for the Christmas edition
of the paper.

Love stories aren't
really your Lane, maddie.

And besides, I got plenty
of Christmas stories...

Maddie, you there?

- Maddie?
- Sorry, Mr. Bailey,

130 decibels flying overhead.

It's really loud on this ship.

Um, listen, could I just...

Maybe look into it a little?

Maybe it'll lead to something.

Well, it's your vacation.

So is that a yes?

Well, if you find something,
I'll look at it.

But no guarantees, all right?

And just remember,
the two main ingredients
for stories like this

Heart and emotion.

Of course.

Thank you, Mr. Bailey.

Oh, there they are!

Look. Right there.

"Last night I ran into Dorothy

"in the mess eating dinner.

"I finally had the courage
to talk to her.

"She lives in New York City

"and works as a dance teacher.

"She's as sweet as can be.

"But her brother told me
Dorothy has a fellow back home.

"I hope it's not serious,

"...There is something
about her smile

that gives me hope
for the first time in years."


Your mom said I could
find you here.

Yeah. Nice flying today,
it was pretty awesome.

Thanks. So, any update
on our Christmas couple?

Oh, curious, huh?

Hmm. Look, I'm interested
in the historical aspect of it.

Okay. Well,

I ended up reading the journal
from the beginning,

and it turns out
that Sam did talk to Dorothy.

But he just found out
she has a man back home,

so not really sure how it ends.

Well, I went down
to the archives room

to see if I could
find anything else,

and take a look at this.

"To Dorothy, 1965."

Wonder if Sam made this for her?

Makes sense.

Your dad said
there's a senior chief

who handles
all things Christmas,
maybe he could help us.

Yeah. But the post office
closes at 1800.

- That's ten minutes from now.
- Yeah.


Senior chief,

I found this old ornament

in the archives room.

We know it's a longshot,

but we were wondering
if you might know

who Dorothy is...
Her name's on the back.

Well, 1965,
that was the very first
Christmas tiger cruise.

Looks like it could be
from the ornament
decorating station.

It's a tradition on the cruise.

Gosh, I have no idea
who Dorothy is, though.

We think a pilot named Sam
made it for her.

We're looking for him too.

You know, my brother has access
to military records.

He works for the va.

He just went on vacation today,

but he does owe me a favor
for decorating his house

- last year for Christmas.
- Great.

What's Sam's last name?

Unfortunately, we don't have it.

Well, that's a tall order
of eggnog,

but I'll see what I can do.

Oh, and this is Sam's journal.

There's a picture he drew
in here, we think...

It might be Dorothy.

- A dancer.
- Mm-hm.

You know, some years

the uso performers come
on the ship for Christmas.

You think she might
have been one of them?

Maybe. There's a bunch of
photographs and memorabilia...

Down on the quarterdeck.
I saw them when
we boarded the ship.

Yeah, exactly.
You could check there.

Meanwhile, I'll give
my brother a buzz.

- Thanks, Nick.
- Senior chief.

Merry Christmas.

these photos are great.

This ship has so much history.

President Johnson.

This could be Dorothy.

Sure looks a lot like her.

You know, there's
a historical building

for the Navy in New York City.

Yeah? Any chance
you want to go with me?

I mean, we're docking there
tomorrow anyway,

so I could call ahead.

Four years at the naval academy

to serve on the Christmas
version of the love boat.

Not funny?

You know my Dad'll
throw me in the brig
if I don't go with you.


♪ The folks are shoppin',
the temperature's droppin' ♪

♪ the big day's almost here ♪

♪ the lights are on,
the trees are up... ♪


Look at this!

Oh, I can't wait
to see the rockettes

and the the rockefeller
Christmas tree,

the decorations on fifth Avenue,

but first, we gotta
get New York pizza.

Okay, she's gonna wear me out.

Have fun, you guys!

Now, the ship leaves
at 8 P.M. on the dot.

Don't be late.

2000 hours. Roger that.

I think the historical building
is right up here.

Do you keep records
of all the performances?

We sure do.

The older ones haven't been
transferred to the computer,

We've had all kinds
of personalities to perform
for the troops.

- You said 1965?
- Yes.

- The polaris, right?
- Yes.

Do you see a Dorothy in there?

Oh! Here it is.

It looks like Dorothy milne.

It lists her employment
as a dance instructor.

Just like the journal says.

She actually worked
at the ovation dance studio

right here in the city.

I could hug you right now.

I can't believe it!

The ovation dance studio
is actually still around!

Wonder if Sam
tracked her down there.

I remember the last passage
in his journal said...

"I saw Dorothy perform
last night with the uso."

"She's breathtaking.

"It was like
she was floating on air.

"I got to talk to her again
after the show,

"and she's truly
everything I imagined.

"Sweet, smart...

"But when I went to find her
this morning,

"her brother said Dorothy left
on the cargo plane.

"It's crazy, but I feel like
I've known her forever.

I have to find her
after we dock in Norfolk."

We might just solve
this Christmas mystery
after all.

- They are so sweet.
- Aren't they?

Today's the dress rehearsal
for our big Christmas show.

Can I help you with something?

Yes. Hi, I'm maddie contino

of the Norfolk register

- This is lieutenant Jenkins.
- Nice to meet you both.

- Nice to meet you.
- What's this about?

We're looking for a woman

who might be a military spouse.

Her name is Dorothy milne.

Apparently she worked here
years ago.

Yes. Dorothy was my teacher
as a girl.

I eventually bought the studio
from the owner.

Could you tell us
more about her?

She moved to New York
to be a rockette,

but her dreams
never quite panned out,
so she worked here instead,

and would sometimes perform
for the troops with the uso.

Any idea where she was from?

Kansas City, I believe.

Do you have any idea
if she was married to
a pilot named Sam?

I remember there was a pilot
she met on an aircraft carrier.

He came to find her
after the ship docked.

Surprised her with roses
right here in the studio

in the middle of class!

But she had a boyfriend
at the time

who she said was planning
to propose,

so I'm not sure
who she ended up with.

Any idea what
Sam's last name is?

It was so long ago.

After that Christmas,

we were told Dorothy
moved to California.

But that's all I know.

I'm sorry I couldn't
be more help.

I think we could
use a snack right now.

Have you ever had
roasted chestnuts?

No, actually.

We'll take two.

I got this.

Thank you.

All right. Let's see
what this is.

Mmm! Lot sweeter
than I thought.

Hmm. Kinda how
I feel about you.

I'll take that as a compliment.

So, have you ever been
to New York before?

When I was six my parents
brought me here for Christmas.

- Before the divorce?
- Yeah.

It was our last Christmas
as a family together.

That's bittersweet.

Yeah, but it was
the best Christmas
I ever had.

Well, I think it's nice
that you have those memories.

Whenever my dad would be
home for Christmas,

we'd always go
to the Picasso diner

and we would get
extra crispy bacon.

It was kind of our thing.

Extra crispy is
the only way to go.

- I know, right?
- Yeah.

- Here you go.
- Thanks.


That looks really familiar.

New York model train museum?

Annual Christmas show!

I went there when
I was here with my dad.

Yeah? Come on,
you wanna go? It'd be fun!

Uhh... I don't know.

Oh, come on!
You said it yourself,
best Christmas you ever had.

All right, yeah.
Let's do it.

Okay. Perfect.

This really brings me back.

You okay?

Yeah, it's just, uh...

I remember my dad
taught me how trains work

when we were here.

And after the divorce,
that's pretty much

all we talked about...
Trains, planes...

Pretty much anything
with a motor.

You know,
we never went too deep.

Stiff upper lip, you know?

My mom was
the complete opposite.

I think after my dad died
she was just so heartbroken

all she wanted to do
was talk about him, but...
I couldn't do it.

- Why not?
- It was too painful.

I'm sorry.

He died in
a training exercise, right?

I was 17...

The day everything changed.

My dad says he was a great man.

He was.

And he loved us very, very much.

So all the times he invited me

to go on the Christmas
tiger cruise, I should have.

Well, I'm sure he understood.

It's not easy being a Navy brat.

Yeah, well, it's something
I still regret to this day.

Look, don't beat yourself up
over it.

Believe me, I get it.

All the moving around,
the uncertainty...

Our dads were gone
for months at a time.

Well, you're lucky
yours is still around.

You should Cherish that.

I do.

You know, he...
He bought me this
little red train...

- Yeah?
- At the gift shop here.

Ahh. I drove that thing around
on every surface of our house

until the wheels fell off.

That's really sweet.

I'll never forget that moment
we picked it out together.

Cost five dollars, but...

Nothin' meant more to me
than that train.

Do you still have it?

Got lost in one of the moves.

I'm sorry.

It's the memory
that matters, right?


Hey. Let's go check out
the north pole train.

You know what?
I'm gonna get us
some hot chocolate,

but I'll meet you over there?

- All right.
- Okay.

This is flight 747
to jfk tower,

comin' in for a landing.

Copy, flight 747.

Proceed to runway one-zero-niner

and wait for clearance. Psst!

Psst! Copy.

I brought Teddy here
for the trains,

but he's obsessed with flying.

Smart kid.

You know, Billy is actually
a fighter pilot

in the Navy.

- Whoa.
- At your service.

Do you fly off
aircraft carriers?

Sure do.

But flying off the carrier
is the easy part.

Landing, that's the hard part.

That's so cool!

I want to be a Navy pilot.

Well, you can
if you put the work in.


This... whoosh!
Is for you, eh?

Whoa! No take-backs?

No take-backs, buddy.

You just made his Christmas.

Thank you so much.
Have a great holiday.

Merry Christmas.

You know, you were
really good with him.

And did I just hear you say,
"merry Christmas"?

Yeah, well,
don't tell my shipmates,

they might change
my call sign to "Santa."

Oh, no, they'd never believe me.

Hey, we should probably
go get something to eat,

and I know a place
that's gonna actually

change the way you see
Christmas forever.

Mind games, huh?

It'll definitely
mess with your brain.

Come on.

♪ Snow is fallin'
lightly on the ground... ♪

Brain freeze!

They don't call it
the colossal Christmas cocoa
for nothing.

You don't mess around here.

We take Christmas
very seriously.

- Two burgers coming up.
- Thank you.

I feel like I don't have
a care in the world right now.

Honestly, that's not
happened very often.

That's how I feel
when I'm flying my jet
over the ocean,

those moments when
I'm at total peace.

Until I realize
I have to land on a ship

that feels like
it's the size of
a postage stamp.

Does that ever scare you?

I love every second
of what I do.

The adrenaline and the rush...

I don't think
I'm scared of anything.

Not even Christmas?


I'm just sayin', it...

Kind of seems like you've
been running away from it.

What do you mean?

Based on what
you told me earlier,

it seemed like
maybe your parents got divorced

shortly after your trip here.

Yeah, well, after that,

it was mostly mom and me
at Christmas.

Just wasn't the same
without my family together.

Just couldn't really see the
magic in the holiday anymore.

- I'm sorry.
- Yeah.

And I'm also sorry
'cause I totally judged you.

It's okay.
I know I can be

a bit of a Christmas curmudgeon.

A bit?


Well, it's okay.

If I wave my merry magic wand,

maybe you'd think about
embracing some new
Christmas memories.

- Hmm?
- Like what?

Like, you know, today, we...

You made the little boy smile

at the train show, right?

- Hmm.
- He met his hero.

And we saw the world's
most adorable dance troupe,

and I wasn't gonna say anything,

but it appears that you
actually took a bite
of your candy cane.

I don't know what
you're talking about.


Yeah, I haven't
had this much fun
in a long time.


You're amazing.


The way you made me
imagine our day like
a living scrapbook.

You really have
a way with words.

Well, I'm a writer. So...

You're much more than that.

It's my mom.

Oh, my gosh, we have to go.
It's 7:30.

Uh, sorry!
Forget the burgers!

Sorry. Here you go!
Merry Christmas.

Yeah, merry Christmas! Sorry!



Pier 90.

- We're almost there.
- We're never gonna make it.

Maybe we should run.

- Run?!
- Yeah.

- What?!
- We can do it. Come on!

Go, go, go, go!

You're crazy! Whoa!

Excuse us! Sorry!

It's this way!

Hi, Santa!

Oh, wait.

Wait, wait, wait, wait.

Merry Christmas!


You barely made it, lieutenant.

Ahh. Ahh.

I can't believe
we just ran 15 blocks.

I know.

Thank you for today.

You know, for all the memories.

The new ones.

You're welcome, Billy.

Sarah? It's maddie.

Hey, girl. Are you surviving
the high seas?

Yes. I'll be back tomorrow.

How's Mr. Maverick?

How's the research going?

You're no fun.

Okay, so I have good news
and bad news.

The good?

I found Dorothy milne.

Really? Where?

She moved to San Diego in 1966.

And the bad?

I can't find her after that.

She probably got married

and changed her name.

The question is, to whom?

Thanks for the info, Sarah.

Anytime. And you owe me

a mistletoe Martini
when you get back.

Can't wait.

And you need to dish.
I want to hear

all about this mystery man.

The only thing
I will be dishing
is Christmas dinner.

Can you transfer me
to Mr. Bailey?

Uh, sure. Yeah.

Maddie again?
Can I talk to her?

I had to transfer her
to Mr. Bailey. Sorry.


did you get the story?

Well, there's a man and a woman

who met on the very first
Christmas tiger cruise in 1965.

It's all in his old journal
I found.

He was a pilot,
she was a dancer,

performed on the ship,
and then he tracked her
down to New York.

Oh, it's such a great story
if it has a happy ending.

Wait. "If"?

I hit a bit of a snag.

I can't find the couple.

Well, that is a problem...

Because I need that article
after all.

Excuse me?

Well, my feature Christmas story
fell through.

Okay. Uh, okay,
I'll try my best, Mr. Bailey.

All right.
Only five days left.

Find me that ending, maddie.


Hey, Nick?

How's it goin' with
your Christmas quest?

Um, made a little progress.

I learned Dorothy's last name.

But unfortunately,
I haven't been able

to get anything on her
past 1966.

Did your brother
call you back yet?

Yes. He told me unless
you're next of kin

you have to file
a freedom of information request
for military records.

That could take weeks.
I don't have that kind of time.

I'm sorry.

No, hey, don't apologize.

You've been wonderful.

- Thanks, Nick.
- See ya, maddie.

Maddie, how
is the article coming along?

Um, unfortunately,
it's not coming along

as easily as I had hoped,

but it's been
a fun adventure and...

Billy's been amazing.



It's been, uh...

Well, I'm glad to hear it.

And I hope everybody
enjoyed the cruise.

And this time with my girls...

Was just the best
Christmas gift.

That makes me happy.

Family is everything.


I need to excuse myself.


Just a few lists
I need to double-check.

Excuse me.

A toast.

To friends...


And Christmas!


Merry Christmas.

Merry Christmas.

Merry Christmas.

Ho ho ho!

Merry Christmas!

Ho ho ho ho ho ho!

- Yay, Santa's here!
- Oh ho ho! Merry Christmas!

Come on, kids, line up
in a single-file line,

everyone can see Santa.

- You are a miracle worker.
- Me?

What happened on that trip
to New York?

Oh. Um, we just talked a lot
about the past and the future,

and... I reminded Billy
what makes Christmas so special.


He seems very happy.

Thank you.

You too, kiddo.

Ho ho ho ho!
Ho ho ho!

Merry Christmas, young man!

I told you that first night
I met you I can be spontaneous.

Yeah, you did.
And I was wrong about you.

Where'd you get
that belly, anyway?

Two life preservers, remember?


Good use of a flotation device

and... sparkles.

Yeah, sparkles.

Tons and... tons
of sparkles.


Not too shabby, huh?

Is... is it...?


It's the perfect night.



Billy, this isn't a good idea.

Why not?

I think you're so great,

but whatever this is
here on the ship, it's...

It's not gonna work
back home. I...

I'm so sorry.
I should go.

Maddie, don't...

thank you for joining us

on our 4-day cruise
of the eastern seaboard.

It's been a pleasure
having you onboard,

and we wish you the merriest
of christmases.

Sayonara, ladies.
Have a wonderful Christmas.

I'm off to Aspen to meet
the rest of my family.

- It's been real, Charlotte.
- Real fun.

Oh! We just had
the best time, Chet.
Thank you.

You're welcome.
And I hope I wake up
to your article Christmas day.

I hope so too.

I thought Billy

would have shown up
to say goodbye, but...

Well, merry Christmas, ladies.

You too, Chet.

Merry Christmas.

Maddie! I'm
so glad I caught you
before you left.

We'll get the bags to the car.

Do you have the keys?

My brother found
a Samuel William

who was a pilot
on the polaris in 1965.

That's amazing!
What about the records?

I thought we needed
a freedom of information

Turns out he was awarded
the Navy cross for
extraordinary heroism.

He shot down three enemy
aircraft in Vietnam,

and that makes him a person
of exceptional prominence,

which is an exception
to the rule

of releasing records
to the public without
a formal request.

That's so amazing.
So where is he now?

He went back to Vietnam in 1967

and, sadly,
went missing in action.

- Oh.
- Did they ever find him?

It's complicated.
While Sam was Mia,

there was a fire at
the va storage facility

in Missouri which
houses the records.

The strange part is,

after the fire,
the trail goes cold.

My brother couldn't find
any more from military records.

So we don't even know
if he's alive?

Okay. Well, I have his name,
I can do my own search.

Yeah. Well,
I hope it works out.

Good luck.



Thanks for everything.

Same to you.

Merry Christmas, Billy.

Merry Christmas, maddie.

You stay safe, okay?


Merry Christmas.

Merry Christmas.

So... maddie told me

that you had a great day
in New York.

Yeah, it was nice.

We ended up at the train show.

The same one
I took you to as a kid?

- Mm-hm.
- Oh!

Yeah. Brought back
a lot of memories
of Christmas.

And memories of the divorce.

You know, we never
really talked about
you leaving, pop.

One day you just moved away
and it was...

The code of silence after that.

I regret that.

Somehow it just seemed easier

to act like nothing happened.

I-I just... I didn't understand,
especially at Christmas.

I just wanted my dad.

I failed you.

I failed your mom.

But I want you to know
how much I missed you.

When you got older,
why do you think

I wanted you
to be a pilot so bad?

To follow in your footsteps?


To be close to you.

You are the most important thing
to me in my entire life,

more important than any career.

Your career is
everything to you.

And I'm proud
of what I've accomplished.

But nothing...

Nothing holds a candle
to my only son.

Thanks, pop.

Maddie, how's my
Christmas story coming?

I'm still working on it,

but I'm honestly not sure
if it's gonna be done in time.

Well, I'm counting on this.
You have till end of day,

then I'm gonna have to go
with something else.

I can't believe this.

I finally have
a heartwarming story
worth telling,

and I don't even know
how to tell it. I...

I don't know what else to do.

Go get hot chocolate with me?

With marshmallows?
Lots of marshmallows?

As many as you want.

- Okay.
- Lets go.

So you can't find any record

on Sam William?

Oh, no, I found plenty,
but none that match

the age and profile
of our pilot.

So frustrating.
It's like he's a ghost
or something.

I can't believe
it's this hard
to find someone.

I know.
It's a mystery.

Sounds like you've had
quite the adventure
on that ship.

By the way,
whatever happened
to Mr. Maverick?

We, um...

We kissed.


But it's not going anywhere.

Wait. A romance grounded
before taking flight?

- Do you like him?
- Yes.

But it's not that simple, Sarah.

Just imagine the wedding!

All those handsome
groomsmen in uniform?
With their swords?

Your bridesmaids in peach?
That is my color palette,
by the way.

- A wedding announcement.
- I'm convincing, but...

No, maybe there's
a wedding announcement
for Sam and Dorothy.

I like it.

I don't know why I haven't
thought about this before.

- You're on to something.
- Come on.


Can we talk?

I hope it's okay
I came to see you.

Yeah, of course.

Is everything okay?

Yeah, everything's good.

Oh, I... I brought this for you.

You know, just in case
you find him.

I... I can't believe
you came all this way

just to give me this.

You know, I...
Really didn't want to say
goodbye to you yesterday.

When you left, it felt...
It felt wrong.

You know? Like I was
losing something.

I've fallen for you, maddie.

And before you say anything,

I know how you feel
about what I do.

The military life. But...

I was just hopin' maybe
I could take you out on a date.

We can see where things go.


What if one date turns into two,

and then two dates
turns into three, and...

Look, if...

If this goes somewhere,
it's not gonna end well.

So is it even worth
taking that risk?

Remember when you asked me
if I was ever scared
when I'm flying,

and I told you that
I'm not scared of anything?


Well, the truth is...

I'm scared of falling in love.

But I'm willing
to take that chance.

Billy... i-I'm so sorry.
I can't...

So is that it?

Maddie, what if our whole lives
have led up to this point?

What if you and I found each
other just like Sam and Dorothy?

I have to go back to work.


I'm not gonna hurt you.

You don't know that.

He seems sweet.

Yeah, he is,
but romance grounded,

Look. That's them.

They were married
on Christmas day in 1974.

But their last name
isn't William,

it's Williams.

They must have gotten it wrong
on his military file

before the fire.

Fire? Whatever.
You're a genius. Keep going.

Last known address...

Veterans home in Norfolk.

Yes, hi, this is maddie contino
of the Norfolk register.

I was calling about a couple
who lives at your home.

Samuel and Dorothy Williams?

No, I'm not.

I understand. Thank you.

What did they say?

They moved out
a couple of years ago

and they can't give me
any information unless
I'm family.

So close!

Wait. Look at that.

The call sign
painted on his plane.

What does it say?

"Picas... so"?


- That's funny.
- What?

There's a diner
I've been going to

since I was a little girl,
the Picasso's diner.

Do you think there
could be a connection?

It would be
a Christmas miracle
if there is.

Go get 'em, maddie.

Hi. Um... Sharon.

Your sister joining?

No, no, I'm not here to eat.

No, I actually have
a question about a story
that I'm working on.

- Is it about
that bank president?
- No, not him.

It's a man named Sam Williams,
he was a pilot for the Navy,

he married a woman
named Dorothy?

Yes, Sam, he owned the diner.

He sold it about 25 years ago.

I worked for him as a teenager.

Any idea where he is now?

No, but I do believe
that he has a daughter
in Virginia beach.

Lily is her name.

Sharon, you are amazing.

Okay, I'll see you
on Christmas day!

- Okay!
- Thanks!

Look! You've had
that bear forever!

Okay, that sounds great.
I'll see you tomorrow.

You guys, I did it.

I found Sam and Dorothy.

They live with
their daughter now.

My gosh, that's amazing!

I'm gonna call Mr. Bailey,
okay? Okay.

- Maddie?
- Yeah! Hi! Merry Christmas.

Merry Christmas.
They're on the back porch.

- Come on in.
- Okay, thank you.

Come on in. Mom, dad,

this is maddie from
the Norfolk register.

- I'll get you some tea, maddie.
- Thank you. Hi!

Lily told us about
this story you're working on.

Yeah. Yes, it's just, oh,
your life, it's so exciting.

Do you mind if I record this?

By all means.

But I don't know what
all the fuss is about.

Well, from what I could tell,
Mr. and Mrs. Williams,

you just have such
an incredible story.

Now, tell me...

What happened
after the tiger cruise,
how did you win over Dorothy?

Well, her brother told me
where the dance studio was,

so after we docked,
I drove seven hours

to find her in New York City.

Sam made it
in the Nick of time.

Practically had to duel
the doctor I was seeing.

I wasn't sure about that guy.

But there was something
about Sam.

So I ended my relationship,

and after a few dates, I knew.

He was the one.

We got engaged shortly after,

and we were gonna wait
to get married

until after I got out
of the service.

But then I got called back
to Vietnam.

I told him
I would wait as long
as it took.

I just didn't realize
how long it would be.

My plane got shot down
in Vietnam and,

well, the next seven years
I was a pow.

I had kept hope alive.

But then when the war ended,

two officers
walked up the driveway,

and I thought for sure
Sam had died.

Instead they said he was alive!

I fell on the ground crying.

It was the greatest moment
of my life.

What gave you the strength
to not give up on him?

I prayed every night
that he'd come home.

He had to.

He's my one true love,
after all.

Okay, and, let's see.

How did you end up at the diner?

Well, I was an artist.

That's why the guys gave me
the call sign "Picasso."

They were always teasing me

because whenever
I wasn't flying,
I was sketching.

But I couldn't make any money
in art, so I opened the diner.

But it's amazing that
you figured this all out.

Oh. Well, uh...

It was tricky
with your last name
having two spellings.

Oh, yeah.
The Navy messed that up.

They left off the "s,"
and I just left it as "William."

I finally got it corrected
to Williams when I came home
from Vietnam.

And do you two
have any more children?

We have two older sons
in the marines corps,

five grandchildren.

And they're coming
to visit today!

How were you okay

with just uprooting
your life like that

for Sam, for the Navy?

Easiest decision of my life.

Sure, but it's...
An uncertain one.

It didn't matter.

Sam was my home.

Wherever we went,
all I needed was him.

And I had the kids
and my dance career,

which always kept me very busy.

You know, the USS polaris
is named after the north star.

It's the way sailors
have been finding their way
home for centuries.

And in this case,
it led me to Dorothy.

Actually, I have
something for you.

Let's see...

I think this belongs to you.

Oh! I don't believe it!

Sam, it's the star
you made for me.

Where did you find this?

A pilot I know, he found it
in an old box on the ship.

It's a symbol of
our everlasting love.

Thank you.

Did this pilot help you
track us down?

He did.

Well, please... thank him.

For us.

Oh, I will. He's...
He's a wonderful man.

Looks so good.
I'm starving.

Would you wait, please?

- Oh, maddie, you made it!
- Yeah! No article's gonna

keep me away from my family
on Christmas Eve.

- How'd it turn out?
- Oh, beautifully,

thanks to the Williams.

I am proud of you.

Thanks, mom.

Okay. Let's dig in
before it gets cold!


did you tell Billy
about the article?


But he came by my work
the other day.


What'd he want?

To see me again.

I think you should.

Mom, can I ask you something?

Did you ever think about

what your future
would be like with dad?

In the beginning?


I just knew that
I really liked him.

Pretty soon...
I loved him.

You know, I never
told you this before,

but I broke off my engagement
with your father.

- What?
- Mm-hm.

The military thing.
It scared me too.

- Really?
- Mm.

But as hard as
I tried to fight it,
I knew he was the one.

So... I flew to Japan

to surprise him.

Are you serious?

Mm-hm. And he proposed again.

In front of
this beautiful temple.

And it was perfect...


Mostly, I think,
because that time...

I knew it was forever.

I had no idea.

It was hard being apart.

But we had this... connection,

whether he was
a thousand miles away

or next to me
at the dinner table.

Yeah, but all his deployments,

I mean, it was hard on us,
I can only imagine what
it was like for you,

raising two girls
practically alone.

Yeah. It was hard.

But honey, don't you get it?

He gave me you girls,

and you were the best thing
that ever happened to us.

And you, maddie...

Oh, you were
the light of his life.

He lost his life too soon
because of his job, though.

A job that he loved.

He cared so much about
protecting this country.

A life of service, maddie.

That's something to be proud of.



Hi, captain Jenkins.
It's maddie.

Hey, merry Christmas.

Everything okay?


um, sorry to bother you,

but I was calling to see
if Billy was there?

Oh, Billy, yeah, he's, um...

He's... well, actually,
he's... he's not available
at the moment.

Oh. Um...

Well, can you tell him
to read the paper tomorrow

and that I'll be at
Picasso's diner at 10:00

if he wants to talk?

I'll pass that along, hon.

You enjoy your Christmas,

You too.

He's... not available?

Mom, what does that even mean?

Well, maybe he's just busy.

It is Christmas Eve.

Yeah, maybe.

Mom, you want to tell me
some more stories about dad?

I'd love to.



And merry Christmas!


I'm in here!

Hey, merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, sweetheart.

Look. Here it is.

That's it? Oh, maddie!
I can't wait to read it.

- Okay.
- Where's my glasses?

- They're right here.
- Thank you.

I'll get the coffee started.

Oh, maddie.
"By maddie contino."


- Hi.
- Merry Christmas, son.

Merry Christmas, pop.

I think you need to read
her article.

She may have had a...
Change of heart.

- Thanks, pop.
- Sure.

"I grew up as a Navy brat,
and I loved my father,

"but I always resented that
his job took him away from us.

"Last week I took
an unexpected cruise
of a lifetime.

"There were no midnight buffets

"or pool parties
on the lido deck.

"It was a chilly
Christmas tiger cruise
aboard the USS polaris.

"While I was there,
I discovered a special couple

"who changed
the way I see love and family

and the military."



Maddie, you have really
outdone yourself.

Thanks, mom.

- Hello?
- Maddie.

It's Mr. Bailey.

Mr. Bailey, hi!

- Merry Christmas.
- Merry Christmas.

Look, I just wanted to
personally thank you
for this story.

It was powerful, emotional,

and, well, personal.

You should be proud.

Thank you, Mr. Bailey.

Um, listen, I've been thinking
a lot about my career lately,

and I was wondering, um...

Do you think I could cover
the military beat?

I just think there are so many
important stories to tell,

powerful stories,

and our sailors are what make
this community so special.

I think we might be able
to arrange that.

Let's talk after the holiday.
You need a real break.

Okay, I... I look forward to it.

Thank you so much.

Have a wonderful Christmas.

You too.

So, what'd he say?

I think he's gonna go for it.


Good article, right?

Amazing article.

I gotta hand it to maddie,

she found an incredible
love story.

And what about your own story?

- Pop, you mind if I...?
- Go.

Christmas cappuccinos
on the patio. Perfect.

This is the perfect Christmas.
We're all together,

and your future
award-winning story
has just been published.

- Yay!
- Thanks, Amelia.

Honey, if it's meant to be.

All right, shall we
get this show on the road?

Yeah, let's go.


Merry Christmas, Billy.

Merry Christmas.

So I, uh, read your article.

You learned a lot from
your time in the Navy.

Four whole days.

But, you know,
with the tight quarters,

it was more like
four weeks, military time.

You know, I knew there was
something special about you

from the time
I laid my eyes on you
at the ball.

Spilling wine?

Billy, I...

I've never met anyone like you.

You're... meticulous,


Serious, but fun, and...

And so handsome in a uniform.

Handsome, huh?


And I got something for you.

I, um...

I got it at
the Christmas train show.

Thank you.

Feel like I'm six years old
again back at that train show.

You know, you've made me happier
than I've been in years.

I have something for you too.


It's perfect.

- Wanna dance?
- I'd love to.

♪ The wind is blowin' ♪

♪ but I can weather
the storm ♪

♪ what do I care ♪

♪ how much it may storm? ♪

Merry Christmas, lieutenant.

Merry Christmas, maddie.

♪ I've got my love ♪

♪ to keep me ♪

♪ warm ♪