The holidays are said to be full of holly and good cheer. However, they’re often plagued by busy schedules and endless shopping lists.
The pressure to buy others impressive gifts can leave our wallets feeling less than grateful when we’re not given the same in return.
But is that really the point of Christmas? A man in a red suit and fancy gifts under the tree?
Imagine waking up on Christmas morning to an empty home or nowhere to go. Year by year, your Christmas shopping list seems harder to bear. Wishing you had that one name there still to check off.
In a short film by Phil Beastall titled “Love is a Gift,” we are reminded of the holiday’s true meaning.
It isn’t about the latest iPhone, a car with a big red bow in the driveway or a diamond ring. Sometimes all we want, or wish for, is to have back what we think we’ve lost.
Chris Ilston, who stars in the film, is seen checking off the days on his calendar until Christmas. Day by day, he goes through the motions. He’s seen eating cereal for breakfast, in a suit heading to work, and even decorating his tree as the days go by.
Then one small package with no tag or bow is shown under the tree.
The night of Christmas eve, Ilston tosses and turns, unable to sleep. It’s not until the next morning that we finally learn why.
Ilston is shown sitting at his kitchen table with a box that was once contained in that tiny red package under the tree. He places a cassette tape in an old Walkman and pushes play. That’s when you hear her voice.
“Hi Chris, it’s mum.” The voice he’d been counting down on his calendar to hear once again.
“I wanted to start this one by saying something I haven’t said yet, which is, thank you. Thank you for taking the time to remember me after all these years.”
As his mother, voiced by Natalie Martins, continues to speak of the years that have passed, Ilston begins to cry hearing her voice.
The camera pans to the box, showing Christmas tapes dating back to 2005. Presumably recorded by his mother for him before she passed away.
“So this is it. My last tape. I wish I could keep talking to you every Christmas, but… it’s time to say goodbye. Just remember how much I love you. Never forget that, okay? I will always be your mum.”
The film was originally made in 2014 but did not go viral under Beastall recently republished it on social media.
“It’s gone so much further than I could ever have imagined,” he told the BBC. “I just wanted to create something that would remind people that we are lucky to be alive.”
According to Metro, the film had a budget of just £50, which is approximately $64 in USD. The film has resonated with fans who have applauded Beastall on Twitter for reminding them of the true meaning of Christmas.
Tearjerker or what!! So touching but the truth is millions will go through this every year and Christmas has sadly become all about getting expensive gifts when the true meaning of Christmas is being surrounded by family & being thankful for what you have and not what you don’t.
— Maxine Hipkins (@Queenie8484) November 23, 2018
“People who have lost loved ones have said watching my film has helped them,” Beastall said. “And it’s why I made it – to make people feel happy.”
Whether this is your first year without a loved one by your side, or it’s been so many you can barely recall the smell of their favorite perfume, never forget that “Love is a gift that lasts forever.”
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