“Another Christmas Story” – Epilogue – Christmas All Over Again – As Read By Julia Colburn

Happy Thursday, Christmas fanatics! And Happy Christmas Eve Eve! Happy the Day Before the Night Before Christmas! Happy Christmas Adam! Happy Tibb’s Eve! Happy Festivus! Happy December 23rd – whatever you want to call it! We are officially two days away from Christmas 2021! Can you believe that? Where has the time gone?

This week’s final installment of “Another Christmas Story“, the Epilogue entitled “Christmas All Over Again”, will be read to you by the elf with the best voice – our very own Julia Colburn! We hope you like it! And we hope you enjoyed the entirety of “Another Christmas Story“! In honor of this final bonus Thursday episode, which rounds out his book, there are a few people Anthony wanted to thank for participating in this beautifully collaborative, year long effort:

  • His two cohosts, Thom and Julia, for not only letting him hijack the show once a week to release his story piecemeal, but also for contributing their voices and talents to helping him bring it to life.
  • His beloved wife, Sarah Houston, whom he loves dearly and who puts up with him and his crazy geeky, Batman, writing, Christmas, and political obsessions; she epitomizes that “Great Woman” that is behind every man.
  • Rebecca Boll
  • Gerry Davila of “Totally Rad Christmas
  • April Ryley
  • Todd Killian of “Christmas Clatter
  • Craig Brewer of “Weird Christmas
  • Ron Hogan of “Film Strip Podcast
  • Claude Bélanger of “Christmas Conversations
  • Scarlett Alexandra of “NetfliXmas
  • Mike Westfall of “Advent Calendar House
  • Kendall Farrae of “For Forks Sake
  • Michele Kidwell of “Michelle’s Cozy Mystery Book Club
  • Nicole Little
  • Mclean Sloughter
  • Charlyn Lewis of “Fashion Speaks
  • Tim Babb of “Can’t Wait for Christmas
  • Steven Beech of “Uplifting House Sessions
  • Jay Skipworth of “Film Strip Podcast
  • Matt Eurich of “TGI Podcast
  • Glen Warren of “Seasons Eatings
  • Lauren Simone
  • Adam Parker Sibun of “Merry Britsmas
  • Sean Sotka of “The Christmas Podcasts Podcast
  • Robert Nickerson of “Behind the Bells
  • Manny Torres of “Feliz Christmas Merry Navidad
  • Kim Cooper of “Planning for Christmas
  • Danielle and Jackie of “No More Late Fees
  • Danielle Essary

And, of course, all of you listeners who turned in each and every Thursday from January to December to listen to this story and find out how it played out. We hope you enjoyed it! If you did, make sure to share this episode and our website, upon which the text of this installment is posted, to get it in front of as many ears and eyes as possible! In addition, make sure to share this installment for a chance to win a brand new, 2021 Hallmark “Stocking Stuffers Special Edition Keepsake Ornament”!

Coming up on the show this upcoming Monday, December 27th, we will be covering the brand new HBO Max Original Christmas Movie,  “8-Bit Christmas”, on which we will be joined by Gerry D. of “Totally Rad Christmas” and April Ryley, who is making her long overdue return to the podcast! And, recording that same evening, the elves will be discussing the brand new Netflix original holiday movie, “A Boy Called Christmas” – based on the book of the same name! That episode will drop in your feeds on Monday, January 3rd! Before that, however, on Friday, December 24th – Christmas Eve 2021 – we’ll be dropping our annual Christmas Eve bonus episode! So, keep your eyes on your podcast feeds because there’s lots of great stuff coming up!

Enjoy, y’all! 🎅🏻🎄🎁 🦌🦉⛄️🚂🔔 🤶🏻 🎀 ❄️

 

 

One Year Later

Epilogue: Christmas All Over Again

Christmas Eve – 9:00 a.m. EST

Joseph Nazario nervously paced back and forth across the living room of the midtown Manhattan penthouse apartment that he and Mary Holiday owned. The two childhood friends had made the decision to take the plunge – to make the enormous, shared purchase – and move in with one another six-months after the two of them had separately moved back to New York and in with their parents, which happened to coincide with six-months of dating one another. They had used the funds from their New York Times bestseller – Another Christmas Story – to make the purchase, and if the money they made off of the book weren’t enough to provide a comfortable life for the two of them, the deals (both of which were negotiated by Joey’s ex, Lilianna) that the two had just signed to option the book as a movie and as Broadway show would have been; hell, the money they received from interviews alone would have been enough!

One such interview was playing on their wall-mounted, eighty-inch television in the living room at that very moment – a pre-recorded retrospective segment that they had filmed for The Today Show that Joey and Mary had participated in with the other people that had been present at the manger where Mary had given birth to Gabriella one year earlier. Those who also took part in the interview included: the cops, Seamus Dwyer and Andrew Lee, along with New York City’s police commissioner, Thomas Burke, and the commanding officer of the N.Y.P.D.’s Midtown North Precinct, Lindsey Pendleton; the former animal control employee, Hudson Jackson, and the two animals that he had rescued in the midst of Winter Storm Elsa that Christmas Eve and ended up adopting – the Pitbull with the brindle-fur, Booster, and the fat tabby cat, Dexter; the little drummer boy that had performed for them, Aaron Rankin, in addition to his mother, his older brother, his baby sister, and his former third-grade teacher; the Radio City Rockette, Brittany Clarkson, and the animal handler for the Christmas Spectacular, Marcello, as well as his young goat, Billy; President Emily Williams, Prime Minister Nathan Dubois, Prime Minister Miranda Richardson, and their respective spouses, close staff members, and security details; and, of course, the two N.Y.U. journalism students who had captured the entire aftermath of Mary’s birth on camera, Elizabeth Meyer and Noah Clarke.

That night, one fateful year ago now, had changed all of their lives for the better in a variety of different ways, and everybody that had been inexplicably drawn to the manger to witness the birth of Gabriella Sarah Holiday was doing far better now than they had been three-hundred-and-sixty-five-days prior. Indeed, the president, who was speaking animatedly on the television at that moment, had received worldwide praise for her efforts with Russia, and was expected to easily cruise to reelection, the season of which she was in the middle of.

Oftentimes, Joey couldn’t believe his own luck. He stared around the modern apartment, which was elegantly decorated for Christmas and offered panoramic views of New York City and Hoboken, and found that he was still in awe of his life which had truly taken off, all because fate had him run into a childhood friend a year ago when they were both down in the dumps. Both of them were aware of how blessed they were, and it was because of this that there were reminders of that Christmas Eve all over the apartment. Besides a multitude of framed photographs of Gabriella hanging on the walls, they also had the picture of the manger scene that had gone viral blown up and framed besides a selfie that Joey, Mary, and Gabriella had taken backstage at The Today Show the week before with the morning show hosts, and all of the people who had been at the scene of Gabby’s birth last a year ago. (And Joey still couldn’t believe he had been lucky enough to be the person who got to stand beside his personal hero, President Williams!) Then there was the four-picture frame in which they had placed a picture of themselves posing with Macy’s Santa, the candid shot of Mary kissing the same Santa, the two of them outside of FAO Schwarz with an employee dressed as a toy soldier, and the two of them standing in front of the manger at the end of the Channel Gardens with the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree looming large behind them. And, of course, they had also framed a multitude of news clippings pertaining to that night, in addition to the contract they had signed with the publisher the day they had officially sold the book they had written together in which they told their story. The book itself was on display, prominently perched on the mantle of their electronic fireplace:

The

A

Another

Christmas story

Written by,

Mary Holiday and Joseph Nazario

The text was etched into the jacket above a simple, sketch-like, almost stick-figure-esque line-drawing of an empty manger, flanked by angels blaring horns pointed at the structure, in front of a large Christmas tree. Joey stared at this image for a moment, still in disbelief that he was a published author, when a voice exclaimed behind him, “Happy Anniversary!”

Joey smiled at the sight of Mary, walking down the hall toward him in a pair of tightly-fitted jeans and a red sweater, fastening her golden earrings into her ears as she did so. “Happy Anniversary,” Joey replied, kissing her the moment that she came to a stop in front of him. Though the two hadn’t officially started dating for a few weeks after that fateful day they had run into one another in Manhattan, they both agreed to acknowledge Christmas Eve as the official date that they’d celebrate since it was the day they both realized that they were in love with one another.

“All ready to go?” Joey asked, as Mary’s eyes flickered toward the television on the wall, upon which she was talking as she gently bounced Gabriella up and down on her lap. “We have to swing by Ryan and Nat’s place to pick them up.”

“Almost,” Mary replied absentmindedly. “Gabby just needs to be dressed.”

“Do you mind doing that?” Joey asked, doing his best to try and sound nonchalant. “I have to start gathering everything we’re bringing to our parents’ houses.” He motioned at their enormous Christmas tree twinkling brightly in the corner, beneath which were mountains of wrapped presents.

Mary bit down hesitantly on her lower lip before giving a curt nod. “Sure. Okay.”

Noticing the uncertain look on his girlfriend’s face, Joey gently touched her arm. “What’s wrong? Are you okay?”

Mary stared up at the man she loved for a moment, her mind racing and looking as though she were on the verge of saying something, before she forced a smile onto her face. “I’m fine. Just tired.” Then, standing on the tip of her toes, she planted a swift kiss on his cheek and scurried away down the hall toward the baby’s room, her mind running through every possible scenario in which she could break the news that she needed to break to Joey, and every possible reaction the man might have.

Upon entering Gabriella’s room, Mary paused in the doorway and smiled to herself. Though the space was a mess, overcrowded with heaps of toys and children’s books strewn all over the place, it was her favorite room in the home. Given that her daughter was born on Christmas day, Joey had commissioned an artist to paint murals on three of the tall walls that included characters from all of the classically timeless and iconic Christmas specials that included the world of Rankin/Bass, the Grinch, and the entire Peanuts gang – the whole room liked like a whimsical winter wonderland! And directly opposite the doorway was a floor-to-ceiling window which offered a spectacular view of the Empire State Building, lit up that morning in red and green for the holiday, which shone brightly through the moderate snow that had just begun falling from the sky. Mary was so caught up in the view that she momentarily forgot why she had entered the room, only to be reminded when Gabby began cooing loudly from her crib. “Mama! Mama!”

Shaking her head to clear it, Mary smiled and made her way toward the crib. “Mama’s here! Rise and shine, baby girl! It’s Christmas Eve! We’re going to go see grandma and grandpa, and nan and pop, and Santa’s going to visit later! Isn’t that exciting? Yes! And tomorrow’s your birthday! One-year-old already! Isn’t that amazing?”

Mary peered over the crib to stare down at her daughter, who looked remarkably like her, and froze as her eyes widened in shock. Gabby was wide-awake, cooing happily on her back, and was wearing a brand-new onesie which read, ‘Mommy, will you make Joey my daddy?’

Trembling, she reached into the crib to pick up the baby, who didn’t have a biological father – a fact that still only she, Joey, and Beryl Bernstein were aware of. Mary held Gabby close to her bosom and turned to face the doorway of the room to find Joey down on one knee, an open ring box in his hand, inside of which a diamond ring sparkled brightly. At the sight of him, looking extraordinarily cute despite being very obviously nervous, Mary couldn’t help but begin to tear up, which the man took as his cue to start speaking.

“Mary Holiday,” he began, his heart racing. “This past year with you has been the most amazing year of my life. You are my best friend, my soul mate, and the woman I want to spend the rest of my life with. My only regrets are that we didn’t talk for ten-years, and that we didn’t start dating sooner in order to get more time together. I promise you, here and now – if you say yes, I will love you and take care of you forever, and I will always love Gabby and treat her as though she were my own. So…” He took a deep, shuddering breath. “Will you marry me?”

Tears flowing freely down her face now, Mary nodded enthusiastically. “Of course! Yes!”

Beaming, Joey slipped the engagement ring onto her finger and leapt to his feet in order to passionately embrace her before gently kissing Gabby atop her head. “I love you so much. Both of you.”

“We love you too,” Mary replied, looking at her hand to stare at the enormous, heavy rock. “This isn’t the same one that you gave Lilianna, is it?” she joked, causing Joey to laugh, before saying, “My parents are going to be thrilled.”

Your parents?” Joey asked. “My parents are going to be over the moon!” He paused for a moment before adding, “Though I doubt any of them are going to be more excited than Ryan and Natalie were when I told them I was proposing.”

“They knew?” Mary asked, completely surprised.

Joey nodded. “Told them last week!”

“Wait until I see Nat!” Mary exclaimed, outraged. “I can’t believe she managed to keep it a secret from me!”

“Speaking of which…” Joey glanced down at his Rolex watch, a gift he had bought himself the night that he and Mary sold their book. “We need to get going and pick them up.”

“Before we do though, there’s something I’ve got to tell you,” Mary insisted, her nerves causing her heart to race and her stomach to constrict uncomfortably, making her feel nauseous.

“What is it?” Joey asked, concerned, peering down into the woman’s wide, nervous eyes. “What’s wrong? Mary, you’re scaring me.”

Staring deep into his blue eyes, Mary took a deep breath and informed him, “I’m pregnant.”

Joey’s mouth dropped open in surprise as his stomach performed somersaults. “Seriously?” he asked, wanting to ensure that he had heard her correctly.

“Seriously.”

“And you’re sure it’s mine?”

“Joey!” Mary rolled her eyes and backhanded his shoulder playfully.

“I’m joking, I’m joking!” Joey beamed, as he rubbed his shoulder. “But wow! Pregnant! That’s amazing! Mary, I’m so…I’m so…” He searched around for a word to adequately describe how he was feeling before settling on, “Happy!”

Relief flowed through Mary’s body at how over-the-moon her fiancée seemed at the news – a complete one-eighty from the way that Luke had reacted when she first informed him she was pregnant, almost two-years ago. “God, I love you.”

“I love you too.”

And with that, the childhood friends embraced one another again as Gabby clapped happily in her mother’s arms, both of them excited by the prospect that not only would their family of three soon become four, but also by what lay ahead for them in the future.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The End

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.