The Perfect Gift (2009) Movie Script

[Christmas music]
[bird sqwak]
[Opening music starts]
['Jingle, jingle, Mr. Kringle. Here comes']
['Christmas Day. Jingle, jingle, Mr. Kringle']
['Be-boppin silver bells play']
['Tinsel on the streets aglow']
['A reindeer with a shiny nose. Deck the halls']
['and trim the bows underneath the mistletoe. Ooooo']
['Jingle, jingle, Mr. Kringle']
['Here comes Christmas Day. Jingle, jingle']
['Mr. Kringle. Be-boppin silver bells play']
[music bridge]
[music bridge]
[music bridge]
['Gifts for you and some for me']
['gathered round the Christmas tree. Sidewalk band']
['don't miss a beat when Santa's makin his big scene. Ooooo']
['Jingle, jingle, Mr. Kringle']
['Here comes Christmas Day. Jingle, jingle,']
['Mr. Kringle. Be-boppin silver bells play']
[music bridge]
[music bridge]
[music bridge]
['Stockings hung by fireside']
['Warming from a sleigh bell ride. Holly wreaths']
['and smiles so bright. Just think bout a wild Yuletide. Oooooo']
['Here comes Christmas Day']
Hey, Max...are you here to see your M-
[music bridge]
[music bridge]
[music bridge]
['JIngle, jingle, Mr. Kringle']
['Here comes Christmas Day. Jingle, jingle']
['Mr. Kringle. Be-boppin silver bells play']
['When is Christmas Day?']
['Can't wait for Christmas Day']
[music fades]
Hey Sweetie. I am not going back to that school ever again!
What is it this time? It's everything!
The teachers are awful. All the kids in my classes act like 3rd graders.
And the whole building smells like potatoes.
Do you know what they made me do today?
They made me play field hockey. I had to run around. Outside.
Do you know how disgusting that is? Getting all sweaty and then having to sit in it the rest of the day?
Well, did you score? I don't even know how to score!
I just kept running around in circles with that stick thingy til somebody blew the whistle.
Wish I could
go back to my old school. Your old school is twice as expensive.
This is the best we can do for now. Thanks to your father.
Didn't anything good happen today? Yes!
I came up some more birthday ideas for you.
Oh, boy. The second page is almost all boots and shoes;
I tried to keep everything in categories so it wouldn't be confusing. Thanks
so much. Mom, you didn't even look at it.
Sweetheart, I've been trying to tell you. Things are not going to be quite the same this year. Our finances are
not great. (sigh) Plus all the end of the year stuff here,
board meetings, uhh, why does your birthday have to be on Christmas?!?
My birthday isn't on Christmas...
Christmas is on my birthday!
Hey! No hanging out in front of the building. You need to get upstairs and do your homework. And no internet til
I get home. I'll see you when I get there!
[office sounds] Everything okay?
Everything's fine.
What's up? You need to sign off on
the caterer list for the Christmas Party. The what?
The Winter Gala. Stupidest thing
I ever heard of. It's called avoiding lawsuits.
My mother never baked Winter cookies. We haven't ever
hung Winter stockings on the fireplace. And we don't
walk around the neighborhood going Winter caroling. Are you through?
Oh, Scotia. Yeah? You need to send an email out to
everybody and let them know it's just going to be well drinks this year. If anybody wants the top shelf stuff
they're going to have to pay extra. Oh, and there's a box of ornaments out in the hallway by the
elevator. Get Maintenance to do something with that. I'll tell them
to put it by the Winter Tree in the lobby.
[traffic sounds]
Ahh! Ohhh! Ahhh!
You all right? No, I'm not!
Can I help you? No, but it looks like you could use some help. Yeah, well that's because -
You okay?
Um, yeah...yeah. I was just...
you took me off guard, cause from down there you looked like...
[laughs] Never mind. I'm Tony Vincent.
Hi Tony. Looks like you got quite a job
going here. Yeah. What's it going to be? Uh, a new
stable for the Nativity scene. A street gang spray painted the old one at the end of
last year. That's a shame.
You know, I used to work in my father's wood shop. If you like, I could give you a hand. Thanks,
that's very kind of you, but I think I can manage. Good enough.
I will tell you that if you wet the nail first it goes in a lot easier.
Thanks. I'll give it a try. Take care now. Yeah, you too.
Uh, just wettin the old
nail up. Only way to get the little suckers
to go in right.
This all you've got done? You've been out here
for two hours. Yeah, well, you know I'm really not too good
at this kind of thing. We should really think about hiring someone- No, no, no
we can't be spending good money to hire somebody to do something we can do ourselves.
But... And should you ever get finished here, the handrail
on the back steps has come loose again. We don't need some old lady suing us
because she fell and broke her hip. I'll be back later.
Don't forget to change the hymn numbers in the foyer. Okay.
Hey, Tony! [thud!]
Hi Tony. Oh, hi. How are you today?
Um, fine. What happened to your hand?
I, uh...accident with an...well...
hammer. Aw, you poor thing. Well have a
good evening. Oh, Tony...could I ask you a favor?
Sure. I've got late stuff going on at work every night this week
and I really hate for Max to be alone in the evenings. Do you think she
could possibly get off the bus at your church and come home with you? Yeah. Sure.
Not a problem. Oh, you're the best. Sometimes I don't know what we'd do without you.
That's what neighbors are for. Bye now.
Hi Cupcake. Hi. How's the homework tonight?
It's homework, Mom.
Mmm, something smells good.
What are you talking about? The dinner you made. I'm just saying
it smells good. And I'm starving.
Mom, you were supposed to bring dinner home.
I was?
We caught up with Blaine Pollett, director of the local chapter of The National Civil Freedom Coalition
I don't have anything against Christmas. I just think church and state need to stay
separated. And I'm going to do every-
But Papa, it's Christmas. You just have
to believe. I know, Pumpkin. But doesn't
Santa make dreams come true? So what do you want to try
now? What was that last stuff? That was
Fat-Free Ranch Dressing. I'll have another one of those.
Please tell me you haven't
forgotten my birthday cake from Blumenthals. Sweetheart...
Blumenthals is all the way on the other side of town. Does that mean
you haven't? You know they need a three week advance this time of year.
Don't have a cow, Honey, I'll get it taken care of.
I hope so.
Have a cow? Where'd you get that one?
It's an expression. Don't see how a person
can have a cow. Well, I'm glad I brought it up.
you want to get a tree this weekend? Maybe do a little decorating? Why?
I don't know. It's Christmas time. We're supposed to do that kind of stuff.
Do you really want to lug a tree all the way up here?
Well, I'm sure Tony would give us a hand. I don't see the point.
Do all that stuff. Put things up everywhere. Then you just have to turn around
and take it all back down again. Yeah, I guess you're right.
Hey, speaking of Tony. You need to get off the bus at his church and let him bring you home the rest
of the week. I've got work stuff every night. Do I
have to? Oh, come on, Sweetie, you're crazy about Tony.
Plus it's only for a few hours. Okay.
Excuse me, but what are you doing? Do you know you left your
tools out last night? Did I?
Good thing it didn't rain. Yeah. Uh...
why are you here? I was walking by
- noticed you hadn't made a lot of progress. Saw the tools. Yeah, well
that's very nice of you, but I can take it- No, sit. Finish your coffee. Yeah?
Yeah. I'm on a roll here.
So you think Chicago's going to make the playoffs? Not with the way Wishman's been playing.
It's like he never has an open receiver. Every defense in the league
knows it. Yeah, but when he was at Green Bay he didn't need a good receiver because he had his legs
[traffic sounds]
From the way you've all been buzzing around the last few weeks, I know you're all
very familiar with this word. Raise your hands. What's the first thing that pops
into your head when you see or hear the word Christmas?
Family time. Okay. Kelly? The mall.
Allright. Red and green? Okay. The Nutcracker.
Allright. Presents. Miracle on 34th Street.
Huh? [laughter] How about you?
How about me what?
Retail spike? Allright.
Now, those of you who didn't get to answer, you're all going to have your chance.
Your assignment going into the break:
What is
Christmas? 500 words. Single spaced.
Now this marks our final grade for this semester. So those of you who need the extra help, this could
be your last chance. [school bell rings]
Could you come here, please?
You know, you've dropped almost
two full letter grades this past six weeks. I've just had a lot
on my mind. Be that as it may, any more slipping, and you could be looking at failing this
class. Yes, ma'am. I suggest you do some outstanding
work on this essay assignment. Otherwise, your GPA's going to have some serious problems.
Okay. How about
you let write on a different subject? Something I can really get into. Like
Paris. Or horses. I think I'd be a lot better off-
Nice try. That's all.
Here you go.
Looking good here. You know, I really appreciate your help.
To be totally honest, I'm not much of a carpenter.
Really? I never would have guessed.
Do you live around here?
Not exactly. So you're just passing through? You might say that.
Where you staying? Nowhere in particular.
Oh, I see.
This your church? No, I'm just the Asociate Pastor.
Reverend Black runs things. While you fix Nativity scenes and
handrails. Yeah, well, we've been losing money lately, so I've had to
pick up a lot of the slack here and there. Losing money?
You know. Tithes and offerings aren't coming in like they should be
so the whole budget suffers. Mainly because attendance is
in decline. Why do you think it's in decline?
Who knows? I mean, we've got our core families, just not many new people.
Then when people move out of town or die,
well, there you go. Are you telling the truth?
About what? I mean are you telling the truth from the pulpit?
Oh, well, Reverend Black handles the sermons.
The last few years he's tried to jazz things up, you know? More current event kind
of stuff, tips on how to lead a happy life. Not working?
Evidently not. But you didn't hear that
from me. There's Reverend
Black now.
how long do you expect to be in town? Long as I need to be.
Would you excuse me, uh -
gosh, I've been talking to you all day. What is your name?
Jes works for me. Jes. Would you excuse me? Sure.
Come in.
who's that bearded man working on your project? His name's Jes.
He's passing through town and he's really handy with things.
So he's a drifter. Well,
I guess. Maybe. But I bet he'd stay around long enough to finish
the creche and fix things like the handrail and whatever else we needed.
For free? Well, for a warm place to stay I bet.
We've got that room with the cot out in the maintenance shed.
So you really want to get out of work that badly, huh?
It's just that I've got so much else to do. I've got to dress the pulpit, do the Christmas
bake sale, hospital visits- I've told you before. Visiting in person
is not the most efficient way to do that. In the time it takes you to drive
to one hospital, you could contact over a hundred parishioners by email.
Sometimes an email doesn't get it.
What was that?
Nothing. So how about it?
Allright. Go ahead.
But if he asks for any wages, it comes out of your
pocket, understand? Understood. And Tony - Yes?
Does he believe in God? I don't know. I didn't ask him.
[office sounds]
Ms. Westray? Yes?
Your mother's on Line 3. You can take it in Mike's office if you want.
Hey, what's up?
Are you guys all packed?
For the last time, no. We'll be fine.
This Christmas is just one more thing we have to learn
to do alone.
Yeah, she's fine. She hates her new school.
Yeah, fixated on her birthday, regardless of what the rest of the world is
Yeah, it's great. They've actually put me in charge of the Winter Gala.
Christmas Party, Mom.
Even though I'm the last person in the world they should have picked.
Well, I haven't even decorated my own
Well, let's just say I don't have a lot to offer
in the way of Christmas cheer...or
Okay, I'm going to let you get going.
Have a great time on the cruise. I'll see
you next month. Okay, bye now.
Hey, Max. How you doing? Okay. How long til we go
home? Just a bit. Right now I've got to run over to the printer.
Hey, why don't you come over here and keep Jes company? Who?
Jes. He's the guy working on our Nativity scene.
Is he supposed to be working on the Nativity, or living inside it?
Yeah, he does kind of look like Him doesn't he?
It's a little creepy, Tony. Yeah, well, anyway,
have a seat and I'll be right back.
Hi. Hi. Where's Tony? He had
to run to the printer. He'll be right back.
What's your name? What?
What's your name? Max. Max?
It's short for Maxine. I was named after my great grandmother.
I think there was money involved. You got a middle name?
I was born on Christmas Day. How do you like that?
So was-
how was school today? How was school today?
What are you, my uncle?
It stunk, okay? Why did it stink?
Well for starters, I'm about to flunk a class, and I have to write a stupid essay on
What is Christmas. That's a problem for someone named
Noelle, born on December 25th? To me
December 25th is my birthday. Everything else is just- Background?
Whatever. And let me guess,
since you were born on Christmas Day, you've always felt short changed, right?
Well, how would you feel? People born in February or July don't have to deal with
getting their birthday and Christmas presents combined. Or having nobody to
celebrate with because doing Christmas stuff. I mean, can't there be something
just for me and nobody else? Is that so selfish?
Actually that's the definition of selfish. Very funny.
Nevertheless -
there should be plenty of angles you can write on, even if you're not that much into the holiday.
LIke what? Well, for instance, um -
historical. Did you know that the first Nativity Scene was built over 700
years ago? An Italian guy named Francis came up
with the idea for the villagers who wer illiterate and couldn't read the story of
Mary and Joseph. Could you hand me that, please?
Here in the United States, it's called A Nativity Scene.
In France it's referred to as creche. Spanish speaking people call it
Nacimiento. Francis also
came up with the idea for Christmas carols. Do you like, write
encyclopedias or something? No. Just familiar with the subject
matter. See that didn't take so long.
You two been hitting it off? Yeah. You bet.
You know, I think I'm going to knock off a little early and go ahead and get Max home. You all set here?
Yeah, fine. I laid some fresh blankets and towels on the cot, and there's a
new soap in the bathroom. Water's in the mini fridge. Great. See you tomorrow.
Nice meeting you, Max. Yeah. You too.
So who is that guy? Well, I really don't know much about him.
Except that he's pleasant, seems to be knowledgeable
about a lot of subjects, and he's strong as an ox. And he looks
just like Jesus and he's building you a manger. Yeah.
That too. And he just showed up one day? Yep.
Just showed up. I kind of get the feeling he might've been a teacher at some
point in time, just by the way he talks, you know? He sure launched
into that history lesson without any problem.
[car starts]
[tv sounds]
Hey, Sweetie. Hi. Finish your homework?
Well, it's nice to see you've been making good use of your
time. I thought you weren't into decorating.
That doesn't count birthdays.
something came in the mail for you today. What?
Birthday card from Nanna! Yes!
She told me she's putting two hundred bucks in it this year!
I also got a call from one of your teachers. Mrs. Torretti?
Uh oh. She told me your grades have dropped
significantly. As in, might fail?
Okay. I'll make a deal with you. I promise not
to get all defensive if you promise not to give me a lecture. Fair enough.
And I'll make a deal with you. This
stays in here until those grades come up. And if you fail the class, it goes right
back to Nanna. You wouldn't!
Want to try me?
[door slam]
Okay, can I ask you
something? Uh huh. Why are you walking around with your shirt like that?
Huh? Oh. That. They made me turn my shirt inside out at school because it
said something inappropriate. Really? What did it say?
Merry Christmas. Um -
this is where I have to go. Okay. See ya.
Hey, Max. How's it going? Okay.
How was school today? Fine. Can I talk to you?
Yeah, sure. Just let me tie this off.
Okay, here's the deal. I have got to ace this essay I told you about.
I need you to give me some more Christmas history facts. Just as many as you
can come up with. What was that Nativity inventor guy's name again?
You know what? It's some kind of coincidence
you came here needing something from me today, because I've got a job for you. Well, really
for both of us. Tony needs
us to make a cake for the bake sale. Come again?
Actually, I volunteered us. He had to take Communion over to the nursing home.
Come on.
I really haven't done this sort of stuff before.
My mom usually takes care of all the cooking. Well, sort of.
You'll do fine. Just need
And this. And this.
Wait a minute. What? You've got to measure it.
Nah, it's be fine. No, you're going to ruin the whole
cake. Says who? Says the box.
You're very by the book, aren't you? No. I just think if you're gonna-
Stir it up and I'll flour the pan.
I think it needs a little more milk.
What is going on here?!?
And the church basement is most certainly not the place for a
handyman and a child to have play hour. I mean, not to mention what might've happened if- Um...
could you just...give me one minute?
It, uh, looks like I'm going to be a while here. Would you mind taking Max home? You can
use my car. That's okay. We can walk. Great.
Max, tell your mom I said he's okay. See ya.
Walk? Yeah.
It can't be that far. Come on. Well, since we're walking
will you help me with ideas for my essay now? You bet.
And the nave will need to be
vacuumed on Tuesday, and, uh,
don't forget to reset the chairs for the morning devotional with the ladies. The poinsettias will
be arriving in two days. Don't let the driver give you any guff about a
holiday service charge. And...don't
move into my office. I'll only be gone a few days.
I need to get to the airport.
I'll finish the Christmas sermon on the plane ride
home. Oh, and one last thing: you need to get going on those
proposals for the Budget Director. This coming year, we need more
programs. More incentives for the parishioners.
This place needs to be like a well-run
machine with gears to keep it all funded.
A church needs to be a...what's the best way to
say it... How about a place to worship and to connect people
with Jesus? Excuse me?
I said how- I heard
what you said. It's just that I've never detected quite that tone
from you before. Well... You've been spending a lot of time with that
vagabond cakemaker. Did that little comment have anything to- We just talk
about carpentry and stuff. That's all. There's not a problem here. There better
not be. A man like that obviously
doesn't have a lot of rules in his life. That's not a characteristic that a
young minister needs to emulate. While I'm
gone, just try to maintain things the way they are. Let's do the best we can to get through this
holiday in one piece.
[door shut]
...that was Chicago
...then my dad ran off with somebody he met at his health club -
they moved somewhere and ran up a bunch of bills, so some lawyer just had to burn all of our
assets. You mean froze. Oh yeah, froze.
That's why me and my mom had to move where we live now. Tough year, huh?
Yeah. And I really miss my horse. We had to get rid of him when
we moved. You like horses. Love horses.
Hey, how's it going?
Fine. Got a cigarette? I'm afraid I don't.
Give me your money.
I don't have any. I'm not fooling around, man,
just give it to me. Now!
Why are you doing this? What? I said why are you doing this,
you're not that kind of person. You don't know anything about me, man.
You want to know why?
I haven't had work in almost a year.
And I am covered up in bills.
And now my little girl's been sick. She keeps
getting worse. I need money.
Go home to your family.
What did you say? I said, go home.
Your daughter's well.
Yeah? Can I have that?
Weren't you scared? Nah.
No bullets. Well, how'd you know that? I just knew.
Come one. We better get you home. Okay, so
where was I? Oh, yeah, horses. Horses. So, my horse's
name was Lucky. He had a white face and...
Thank God you didn't get hurt, or
worse. I could just ring Tony's neck for letting somebody else bring you
home. Mom, I told you I was allright. The gun
didn't even have bullets in it. Well, he didn't know that!
So..for your birthday, we'll do the cake from
Blumenthals, have chicken tettrazzini for dinner, and have you thought about
who you'd like to come? Well, since I don't have any real friends,
and even if I did, it would still be Christmas to them. And with Grandma
and Grandpa in the Caribbean, and Dad wherever,
it's safe to say it'll just be you and me. Yeah.
Well, sorry about all that. But at least I know I'm still getting my two hundred
bucks from Nanna. So the essay's going okay? Yeah,
real okay. Jes has given me tons of great stuff to look up.
So you're learning alot? Learning? I'm just trying to
come up with 500 words. But you know what? What?
All this stuff I'm finding. There hasn't been anything about the
North Pole, or Rudolph, or Black Friday. So what are you
finding stuff about? Well...Jesus being born.
Some of this stuff doesn't even seem like the same holiday. Yeah.
Even when I was little, Christmas was different. We never had this big
shopping blowout the day after Thanksgiving. My parents never went
to huge office parties, I don't think I ever even saw Mom or Dad stressed out.
So what did you guys do? I
sang in the choir Christmas Eve. We got all
dressed up and went to candlelight service. No presents? Oh.
Yeah. We did gifts. For the longest
time, we did this really cool thing. What did you do?
My brother and I would each get three gits. Just
three? Yeah. And then, we'd
unwrap them and get to keep two. Well, what about the third one?
We'd rewrap them ourselves and
on Christmas night, Dad would drive us down to some
poor family's house and we'd give the gifts to their kids.
And then we'd come home.
These days, you'd probably get sued for trespassing with a Christmas gift.
Oh, I don't have to work late
tomorrow night after all, so no need to get off the bus at Tony's church. Uh, is it
okay if I do anyways? Why would you want to?
Oh, so you can get that Jes guy to finish writing your essay for you?
Mom, he's not writing it for me. He just gives me really good ideas.
I'm serious. This guy's like a computer. He knows stuff I can't even find online.
We're talking extra credit here.
[montage music starts]
[medley: What Child Is This]
[What Child Is This]
[What Child Is This]
[What Child Is This]
[What Child Is This]
[What Child Is This]
[What Child Is This]
[What Child Is This]
[What Child Is This]
[What Child Is This]
[What Child Is This]
[What Child Is This]
[What Child Is This]
[What Child Is This]
[What Child Is This]
[What Child Is This]
[What Child Is This]
[What Child Is This]
[What Child Is This]
VO: Most people don't realize that
the tradition of gift giving goes back to the Wise Men, who brought gifts
from afar to the newborn Jesus.
[Medley: We Three KIngs]
[We Three KIngs]
[We Three KIngs]
[We Three KIngs]
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VO: The Christmas tree is always an evergreen, that symbolizes the promise of eternal
life. The practice of cutting it down and putting it back up again
emulates Jesus' death and resurrection.
VO: The candy
cane is fashioned after a shepherd's staff - shepherds who witnessed
the birth of Jesus. The white and the red colors symbolize
both the purity and the blood of Jesus' sacrifice.
VO: A Christmas wreath is a ring with no beginning or end.
A sign that it is eternal - just like God.
[music fades]
[city sounds]
Hi. Whatcha got?
The Night Before Christmas. Will you
read it? Yeah, sure. Come on.
Twas the night before Christmas,
how would you like to hear another version?
Twas the night before Christmas, and a Beautiful Young Girl
and a Devoted Carpenter had been traveling
to the Devoted Carpenter's hometown. Now the Beautiful Young Girl
was about to have a baby, and The Devoted Carpenter was her new
husband. And she had been riding on the back of a donkey for three
days and three nights - and she was so tired she could
barely hold her head up. When they got to The Devoted Carpenter's
hometown, there was no place for them to stay.
Back then, there weren't hotels on every corner, so
The Devoted Carpenter remembered a Place Where the Animals Stayed
now, it wasn't clean. It wasn't even made for people.
But it was the best they had. So The Devoted Carpenter
took The Beautiful Young Girl and made her a soft place in the hay
right next to a mother goat and her three little ones.
While The Beautiful Girl laid there, she knew it was time. Her
baby was about to be born. Right there. In that Place Where the
Animals Stayed. Now, not far from there, some
Sheepherders were working in the fields, making sure that none of their sheep wandered off
so they'd all be ready to move out when morning came.
While the Sheepherders were sitting on the hill, listening to the silence of the countryside,
they were almost knocked over by what they saw. What
did they see? It was a Great Angel,
right in front of them. Shining so bright that they almost had to look
away, but they just couldn't. And chills ran down the
Sheepherders' spines when The Great Angel began to speak.
What did The Great Angel say? The Great Angel said, 'Don't
be afraid, because I'm here to tell you something amazing.
Right now, in a little town not far from here,
God has come down to Earth for a visit' -
and the Sheepherders couldn't believe their ears. God? The one who made
the Universe and everything in it? Down here?!?
And The Great Angel said, 'Yes. And unbelievable as it seems
tonight, God is baby. And He's lying
in a trough in a Place Where the Animals Stay.'
'And He's come here to give everyone in the world a gift. And after tonight,
the world will never be the same again.' And when The Great Angel
said that, the sky was suddenly filled with Great Angels - too many for the
Sheepherders to count. And the lights were so bright,
it looked like the moon had exploded. And the Great Angels were all
singing, like a giant rock concert in the sky.
And The Great Angels sang, with the volume turned all the way up,
'It's time to celebrate! Because God has come to Earth for a
visit - because God can do anything! And
after tonight, the world will never be the same again!'
Back in the Carpenter's hometown, the Baby
that was God Come to Earth for a Visit, lay
fast asleep in The Beautiful Young Girl's arms.
And the cows He created watched Him sleep.
And up in the rafters, the doves He had covered with feathers watched Him sleep.
And the donkey He made watched Him sleep.
And sitting close by, The Devoted Carpenter watched Him sleep
as he wiped the beads of sweat from The Beautiful Young Girl's cheek.
And The Carpenter though to himself
how the world would never be the same again
because God had come down for a visit.
[music fades]
Just another half hour, Sweetie. Then lights out.
What's that?
The company ordered two thousand
of them. Every employee has to wear one. 'It's Good To
Say Happy Holidays'?!? Yeah.
You know the whole Happy Holiday / Season Greeting thing is pretty bogus,
don't you? How so? Well, it just stinks
that everybody's trying to take out the main reason why the holiday is celebrated in the first
place. Well... But at the same time, everybody wants
to get presents, and go to parties, get a day off work, and a month off school -
and all the store owners just want to sell alot of stuff.
Yeah. You're right. I mean, it's kind of
hypocritical when you think about it. It's like, if the whole
world threw you a birthday party, and you were the main one they made sure didn't get
invited. That's a good way to put it.
Do you know a girl at my school got in trouble for wearing a scarf that said,
'The Reason for the Season'? Well, hey, it's just as bad at work - last
month we were meeting to come up with another name for 'Christmas party' and someone said we couldn't even
call it 'Holiday Party' because not everybody celebrates it as a holiday.
So what are you calling it? 'Winter Gala'
That sounds totally made up. I know. I hate it.
So why don't you change it? Huh?
You're in charge of it, aren't you? Well, yeah...
And you're the boss of everybody, right? Well, yes. In a manner of
speaking, but- But what?
Sweetie, you just can't change the way people - If you really
believe it yourself, you should be able to convince other people.
That's what I'd do if I believed in something.
It's just not that simple=
when it's a business you're talking about, you have to forget about your -
Thank you all very
much. That takes care of the Annual Report. One last thing - let's get an
update on the festivities for The Winter Gala.
Well, Stacy, what have you got cooked up for us? I saw the memo on the cash
bar. Well, the, uh,
the cash bar was one of the things I wanted to revisit. You
mean let everyone order the good stuff? I don't see how we can - No...
not exactly. I...I wanted to propose no bar at all.
Because of the expense. it's not that. It's
just, um...well, I though with no alcohol we could make it more of a family thing and
invite our kids and grandkids. No alcohol?
Go on. I, uh...well I
also thought that instead of spending thousands of dollars on sit down dinner we could just
do hors d'oeuvres, and, um... And?
And invite some of the homeless people from one of the shelters and have gift baskets
that our children could hand out. I thought, maybe even you, Mr. Braden,
you might want to play Santa Claus for the needy kids.
[shivering sound]
Or maybe not. I'm sure we could find another-
I guess I'm a little perplexed. What does giving presents to poor kids
have to do with an office party. Well, um, I've uh...
I've given it some thought, and um, cash bars
and ice sculptures are something we can do at any party any time of the year. But giving...
that's the one thing that defines celebrating Christmas.
You mean Winter Gala. No,
I mean Christmas. And while we're on the subject, let's
all be honest here. We're not celebrating winter or some generic
season with no name. It's Christmas. You know it, I
know it, everybody in the mall knows it, and everybody at that party, or gala, or
whatever is going to know it. Before you go any further, are you prepared
for the avalanche of the complaints you'll be getting? I checked with HR -
in the last five years, there's only been one complaint with calling it a
Christmas Party. And that was from a temp who was just working here for the holidays.
Really? I mean, come on.
Is that really how we make policy around here?
So if we're celebrating winter, then let's all
show up with our parkas and snow tires. But if we're spending
all this money to celebrate Christmas, then let's have the intelligence
to stand up and act like we know what we're doing and call it a Christmas Party!
I like it. Let's do it.
Good job. Good job, Stacy!
Nice work. Good job.
How's that look?
Missed a spot right there. Okay.
Hi Mom.
And you must be the Jes I've heard so much about. Stacy Westray.
Hi Stacy. I saw the Nativity
Scene on the way in. It looks great. Max, Honey,
we need to get going. Dentist appointment.
Oh. Have fun. Yeah. Thanks.
Sweetie, can you wait in the car? I'll be out in just a second. Bye, Jes.
See ya, kiddo.
Listen, I know I haven't been around much
- I wanted to say thanks for being so nice to Max. Believe me, it hasn't been a
problem. You've given her so much help with her essay, and, well, she's been
so unhappy with her new school, and she doesn't have very many friends. Yeah,
that's what I've heard. But the thought of her wanting to come here every day to work on a
Nativity Scene, it's just...well, it's just
we've never been much into religion. Neither have I.
It's good to see her take an interest in something. Anyway,
thanks again.
My pleasure.
Come in. Hi.
Hi. Hope we're not interrupting anything.
come right in.
Have a seat.
What can I do for you? I'm Blaine Pollett. This is Mr. Warren.
We've noticed you have a nice little Nativity Scene going up out front.
Yeah, well, we're pretty happy with it.
Are you
here just to tell me that? No.
We came to tell you you have to take it down. How's that?
You're probably not aware of the city ordinance enacted last year
that prohibits religious signage in business districts... I know all about that ordinance and I
also know that A) we're five blocks from the business district, and B)
we're a church, for crying out loud! Well, technically,
yes, but. last summer there was a
realignment of Sector 14 of the Northeast Access Route which
redesignated the property in front of your road right here as an extension of the Zone 3
Business Thoroughfare. Which all means what?
It means, congratulations - you're part of the Zone 3 Business
District. But we're a church. With a religious display
in plain sight of a business thoroughfare. It's all explained right here.
If you'd like to take a look. We filed
a formal complaint with the City Attorney's Office and the Zoning Commission.
The structure needs to come down immediately. Or what?
Or you're looking straight down the barrel
of a five thousand dollar fine.
Listen, we're pretty short handed around here. It took
several days to put up. It's going to take several days to take it down.
We've already thought of that. Our office has volunteers who'll be happy to come by and
give you a hand. Thanks. Just trying
to be helpful.
Happy Holidays, now. Thanks.
Thanks, alot.
You call Reverend Black? And get chewed out for not knowing about
the ordinance? Not a chance.
[phone dial]
All done, Mr. Pollett. Will do.
Have a good day.
I'll go get the truck.
[music starts]
[music fades]
...and the project should be completed by the end of next week.
And here locally, in the ongoing battle of Culture vs.
Christmas, some community leaders, as well as church personnel and people from a
local neighborhood have requested a special hearing of the District Four
City Council to discuss the removal of a Nativity Scene
from church property. Our field reporter, Pat Sullivan, caught up with
Blaine Pollett, local director of the National Civil Freedom Coalition
whose group is responsible for spearheading the removal of the display.
Hey, they can have all the hearings they want. The fact remains
they're still in violation of a city ordinance. And even if they get the ordinance
amended, it couldn't go into effect until January or February of next
year, so, either way, the display comes down.
[city sounds]
Are we still taking the kids ice skating tonight? Mike's on the City Council - they have that
special meeting tonight. You going? Could be some fireworks.
Nah, not exactly my thing. Okay. Bye.
Now let's see, Sweetie, have we forgotten anyone?
[crowd chatter]
Allright, let's quiet down! [gavel sound]
Let's come to order!
Now, we're all aware of the matter at hand - which is why we
granted this special meeting. In the interest of expediency, I'll turn
the floor over to Mr. Pollett of the NCFC. Mr. Pollett.
Look, I don't want to waste a bunch of time here. I know we'd all rather be home right now.
So the fact of the matter is simple. The guilty
party purposely chose to defy a city ordinance which was presented
to them in a civil and professional manner. And for that defiance,
they deserve to pay penalties. Do the
representatives of the church property have anything to add?
As Senior Pastor, in my defense I'd like to state for the record that the
subordinate left in charge during my absence, which is when this offense occurred,
was in no way authorized by me to do this, and acted on his own accord.
Or someone put him up to it.
Excuse me, what is that supposed to mean?
A drifter came into our midst a few days ago.
I believe that he is responsible, at least in part, for inciting a certain element of
disobedience amongst my people. But it's a Nativity Scene at a church!
And it's Christmas! You see, this is exactly why the
NCFC exists. To educate people from this kind of
backward thinking. I mean, this whole thing is nothing more than a
wintertime ritual that a minority of the population has decided to claim
according to its own set of beliefs. I mean,
is every fir tree with lights on it necessarily
a Christmas tree? Don't people
give gifts this time of year because it's a really nice thing to do? And it helps
the economy? What makes a star any different
this time of year than when it's painted on the side of
a football helmet in Dallas? Can anybody give me
one valid reason why this holiday
has to be anchored to the concept of someone named Jesus Christ?
because it's His birthday?
Thank you, uh
Max. Well, thank you, Max, and you can take your seat now.
Are you sure? Because I have a lot more. I wrote a whole five page
essay. Well, thanks for the offer, but I'm not sure that we- Mr. Chairman? Yes?
It should be noted that this young lady, who
obviously thinks it's allright to lecture her elders,
has also been influenced by the aforementioned vagrant
who drifted into town and instigated this whole affair. You know I've heard just
about enough on this character. Can anyone tell me where this man is right now?
Typical. He's probably packed up
and hit the open road already. No...he's here.
Good evening. Hi. And your full name is?
Jes is fine.
Jes is fine. Oh, it is. Well, uh,
Jes, evidently some people in this room think that you might have some
thing to add to these proceedings. Do you? Well, maybe just this:
A Nativity Scene is nothing more than a symbol.
And a symbol, or an image,
or a tradition really serves no purpose if it doesn't stir someone
to remember the thing that it represents. Look, what does of this have
to do with- And I do appreciate the questions you pose, Mr. Pollett.
And it may surprise you to know that I agree with you more than you think. Your
organization has a long history of trying to protect people's freedoms, and to make sure
that no one has anything unjustly forced upon them. And mainly,
mainly you try to protect the week
and to be a voice for the people who don't have a voice. And it's those
very principles that represent the heart of God and the truest meaning of
Christmas. You see, God never wanted to force His son
on anyone either. Look at it this way: He's
God. With His power, He could've compelled everyone in the world
to bow down and worship His son. But He didn't.
He could've filled the world with thunder and lightning and blazing
chariots to announce the new king's arrival, but He didn't.
He could've assembled the richest, most powerful people on
Earth to be witnesses for the new king's coronation -
but He didn't. Like I said, God never wanted to force His
son on anyone. It's just not the way He does things.
And that's why that first Christmas was the way it was. He chose a poor
girl from the village to give birth to the new king. In her culture,
she had no rights, no voice. And He chose a
stable instead of a palace for the new king's birth. And shepherds,
common laborers, they were chosen as the first witnesses.
When God came to Earth, He came to the least,
and the last, and the lowest, and the lost -
the very people that Mr. Pollett claims to represent.
And these people witnessed the birth of a king
who never owned a home, never held political office,
never made a grab for power. But this simple man
from a poor mother and small town is still considered a person of interest
right here today, over 2000 years later, in this hall.
Now why is that? Not because
He forced people to choose Him. It's because
for centuries, men and women have been seeking God
and they found Him in this man. And what's remarkable
is that while they were seeking God, they found that He'd been looking for them
their whole lives. So that's what happened on
that first Christmas 2000 years ago - God came to Earth
looking for you. And He came in the form of a man
who showed the whole world what God's love was like.
So on that first Christmas, God's perfect gift
was love. Now,
if you take the love out of Christmas, where will you put it?
What will you do with it? What will you do with Him
if you remove Him from this season?
The thing that fills people's hearts usually starts to show up everywhere around them.
And that's why this time of year, you see evergreens, and lights,
and stars, and Nativity Scenes.
Because they remind people of the love that came looking for them
so long ago.
Well, that was all very sweet,
but the fact still remains of why we're here. A violation of the law
has occurred, and that violation carries a five thousand dollar fine.
Now, my office believes in what we stand for.
And I'd say there's probably about five thousand reasons why your
beliefs aren't as strong. Am I right?
Whatever it's short,
I'll make up the difference.
Newscast VO: And here in the city, in a strange turn of events, the controversy surrounding
a neighborhood church Nativity Scene and the National Civil Freedom Coalition
has seemingly ended, as the civil liberty organization withdrew its complaint
against the church. Money donated by local citizens to cover the original fine
was handed over to a nearby homeless shelter at the citizens' request.
[Newscast fades] [phone rings]
Stacy: Hello? Hey Mom! How are the
islands? Yeah, we can't wait.
Oh and the Christmas party at work went great! Maybe too great.
They've already put me in charge for next year. You should've seen our CEO playing
Santa in his Armani Santa suit. Right now?
I'm baking cookies. We're having a get together at a little place
called Breskey's. No, just some new friends -
people from the neighborhood, some people from church...yeah just [VO fades]
[Christmas music and party chatter]
How about you? Yeah, um, I'll be going down to Florida.
to see some family...
Could you excuse me for just a moment?
Yeah, of course.
Hey. Hey. I noticed all your
stuff was gone from the workshop. You moving on?
Seemed like a good time. Well, you deserve to be the first
to hear the news. What's that? I'm resigning my
position and starting a community church downtown.
That's great news. Yeah. Not too many impossible rules.
Just big open doors, and
a lot of truth. How could you go wrong?
Thanks for everything. Do you
think you'll ever get back this way again? I guarantee it.
Good. Well...
Take care.
You too.
Were you just going to leave,
without saying a word? Well... Oh, you hate
goodbyes, don't you? Yeah,
I sure do. Well, I thought you'd hang around and
come to our house on Christmas Day. Why don't you ask Tony?
I know for a fact he doesn't have any place to go on Christmas. I'll tell my mom.
Oh, this is for you.
But you can't open it until Christmas.
Will do. I guess this is goodbye.
Take care of your mom, now. I will.
See you around, Max. Bye, Jes.
[closing music]