Reporting for Christmas (2023) Movie Script

[upbeat, bright music]
Oh, jingle bells, jingle
bells, jingle all the way
Oh, what fun it is to ride
in a one-horse open sleigh
Hey, jingle bells, jingle
bells, jingle all the way
Oh, what fun it is to ride
in a one-horse open sleigh
Dashing through the snow,
in a one-horse open sleigh
O'er the fields we go,
laughing all the way
Bells on bobtails ring,
making spirits bright
What fun it is to laugh and
sing a sleighing song tonight
Oh, jingle bells, jingle
bells, jingle all the way
Oh, what fun it is to ride
in a one-horse open sleigh
Hey, jingle bells, jingle
bells, jingle all the way
Oh, what fun it is to ride
in a one-horse open sleigh
Oh, what fun it is to ride
in a one-horse open sleigh
Oh, what fun it is to ride
in a one-horse
open sleigh
[Reporter] Now that the
Tunnel and Reservoir Plan
is officially online,
12 million gallons of storm
water will be diverted
from municipal sewers
into the quarry.
This should make homeowners
accustomed to
flooding very happy.
Mary Romero, WZCH, Chicago.
[keyboard clicks]
We need more footage
of the tunnels.
Tunnels are dark,
it might not read.
Okay, then cut in more drone
footage above the reservoir.
I just need the
viewers to understand
the scope of this project.
And limit your own camera time.
[Mary sighs]
I don't understand you, Mary.
Most people in this business
would climb over their
colleagues to get on air.
Well, I don't
like climbing, Phil.
- I like reporting.
- [phone beeps]
[Hank] You busy?
[Hank] Get in here anyway.
[Mary chuckles]
[phone beeps]
All right, more drone footage.
You got it, boss.
[soft, bright music]
- Think fast.
- [Mary gasps]
[toy squeaks]
This better not be
in lieu of my bonus.
Come on, you remember
the Mistletoads.
Back in the 80s,
they were all the rage.
No, I think I missed that party.
Well, it's their
40th anniversary,
and you're gonna do a
great story about them.
[Mary giggles]
That was a good one,
you almost got me.
It's not a joke.
It's not a joke.
Why would we even consider
doing something like that?
Because the Mistletoads
were made by Johnson Toys.
Which is one of our
biggest advertisers.
Our biggest advertiser.
So, it's a shameless puff piece.
Oh no, a human interest
story about a trusted partner.
Why do I have to do it?
Because you're the best I got.
Don't try and
butter me up, Hank.
I'm not. This has
to be a solid piece.
I need a primetime player
who can get me the goods.
That's you.
Okay, I just got a lead
on the Transit Authority
expansion story.
And we're gonna do that
story, just not right now.
Then when?
When the bills are paid.
Look, times are changing.
Some people say, we're
lucky to have jobs at all.
Don't do this to me.
Think of it this way.
If you get the story quick,
you can be back
before Christmas.
What do you mean, back?
Johnson Toys is located
in Brunswick, Iowa.
Thank you.
If I do this, I want
complete creative control.
- Done.
- No, I'm not joking.
I want to tell the story the
way that I wanna tell it,
with no input from the client.
- You have my word.
- [Mary sighs]
Look at the bright side,
no holiday traffic.
Why not?
Because last time I checked,
Brunswick has a
population of about 1,000.
[Mary scoffs]
Now, it's 1,001.
[toy squeaks]
[Mary sighs]
[soft, bright music]
Okay, look, I don't know
what you are so upset about.
Because I've spent
my entire career
fighting for stories
that actually matter,
to try and inspire change.
And now, I'm shilling
for a toy company.
It's not that bad.
And soon enough,
you'll be telling them
what stories to cover.
[Mary chuckles]
You clearly don't know Hank.
I know you're living the dream.
Expense accounts, flying
first class, limos.
- Girl, I am driving myself.
- Ugh.
Okay, the contractor
should be here
first thing in the morning,
and it should only
take a couple of days.
Okay, it's no big deal.
It is a big deal.
I've been trying to get this
bathroom redone for months,
and this is the only
week they could do it.
Mary, it's all good.
I have loads of
writing to catch up on.
My publisher wants the
next three chapters
by the end of the year,
so it's just nice
to have somewhere to focus.
Thank you.
Okay, good.
And Dylan's not gonna miss you?
Dylan is fine, he's fine.
Besides, it's like a
mini-vacation for me,
before his family rolls in.
Oh, right, oof.
Mary, be real with me, though.
Are you actually going
to Brunswick, Iowa?
Of course, why would
I lie about that?
Oh, I don't know.
Maybe to get out
of a double date
with us in Dylan's
business partner?
Oh, Todd.
Girl, don't even
pretend to be sorry.
I gotta go.
Saved by the bell.
Have just the best time.
Thank you, Brianna.
This is Mary Romero,
reporting for Christmas.
Let's make December
A month to remember
It's a magical feeling,
it's time for believing
Better be ready, it's here
Let's make December
A month to remember
[cars honk]
[Mary] You know what?
I feel like the hits just
keep on coming there, Hank.
It's the best I can do, Mary.
I love working with Crash.
It's just, this isn't a
job for a one-man crew.
And plus, he's
getting a little...
[Mary] I was gonna say
crankier, if that's possible.
[Hank] Look, Crash's experience
allows him to pick up the slack.
Plus, you should be
grateful I'm sending him.
A lot of stations are
requiring producers
to shoot their own
footage nowadays.
[Mary chuckles]
Well, you're just a prince
among men there, Hank.
Don't I know it.
Drive safe.
[mellow oldies music]
It's a magical feeling,
it's time for believing
Better be ready,
soon it's here
Let's make December
Let's make December
A month to remember
A month to remember
It's a magical feeling,
it's time for believing
Better be ready, it's here
Let's make December
A month to remember
Christmas, is the
best time of the year
[Mary sighs] Hank.
[ground squishes]
[mud splatters]
[soft, bright music]
May I help you?
Yeah, just checking in, please.
Mary Romero.
You know who I am?
Oh, honey, this is Brunswick.
Everybody knows who you
are and why you're here.
I'd say I'm ready
for my close-up,
but you must have heard
that joke a million times.
Well, believe it or
not, most of the people
I interview don't
wanna be on camera,
especially if they're
being held accountable.
I actually have two rooms
under your name, Ms. Romero.
Is that correct?
Yes, my cameraman, he'll
be joining me tomorrow.
And we're looking
forward to having him.
Great, thanks.
You know, I have to make a stop.
- Do you know Alton Johnson?
- [Bernice chuckles]
Let me guess, everybody
knows Alton Johnson.
You catch on quick.
Would you mind telling
me where the factory is?
Come back the way you came,
take a left at the light.
It's about a mile down,
you can't miss it.
It's a factory.
Right. Okay.
We're really excited to
have you here, Ms. Romero.
Please, just call me Mary.
Mary, I'm Bernice.
I do hope you enjoy our town.
I'm sure I will.
[bright, upbeat music]
Eat your heart
out, Diane Sawyer.
You must be...
Mary Romero.
[Alton chuckles]
Wonderful to meet you.
I can't tell you how
excited I am about this.
Yeah, I was told that you were
one of our most
important advertisers.
I've gotten to know Hank Dean
personally over the
years, good man.
Yeah, and there they are.
[Alton] What do you think?
I can't believe it.
Me neither, 40 years.
But we can save that
for my interview.
Let's go have a quick
chat in my office.
I hope you'll excuse the mess.
I never bought that business
about a cluttered mind.
Well, a cluttered mind has
a lot of good stuff in it.
These are your artifacts.
My artifacts?
Right, family photos,
old advertisements,
product shots, stuff like that.
Soon as you told me, I had
my assistant start looking.
I hope that's enough.
Your archive, and
yes, that is plenty.
- Thank you.
- I'll have one of
my delivery guys bring it
over to the inn for you.
Now, how shall we begin?
I have so many ideas I'd
love to share with you.
Well, Mr. Johnson...
Alton, please.
It was good enough
for my parents.
Alton, look, I know
that this isn't really
a hard-hitting
investigative piece,
but I would like to
approach it the same way
that I do the rest
of my stories,
which means conducting
my own research
and building a rapport
with the interviewees.
So, what you're telling
me is to keep my mouth shut
and stay in my own
lane, is that it?
[Mary chuckles]
I love your enthusiasm.
You don't have to
explain yourself.
This isn't the first
time I've been accused
of being a bit too eager.
The truth is, I'm just very
proud of what we built here.
But you just tell
us what you need,
we're all at your disposal.
- Thank you, so much.
- [glass clanks]
Sorry to bother you, Dad, but
they need you over in shipping.
Blake, wait, I want you
to meet Mary Romero.
She's the television reporter...
[Blake] Yeah, I know who she is.
[Mary] Well, so much for
flying under the radar.
Seems like everyone already
knows who I am around here.
Well, your reputation
precedes you.
I'll be in the factory
if you need me.
He did not seem
happy that I'm here.
Oh, he'll come
around eventually.
It's just that my
son wasn't exactly
enthusiastic about this piece.
In fact, to be honest, he
thought it was a bad idea.
Really, why?
[Hank] Oh, he's worried
the story will be
about our success,
our commercial success.
Blake's always
wanted the company
to be about more than
that, but you know what?
Our products make people happy,
which is something you'll
never hear me apologize for,
and if our customer's
happiness has made us
a commercial success,
then who's fault that?
Well, sounds reasonable to me.
But most importantly,
the Mistletoads.
[Alton chuckles]
Yes, I heard they
were quite popular.
Oh, the kids couldn't
get enough of 'em.
They just loved 'em.
Most did, anyway.
[Alton chuckles]
And we can't have another
drive card expedited,
even shipped overnight?
We can, but we still lose
an entire 12-hour shift.
[Blake sighs]
Okay, let's move production
to Woodbury's plant,
and let's add a night shift.
I'm sure the crew
there will appreciate
the overtime before
the holidays.
I'm on it.
Appreciate you.
Ms. Romero, what
can I do for you?
Were you serious
about my reputation?
- Of course.
- Meaning what?
Meaning, I'm familiar
with your work.
What specifically?
Well, your piece
on Midwest Chem,
dumping hazardous materials
into the Mississippi.
It was very illuminating.
You saw that?
The Mississippi River
flows into the Iowa.
Iowa flows into the Cedar,
which flows right into town.
I'm sure we're best
known for Johnson Toys,
but we're still a farming
community at heart.
Right. You know, Alton said
you weren't too keen
on talking to me.
Well, I'm sure I can make
a perfectly fine documentary
without my involvement.
Without the grandson
of the founder,
and the one next in line
to inherit the company?
I don't think so.
Sorry, but you're
gonna have to try.
Why don't you wanna
be a part of the story?
With all due respect,
I can already see how
it's gonna turn out.
That's interesting,
because I'm producing it,
and I don't even know
what the story is.
Trust me.
Indulge me.
I don't know,
maybe something like,
Johnson Toys is the
country's largest
manufacturer of
everything Christmas.
From America's
heartland, they produce
literally thousands of items,
from artificial trees
to advent calendars.
But what they're best known for
are there lovable Christmas
amphibians, the Mistletoads.
Well, you could have
a future in showbiz.
I think I'll leave
that up to you.
Was I close?
[Mary] Sure.
Sure, that's what my boss wants,
that's probably what
your father wants.
But I bet that there's a lot
more to the story than that.
Follow me.
[soft, bright music]
[laughing voices softly echo]
It's beautiful.
My grandpa, Alton Johnson, Sr.
[Mary] Your
grandpa painted this?
It's really good.
[Blake] Yeah, and it
belongs in a museum,
not hanging on
some factory wall.
So, show the world.
Participate in the
story, and you can talk
about your grandpa's
work all you want.
[Blake chuckles]
Think my dad will go for that?
A little trip down memory lane,
instead of the toys
that made him famous?
I think you've got it
wrong how this works.
Nobody has creative
control over my stories.
Over your
advertiser-funded stories?
The only reason I
took this assignment
was because I was
promised creative control.
You're pretty
good at what you do?
I'm very good.
Well, then you'll find a way
to tell the story without me.
I'm gonna get you to say yes.
Nice meeting you, Ms. Romero.
You too, Mr. Johnson.
[soft, bright music]
Join me for some hot chocolate?
Um, no, thank you.
I was just gonna head
out for some dinner.
You know where you're going?
No. No, I think I'm
just gonna walk into town
and see what looks good.
How was your visit
to the factory?
It was interesting.
You get to meet Alton Johnson?
I did.
He is a fascinating man.
He's an amazing man.
They could rename this
town Johnsonville tomorrow,
and no one would complain.
Alton Johnson, Sr.
Started the company
in the 40s, right after
he returned from the war.
Back then, Brunswick
was nothing more
than a spit of farmland.
Was your family here then?
You better believe it,
right here in this house.
My great-grandfather
built it himself.
He was one of the first
people to settle here.
He knew Eli Brunswick,
the town's namesake.
[Mary] And the Johnsons?
[Bernice] Of course.
When Junior took over
the business in the 80s,
the Christmas industry
was exploding.
But Alton, he understood
what was happening.
He turned a small
family business
into a multimillion-dollar
So, it was good
timing and hard work.
That's not all.
Take a look.
[Bernice] What's it say
on the back?
Made in America?
[Bernice] Exactly.
When Johnson Toys was expanding,
Alton could have shipped so much
of the manufacturing overseas.
He could have used foreign
parts, foreign labor.
It would've saved him a
fortune, but he didn't.
He didn't, because it also
would've cost jobs
and hurt the town.
That's the kind of man he is.
And Blake?
What about him?
He's a good kid, but he
marches to his own beat.
Yeah, he does seem
a little different.
Different in what way?
Well, certainly his father.
Anyway, thanks for the insight.
Happy to help.
Village Tavern.
Excuse me?
For dinner.
The Village Tavern captures
the spirit of this town,
and has some darn good food.
[jazzy, festive big band music]
What can I get you, ma'am?
What do you recommend?
For you, I'd suggest
a nice chardonnay,
or maybe the Mistletoad.
[Mary chuckles]
I'm almost afraid to
ask, what's a Mistletoad?
It's basically an Appletini,
but we named it after
the Mistletoads.
We're doing a special
for the 40th anniversary.
Actually, I'll have what
Blake Johnson's having.
You like rye, huh?
Well, this brand is
distilled right here in Iowa.
On the rocks.
That's Mr. Johnson's drink.
[Mary coughs]
Yeah, that'll warm ya up.
[Lexi] I feel silly
enough for thinking that.
[Blake] No, no, no.
Oh, hi Mary.
- Hi.
- Good to see you again.
So, we're on a
first name basis now?
[playful, bright music]
Let me introduce you
to our VP of Marketing.
Mary Romero.
I'm Alexis Barnes,
I'll be with you
throughout the
shoot to make sure
that the messaging is on
brand for Johnson Toys.
Oh, well, I'm sure
you'll be a great resource.
We have an incredible
story to tell.
Happy to be able to share
it with a larger audience.
Me, too.
Well, I was just leaving.
Mary, I'll see you tomorrow.
Alton didn't mention her to me.
Sounds about right.
Dad's got a bit of
a one-track mind.
[Mary chuckles]
Um, did you want
to stay, join me?
Yeah, sure.
[Mary giggles]
[ice clinks]
You know, this particular brand
was actually distilled
right here in Iowa.
To keeping things local.
- Here, here.
- [glasses clink]
[Roberta] And one
special for you.
Let me know if I can
get you anything else.
Thank you, Roberta.
[Roberta] You got it.
So, your father, he also likes
to keep things
local, doesn't he?
You just can't help
yourself, can you?
I'm here for the story,
not just for the, meatloaf?
Oh, no, no, no, this
is not just any meatloaf.
This is the best meatloaf
west of the Mississippi.
- Yeah.
- That is a bold claim.
It's a fact.
Okay, I'll make you a deal.
I will order that meatloaf, if
you'll answer some questions.
You drive a hard bargain.
All right, got yourself a deal.
Do you really like rye?
I do not like it.
[soft, bright music]
All right.
I concede.
[Blake chuckles]
[Mary] You win, it's amazing.
Now, you have to
answer some questions.
Yeah, a deal's a deal.
- [Mary] Okay. Okay.
- Fire away.
Have you lived
here all your life?
[Blake] Born and bred.
Would you leave?
[Mary] So, you like it?
It's home.
That's not really an answer.
And that really
wasn't a question.
Don't you ever get...
[Blake] What?
[mellow rock music]
Come one, come all,
let's deck the halls
The time is here to
spread some cheer
Eggnog and pies and
twinkling lights
are just some signs
So, what does Mary Romero do
when she's not speaking
truth to power?
Well, it's not a 9-to-5 job.
I go where the story is.
Sounds exciting.
It can be.
Well, it used to be.
You know, I didn't always
wanna be a reporter.
Growing up, I wanted
to get into politics,
to make a difference.
I mean, I was captain
of the debate team,
I was class president, I even
majored in political science.
And then, I got a job at
my college's news station,
and it just kind of
took off from there.
It seemed like another
way to help people, but...
It does though, right?
[Mary] I don't know.
You know, sometimes, it just
feels like nobody's listening.
But okay, enough about
me, I'm not the story.
Okay, what would you
like to talk about.
Alton Sr. and how he
started the business.
Well, we come from
a family of farmers.
But my grandpa, he was
always a talented artist.
I mean, even as a little kid.
And then, after the war,
he started painting.
Yeah, it was a hobby
at first, but
then people started buying
those Christmas paintings,
like the one that you
saw, as holiday gifts.
[Mary] Wow, so he did well.
As well as could be expected
in a small town in
the middle of nowhere.
So, how did he go
from Christmas paintings
to a toy empire?
My dad, he was born
right before Christmas.
My grandparents, they didn't
have a lot of money back then.
My grandpa, he couldn't
bear the thought
of not having a
gift for his son.
So, that Christmas, he made
the very first Johnson toy,
and he gave it to
his newborn son.
Well, Alton Sr. sounds
like an amazing man.
Ah, you have no idea.
And with the labor market
and the advancements
in manufacturing after the
war, he saw his opportunity.
10 years later, that
little company was
well on its way to
becoming one of the top
toy manufacturers
in the country.
So, what happened when
your dad took over?
Oh, that's when it
went into overdrive.
[Mary chuckles]
So, that's when
the company expanded,
and you started selling
Christmas decorations.
Yep. Tinsel, toys,
stockings, ornaments.
Whatever he could make and
whatever people would buy.
So, no more painting?
Grandpa had to give
that up as a business,
but I mean, he still
painted until his dying day.
He loved it.
Come on.
[bright, acoustic music]
[Blake] Okay.
Here we are.
Is this your house?
No, I live right off
town square in a home
that's probably too big for me.
Okay, so what is this place?
This is my
grandpa's first house.
He built it with
his own two hands.
[Mary] Wow.
[Blake] He was quite
the craftsman.
Yeah, I bet it
was really beautiful
when it was, you know, new.
[Blake] Yeah.
Once my dad took
over the company,
he moved my grandparents
into a much nicer house,
and he left this to
just sit here empty.
My dad's very generous,
just hardly sentimental.
Well, someone should
have stepped in,
because there's a
lot of history here.
Someone did.
[Blake chuckles]
I'm restoring it.
I'm gonna turn it into a gallery
for my grandpa's paintings.
Oh, I love that.
I already restored
a vintage tractor
I found just sitting here.
Now, it's just sitting
in my front yard.
[Mary giggles]
[phone camera clicks]
What are you doing?
I'm just gonna
take a few photos,
and then I can send the
cameraman over here,
and he can shoot it properly.
No, no, I'd prefer
if you didn't do that.
Why are you showing me this
if you don't want it to
be part of the story?
Thought you'd appreciate it.
Was I wrong?
[Mary chuckles]
No, no, not really.
It would really help
the story, though.
Yeah, something tells me,
you know how to get a
story without this in it.
[Mary sighs]
[mellow, soulful music]
We don't see each
other nearly enough
But I love every
moment with you
I was thinking 'bout
the last time we talked
And had a good laugh
with a good glass or two
But who's counting, not
me when I'm with you, baby
No doubting, the
vibe that you give me
Ooh, you're the reason this
season's so pleasing to me
There's nowhere
I'd rather be
[Mary grunts]
With you I'm moving, I'm
grooving, so soothing, yeah
If you feel the way I do
We don't have to
wait to celebrate
Don't wait to celebrate
[phone rings]
Hey, Bree.
[Brianna] Hey, girl.
Just got back from dinner.
Oh, with Crunch?
What's his name, Crank?
[Mary chuckles]
With Crash.
No, he doesn't get
here until tomorrow.
So, what's up?
[Bree] Nothing.
I just needed a break.
Dylan's working late.
[Mary] Oh, okay.
I'm so glad I could
be your backup.
[Bree] Yeah,
everything's cool here.
I mean, the main
construction guy stopped by.
He said he's on schedule
to start tomorrow.
How's nowheresville?
You mean Brunswick?
[Mary] It's fine.
[Brianna] Any cute
toymakers, or farmers?
There might be.
[Bree] What?
Oh my God, tell me, tell me.
I mean, if you're into
hot guys from the country.
Oh, I'm totally into you
being into hot guys
from the country.
So, are you?
[Mary laughs]
I don't know, it's
too soon to tell.
It is never too early
for love at first sight.
What is he, is he a
toymaker, a farmer?
I know there are farmers.
He's a toymaker.
Ah, yes.
And he runs the factory.
Well, his family
owns the company, so.
O-M-G, I love this.
[Brianna giggles]
I'll have to tell you
everything tomorrow,
'cause I have so
much work to do.
Living the dream.
I demand a full report.
I'm so bored, I need some drama.
Okay, well I report the
drama, I don't make it, so.
I respect that, I see you.
Okay, well call me tomorrow.
Sweet dreams, of your
Christmas toymaker.
[Mary giggles]
Okay, bye.
[upbeat, bright, festive music]
[door knocks]
[Mary sighs]
What took you so long?
I've been knocking
for five minutes.
I wasn't just
sitting by the door,
waiting for you to get here.
You didn't have to get all
dressed up on account of me.
I was up all night, just
going through all of that.
[Crash] An
embarrassment of riches.
Have fun.
Yeah, well that is gonna
make your job easier.
The more material they give
us, the less you have to shoot.
I'll tell you what
would make my job easier.
A sound mixer and a
production assistant.
I'm getting too
old to be dragging
all my gear from here to there.
Yeah, well, welcome to
the new millennium, Crash.
[Crash sighs]
Just go downstairs and check in.
I'm gonna take a shower,
I'll meet you down there,
we can get a bite to eat, okay?
- Okay.
- Okay.
But hurry up, I'm starving.
[Mary sighs]
Hello, dear. How'd you sleep?
Good morning.
I slept fine, 'til
this one woke me up.
She thinks she's on vacation,
sleeping the day away.
I thought that we
were gonna go get food.
Oh, it's my fault.
When he mentioned he was
hungry, I couldn't resist.
You won't some?
No, thank you, I'll pass.
The trick is to salt the
eggs before you scramble them.
Makes 'em creamier.
Thanks for the
tip, do you wanna?
You go.
She's making cinnamon
rolls, from scratch.
I'll meet you later.
- Okay, we have work to do.
- [Crash] Mm-hmm.
[Bernice] Don't worry,
I'll make sure
and point him in
the right direction.
Thank you.
[mellow rock music]
A Merry Christmas
Merry Christmas to all
So, let the snowballs fly
and the good times roll
Before your Great Aunt
Sadie finds the mistletoe
[Blake groans]
Awful, isn't it?
Your words, not mine.
How'd you sleep?
Why does everyone in this
town keep asking me that?
I guess because when
people come to visit,
they always say it's the
best sleep they ever had.
No, no, not for me.
I miss the sirens and the
honking and the yelling.
You know, the city.
- [Mary giggles]
- Hmm.
Anyway, I was up really late
prepping for your
dad's interview, so.
No, you don't have
to worry about that.
There's no one who
likes to talk more
about the company, or himself.
Well, maybe someone is
actually embracing this story.
Wow, if I didn't
know any better,
I'd say, you're trying to
guilt me into participating.
Would it work?
What do you think?
I think I need a really
good cup of coffee.
Any suggestions?
I happen to know
who makes the meanest
peppermint latte in town.
[Mary chuckles]
I'm sorry, you just don't
normally hear "meanest"
and "peppermint latte"
in the same sentence.
Well, clearly you've never
had this peppermint latte.
[soft, bright music]
You know, I am usually a
black coffee kind of girl,
but as far as peppermint
lattes go, it's pretty mean.
Well, that makes me two-for-two.
You should be a tour guide.
Can't escape the holiday
spirit in this town.
No, you can't.
Is that why you stay?
Excuse me?
In Brunswick, at
your family's company?
You could go somewhere else,
you could do
whatever you wanted.
I mean, do you really like
working at the company?
I may not agree with
all my dad's decisions,
but hundreds of workers depend
on our company for
their livelihood.
That's just a responsibility
I don't take lightly.
That's refreshing.
[Blake] What is?
Staying at a job for
altruistic reasons.
Oh, I think you've
been covering politics
a little too long.
[Mary chuckles]
Well, probably.
So, that's the only
reason you stay,
just out of responsibility?
[Blake] Nah, you'll laugh.
Believe it or not,
but I have never
been accused of
laughing too easily.
[Blake chuckles]
I like Christmas.
You what?
[Mary giggles]
You said you wouldn't laugh.
No, I'm not laughing
because of that.
It's just, after everything
that you've said
about Mistletoads.
Yeah, well look, I
may not be enamored
with all the things
we manufacture,
but it doesn't mean that I
don't understand their purpose.
We're a big part of people's
Christmas traditions.
You know, it is a shame that
I can't put that in my piece.
So, am I gonna see you
later this afternoon
when I interview Alton?
This time of year?
No, sorry.
We're way too busy
for me to step away.
Maybe you'll change your mind.
Someone's gotta run
the factory, Mary.
Santa and those elves, they
can't do it all by themselves.
They can't.
Would you go on the
record with that?
Because that is a scoop.
You are relentless.
You have no idea.
I'm starting to
get a sense of it.
I gotta go.
I have a one-man crew,
and as awesome as he is,
it's gonna take a
while to set up, so.
Guess I'll see you around?
[Mary] See ya.
[soft, tender music]
Hey, you missed Bernice's
savory cinnamon rolls.
Just like my mama used to make.
Crash, can we talk
about that later?
Did you do this?
[Crash] It was here
when I came in.
I assumed you did it.
How many years have we
been working together?
Have you ever seen me stage
something this cheesy?
That was me.
And since the Mistletoads
are the company's
most famous item, I thought
it would be appropriate.
I know that Alton would like it,
unless of course you
have a better idea?
You know what, it's fine.
Oh, good, I see
you two have met.
I asked Lexi to oversee
things on our end.
Not only does she
have media experience,
but she knows which
is my good side.
[Alton chuckles]
[Crash] Come on, let's
get you mic'd up.
Thank you, Crash.
Okay, Alton, let's get
you set up, and then,
we can go ahead and go over
some of the ground rules.
I am in your very capable hands.
[Mary giggles]
Do I look down and
talk into that?
No. You know what, just
forget that it's there.
And then, when we do
start the interview,
don't look in the camera,
just stay looking at me, okay?
[soft, bright music]
Okay, Alton, how do you feel?
Great, great.
We can see his microphone.
[Mary] Yeah, I'm aware.
That's his primary mic,
though, and sound quality
is actually more
important than visibility.
[Mary] So, it's just like we
talked about earlier.
Just look right at
me, and it's just like
we're having a
normal conversation.
Camera speeds.
Okay, great.
So, let's go ahead and just
start at the beginning.
Tell me about the
founding of Johnson Toys.
In 1946...
I'm so sorry, Alton.
I forgot to tell you.
So, you're gonna want
to rephrase the question
in the answer, so it'll
sound something like,
Johnson Toys was
founded in 1946.
Aye aye, Captain.
Stop, stop, cut.
That Mistletoad,
it's out of focus.
We can't even see what it is,
it looks like a green blob.
It's supposed to
be out of focus.
We want the viewers
to focus on Alton.
Ah, I don't know.
I think we wanna
see the Mistletoads.
After all, they're what we're
known for, not green blobs.
[Alton] Yeah, I think so, too.
It's all about the Mistletoads.
What do you think, Mary?
How about we put it right here,
like he's my right-hand man?
You know what?
If it makes you happy,
Alton, that's fine.
Let's go again.
[Crash] Speeding.
Hey, why do you say that?
It just confirms
that we're recording.
Why not say
recording or filming?
Alton, if we could just...
It's a relic, really,
from the old days
when you actually used film.
You needed to wait a
few seconds for the film
to reach the proper speed,
so you'd say "speeding."
I love that.
So, you just do it
out of tradition.
[Crash] Habit for me.
Tradition for the new kids.
And thank you for the
history lesson, Crash.
Still speeding.
Shall we begin again?
Alton, can you tell me a
little bit about the importance
of Johnson Toys being
a family business?
Lexi, I cannot have
all these interruptions.
So, I'm gonna ask you if you
need to say something to me
to wait until afterwards,
and if you can't do that,
I'm gonna have to
ask you to leave.
Go ahead.
Thank you.
You know how we came
up with the Mistletoads?
Could we talk about
that in a little bit?
Right now, I'd
really like to hear
about how it's a
family business.
Well, this is a
story about family.
Blake's mother had mistletoe
up around the house.
She loved Christmas.
I do, too, but she
really loved it.
Anyway, Blake would
smash words together
when he was two or
three, and when he saw
some mistletoe hanging one
day he shouted "Mistletoad!"
[Alton chuckles]
We just thought it was
the funniest thing.
[Alton chuckles]
The rest is history.
We drew it up that night,
and the Mistletoad was born.
This is great.
[jazzy Christmas music]
So, what do you think, honestly?
He's a natural storyteller.
Plus he's funny and likable.
Got nothing to worry about.
Yeah, but you're not
the one that's gonna have
to sift through hours
of Mistletoad talk
just to find the good stuff.
Well, that's the job.
Yeah, but what about Lexi?
Can you believe her?
You've dealt with plenty
of PR flacks before,
who were just as pushy.
The politics on this
one, it's tricky.
I mean, how are we supposed to
maintain integrity like this?
You just stick to your guns.
Now, we've worked
together a long time,
and there's one thing I've come
to learn about Mary Romero,
is that she brings integrity
into everything she does.
You got this.
Crash, you old softie.
Well, I just call
it like I see it.
Well, thank you.
Oh, you wanna screen some
footage with me tonight?
No can do.
I have plans.
You have plans?
- Mmm.
- Here, in Brunswick, Iowa.
I make friends easily.
You are the biggest
misanthrope I know.
[both chuckle]
[soft, bright music]
Bernice offered
to cook me dinner.
We got to talking
about mushrooms.
Years ago, I did a piece
on truffle hunters,
and it turns out she
forages her own mushrooms.
What is going on?
You have a date, and
I have a PR person
telling me how to
direct my shoot.
Is this the Twilight Zone?
Nope, just Christmas
time, season for miracles.
And speaking of miracles.
Thank you.
Thank you.
A date.
Mmm, fries are good.
Try 'em.
- Mm-hmm.
- Mm-hmm.
[mellow rock music]
[door knocks]
[door knocks]
No solicitors.
What are you doing?
Oh, I was taking a shower.
One second, I'll be right down.
- Hi.
- Hi.
How'd you know where I live?
Right off the town square,
vintage tractor
in the front yard.
I mean, even in a farming
town, that's not really
a dime a dozen, so
it wasn't that hard.
Come inside, it's freezing.
Yeah, okay.
[Mary giggles]
You always have a fire
burning for all your guests?
I was just about to
settle in, do some work.
Oh yeah?
What can I do for you,
Mary, besides warm you up?
I mean, with the fire.
I know that.
So, how did the interview go?
I mean, don't you already know?
What do you mean?
You had Lexi there to spy on me.
No, Lexi does not wait on
my instructions on anything.
Right, but you guys
are, you know, like.
What are you doing?
I'm trying to say that
you're together, right?
Lexi grew up here, and so did I.
We went to the same
schools together.
Let's just say there
weren't a lot of options,
you know, for either of us.
So, you dated.
A lifetime ago.
Yeah, and now she works
for you, which is not weird.
It's not weird for me.
I don't think it's
weird for her.
Is it weird for you?
Why would it be weird for me?
Is that why you came
by, to chat about Lexi?
No, you distracted me.
Oh, I'm sorry, I think.
Look, I came by to ask
you to please reconsider.
Oh, you really
don't give up, do you?
Blake, this story
is gonna happen,
whether you want it to or not.
Don't you want your story
to be told correctly?
That's what Lexi keeps saying.
You know, get in front of
it, control the narrative.
Lexi and I agree,
just this once.
You know what? Come on.
[Mary sighs]
[fire crackles]
[soft, bright music]
[Mary] Wow.
Are these?
My grandpa's, yeah.
[Mary] Really?
Some of them just look a
little more contemporary.
You know, he was
ahead of his time.
You know, Brunswick
is a lot more
than just Johnson Toys.
I do know that, yeah.
not everyone does.
This town is hurting.
Well, they just need to
look at your annual budget.
I mean, you're receiving
less and less money
from the state each year.
You're cutting back on
the schools, the clinic.
I do my homework.
Well then, you also know
that we're having a hard time
filling the empty
seats on town council.
Nobody wants to face the music.
That's what I'm talking about.
This piece could bring Brunswick
exactly the type of
exposure that you need.
It could.
[bright, playful music]
If I did this,
I'd be trusting you to tell
the real story
about the company.
How Johnson Toys is more
than just Mistletoads.
What we mean to this town,
and what this town
means to my family.
Something that my grandpa
would be proud of.
I wouldn't have
it any other way.
Told you I'd get you to say yes.
It's my turn.
No, it's not.
It's mine.
It's my turn.
There you go.
[Bernice] You're so bad.
Candy cane.
[Crash] What are you
so happy about?
Blake agreed to my interview.
- Really?
- [Mary] Mm-hmm.
I thought he was
dead set against it.
He was, but I feel like
we're really connecting.
I bet.
How was dinner?
Hmm, so-so.
[Mary gasps]
He had two helpings.
He would've had more, but I
made him save room for dessert.
I was hungry after
a hard day's work.
That's all.
Had nothing to do with the meal.
- [leg thuds]
- [Crash groans]
You guys, you are too much.
What about you, dear?
Can I fix you something?
No, thank you, I have
a lot of work to do.
[tongue clicks]
[festive, bright rock music]
Aw, yeah
It's time when we're
nearing the end of the year
And time for the season
of joy and such good cheer
This time when we set aside
All feelings
that cause divide
And bring us together
in peace and love
It oughta be
Christmas every day
There oughta be
snow and lights
and Santa on his sleigh
And when the sleigh
bells start to ring
And all the children
start to sing
Oh, it oughta be
Christmas every day
It oughta be
Christmas every day
[Mary sighs]
So, you nervous?
Nervous about what?
[Mary] Your interview.
No, I'll be fine.
I'll be fine, right?
You'll be great.
And I happen to be really good
at putting people at ease.
Yeah, so I've noticed.
I do have a favor to ask.
[Blake] Oh?
I don't want Lexi there.
She's the Vice
President of Marketing.
She's a distraction,
and I do not need
or want her looking over
my shoulder all day.
[Blake sighs]
Okay, I'll tell
her to stand down.
Thank you.
So, what happens after you
filmed everything you need?
Hmm, go back to the city
and put it all together.
And that's it.
[Mary] That's it?
[Mary giggles]
That's a lot.
No, I mean that's
it for Brunswick?
[soft, jazzy music]
Yeah, it is.
That's too bad.
You know, I did enjoy it here
a lot more than I
thought I would.
Yeah, no, me too.
I mean, having you here.
And I won't say it wasn't
great getting to know you.
But you have a life and
a job back in Chicago.
And you have an entire
family legacy to continue.
Another time, another place.
[phone beeps]
[Brianna] You were asleep?
[Mary] Yeah, I
guess I needed it.
Sounds like the country
life agrees with you.
It was just a late night.
[Brianna] See, I love that.
I love that for you.
Okay, now tell me everything.
How's the toy farmer?
[Brianna gasps]
He has a name.
Blake, yes.
Yeah, he's a really great guy.
But I just think
it's bad timing.
Oh, who cares about timing?
I mean, can't he leave Iowa?
No, girl, he's not leaving.
He has roots here.
Would you, gasp, move there?
No, no.
I have spent way too many years
working my way up
that network ladder.
It would be so
stupid to leave now.
And this story is
just so much better
than I ever could have imagined.
I think I'm just
getting caught up in it.
I think that's all it is.
He's part of the
story, you know?
Mary, what about your story?
[Mary chuckles]
It's just complicated.
Is it?
[Mary chuckles]
How's my bathroom?
[Brianna] It's fine.
I think the guys
left early for lunch,
'cause I was talking too much.
Oh, I'm sure
that's not happening.
Look, I'm coming home tomorrow,
so just call me if
anything explodes, okay?
You'll be the second
person I call, bye.
- [phone beeps]
- Bye.
Okay, I gotta get up.
[bright music]
[Mary] You know what?
I interviewed Alton
behind his desk.
I don't wanna do the
same thing with you.
It's too similar, so I
think we'll put you here.
Okay, whatever you say.
Sorry, Mary, give me a minute.
The colors on the
monitor are off.
Plus, I still need to mic him.
Okay, you know, I can mic him.
- Yeah?
- Yeah.
Could you stand up, please?
And I'm gonna go ahead and just
slide this down your shirt.
[soft, tender music]
You can grab it on the bottom.
And you can just put
that in your pocket.
And have a seat.
- All right.
- [camera beeps]
Okay, so just remember
what we talked about.
Look at me, don't look at the
camera, no one-word answers,
and try and rephrase the
question in your answer.
Rephrase, right, right, got it.
So, why don't we start talking
a little bit about craftsmanship.
Why is craftsmanship so
important to Johnson Toys?
Craftsmanship is important
to Johnson Toys because,
[Blake clears throat]
Craftsmanship is important to
Johnson Toys because, well,
look, I'm sorry, could we start
with something a little easier,
like what do we manufacture,
things like that?
We already got that with Alton,
but it's okay, just relax.
I'm trying.
[Mary giggles]
Pretend that we're at dinner,
just like the other night.
Speak from your heart
and just tell me,
why is craftsmanship
so important?
My grandfather, the
founder of Johnson Toys,
he always said, "Anything worth
doing is worth doing right."
- [Mary giggles]
- [Blake chuckles]
I know, I know, millions of
people say the same thing.
But I don't know how many of 'em
actually live it, you know?
'Cause to him, craftsmanship
wasn't just about
doing your best work,
it was about
allowing other people
to see the greatness
within themselves.
That was really great, Blake.
[Mary chuckles]
So, Johnson Toys could
manufacture whatever it chooses.
Why focus on Christmas items?
All right, please don't
take this outta context,
but you know what
drives me crazy,
is that for so many people,
it's all about the money.
That's what Christmas
is about, the money.
Not for me.
What's it about for you?
They say Christmas is the
happiest day of the year.
Well, we'd like to bring that
spirit to the other 364 days.
[Mary giggles]
Ah, there you are.
I was looking all over for you.
Everything okay?
Are you not happy
with the interview?
'Cause, I mean, Crash
said I was pretty good.
[Mary giggles]
Oh wow, he was just
being nice, wasn't he?
Crash wouldn't do that.
Okay, then what is it?
You were amazing.
Well, I guess I was just lucky
that I had someone that
could put me at ease.
[soft, jazzy piano music]
Just remember our
deal, all right?
The real story.
Real story.
Look, I hate to throw you out,
but I got some work to do.
Maybe if you're free later,
we could get some dinner,
just to say goodbye?
I think I can fit you in.
- Okay.
- Sure.
See ya.
[Mary sighs]
[Crash] Sure you don't wanna
ride back to the inn?
Nah, I feel like walking.
[Crash] You know,
I had my doubts
about all this,
just like you did.
But the truth is, it's turning
out to be a nice piece.
[Mary chuckles]
Get outta here.
- See ya.
- See ya.
Ever wonder what it's like
To only wanna
be in one place
When any and everything
Reminds you of the
sweet smile on that face
A smile with enough sunshine
To bring a snowman
to its knees
There's something
in the air
That makes me wanna make
More memories with you
Mary, how long
have you been there?
Not long, I'm
just on my way out.
Oh, can I fix you something?
[Mary] No, no, no, thank you.
I have plans.
Plans? Here,
in Brunswick, Iowa?
I make friends easily.
Can I get you guys
anything while I'm out?
We're fine, dear.
You have fun.
We don't lock doors here,
so come back whenever.
Laughter and relaxing
These memories
are all we need
If you only have right
now and right here
- Hey.
- Hi.
[Mary giggles]
You look great.
So do you.
Oh, hey, Blake, we're slammed.
Gimme a minute?
Take your time,
we're in no rush.
You want something to
drink while you wait?
I'm good.
Mary, rye?
No, thanks.
[Mary and Roberta chuckle]
You know, I'm really starting
to like how people
know my name here.
Aw, you're gonna miss
our small town hospitality.
I am.
Speaking of which, how's
Bernice treating you?
She's so sweet, I
want her to adopt me.
Careful what you wish for.
[Mary giggles]
Oh, looks like we're ready.
So, my next piece is
on the Transit Authority
and how the bidding process
is not transparent
to the public.
So, this makes for
potentially criminal behavior,
and even if it doesn't,
it foments distrust
of the government.
Wow, that sounds
like quite the expose.
It's important
for people to see.
Making a difference, right?
That's right.
So, the interview
must have gone well,
if it turned into a date.
[Lexi chuckles]
I'm kidding.
Seriously though, how'd it go?
It was fine.
I recall you using the words,
"you," and "were,"
and "amazing."
It was a very good interview.
I got exactly what I needed.
I'm thrilled to hear it.
What else do you need
for your story, Mary?
Blake was the last holdout,
so as of a few hours
ago, we're wrapped.
Heading back to
Chicago, then, huh?
Yeah, I guess so.
Well, we're all gonna
be so sad to see you go.
[Mary] Thanks.
[Lexi] Well, I don't
wanna intrude,
I just wanted to make sure
everything went great.
Glad to hear it did.
Have a good night.
So, where were we?
Making a difference, yeah?
[Mary giggles]
Sorry, one second.
[phone buzzes]
It's my foreman,
I need to take this.
Please, yeah.
[Blake sighs]
No, I understand.
See you soon.
The assembly line is down again.
What's that mean?
It means I gotta go.
- Oh.
- I'm sorry.
That's too bad.
I know it sounds dramatic,
but Christmas is on the line.
[Mary giggles]
Santa and those elves...
Can't do it all themselves.
[soft, tender piano music]
[Mary giggles]
Well, if this is goodbye,
it was so nice to meet you,
and thank you for everything.
No, yeah, it's been great.
Thank you.
Goodbye, Mr. Johnson.
Goodbye, Ms. Romero.
I was hoping you'd fly
south with the birds
But hey, that's nothing new
What feels different
now is I'm spending
Hey, I don't think I'm, oh.
Did Blake have to leave?
Yeah, something went
wrong at the factory, so.
He tried, you know.
- I'm sorry?
- In the city.
He tried to sell his
paintings in Chicago,
even opened a little store.
They just never sold.
His grandfather's paintings?
Is that what he told you?
But you brought back that
feeling that melted away
Why are you telling me this?
Maybe to save
you some heartache.
- I can take care of myself.
- Please, Mary.
Blake is amazing,
and we all love him.
But if he can't face the past
or his own failures,
how's he ever gonna grow,
be the leader that
Johnson Toys needs?
Maybe he needs some encouragement,
or the right support?
Yeah, maybe.
Guess we'll never know.
Well, safe travels.
Mm-hmm, thanks.
Just to look at lights
and feel anything at all
I can't find the cold,
but every year that's true
It just got warmer now that
I'm sitting here with you
And no matter what,
every year feels the same
This is ridiculous.
But you brought back that
feeling that melted away
Something's been missing,
but this year, it changed
And now, Christmas
doesn't feel so far away
[door knocks]
[soft, tender piano music]
- Hi.
- Hi.
Everything okay at the factory?
That's why you're here?
I don't know, I can't sleep.
Yeah, that makes two of us.
I have one more question
I need to ask you.
Come inside.
Fire, something to drink?
Coffee, if you have it.
[soft music]
Here you go.
So, what's your question?
- Were you gonna tell me?
- Tell you what?
That all these
are your paintings.
Not all of them.
A few are my grandpa's.
Well, they're really similar.
Yeah, well, I adopted his style,
and I added a little
flair of my own.
It's just too bad I
didn't inherit his talent.
They have a ton of talent.
Did you ever sell any?
A few, here and there,
but not enough to ever...
To keep a gallery
open in Chicago?
Yeah, I know.
Let me guess, Lexi?
Is it true?
Is it true that I once
opened a gallery in Chicago,
and that I don't own it anymore?
Yeah, it's true.
What happened?
You're leaving tomorrow,
what does it matter?
You lied.
[Blake] I omitted.
Same thing.
I answered the
questions you asked me.
I participated in your piece
to the best of my abilities.
I see.
Listen, I'm exhausted.
We work farm hours here,
so I gotta be up soon.
Yeah, absolutely.
I better get going.
Look forward to
seeing the story.
[Mary] Mm-hmm.
[lush, emotional
orchestra music]
Good morning, Mary.
How'd you sleep?
Okay, you know.
It wasn't the room's
fault, though.
You're up early.
Yeah, I thought I'd get
a head start on the day.
You heading home?
I am.
Are you?
You know, I've been in
this business a long time.
Some might say, too long.
So, I thought I'd
stay here for a while.
On the house.
Oh, well Bernice,
you need to watch out,
because this one here
is a shameless charmer.
I got that feeling.
She'll probably get tired
of me before Christmas.
From what Crash tells me,
this place and the folks here
have a tendency
to grow on people.
People you'd least expect.
Did you tell Hank?
Not yet, I'll wait
until after the holidays.
Okay, great.
Well, this is a lot
for me right now.
So Bernice, if I could just
settle up, I'll get on my way.
You won't be a
stranger, will you?
You know, I have
enjoyed it here,
but I honestly don't know
how often I'll be back.
Except for, probably,
the 50th anniversary
of the Mistletoads.
Well, good luck with the story.
Everyone is so
excited to see it.
Thank you.
Thank you for everything.
[Bernice] You're welcome.
[playful, bright music]
[soft piano music]
- Cheers.
- Cheers.
[glasses clink]
It is about time we
made this happen, finally.
I know, I'm so sorry,
it's all my fault.
I just had a really busy year.
Mmm, Mary is the
busiest, the coolest,
and the prettiest
person I know, okay?
Yeah, you're a reporter, right?
I am, yes.
I actually just finished
a story about this company
in Iowa that manufactures
Christmas items.
But the real story, it's
actually about the town
more than it is the company.
Cool, like a charity piece.
No, no, not a charity piece.
Right, so I'm not sure
if Brianna told you,
but Dylan and I
are in real estate.
Yeah, she mentioned that.
We're working on a
huge project right now.
It could be a game-changer.
- Okay.
- And you know,
if those investors
really come through,
we could bid on that
riverfront property
as early as next quarter.
[Todd] Properties.
Remember, we don't wanna
limit this to the riverfront.
[Dylan] Absolutely, properties.
I'm not the one you
need to convince.
I still think we
should do commercial.
[voices murmur and echo]
Hey, what's up?
Oh, thanks for swinging by.
- No, thanks.
- We gotta talk.
You know the Transit
Authority bidding scheme story?
It's really starting
to heat up, so...
I wanna talk
Brunswick, Johnson Toys.
I watched your cut,
I had Phil show me.
It's not done yet.
I think we should just
wait until I fine-tune it.
Come on, Mary, don't spin me.
I've been doing
this a long time.
I know how to watch a rough cut,
and I can see where
you're taking the story.
But that is the
real story, okay?
It's an artist who sacrifices
his dream to save a small town
and then becomes one of the
biggest employers in the state.
I'm taking over, I had
Phil start a new cut.
Hank, you promised
me creative control.
Look, I like what you did
with the Christmas paintings,
and the old man
building up the company
so the son has
something to inherit.
But you missed the brief.
You were supposed to be
there for the Mistletoads.
This story is actually
very important to me,
and I made promises to the
people who participated.
What do you want me to say?
I've got bosses,
too, and right now,
they're more concerned
with the bottom line.
I gave them my word.
It's not gonna be that bad.
I know what I'm doing, okay?
The piece airs in two days.
So, why don't you just go home
and have yourself
a great Christmas.
[Hank sighs]
[soft piano music]
Thanks for coming over.
Of course.
- Happy to be here.
- You excited?
We'll see.
I'm so proud of you.
Thank you.
[grand orchestra music]
Chances are you've got
something made by Johnson Toys
among your holiday
decorations, or under the tree.
And if you're of a certain age,
you probably remember
this festive frog,
whose 40th anniversary
is this year.
[Alton] It's all about
the Mistletoads.
He's my right-hand man.
[Alton chuckles]
[News Anchor]
With annual sales
in the hundreds of millions,
Johnson Toys of Brunswick,
Iowa is now the country's
most successful purveyor
of Christmas trinkets.
Thanks to some little
green helpers that had
an adorable start, all
because of Alton's son, Blake.
Blake would smash words together
when he was two or three,
and when he saw some mistletoe
hanging one day, he
shouted, "Mistletoad!"
[Alton chuckles]
We just thought it was
the funniest thing.
[Alton chuckles]
The rest is history.
[News Anchor] Even though
Brunswick is a small town,
it has cashed in big
on the Mistletoads.
[Roberta] We created a special
drink, the Mistletoad.
It's been really popular,
we're actually keeping
it on the menu.
[News Anchor] And what
about Blake Johnson,
the little boy who
inspired it all?
Does he still love Christmas?
He now serves as Johnson Toys'
Vice President of Operations,
and is focused on one thing.
It is all about the money.
That's what Christmas
is about, the money.
[News Reporter] Well, when
you're as successful
as Johnson Toys,
Christmas would be
about money for me, too.
Happy 40th, Mistletoads,
and may you hop along
for decades to come.
Nicely done, Mary.
[soft, sad piano music]
I thought it was great.
It was great, right?
That was terrible.
It wasn't that bad.
No, it wasn't bad at all.
I think this is exactly
the kind of stuff
you should be doing.
I mean, this is what
people wanna see,
especially around the holidays.
That is not why I got into this.
[Dylan sighs]
Okay, yeah, no problem.
He is never gonna forgive me.
I'm sorry.
We'll get out of your hair.
[festive, sad music]
[Alton] Yes, yes.
Well, that's Christmas for you.
[Alton chuckles]
Okay, will do.
Thanks, Jim.
Mary, it's so nice
to see you again.
You, too. Um, is Blake...
- I loved it.
- What?
The piece.
I already had my tech
people pull it off the air
and stream it on our site,
or stream it off the
air, or whatever they do.
I can't thank you enough.
It was so positive, so upbeat.
It didn't take cheap shots.
I'm making it mandatory
viewing for all our employees.
Wow, well I'm glad
you liked it, I guess.
Normally for us, Christmas
is done by December 15th,
but with this story,
the orders are flying in.
[phone rings]
Will you excuse me
just a second?
- Sure.
- Heya.
I know, I know.
[Alton chuckles]
We're trying.
Yeah, we've got
everything at capacity.
Can we talk?
Look, I didn't expect you
to be excited to see me,
but I did come all the way here.
The least you could
do is let me explain.
Explain what?
How you used me?
How you used everyone
in that piece
to tell the story you wanted?
It wasn't like that.
I made our version,
the real story,
and the station,
they took it over.
The thing is, I'm
not even mad at you.
[Blake chuckles]
I'm mad at myself for trusting
you, caring about you.
[Mary chuckles]
I care about you, too.
Well clearly, we value
different things, then.
That piece, that made
us look so shallow.
That wasn't about
my grandpa's legacy.
No, I know that.
But hey, my dad loves it.
I'm sure he's gonna
spend a fortune
on advertising
before he retires.
He's retiring?
[Blake] This is his last Christmas.
He's gonna announce it at
the next board meeting.
So, are you gonna
take over the company?
Are you asking because
you actually want to know
or are you still working?
'Cause I wanna know.
I hope you have
a great Christmas.
[door creaks]
[emotional orchestral music]
Thank you.
Hey Tim, would you mind
putting this up on
the bulletin board?
I'd love that,
thank you, so much.
Hey Mary.
Actually, I'm glad
I saw you here.
Oh yeah?
Let me guess, you're thrilled
about the story, too?
Oh, yeah.
It was a bit clunky,
but got the job done.
But that's not why
I'm glad I saw you.
I'm competitive.
I can be competitive.
People have told me that, and
I think I might have gotten
a little carried
away the other night.
I hope I didn't put
you off towards Blake.
I was just angry about being
excluded from the interview.
Oh, it's fine.
It doesn't matter anyway.
You were put in an
impossible situation.
Happens to me all the time.
Why do you think I was so
difficult to deal with?
[Mary sighs]
You weren't difficult.
You were just doing your job.
And you were just doing yours.
So, what are you gonna do
now that Alton's leaving?
Blake told me.
Figure it out, we always do.
And you will too, right?
Yeah, yeah, of course.
[Mary chuckles]
What are these?
Oh, my side hustle.
I'm helping a friend
on the town council
with her reelection campaign.
Should be a walk in
the park, though.
There are more vacancies
than candidates this time.
- Here.
- Let me see.
Well, good luck.
Thanks, Mary.
Merry Christmas.
- No.
- Christmas.
- Yes.
- [Mary giggles]
- Yes.
- Thank you.
- You're welcome.
- Merry Christmas.
[Mary chuckles]
[soft, bright music]
What are you doing back here?
I just need some cheering up.
[Mary sniffles]
Is Crash still here?
He's down in the
basement fixing the boiler.
That man can't sit still.
[Mary chuckles]
I'm not gonna stay for too long.
I just wanted to come
by and say hello.
Did you check the weather?
No, why?
Because you're
not going anywhere.
The storm is supposed
to last until Christmas.
You'll be stuck on
the highway all night.
Please tell me you have a room.
You can have your room.
I wasn't expecting fireworks,
but I thought you'd be happier.
No, it's not that.
It's just...
Did you see the
Johnson Toy story?
Everybody saw it.
Not my best work.
The shots were nice, you
got the whole town in it,
and everyone looked
good on camera.
Oh, you didn't like it, either.
It's okay.
But you know what?
This place,
my time here, it changed me.
[tender orchestra music]
And I went home, it doesn't
feel like home anymore.
But I messed up, and
now, I don't know
if there's a place
for me here, either.
It'll be okay, dear.
You just need a
good night's sleep.
Yeah, maybe.
[Mary chuckles]
Thanks, Bernice.
Let's go inside.
[soft piano music]
Thank you.
You're welcome.
Lights on the rooftop
Candles on the table
Fire burning slowly
I hold you closely
Let's cherish the moment
This season will leave
before we know it
'Cause next year will
be better than the past
'Cause we found what
we didn't know we had
I don't want any
presents or snowfall
I just want to embrace
and remember it all
This year was
gone in an instant
Turn the page, I hope
we didn't miss it
I just want this
Christmas, baby
I just want this
Christmas to last
All the cards are written
All the gifts have
their receipts
Fire dying slowly
We will never feel lonely
Let's cherish this moment
- Hey.
- Hey, Merry Christmas.
Good morning, Merry Christmas.
Bernice told me
that you were here.
Yeah, I was just about to leave.
Good morning.
Good thing you didn't
leave last night.
I know.
It looks okay now, though.
Yeah, the roads going
back are probably clear.
- The plows were out all night.
- Good.
You want to get home soon, huh?
I do, yeah.
That would be really nice.
And what about you?
When are you coming
back to our fair city?
Well, you know, we'll see.
Okay, well I guess I'll
see ya when I see ya.
How about a coffee and a
pastry for the road, Mary?
That would be great.
[soft, playful, bright music]
[soft, tender piano music]
[door creaks]
[Blake] How'd you sleep?
[warm piano music]
What are you doing here?
Saying I'm sorry.
No, no, I'm sorry.
I didn't edit that piece.
Once I got back to Chicago,
I had nothing to do with it.
I know.
If I would've known how
that piece was gonna turn out,
I never would've even
accepted the assignment.
Mary, I know.
I should have known
better, that you wouldn't
have done that to me,
or anyone else, really.
And I'm just sorry that I
reacted the way that I did.
Thank you for saying that.
I should have believed you.
And when I realized
that, I convinced Crash
to call your editor and
give me a copy of your cut.
[Mary chortles]
You know, for
someone who's supposed
to be taking it easy,
Crash is a very busy man.
So, what are you gonna
do about your company?
I've been wrong
about a lot lately.
Johnson Toys isn't the problem.
I am.
So, are you gonna sell?
No, I couldn't do
that to the staff.
Then, what are you gonna do?
No more running from my past.
I'm gonna launch a new
line of Christmas paintings
to honor my
grandfather's legacy.
I love that.
And it's all because of you.
And once my grandfather's
house is all fixed up,
I'll start showing his
paintings there, and maybe mine.
Looks like you got a lot
of work ahead of you.
You know, that house has
good bones, a lot of history.
Well, and after
we get it fixed up,
might need to find someone
to help you run it.
Maybe I was thinking
about relocating.
What about your
job, your career?
The kind of work that I love,
it doesn't exist for me anymore.
I was thinking that
I would go somewhere
that I could actually
make a difference.
[warm, tender orchestra music]
And I did hear that there's a
spot open on the town council.
Maybe I could help people
the way I always wanted to.
Well, you got my vote.
And just so you know,
I thought your version
of the story was spot on.
Maybe I just made it
per an audience of one.
Well, sometimes all you need
is one person to
make a difference.
If it's the right one.
'Cause you're
my happy holiday
You're my happy holiday
You're my happy holiday
You're my happy holiday
You're my happy holiday
[soft, bright music]
Turning down our road,
I'm like a kid again
I can't wait to see
all of my family,
and all of my friends
And I'm on my way, 'cause
you're my happy holiday
You're my happy holiday
You're my happy holiday
You're my happy holiday
You're my happy holiday
Turning down our road,
I'm like a kid again
I can't wait to see
all of my family,
and all of my friends
And I'm on my way, 'cause
you're my happy holiday
You're my happy holiday
You're my happy holiday
You're my happy holiday
You're my happy holiday
Winter stories make our own
We'll sing songs, the whole
world knows, whoa, whoa
Everyone we love is here
Drinking up the season's
cheer, whoa, whoa
You're my happy holiday
You're my happy holiday
You're my happy holiday
You're my happy holiday