Christmas with the Darlings (2020) Movie Script

Is this the Darlington house?
The one and only.
Mrs. Darlington?
Mr. Darlington's assistant.
One of the Darlingtons.
And I picked out that beauty.
Jessica Lew.
Thank you. It'll just be a minute.
You've outdone yourself
this year, Jess.
Thanks, Mrs. Brooks.
I figure it's the last Christmas
doing this
so I should go out with
the biggest tree possible.
And you succeeded.
You're going to be missed
around here.
I'm still going to be part of
the Darlington corporation family
just one of the many, many attorneys.
You'll never be just anything.
Hey, boss.
Not for much longer.
You are the chairman,
so you are still gonna be my boss.
Good point.
And besides, I have to finish off
the last details of
the Christmas party...
Which you can do blindfolded.
And then get you off to Europe.
Then I can spend the rest of December
relaxing until I start my new gig.
I like that plan for you.
I kinda like it myself.
The last time I spent more than
a weekend doing nothing was...
Never mind. I can't remember.
Actually, Jess, there's one
last favour I need to ask of you.
Jessica, this is Lena Thomas
our family law attorney.
Lena, this is Jessica Lew
my soon to be
ex-assistant extraordinaire.
Nice to finally meet you.
Same. How many times have we
spoken on the phone?
Quite a few.
And Charles tells me that
congratulations are in order.
You passed the bar.
Thank you. I'm so glad
to finally be done with school.
Especially while working
for a tyrant at the same time.
Yes, there is that.
So, I guess because you're here,
that means the one more favour...
Is about my niece's and nephew, yes.
They're coming back
to the States from Australia.
I've never actually met them before.
I've only handled their paperwork.
- They've been gone a while.
- Three years.
How long will they be here for?
Charles and his brother, Max
will be assuming full guardianship
of their late brother's children
when they return in three days.
I'm sorry, you and Max?
Will be their new guardians, yes.
Their late mother's aunt Mathilda
became their guardian
after the accident.
Wonderful woman.
She's in Sydney where
the kids have lived for three years.
We all originally agreed
that it would be better for them
to stay where they were
not disrupt them any further
by bringing them to the States.
So what changed?
Mathilda's had some health challenges
and she can't take care
of them anymore.
And the rest of
Nicole's family in Australia
aren't able to assume
the responsibility.
Which means...
Max and I will take care of them.
Ten seconds off my best time.
I'll alert the media.
But first, aprs skis.
See, this is why we're friends.
That must be the lovely Vanessa.
She misses me.
It's been two days.
It's called the marriage.
You know, when two people
like each other a whole lot
and miss each other when
they're apart, even for two days?
I've heard of such things.
Someday, Max. Someday.
Emma's 13, J. Henry 10,
and Abby's eight.
This is a recent photo.
I'm gonna meet them in Los Angeles
and then fly back with them here
to Connecticut on Friday.
You'll be in Europe when they arrive
and I will be up to
the Christmas party.
- Which is why I need your help.
- Okay.
I've made all the arrangements
for them.
Max is watching them over Christmas?
They'll be going to
Paden Academy in Vermont.
Boarding school?
One of the best in the country.
Max, Jarrett and I all went there.
It's fantastic.
But I don't understand.
Where will they be during Christmas?
Paden Academy.
It's okay.
My brothers and I,
we stayed there several times
while our parents
were on various holidays.
I know it's not ideal timing.
I would love to have the children
at the house over Christmas
but you know how important
this trip to Europe is.
Paden really does have
an incredible staff.
And the children can settle in,
be ready for the new year.
So what is it you need from me?
It's simple. Take them to Paden.
- That's it?
- That's it.
I would do it,
but as soon as they arrive
I have to leave town
for my parents' anniversary party.
And Mrs. Brooks
can watch them for a bit
but I don't want to overwork her,
especially with her arthritis.
No, of course.
And Max, well...
I don't know where Max is.
Skiing in Vermont.
Does he know about all of this yet?
I haven't been able to reach him.
Jessica, I don't suppose you could...
Yes, I will let him know.
Thank you.
So everything is set for Whistler
over Christmas.
Reservation starts Monday.
Yeah. I'm out for Whistler.
Come on!
We've been planning this all year.
See? This is why
you two are still single.
I want to be with my wife
on our first Christmas together.
Bring her. The cabin's huge.
We're heading to her family's place.
Bring them. It's a huge cabin.
Okay, this isn't arbor day,
it's Christmas.
Some of us like to spend Christmas
with our families.
You should try it sometime.
I gotta take this.
I'll be right back.
They're going to Paden?
Your brother swears it's fantastic.
Yeah, Charles would.
He was practically born
in a coat and tie.
I take it you don't share
his enthusiasm for Paden?
It was not my scene.
They expected you to study,
didn't they?
Rude, right?
And there was this little incident
with the headmaster's private pool
and some pink dye.
Oh, Max.
If I had a nickel for every "oh, Max"
I've heard in my life...
You'd have as much money
as you already have.
So I just wanted to make sure
that you knew the situation
before your nieces
and nephew got here.
Which is when, again?
And you're gonna take them there?
I am.
And then the amazing Jessica is free.
At least until I start my new job.
It won't be the same without you.
I've only been Charles's ea
for two and a half years.
It feels longer.
Aren't you charming?
No, I...
That was supposed to be a compliment.
Supposed to be. Bye, Max.
Bye, Jessica.
Okay, guys, so...
Slight change of plans.
What do you think?
It looks great.
I think kids would
actually like this.
Kids? What kids?
The Darlington nieces and nephew.
And when are you chauffeuring said
nieces and nephew
to the boarding school?
To be clear, there will be
an actual chauffeur.
Of course there will, darling.
They're arriving on Friday and then
they're gonna be staying the weekend
to adjust after the long flight
and then I will be going with them
to the boarding school on Monday.
If they can stay without their uncles
for the weekend
why can't they stay longer?
Christmas is only
a little over two weeks away.
Mrs. Brooks can watch them
short term
but I think anything longer than
a couple of days is asking a lot.
Too bad there's no one else.
I mean, it's Christmas.
No one should be alone on Christmas.
Hey, well done!
Thank you.
What else?
Alfonso will meet you
at the Lisbon airport
and take you directly to
the Darlington offices there.
And where are you in the preparations
for the Christmas party?
The Plaza grand ballroom is booked
and Zumel's will be catering again.
Everything needs to be perfect.
Because Mr. Lee from
Liuxing Motors has agreed
to be my guest at the party.
Did you secure the deal?
Not yet, it's between us
and York Ventures
which is why I need to impress him.
the Darlington Corporation
Christmas party is always impressive.
Yes, it is.
Getting into the Taiwan auto market
would be a major coup
for our corporation.
Then I'm sure it's gonna happen.
And speaking of cars, yours to
the airport is now downstairs.
I'll be right there.
Do you have everything you need
for getting the children to Paden?
I do.
What's on your mind?
- Max.
- Motion passed.
My name is Max.
What're you doing here?
Dear brother, this is
the Darlington Company
and rumour has it I am
the president of said company
so I thought I'd make
my quarterly appearance.
Did we replace the access cards?
Two months ago.
I was just on my way to the airport.
Europe, right?
It's in the calendar. I do check.
I also told you.
And that.
Hi, Jess.
Paden Academy?
What about it?
Don't I get a say in
what happens to my nieces and nephew?
What could you possibly say?
It's one of the best schools
in the country.
Yes, but if we're both going
to be their guardians
then we both need to be involved
in these decisions.
Fair enough.
And do they have to go right away?
There's no one else to watch them.
I'll be gone and you're, well...
Go on.
It's the same reason we didn't take
full guardianship in the first place.
I work 24/7.
And you don't exactly have
a parenting lifestyle.
There'll be no one else here
while I'm in Europe.
I can help watch the kids
through Christmas.
The Christmas party
is on automatic pilot
and you're in Europe until the 20th
and I basically have
the next couple of weeks off.
It's your vacation.
Which means I have time.
Yeah, but...
It's Christmas.
Let's just say
that I know what it's like
to be a kid alone at Christmas.
I can handle all three of them.
And Mrs. Brooks is there
if I have any questions.
And I'll stay, too.
What's happening here?
- You don't have to.
- I know.
I'll go to Whistler after Christmas,
you'll be back from Europe by then.
I've already made the plans.
Plans can change.
But the plan to get you to
the airport needs to start now.
Hold on.
Are you sure you can handle this?
I am.
I am, too.
Okay, I trust you completely
and you're right
it would be better for the children
to be at the house over Christmas.
Especially after
what they've been through.
I'm going to call you
as soon as I land in Lisbon
we'll go over the details.
Max, please
don't make me regret this.
Have a nice trip.
Don't forget the chocolate!
Ground rules.
For me watching my family?
For us watching your family.
Go for it.
I'm in charge.
Yeah, that seems self-evident.
And I have a vision.
Do tell.
It's still forming
but from what I understand
the kids have been in Australia
for three years?
More like four, actually.
Jarrett and Nicole moved to Sydney
six months before the accident.
Nicole is from Sydney originally.
So that means they've had
three warm Christmases.
Yep. Summer Santa.
So why don't we give them
a real old-fashioned
New England Christmas?
I mean, like, cookies
and hot chocolate.
My friend Zoe, she has
a Christmas fair fundraiser
that I could take them to.
I got ya.
Okay. I'll come up with
a list of things that we can do
and places we can go...
And sometimes maybe
we'll just wing it.
We do not wing it with children.
My parents did with me.
I doubt that. I'm sure it was more
that you were too much
of a handful to control.
Yeah, probably.
So, I'm thinking for this to work
I need to stay at the Darlington
house when the kids are there.
That makes sense to me,
there's plenty of rooms
enough for the kids
to have their own room, too.
Okay, so I'm gonna call Mrs. Brooks,
update her on the plan.
The kids are coming
on Friday afternoon
so I'll come over on Friday morning
and then we can just go
pick them up together?
Yes, boss.
Don't you forget it.
- Busy.
- Yeah.
So you gave up
your first vacation in years
right before your new job,
I might add
to watch three children
you don't know over Christmas?
I did.
Tell your mom thanks for
the Christmas dinner invite, though.
Yeah. She loves you.
She'll get it once I explain.
As your best friend,
I might be the only person
who won't immediately ask you
why you're doing this.
- You've been there.
- Yeah.
It doesn't make it any less crazy
that I'm doing it, though.
No, definitely crazy.
Also kind, generous,
and very, very you.
What're you getting?
Christmas roll fudge.
- I've never had that before.
- It's delicious.
- The last piece.
- We'll split it.
No, it's okay. I'll just stick
to the chocolate fudge.
There's one more piece in the back.
I can get it for you if you'd like.
Perfect, thank you.
No problem, Zoe.
Kate's flirting with you again.
- Is not.
- Is
as she always does
whenever you're here.
You should ask her
to come to the Christmas fair.
I can't.
I get too nervous. You've seen me.
Okay, give her a flyer.
You do it.
You are a surgeon.
How are you not able
to ask someone out?
Because unlike surgery
people are conscious
and can reject you.
Do not give me that look, miss,
I'm always too busy to date.
How long ago was Jason?
A long time.
This is the last piece,
but I can make more tomorrow.
Feel free to come by.
Thank you so much. And here.
This is happening next week
all proceeds are going towards
the children's wing
at St. Francis Hospital
which is where Zoe works.
As a surgeon.
Maybe I can bring my nephew.
- Sure.
- That sounds perfect.
Stop pacing. Lena will bring them.
What are those?
Christmas presents for the children.
From you and Charles.
You really do think of
everything, don't you?
And here they are.
Hey, kids!
Hello, Uncle max.
Hi, Uncle Max.
Who's she?
This is Miss Jessica Lew.
She is your uncle Charles's
executive assistant.
Jess, I'd like you to meet
my eldest niece, Emma
my nephew J. Henry
and my youngest niece, Abby.
- Hello.
- Hi.
It's nice to finally meet you.
I've been hearing a lot about you.
Are you the one Ms. Lena says
is gonna be watching us
over Christmas?
- I am.
- Actually, we both are.
So when was the last time
that you guys were back here?
Three years, seven months, ten days.
J. Henry likes math.
That's right, I remember.
That's cool.
I like math, too. Sort of.
But not as much as I like presents!
That's for you.
- What are these?
- These are some welcome gifts.
Your uncles realize it's been a while
since you've experienced
Christmas in New England so...
We got you some...
Christmas sweaters.
Thank you.
We did pack sweaters.
I love mine!
- Shall we head to the house?
- Great idea.
- Do you want me to grab that?
- Sure.
And this is probably a lot colder
than you're used to
but here it is!
That's a really big tree.
It is, isn't it?
Hello, children.
Mrs. Brooks!
I don't know if you remember me.
I'm Mrs. Brooks
and I've worked for
the Darlington family for many years.
But you were very young
when you were last here.
Are you the nice lady
who makes the chocolate pies?
French silk is one of my specialties.
Of course I remember you!
Okay, let's show you to your rooms.
Okay, I'll grab your coats.
- Thank you.
- Thank you.
I'll race you up the stairs.
They're so quiet.
Well, part of it's the flight.
Is that the only reason?
The last three years
have been a challenge for them.
And having to leave
their great aunt Mathilda
and come here again after so long
is yet another change.
I'll make sure they video call her
as often as they'd like
to help with the transition.
Thank you.
Okay, J. Henry,
this will be your room.
It was actually your dad's
when he was growing up.
Okay ladies, I'll show you
to your room next.
You've got my cell.
Feel free to call me
if you have any more questions.
I will. Thank you.
This is a big thing you're doing,
Jessica, watching them like this.
Is it?
It feels so natural.
I mean, what kid
wouldn't want to stay here
versus going to boarding school?
I think you're quite right.
Good luck.
Safe travels. Thank you.
Long day.
but it's good to have children
in the house again.
Yep, four of them.
Max always was a free spirit
but his heart's as big as Kansas
and his energy is boundless,
always was.
What was he like as a kid?
You'll find out as soon as
J. Henry warms up.
Full of life and love.
Max was a happy child.
He always thought Jarrett was
the glue between the three brothers
but really I think it was Max.
He took it very hard
when we lost Jarrett.
I think that's maybe when...
When what?
When he and Charles
became more distant
and Max spent
less and less time at home.
But now he's back and I think
he's taking this very seriously.
Assuming guardianship.
I hope so.
Give him a chance, my dear.
He may surprise you.
I'm gonna go check on the kids.
You have a good night, Mrs. Brooks.
You too, Jessica.
I can't find the girls anywhere.
How did you lose the kids already?
I don't know, but I checked
Emma's room and Abby's and...
Pass the sheet over here.
What's this?
We all wanted to stay together.
And I wanted to stay
in Dad's old room, too.
That's okay.
But if you guys change your minds
we have plenty of rooms
for each of you.
You just let me or Jess know.
Thank you.
Also, we wanna make sure that
you have the best Christmas possible
so why don't you make
a list of Christmas activities
that you wanna do
over the next couple of weeks?
But it doesn't have to be
an actual list.
Though the act of making a list
can help generate ideas.
Right, but if something happens
to come to mind
spur of the moment
you just tell us...
And I will write it down.
She will write it down.
I think that's our cue.
Goodnight, guys.
Goodnight Uncle Max,
goodnight Jessica.
See you at breakfast.
Or whenever you wake up.
It could be fun,
doing Christmas-y stuff.
It could be.
But remember,
we're leaving here after Christmas.
I know.
So don't get too comfortable.
I think we have a lot of work
ahead of us.
I think you're right.
- Goodnight.
- 'Night.
Did you guys sleep okay?
The bed was so comfortable.
- Good.
- Yeah.
I overslept.
Good morning, family.
- Jessica. How is everybody?
- Fine.
So now that we are all here
did you come up with
any Christmas ideas
for things that we can do?
Any ideas? There's no wrong answers.
We usually decorate
the Christmas tree together.
Their tree's already decorated.
Doesn't mean we can't
decorate another tree.
You want to chop down
one of these trees?
Nope. No trees will be chopped.
Where are you going with this?
We are gonna decorate them
right where they are
and we're gonna make ornaments
that are okay for the animals
to eat if they want.
And let's face it,
they probably want.
We'll make the ornaments?
Yep, and then you can see the trees
every time you look out
the back window.
That's cool.
It is cool.
It's something I used to do with
my mom when I was growing up.
We had this pine tree
in the back yard
and we would decorate that sometimes
instead of buying one.
I think that's the first bit
of personal information
I've ever heard from you.
- Is it?
- Yeah.
Okay, who's ready to get started?
Okay. Now we get to make
the ornaments
and I have some bags of bird seed
- in my car.
- Come on, let's go!
You just happen to have
bird seed in your car?
- Wait for me.
- And all weather fairy lights.
It's called "not winging it".
How's your dough coming, Emma?
I'm mainly helping Abby.
Don't forget to have fun yourself.
This is your Christmas, too.
I know, I'm just
used to helping them.
I can see that.
But you know, that's what
your uncle Max and I are here for.
For now. Then we go to
the boarding school
- and it'll be just us again.
- Yeah.
That's okay. We can handle it.
- What now?
- Now we wait for them to dry
and then tonight
we can hang them on the tree.
So what're we gonna do until then?
What would you like to do?
I have an idea.
Are you winging it right now?
As a matter of fact I am.
What's the most Christmas-y
of Christmas activities?
Could you tell us?
A carriage ride!
Come on!
Put the blanket down there.
- You like horses?
- Yeah.
I used to love reading books
about horses when I was little.
Do you ride?
A little.
My aunt Mathilda knew I loved horses
and let me take lessons
on the weekends.
I'm sure your uncles could
arrange more lessons for you
over your spring break.
There's plenty of
equestrian centres here.
Okay, shall we?
I could get used to the snow.
This is so beautiful.
- This is so much fun.
- I love this.
Can I drive? Please.
I think they like it.
This is cool, hey?
Good call.
Wha... Could you say that
a little louder?
Maybe record it?
Perhaps post it on social media?
At least you're not gloating.
This is fun.
I haven't done this since
my last winter in college, I think.
I never have.
I think it's safe to say
you and I had
some very different childhoods.
- C'mon guys, let's go.
- Thanks!
- Wasn't that great?
- So we need to do this again.
- Thank you, that was fun.
- You're welcome.
- That was fun.
- Thanks.
Who's that?
That was my buddy.
He's upset that I'm delaying
my Christmas trip to Whistler
especially after our friend, Hal,
already bowed out.
Why'd Hal bow out?
He wanted to spend time
with his wife and her family.
Imagine that.
I know, right?
What about your family?
How come you're not spending
Christmas with them?
I don't have any.
My parents got a divorce
when I was really young
and it was just me
and my mom growing up.
Where is she now?
She passed away
when I was a junior in high school.
I'm sorry.
So you're like us?
I guess so.
And you too, Uncle Max.
I guess I never
thought of it that way.
How about we head up to the house
and finish decorating those trees?
- Sure!
- Yeah, let's do that.
- It's beautiful.
- Amazing.
Yeah, good call on the outdoor trees.
So pretty.
Now who's gloating?
- Hello.
- Hey, Jess
how's it going at Chez Darlington?
Okay so far.
We did a lot on their first day.
We made tree ornaments,
went on a carriage ride.
Sounds fun.
That was Max's idea.
The crotchety uncle?
I never said he was crotchety.
Are you reading Dickens again?
I am, actually.
So then what's he like?
Basically, big kid with all the toys
and no responsibility.
Yeah, but see
aforementioned "big kid".
Can't take him seriously.
Too bad.
I really would like you
to find someone
now that you're done with law school
and can't use "I'm always busy"
as an excuse.
Yeah, Zoe, I'm gonna
have to call you back.
Video link established and
the kids are on with Mathilda now.
What's up?
So Mr. Lee doesn't like fancy.
Which means as much as
I love the Plaza ballroom
and the amazing job
they do for us every year...
It's definitely fancy.
Mr. Lee's going to be arriving
in the States in less than a week.
He's meeting with us
and York Ventures to see
who he feels more comfortable with.
He should totally pick us.
York Ventures already has
a ton of business in Taiwan
which means we need it more
which means we're gonna work
harder for them.
How do you know that?
I do pay attention, you know.
- Do you?
- Yes.
My MBA is not entirely decorative.
So what're you gonna do?
I don't know.
I also don't like
to go to Charles with a problem
if I don't already have
the solution.
Well, no pressure but
the Christmas party is next week.
You know what I do when
I'm trying to figure something out?
I know it's not make a list.
No, but it is have fun.
Look! Puzzles!
Hot chocolate!
- I'll...
- And I'll...
Here it is.
- You really like puzzles, huh?
- Yeah.
So did your dad.
I know. We used to do them together.
He was good at
putting things together.
He really was, wasn't he?
He tried and tried to get me to
sit still to learn how to play chess
but I could not do it.
I guess that's why he became
the engineering professor
and I didn't, huh?
So 2,000 pieces?
It'll take between
15 and 20 hours on average.
So if we work
a couple of hours each day
we'll be done on Christmas.
Wait, you're leaving before then.
Then we'll just have
to work harder, won't we?
- Hey.
- Hey.
I need your orders
for the hot chocolates.
The options are...
A list.
Shush. There is iced hot chocolate,
frozen hot chocolate
salted caramel,
cinnamon, belgian dark
and peppermint white chocolate.
- Salted caramel.
- Really?
I would have totally
called belgian dark.
I am a man of many mysteries.
- Max, good to see you again.
- Hey, gus.
Come here often?
Only every Christmas
when he practically buys me out.
It's no big deal.
It is a big deal.
The boys and girls club are
always sending me their thanks
because this one won't put
his name on the gifts.
Today we are here
just to buy this puzzle.
Here you go.
I'll be right back with
your Christmas cupcake.
Phil, hi.
- Having some Christmas fun?
- I am, yes.
Good, glad to hear it.
Especially since we plan
to keep you very busy
once you start in our department.
I am looking forward
to the challenge.
That's what I like to hear.
Let's hit the ground running.
See you soon.
Who was that?
My new boss as of January 4th.
You're not working for
Uncle Charles anymore?
Not directly. I'll be in legal.
Is that fun?
Probably not fun. But steady.
Have you always wanted
to be a lawyer?
Not necessarily.
But I always knew
I wanted to help people.
Like me.
A lot like you.
I like fun.
- Do you like hot chocolate?
- Yeah!
Is this helping you
come up with a solution?
Alas, no.
But it is delicious.
Solution to what?
Jessica has a problem to solve.
And when I posed it to your uncle Max
his solution was to have fun.
A suggestion which you followed.
I did. No regrets.
What's the problem?
I have to change
the company Christmas party.
Very last minute.
Thank you for
hammering that point home.
You're welcome.
Why do you have to change it?
Because your uncle Charles
wants to impress
a very special guest that
he wants to do business with.
And the plans that we have right now
won't accomplish that.
What did you have planned?
A very fancy party
at a very fancy hotel.
But Mr. Lee...
- That's our special guest.
- Right.
He doesn't like fancy.
- Uh-oh.
- Uh-oh is right.
What does Mr. Lee like?
- Family.
- That's nice.
That is nice.
But it's also very vague.
I mean, how do you show family?
- Not at the Plaza.
- No.
Maybe you could have the party
at someone's house.
I like it when I go to
friends' houses for parties.
- True.
- Homes feel like family to me.
That's a really great idea.
We should have just asked you first.
Good job, Em. Up top.
Okay, so now
I just have to find a house.
It makes the most sense.
My family used to throw
huge parties growing up
and it's connected to us,
which is the whole point.
If I didn't know any better
I would say that you, Mr. Darlington
know a thing or two about business.
It's a good thing you know better.
- What?
- You've got foam on your mouth.
Where? Here?
Right here.
- Still?
- Yeah, it's still there.
I'm meeting Lena Thomas
in town tomorrow for coffee
and also to give her
the update on the kids.
Okay, cool. I'll totally
corrupt them while you're gone.
I'm also gonna call Charles about
the changes to the Christmas party.
I mean, unless you wanna tell him,
'cause it was your idea.
Yours and Emma's.
No, you go ahead.
You sure?
Yeah. He won't listen to me,
but he will listen to you.
Or anybody else.
Trust me. Story of my life.
First, you gotta find
all of the corners and the edges.
Then you group them together.
- Very logical.
- Thank you.
I wanna help.
Promise not to take the pieces away?
They gotta stay together.
I promise.
Okay then.
Where's Jessica?
She's in town meeting with Ms. Lena.
Has she told Uncle Charles
our idea yet?
The Christmas party
at the Darlington house?
It's the most logical place
for a party of this size
on such short notice.
But that is not the only reason.
I heard York Ventures will be doing
the wine and dine route
with Mr. Lee when he's in town
which means the best way for us
to separate ourselves from them
is to show the people of Darlington
in a family-oriented setting.
Okay. I can see that.
That's a good idea.
That was actually Max's idea.
- Max?
- Yes.
He's a lot more dialled into
the company than I ever realized.
We're talking about Max.
Yes, Max.
And he's been really great
with the kids, too.
And I had another idea.
I think that we should open up
the Christmas party
to the families of
Darlington Corporation's employees.
To families?
We've never done that.
It's because we've always
had our events at locations
that weren't family friendly.
But it can't look like
a circus, either.
It'll be different,
but I really do believe
that we can thread the needle
between professionally impressive
and family-oriented.
There's a lot riding on this,
but okay.
I trust you, Jess.
It's gonna be perfect.
Thanks for keeping me updated.
I've never seen them look this happy.
I'm glad they're in such good hands.
It was the right idea to have them
stay here over Christmas.
Can I ask you a question?
How did you get into family law?
Same way most people do.
Personal experience.
I had family members who were trying
to navigate the legal system
and it inspired me
to become their advocate.
I interned at a family law firm
for a while.
What drew you to family law?
Something similar.
My mom passed
when I was a junior in high school
and my legal advocate got me
through a lot of tough times.
What stopped you?
I had to work my way through college
and then after graduating
I got the job as an admin
at Darlington to save
and then went back
to night school after that.
And that's when
Charles hired you on as his ea.
Is that why you chose
corporate law instead of family?
Because of where you were working?
It was an influence, yes.
Family law is hard
and it is not always rewarding.
But when it is
it touches your heart
like nothing else.
Listen, I know you're about
to start a new position
but in my opinion
you have exactly what it takes
to be a great family law attorney.
At least consider it.
We can talk later.
J. Henry, that looks great.
Smells good.
What's all this?
Christmas cookies!
It seemed like
a good idea at the time.
Everything is
perfectly under control.
I have no doubt, Mrs. Brooks.
What if Mrs. Brooks wasn't here?
I would have so much doubt.
Are you gonna join us?
Of course.
- Where are the raisins?
- Wha...
Raisins? You can't have raisins
in Christmas cookies.
- Of course you can.
- No.
It's either shortbread or sugar.
- I like shortbread.
- I like sugar.
- See?
- I like oatmeal raisin.
No. No oatmeal raisin.
I can't believe I'm explaining to you
the rules of Christmas cookies.
The only rule is
that they have to be shaped
into something Christmas-y,
like a Santa or a star.
No, that is 100 percent not true.
It's 100 percent true if I say it is.
This is the thing
that you're gonna rebel against?
We all have our chosen battlefields.
What about you, Emma? Do you have
a favourite Christmas cookie?
I like toffee.
As did your mother.
- How did you know?
- I used to make it for her.
You did?
Yes. She taught me
how she liked it, with cinnamon?
Do you remember how to make them?
No need. I have her recipe.
It's in here.
Here we go.
That's mom's handwriting.
Emma, would you like
to make some toffee?
- Okay.
- Okay, so what do we need here?
The kids are asleep,
or on their way, I hope.
And he comes bearing soup, as well.
Yeah, I thought
you could use a snack.
- Thank you.
- You're welcome.
This looks fantastic.
- Cheers.
- Cheers.
- That's good.
- Yeah?
It's a go at the Darlington house.
I just passed along the solution
you helped me come up with.
getting them to take it seriously
is half the battle.
Is that why you don't get more
involved with the company, for real?
I think I...
I kinda fell into the trap
of the younger brother
lower expectations thing
and it became a trend.
By the time I graduated
Charles was already running
the company
and there wasn't really
a role for me.
But you're the president.
Yeah, but we both know
that that's in name only.
Do you want it to be more?
I used to.
But life had its own ideas.
I get that.
Are you thinking about your mom?
Christmas has a way
of bringing up a lot of memories.
I hear ya.
It's been a while since I celebrated.
Like this, with family.
Yeah, me too.
Not that we're family.
I disagree.
I think we are.
I mean, at least through Christmas.
- Face painting!
- Chocolate.
That's not an activity.
It is for me.
You guys are giving
awesome suggestions.
This Christmas party is gonna rock.
Thank you.
There's Zoe. I'm gonna
pop over for a quick hello.
Okay. I'll meet you
at Santa's workshop.
- Hi.
- There you are.
- Is she here?
- That's a no.
Maybe it's not no but not yet.
Or it's no.
I should have been braver,
given her the flyer myself
so she knew I wanted her here.
I mean,
what do I really know about her
besides adorable
and an excellent baker?
Okay, breathe.
Distract me.
Where's the cute not crotchety uncle?
Max is over there. Red scarf.
No way.
That's your Max?
He's not my Max.
Wait, do you know him?
Yeah. He volunteers in
the paediatric ward being awesome.
Why didn't you tell me?
Because I only know that guy
as Max, or cute Max, as some say.
Cute Max?
Yes. Empirically,
he's very well put together.
Also, a really good person.
Remind me again
why you don't have a crush on him?
Well, I mean, he's...
He's Max.
I have never
thought of him that way.
Yeah, you do tend
to get tunnel vision
and forget to see
what's in front of your face.
There are other craft options.
I like pine cones.
Pine cones are fun.
Not if you step on them.
Then don't step on them. Right, kids?
Your friend Zoe looks familiar.
Yeah, she's a surgeon at St. Francis.
She recognized you, too,
from your volunteer work
which you have never mentioned.
We haven't spent
that much quality time together.
Do you tell Charles about it?
Or your work with
the boys and girls club?
There's no reason
to tell anyone any of it.
Because then it takes away from it.
You should do the right thing
because it's the right thing
to do, not to brag about it.
Kate showed up.
Whatcha doin'?
Last minute tweaks for
the layouts for the party.
You're working very hard at a job
you technically no longer have.
Because it is important to me
that I do a good job.
Plus, I don't want your brother
to think that I don't appreciate him
for all the years of support
he gave me so I could get my degree.
Charles is the lucky one.
I don't know how your replacement
is gonna live up to your legend.
Especially after this Christmas.
Everyone is acting like
me volunteering to help watch
the kids is something extraordinary.
It is.
That's part of what makes you
the amazing Jessica.
Hey, Abby.
What's going on?
I had a nightmare.
Oh no.
What about?
A fish.
A fish?
It was a really big fish.
That's scary.
Will you read to me?
Yeah, of course.
What've you got there?
The Wizard of Oz.
I love this book.
Hour after hour passed away
and slowly
Dorothy got over her fright
but she felt quite lonely
and the wind shrieked
so loudly all about her
that she nearly came deaf.
Hey. Everything okay?
Do you know where Abby is?
At last she crawled over
the swaying floor to her bed
and lay down upon it
and Toto followed
and lay down beside her.
In spite of the swaying house
and the wailing of the wind
Dorothy soon closed her eyes
and fell fast asleep.
She just had a little nightmare,
but I think she's okay now.
She usually comes to me
when that happens.
What's wrong, honey?
I just... I'm worried
about them getting too attached...
when we just have to leave again
for the boarding school.
Especially after
you just left your aunt.
Em, you know
this will still be your home
even when you come back from Paden.
And if I have my way,
you'll be coming back here a lot.
Get some sleep.
- Goodnight.
- Goodnight.
- Thank you.
- You're welcome.
You're getting really good
at this uncle thing.
You think so?
I feel so uncertain all the time.
I think uncertainty is
a part of parenting.
I never thought of it like that.
Then why did you offer to help me?
I mean, you could have gone
to Whistler with your buddies.
When the accident first happened...
Charles was right.
We weren't ready to be guardians.
And Mathilda,
she's a wonderful person
so it made sense them being there.
I wanna do more than
just visit them once in a while.
Growing up...
Jarrett was my idol.
My parents were older
and a little distracted
and Charles already had his
own life by the time I came along...
and Jarrett was there for me.
So showing his kids Christmas...
It's the least I can do.
You're doing a really good job.
You promise?
I promise.
That means a lot.
Late night snacking?
And it is way past my bedtime.
Goodnight, everyone.
Don't mess this up.
I don't know
what you're talking about.
Yes, you do.
I was there
the first time you saw her.
You almost ran into a door.
I... No, I was...
She's way out of my league, Mrs. B.
Listen, I've watched you grow up.
I know that there is
so much more to you
than you let even yourself realize.
Yeah, but...
she doesn't take me seriously.
I mean, why would she?
Oh, my dear Max.
You have to figure out
how to take yourself seriously
before anyone else will.
I think I may have a crush on Max.
Such good news.
Is it? Because
my head is kinda spinning.
Because he's too handsome?
Because it'll change things.
- Into awesome.
- Into the unknown
and you know how much
I hate the unknown, which is why...
Take the chocolate fudge
instead of the Christmas roll fudge
because chocolate is safe
while Christmas roll
is oddly exotic albeit
in a still safely Christmas way.
Wow, you just went down
an analogy rabbit hole.
You followed.
Jess, sweetie,
you can't be too cautious
because then you'll miss out.
Do you think I'm too cautious?
I never used to be.
When I was young,
I was bold and brave.
I remember your eighth grade
tap dancing ventriloquist talent act.
You are never gonna let me
live that down.
But you being cautious after
losing your mom makes sense.
Maybe I am missing out
on some things.
Hey, do you wanna
go dress shopping with me?
I have a sudden compulsion to look
really, really good for
tomorrow night's Christmas party.
I can't.
I have a date.
I wanna hear everything!
- Jess?
- Hey, Max!
- Are those...
- The uniforms.
It's very nice.
You know, Max, there's something
that we haven't done yet
that is so Christmas-y.
What's that?
Oh, no!
I'm going to get you!
Uncle Charles!
What a warm welcome.
I'm sure my schedule had you
coming back later on tonight.
Actually, I changed
the plans last second.
Sorry, I wanted to be refreshed
for the big day tomorrow
and of course to see
my beautiful nieces and nephew.
- How are you all?
- Good.
I like to hear that.
We made ornaments!
And went on a carriage ride
with a horse.
And we're building
a Christmas puzzle.
That sounds very Christmas-y.
Alright kids, let's get
cleaned up and ready for dinner.
Charles will tell us
about his trip later.
Can I have some hot chocolate?
I think that can be arranged.
Come on.
Hey, when did Max
become Mr. Rogers?
Max has been full of surprises.
- Hey, Charles?
- Yeah?
Could I talk to you for a second
about my role at Darlington?
Your role?
Yeah. About doing more.
Can we talk about it
after the Christmas party?
I'm pretty wiped out from the trip.
Yeah, sure.
Alright, thanks.
That's a nice suit.
Thank you. You, too.
Thank you.
Don't you two look pretty?
Thank you, Uncle Max.
You both look pretty, too.
Thank you.
What's up?
- I need help.
- What've we got here?
Hey, you almost got it.
You just gotta take this big one,
cross it over, and up...
down and through.
And you look like a Darlington.
Yes, I do.
Is it done yet?
Oh, my.
You're going to look like
a little Christmas angel.
- Hi.
- Hi.
It's Max, right?
Yeah, Zoe.
- Yes.
- Right? Yes.
We know each other from
the hospital where Max volunteers.
And through Jessica.
Max, this is Kate. Kate, Max.
- Kate, it's nice to meet you.
- Same.
Your house is really beautiful.
- Thank you.
- Can we come back?
Yeah, any time.
Sounds like you and Jess
have been having fun
with your nieces and nephew.
Yes, the kids have been great
and Jess is amazing.
No argument here
and I know she's really enjoyed
spending time with you and the kids.
- Hi.
- So wonderful to see you.
Good to see you, too.
Have you seen the children?
They're over by the Christmas...
I saw. They are having
quite the time.
I'm glad to see
that things are going so well.
Max is really great with them.
Emma says that you're a big part
of making them feel at home, too.
She does?
They make it easy.
Have you thought about
my suggestion?
Yes, a lot, actually.
I hear a "but".
I don't have
any practical experience.
You have something better.
Personal experience.
And instinct.
Neither of which can be taught.
I just owe so much
to Charles and Darlington.
I mean, they have been incredibly
generous to me over the years.
I see.
Well, you have my info
if you should change your mind.
Thank you.
You look really beautiful
in that dress.
Thank you.
You look very handsome yourself.
Thank you.
What time are you heading
to Whistler tomorrow?
I'm not. I pushed it
'til after Christmas
and the kids go to Paden, so...
That's Mr. Lee.
That is Mr. Lee.
- Do you mind if I...
- No, go.
I'll be right back.
Mr. Lee. Max Darlington,
Charles's brother.
- Nice to meet you, Max.
- And you.
So how was your flight?
Not bad.
Not nearly as long as
my flight from Harbin.
I was in Harbin about five years ago
for the ice festival. Have you been?
Of course, yes. It's one of
the best winter experiences.
My favourite part was the...
- the lantern art fair.
- Excuse me.
Mine, as well.
I'm taking my daughter there
in January.
We should meet up.
It's so good to see you.
- Charles.
- I'm sorry I missed you coming in.
It's okay.
Max and I were just discussing
the Harbin ice festival.
I wasn't aware that
Darlington is a family-run company.
- Well...
- Yes, I mean family has always been
an integral part
of Darlington corporation
starting with our grandfather
and great uncle
and now continuing
with Charles and myself.
Good family, good company.
This is our motto at Liuxing Motors.
Victor, I would love to introduce you
to some of our other board members.
- Of course.
- Right this way.
Okay, Max, good job.
I'll take it from here.
Yeah, but we were just
in a conversation...
This is a very important deal.
- Yeah, I'm aware of that...
- Max, just go do what you do.
Go have fun.
You must be freezing.
- Thank you.
- You're welcome.
You okay? You seemed upset.
No, I'm fine.
Did something happen
between you and your brother?
No. Nothing I'm not used to.
It's just hard to change
people's opinions of you
especially when they've held them
for so many years.
Charles only sees what you show him.
It's what we've all seen.
I know that there is
so much more to you.
It helps when
somebody believes in you.
It does.
And I do.
Uncle Max! Jessica!
Hey, Abby. What's up?
I made some more outdoor ornaments
to replace the ones the birds ate.
Nicely done. What's the carrot for?
A deer ate the snowman's nose.
These are so beautiful.
Mr. Lee.
Hi, I'm Jessica Lew,
Charles's personal assistant.
Merry Christmas to you, too.
And a pleasure to meet you.
Victor saw the lights from the window
and wanted to come
take a closer look.
I put two new ornaments on the trees
to replace the ones the birds ate.
They're okay for animals.
I'm delighted to hear it.
This is our niece, Abby Darlington.
Yesterday we built a snowman.
Do you build snowmen?
As a matter of fact, I do.
I was telling your Uncle Max
about taking my daughter
to the Harbin ice festival
next month.
Perhaps you could come visit us,
and bring your uncles, too.
That sounds like a great idea.
That is an excellent plan.
Shall we?
You have a lovely family, Charles.
I couldn't agree with you more.
I'm so happy you came.
Thank you.
- Good morning.
- Hey.
You two are exactly
who I wanted to talk to.
Can you join me in the office please?
We are in business!
- Mr. Lee?
- Wants Darlington Corporation
for the joint venture in Taiwan.
That is fantastic news!
- Congratulations!
- To you two!
One of the big factors
in Victor's decision
was how welcome he felt
at our Christmas party.
You were right.
He puts a great deal of emphasis
on family in everything he does
which was why he especially liked
that we put emphasis on family
at our Christmas party.
So I wanna thank you both.
We were just doing our jobs.
About that.
Victor made a point of saying
how much he enjoyed
your company, Max.
- Really? He did?
- Yes
and he's looking forward to going
to Harbin with you and the children
if they can get the time off school.
Yeah, that's gonna be fun.
Also, I wanna...
apologize if I was short
with you last night.
You've done a great job.
Thank you, Charles.
So you wanna be more involved
with the company?
Yeah, I do.
That is great
because Victor specifically
asked for you
to be the liaison on this deal.
- Really?
- Really.
I don't know what to say.
I'm so surprised.
You think you can handle it?
I can.
You'll need to pack your bags.
Excuse me?
If you're gonna run
the Taiwan division
you'll need
to get started immediately.
Your flight leaves
Thursday to Taipei.
- This Thursday?
- Yes.
But that means he's gonna
miss Christmas with the kids.
That is unfortunate
but I will be with them
until they settle at Paden
then I'll fly over to join you.
This initial trip
is to lay the groundwork
then you go over in February
on a more permanent basis.
I'm proud of you, Max.
Thank you.
Thanks. Yeah, it's...
I'm just...
trying to wrap my brain around it.
Yeah, of course.
But it's a great opportunity
and you wanted a bigger role
in the company and you got it.
What's wrong?
We gotta tell the kids.
Yeah, we do.
You're not gonna be here
for Christmas?
No, but your uncle Charles will be.
And you can teach him
how to make Christmas cookies
and how to throw snowballs
and make snow angels.
Will you be here for Christmas?
If you want me to.
They're sending him to Taiwan.
How long is "permanent basis"?
My guess, a couple years?
- No.
- Yeah.
Are you gonna tell him?
That you...
No. It is way too soon.
Seven years would be insufficient
to make some people
acquainted with each other
and seven days are more
than enough for others.
I figured you had to see them
in their Christmas sweaters
at least once.
They're awesome.
We'll miss you, Uncle Max!
We didn't get to finish the puzzle.
That's right.
Don't worry.
Jessica will help you.
She's much better than I am anyway.
That is true.
Alright, Max.
You ready?
Merry Christmas.
Merry Christmas.
Who wants hot chocolate?
- Can I have the first one?
- Sure.
We're missing a piece.
I gave it to Uncle Max.
So he could think about us
over Christmas while he's away.
I wish he was here
and we could all be together.
It's not the same.
Can I help you with anything,
Mrs. Brooks?
All done. Thank you, though.
How far away is Paden?
It's in Vermont. Near Canada.
It would take approximately
five hours to get there.
But can we live here on the weekends?
It would be impractical.
I really like it here.
Me too.
We'll get used to Paden,
like we've always done before.
She's right.
I'll be right back.
Can I speak to you for a minute?
What do you know about
Riverside School down the street?
It's excellent. Why?
I think the kids should go there
instead of Paden.
Riverside isn't a boarding school.
I know.
The kids would come home
every day here
do their homework, eat, sleep
and just be regular kids.
Who'd watch them?
I would.
You would give up your career
as an attorney
to watch my nieces and nephew?
No, I would still be an attorney.
I mean, it is the 21st century
and there is a happy medium
between kids in boarding school
and me giving up my career.
- Fair enough.
- I mean
if I can be your full-time ea
and go to law school
and pass the bar, I can do this.
I am excellent
with time management.
Yes, you are.
But why would you wanna do this?
Because I love them.
Seven years, seven days,
seven minutes.
It doesn't matter
how long I've known them
or that they're not related to me.
I want the best for those kids
because I love them.
We can work something out.
Lena was right about you.
She said you're an excellent advocate
for the children.
- Lena?
- She told me
that she approached you
about coming to work for her.
- She did?
- Yes.
We've known each other since college,
there's a mutual respect there.
So have you thought about her offer?
Yes, of course.
I turned it down.
Because I already have a job.
I think.
you will always
have a job at Darlington.
The question is
is a job in our legal department
the one you truly want?
I don't wanna be a corporate lawyer.
I wanna be in family law.
I've always wanted
to be in family law
and protect families and
I think I just forgot for a minute.
I'm glad you remembered.
You should never settle.
Can you watch the kids?
Where are you going?
To be bold and brave.
This is Max, leave a message.
Call me when you get this.
This is Lena Thomas.
Please leave a message.
This is Jessica Lew.
I thought about what you said
and you are right.
Family law is where I belong.
I'm going to take you up
on your offer.
- You're here!
- Yeah. Where are you going?
To the airport.
To stop you.
- What's wrong?
- No, nothing.
Nothing's wrong, I...
I just realized that
I don't want you to go
so I thought I would tell you that
and then maybe you wouldn't...
Wait, are you being impulsive?
I am.
I made a list.
- You did?
- Yes.
Of all the reasons
to stay and go to Taiwan
and I gotta be honest, there was
a lot of reasons to go but...
Only one big one to stay.
Which is?
I love the kids and
I have been in love with you
for two and a half years
since the first day I saw you.
And I know I have a lot of work
to do to be worthy of you.
You inspire me
in so many ways every single...
I'm just... I'm being
impulsive again!
- Is this gonna be a thing?
- Maybe.
I mean, 'cause I was in the middle
of a pretty good speech...
I love you, too.
You do?
I do.
Even though I may have just lost
my fledgeling career?
Let's find out.
Uncle Max! You're here!
I thought
you were getting on a plane.
I was, but...
Okay, here's the deal.
I want to have a greater voice
at the Darlington Corporation.
I think I can add value
and I wanna make you proud.
And I'm very aware that
not getting on that plane to Taiwan
undermines those goals, but...
I can't leave the children and Jess,
especially during Christmas.
I see.
And I still think we can make it work
with Taiwan and Mr. Lee
even if I don't live there.
And I'm still open to going
to Taiwan after the holidays.
But I understand if you wanna
replace me as liaison.
Max, one of the first things
you gotta keep in mind
when we're negotiating
is who has the leverage.
And right now you do.
I do?
You do. Mr. Lee asked for you.
I'm not gonna get in the way
especially when the reason
you want to delay the trip
is 'cause you wanna be with
the kids over Christmas.
How about next time you just tell me?
We can work it out.
So we'll leave in January?
January sounds great.
But not for too long.
And Charles, one more thing.
I don't think
the children should go to Paden.
They should be here with us.
It's what's best for them. And I...
Charles, I think you know that.
I do.
Which is why I agreed with Jessica
that they'll go to Riverside
down the street.
- It was a good speech, though.
- It was.
So we're not leaving?
Nope. The three of you are gonna
be staying right here at Darlington.
- Yes!
- This is your home.
I want my own room.
What about your nightmares?
I'm not worried.
I wanna stay in dad's old room.
Then I'll get a room of my own.
Shall we come inside and
get ready for Christmas?
- Yeah.
- Great idea. Come on, kids.
I knew you could do it.
You really are the amazing Jessica.
And don't you forget it.
Hot chocolate!
Who would like some hot chocolate?
- Me!
- You would? Really?
Alright. Here you go, Max.
I'd like to propose a toast.
To family.
And Christmas.
And Darlingtons.
And the Darlingtons!
And Mrs. Brooks!