"My Very Own"
A name on a stocking may seem like a small thing, but for Norman Xavier Dorman, having a stocking “that didn’t have someone else’s name on it” meant security and permanence, but more importantly, home and family. This is evident when, coming upon the magically embroidered personalized stockings, Norman declares, “someone must have wanted it to seem like a real family lives here.” As we all know, “a family does.” As an adult, Norman not only has a stocking of his very own, but a family of his very own, too. See why I thought a personalized stocking drive would be a good project for the O’Toole Foundation?
For Christmas is the first we learn the origin of Rita’s affinity for owls, which, we discover, is tied to a childhood encounter with one. Ever since it has been a symbol that “there’s someone out there flying around that thinks [she’s] special.” Little does Rita seem to know, there’s someone right in front of her that thinks she’s special, and is even disappointed for Rita that she hasn’t encountered an owl since.
Which is what makes Norman’s spotting of the owl so special in so many ways. Not only is this the first time Rita sees an owl since childhood, but as the owl flies away, she and Norman bump heads, as if trying to show Rita the truth---that Norman thinks she is special. At the same time, they are also recreating the first time they met, three years to the day. No wonder Rita loves Christmas---“anything [really is] possible.”
"Little Letter Writer"
At first we don’t know that the little girl we see writing a letter during the opening credits is a 10 year-old Shane, nicknamed “Crackers,” who loves her “mommy and daddy,” and the “gold disk with a little purple bead” necklace they gave her, more than anything.
But as the plot progresses, and the wounds of her childhood lay bare, it becomes clearer and clearer to whom that second letter to God belongs. An adult whose joy, “went right out the door” with her father the Sunday before Christmas, the holiday---and the happy family---stolen from Shane all those years ago are restored in ways she couldn’t have imagined, with a “little help” from both Jordan and Oliver.
"Good Little Helper"
Life and loss have taken a toll on an adult Oliver O’Toole, but through it all it seems one thing has never changed---being a good little helper. Even as his grandfather slipped away, Oliver helped Jordan decorate the tree by the shore. As an adult, Oliver exhibits the same tendency, determined to “help” and deliver every last letter by the deadline to distract from the pain of a second Christmas without Holly---another loss he’s suffered.
Norman's stocking, Rita's owl, Shane's new family and Oliver's miraculous encounter are proof that deep down we're all still little kids with wounds that need to heal, but we're all still capable of witnessing the hope and magic that's, "right here for [us]," too.