This is the time of year when we look for magic all around: We want to be filled with the spirit of Christmas; we long for warm fuzzy feelings to fill our souls with happiness. And who better than to provide that magic than Disney? This year’s Christmas three-minute advertisement, “The Stepdad,” does just that.
According to the Make a Wish Foundation website, “The Stepdad” is a follow up to last year’s short film, “Lola.” This year we see grown up Nicole and her partner Mike raising Nicole’s children, Max and Ella.
As the ad begins, Mike leaves his bachelor pad to move into the home that Nicole shares with her kids, who at first seem unsure about Mike. This is all narrated by the song, “Love Runs Deeper,” featuring Mike’s first-person account of what is happening.
As Mike acclimates himself to his partner’s children, Max and Ella, and his new role as a stepfather, he observes Nicole in their normal routines. Disney introduces a bit of their signature magic as the mother reads her children a story at night and the characters literally come bouncing off of the pages and dancing around the room. He is floored by this moment and the love of a mother and her children, and you can tell that he wants to be part of that magic.
As the ad continues, we see Nicole’s kids warm up to Mike. As we watch them build a snowman he laments, “The math is simple, but the feelings are not.” This very real sentiment is echoed more than once during the mini movie. There are always emotions, very often with children, that need to be handled with the utmost care and respect. Mike does that.
Of course, not everything goes according to plan. While building a gingerbread house, the family dog threatens to destroy their creation, so Mike jumps into action to save the day, but ultimately destroys the gingerbread house and breaks Max and Ella’s hearts.
As a mother and wife, my heart aches for everyone involved. I know that my children would have been devastated if they had worked so hard on something and it went crashing to the ground. My husband would have been equally crushed knowing that he had caused his children pain. We see Mike feeling shame and disappointment and then, inspiration. There is a picture hanging on the fridge that Max has drawn of their home and family. He gets right to work.
The next morning, the children come walking down the hall, a bit sullen, but their mood is quickly perked up. Mike has created a gingerbread house that is beyond their wildest dreams. It depicts their home, the one that they all share, and that they love. Hugs and kisses are shared and we are treated to the happy ending that we crave.
This advertisement brings to life so many real emotions for families. It is not always easy being the new guy, particularly when you are dealing with kids. I asked a friend who is a stepdad what it was like for him starting out. He said, “I had no kids of my own, so I was adjusting to a whole new world. In the beginning, things were hard. I am not their dad, nor do I want to be, but I do love and care for them and I want them to know that. We like to use the term ‘bonus dad’, not stepdad. It just fits our family better. I am so grateful to have all of them.” Bonus dad. That has a nice ring to it.
Treat yourself to “The Stepdad.” Watch it to fill your heart with the joy of the holidays. Watch Mike and his new family come together and find that love truly does run deeper than words.
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