NILES IS DECORATING THE STAIRCASE WITH CRANBERRY
STRINGS AND GARLAND. FRAN AND THE KIDS ENTER FROM
OUTSIDE, DRESSED IN ICE-SKATING OUTFITS. THE CHILDREN
CARRY THEIR SKATES. FRAN MUNCHES ON A BAG OF CHESTNUTS.
THEY HANG THEIR COATS IN THE ENTRY HALL CLOSET.
FRAN: Okay kids, run upstairs, hang up
your skates, and donít forget to
put those wet clothes in the hamper.
MAGGIE AND BRIGHTON EXIT UPSTAIRS.
NILES: No wet clothes for you, Miss Fine?
FRAN: I didnít fall.
GRACE: She didnít skate..
GRACE EXITS UP STAIRS, TOO.
NILES: And yet, such a lovely ensemble.
FRAN: Hey, you should see what I wear when
I donít play tennis. (THEN, NOTICING
DECORATIONS) Oh, cranberries on a
string. Who started that tradition?
NILES: Probably Ocean Spray.
FRAN: Niles you old Scrooge. Get into the spirit.
NILES: Spoken by one who doesnít have to
clean it all up.
FRAN: Thatís the thing about Chanukka.
Eight candles and a Menorah. No
muss, no fuss.
NILES: Is it too late to convert?
FRAN: Never. Weíll give you a bar
mitzvah, and of course, a
NILES: Suddenly Iím filled with the
spirit of Christmas.
EST. MUSIC: TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS
INT. LIVING ROOM Ė DAY
MAXWELL IS DIRECTING FROM A CHAIR HOW THE CHRISTMAS
TREE GETS TRIMMED. NILES STRINGS THE LIGHTS. THE CHILDREN
AND FRAN HAVE FORMED AN ASSEMBLY-LINE TO UNWRAP
ORNAMENTS. FRAN IS HUMMING ALONG WITH THE MUSIC FROM
FX: FIRE IN THE FIREPLACE
FRAN: My first real Christmas tree.
Iím so excited.
FRAN BEGINS TO PLACE TINSEL ON THE TREE.
MAXWELL: Miss Fine, what on earth are you doing?
FRAN: Iím puttiní on a tinsel.
BRIGHTON: (MOCK SHOCK) Not before
FRAN: Oh, is that a faux pas?
MAGGIE: Lights first, ornaments second,
tinsel, always last.
MAXWELL: But just a whisper.
GRACE: Fatherís very anal about his
FRAN: One year we begged my mother for a
Christmas tree. She called it a Chanukka
Bush. P.S., the candles from the Menorah
set the flocking on fire and the fumes put my
father in the emergency room.
MAXWELL: A variation on the burning bush classic.
FRAN: Well, my mother took the whole thing
as a sign from God, and from then on we
spent every Christmas at the Fountain Bleu
in Miami. To this day I canít get a whiff of
Bain de Soleil without haviní a yen for eggnog.
MAXWELL: Ready, everyone? Three, two, one!
MAXWELL PLUGS IN THE LIGHTS, ILLUMINATING THE TREE.
MAXWELL: Niles, I thought we agreed on twinkling lights.
NILES TAKES THE PLUG FROM HIM AND PULLS IT OUT,
CAUSING THE LIGHTS TO GO OUT. HE THEN PUSHES THE
PLUG BACK IN. THE LIGHTS GO ON AGAIN. HE REPEATS
THIS SEVERAL TIMES.
MAXWELL: Miss Fine, I realize itís a holiday
and a bit of an imposition, but is it at
all possible for you to work on Christmas day?
FRAN: Are you kidding? To be a part of a real Christmas?
Itís a dream come true. I bet Niles makes a great
MAXWELL: Razzle what?
FRAN: (A LA TINY TIM) And razzleberry dressingÖ
(THEN, OFF MAXWELLíS LOOK) What,
you never saw Mr. Magooís Christmas Carol?
Uch, and youíre in the theater.
MAXWELL: Precisely, which is why I need you to work
Christmas day. Iíll be in D.C. producing a
benefit at the Kennedy Center.
FRAN: You wonít be home for Christmas?
GRACE: Heís never home for Christmas.
MAXWELL: Grace, weíve been through all this.
Weíre raising money for children
who arenít as fortunate as we are.
BRIGHTON: (SOTTO, TO GRACE) Yeah, but keep
laying in the guilt, weíll get better presents.
MAXWELL: Weíre not canceling it altogether.
Weíll simply celebrate it a day early.
FRAN: Heís moving Christmas? You can do that?
NILES: They do it for Washingtonís birthday.
FRAN: You go to all that trouble fathering a country,
and before you know it, youíre sharing the third
Monday in February with Lincoln and a white sale.
GRACE: Heís never home on Lincolnís Birthday either.
FRAN: Guess weíre on our own for Christmas. So, letís
write our letters to Santa.
GRACE: Isnít that cute. She still believes in Santa.
FRAN: I believe in anyone who delivers.
BRIGHTON: Well, we believe in Edna.
FRAN: Edna Claus? Would that be the missus?
MAGGIE: No, sheís Dadís personal shopper.
She buys all our gifts.
FRAN: So what youíre saying is, you give your
list to Edna, and she gives it to Santa.
GRACE: Fran, please, I wasnít born yesterday.
MAGGIE: Fran, itís better this way. When she
believed in him, she drove herself crazy.
BRIGHTON: Crazier. She thought Santa was always
watching her. Was she naughty? Was she nice?
GRACE: Plus, he had me on some list and he
was checking it twice.
FRAN: (EXASPERATED) Gracie, chill out, heís
Santa, not Joe McCarthy. If you did believe
in Santa, what would you want him to bring you?
GRACE: Daddy for Christmas.
FRAN: How about a nice ďEasy BakeĒ oven?
GRACE AND THE KIDS ARENíT CHEERED.
FRAN (CONTíD): Alright, wait here.
FRAN EXITS TO HALLWAY.
INT. HALLWAY Ė A MOMENT LATER
FRAN ENCOUNTERS NILES IN THE HALLWAY.
FRAN: Uch, Niles, these poor kids are real
grinches, and that Gracieís the anti-Claus.
I gotta talk to Mr. Sheffield.
NILES: Well, I hope youíre not going to upset him, heís
writing out the staff Christmas bonuses.
FRAN: How do you know?
NILES: Well, did you think the keyholes
FRAN: So the Nanny gets a Christmas bonus, too?
Oh, thatís great news, Ďcause I want to buy
each of the kids something fabulous, but
have you seen the price of fabulous now a days?
NILES: Please. I canít even afford wonderful.
Fortunately, Mr. Sheffield is usually
FRAN: Well, if he thinks a check is gonna make
up for his not being hereÖ
NILES: Four figures, Miss Fine.
FRAN: Glory to the new born king.
INT. LIBRARY Ė LATER
MAXWELL IS WRITING CHECKS. C.C. STANDS NEARBY.
C.C.: Oh Maxwell, look what Iím standing
underÖ is that mistletoe?
MAXWELL: (TEASING) Iím not sure. It looks
rather more like holly.
C.C.: Itís mistletoe. And I believe tradition
calls for a kiss.
SHE GIVES HER A KISS ON THE CHEEK.
C.C.: (WIPING HER FACE) Merry Christmas
FRAN: Whoops I got some lipstick
on ya cheekÖ
C.C.: Oh for heavenís sake.
FRAN: Meanwhile that shade looks gorgeous on you.
Do you really have to go outta town for Christmas?
C.C.: Yes, he does.
FRAN: (TO MAXWELL) I love the way you
throw your voice like that.
MAXWELL: Miss Fine, I have to be there.
C.C.: Itís a very important benefit. Weíre
raising money for theÖ Who are we
raising money for? The poor, right?
MAXWELL AND FRAN GIVE HER A LOOK.
MAXWELL: Iíd love to spend Christmas day
with the family, but I just canít.
C.C.: We canít.
FRAN: Youíre going, too?
C.C.: (SMILING) Uh-huh.
MAXWELL: (QUICKLY) And weíll be
working the entire time.
C.C.: Well, I think weíll have time for dinnersÖ
MAXWELL: No, no dinner. The only reason Iím
going away with Miss Babcock is for charity.
C.C.: Thank you, Maxwell.
MAXWELL: Well, you know what I mean.
C.C.: No, no I donít.
MAXWELL: Was there anything else, Miss Fine?
FRAN : Far be it from me to tell yaí how
to do Christmas, but youíre doing
it all wrong. The fatherís going away,
kids donít believe in Santa, and I havenít
seen one stinkiní partridge in a pear tree.
MAXWELL: Well, thatís why weíre moving it up a
day. And I really want to make it special.
So Iíve told my personal shopper to go all out.
FRAN: Thatís another thing. This woman doesnít
know our kids. A personal shopper is so
impersonal. Although, not a bad career choice.
C.C.: Iíve got an idea. During those many hours when
the children are in schoolÖ
C.C.: And you basically have nothing to do.
FRAN: I fill my days.
C.C.: Why donít you get their gifts?
MAXWELL: Thatís not the worst idea. You
would know what they want.
FRAN: Donít you want to pick out your own
presents? If it were me, Iíd much rather
get something you picked out yourself.
Believe me, a gift from the heart means
so much more.
MAXWELL: (GETTING INTO IT) Well, I suppose I
could find some time to pop into F.A.O.
Schwarz. But what do they want?
FRAN: Trust me, whatever you pick out they
will love and cherish forever. (BEAT)
Just make sure itís returnable.
INT. VESTIBULE/LIVING ROOM Ė A FEW DAYS LATER
FRAN AND VAL ENTER, LOADED WITH SHOPPING BAGS, ETC.
MAXWELL CAN BE SEEN ATTEMPTING TO ASSEMBLE A BICYCLE.
NILES STANDS BY READY TO ASSIST.
FX: SNOW FALLING
FRAN: I got such great stocking-stuffers for the kids.
VAL: Are you putting up a stocking?
FRAN: I figured Iíd hang up my pantyhose,
that way Iíll get double.
THEY CROSS INTO THE LIVING ROOM.
FRAN: Hiya, Mr. Sheffield.
MAXWELL: Hello ladies.
FRAN: Ooh, looks like weíre not the only ones
who went shopping.
MAXWELL: Oh, yes. We had a wonderful time.
Children laughing, people passing,
meeting smile after smile.
NILES: Heís been doing that all day.
MAXWELL: Admit it, old man, we had fun.
NILES: Only when you let me ride in the cart.
MAXWELL: (TO FRAN) So what do you think of Brightonís
FRAN: Who designed it, Picasso?
MAXWELL: It isnít finished yet. The salesman
said serious cyclers build their
NILES: Oh, they saw him coming.
FRAN: Well, if yaí need a few pointers, Valís
Val: (MODESTLY) Iím a plumberís daughter.
MAXWELL: Iím a grown man, Iím sure I am perfectly
capable of assembling a childís bicycle.
FRAN: May the testosterone be with you.
MAXWELL: Niles, I need a Phillips Head screwdriver.
NILES PASSES THE SCREWDRIVER TO MAXWELL
LIKE A SURGEONíS ASSISTANT WOULD.
NILES: Phillips Head, sir.
MAXWELL: Niles, this is not a Phillips Head.
(TO VAL) Is it?
VAL: (EXAMING IT CLOSELY) No.
NILES: Who was this Phillip anyway?
FRAN: And what must his head have looked like?
MAXWELL: If you want something done, you have
to do it yourself. (BEAT) Val?
MAXWELL AND VAL EXIT. NILES BEGINS
FRAN: Look at this gorgeous sweater for
Maggie. I got great stuff for everyone.
You think Brighton likes Aramis?
NILES: What happened? Did you win
FRAN: I wish. More like rubber checks. Relax.
Iím not gonna let them bounce. Tomorrow
I get my Christmas bonus, Saturday and
Sunday the banks are closed. Monday I
make an instant deposit, and Iíve done my
part to stimulate the economy.
NILES: Donít you have a credit card?
FRAN: Not since my little run-in with
Edward Scissorhands at Macyís.
INT. LIVING ROOM Ė CHRISTMAS EVE MORNING
IT IS THE CRACK OF DAWN AND FRAN, DRESSED
IN COLORFUL HOLIDAY ROBE AND SLIPPERS
CHEERFULLY GOES DOWN THE STAIRCASE FOLLOWED
FX: SNOW FALLING OUTSIDE.
FX: FIRE IN FIREPLACE.
FRAN: (CALLING BEHIND HER)
Come on everyone. MerryÖ eh-
MAXWELL: Merry morning of the day
THE CHILDREN ENTER IN ASSORTED ROBES
FRAN: (RE: PLATE ON FOYER TABLE) Look
Grace, Santa took a bite out of the cookie
we left him.
GRACE: I didnít know Santa wore red lipstick.
FRAN: (BEAT) The man gets out of the
house once a year. Live and let live!
MAGGIE RUNS TO GRAB A GIFT FOR FRAN.
MAGGIE: Fran would you open my present first?
FRAN: Before the family?Ö Alright.
FRAN TAKES GIFT AND BEGINS TO UNWRAP.
MAGGIE: I hope you like itÖ I made it
myselfÖ I mean itís okay if you donítÖ
FRAN: Honey, Iím sure Iíll love it, Ďcause
a gift from the heart is worth more than
the present itself. Right Mr. Sheffield?
(SHE WINKS AT MAXWELL)
MAXWELL: Absolutely, Miss Fine.
(HE RETURNS THE WINK)
AS FRAN OPENS HER GIFT FROM MAGGIE.
FRAN: (THRILLED, SEARCHING)
MAGGIE: Itís a pajama holder.
FRAN: Ooooh. And I donít already
NILES: (SOTTO TO FRAN) Because you
donít wear any pajamas.
FRAN: You have polished your last keyhole.
(RISING) Thank you, Maggie. Now
whoís next? Oh, Mr. SheffieldÖ
FRAN GIVES MAXWELL A GIFT.
MAXWELL: Miss Fine, how kind of you.
HE OPENS THE GIFT.
MAXWELL (CONTíD): Iíve always wanted a Swiss Army knife.
BRIGHTON: Cool, let me see.
BRIGHTON AND MAXWELL LOOK AT IT TOGETHER.
MAXWELL: Be very careful, Brighton. These
are designed for soldiers. It has all
kinds of intricate survival gadgetry.
FRAN: (SHE LOOKS) Thatís the clipper for
your nose hair! You donít want bushy
nostrils in battle.
NILES: Be all that you can be, sir.
BRIGHTON: Dad, I love my what is this?
MAXWELL: Itís a bicycle Ė kit.
FRAN: Bicycle kit?
MAXWELL: Half the fun of owning a bike is
building it yourself.
NILES HANDS BRIGHTON A SCREWDRIVER WITH A
BOW ON IT.
NILES: And this is from me.
BRIGHTON: Gee, guys, you shouldnít have.
MAGGIE: He really wanted Cindy Crawford.
BRIGHTON: At least sheís built.
MAGGIE: Daddy, I love my pearls.
MAXWELL: I wanted your first string of pearls
to come from your old man.
FRAN: Iím sorry, but I donít have a
watch, remember? Oh, this place
is magnificent. Did I miss anything?
HE HANDS HER A BIBLE.
NILES: Here, this ought to bring you
up to date.
MEANWHILE, PEOPLE HAVE BEEN LINING UP TO
GO INTO CONFESSIONALS.
FRAN: Look at the crowd at the confessional.
There were shorter lines at the gift wrap
NILES: Itís been a rough year for everyone.
FRAN: Tell me about it. Iíve got a few things
Iíd like to get off my chest. (SHE THINKS
A BEAT) Tell me Niles, are these confessionals
open to anyone? Or is it more like the Homeclub?
NILES: You in a confessional? Iíd pay good money
to see that.
SHE STARTS EXITING THE PEW.
FRAN: Excuse me. All is calm.
All is bright.
NILES: Oh, God in heaven.
GRACE LEANS OVER TO BRIGHTON.
GRACE: Where is Fran going?
BRIGHTON: (PASSES DOWN TO MAGS) Grace
wants to know where Franís gone.
MAGGIE: Whatís with Fran?
NILES: (TO MAGGIE) She went to confess.
MAGGIE: (TO BRIGHTON) She went to play chess.
BRIGHTON: (TO GRACE) She went to undress.
SCENE SIX A
INT. CONFESSIONAL Ė A SHORT TIME LATER
FRAN OPENS THE CURTAIN. SHE SITS DOWN.
FRAN: Forgive me Father for I have
SHE TAKES THE VASE OUT OF HER PURSE AND
SETS IT DOWN BESIDE HER.
FRAN: Boy, these benches are really
uncomfortable. You donít want
people to stay long, huh?
FATHER: Stay as long as you like, Iím on
Ďtil midnight. Father Donahue got
Christmas week off. Again.
FRAN: I know just how you feel. Iím working
Christmas this year, and I was really looking
forward to it, but instead itís gonna be awful.
The Fatherís in Washington, the kids donít
believe in Santa and Iím in hock up to my
ears. I just donít know what to do.
FATHER: I hear the Fontaine Bleuís nice this time
of year. (BEAT) At least Father Donahue
FRAN: Look , you have more experience with
Christmas than I do. Does it ever live
up to oneís expectations?
FATHER: That depends on what one expects.
FRAN: Oh, youíre good. See, thatís why they
shipped Father Donuhue off to Florida,
and youíre working St. Pattyís on Christmas Eve.
THEREíS A KNOCK ON THE OUTSIDE OF THE
FRAN (CONTíD): Thereís someone in here.
MAXWELL: Miss Fine, itís me. May I come in?
THE CURTAIN OPENS, MAXWELL POPS HIS HEAD IN.
FRAN: Mr. Sheffield, what are you doing here?
MAXWELL: Niles told me how I got you in trouble.
THE PRIEST REACTS.
FRAN: Itís not your fault. I should
have been more responsible.
FATHER: We do offer counseling for unwed mothers.
MAXWELL: For heavenís sake Father, sheís not
overdue, sheís overdrawn!
FATHER: Forgive me. But you know I have been
in this little box for a very long time.
FRAN: (PATTING THE SCREEN)
Itís alright, Padre.
MAXWELL: Youíve been so generous to me and the
children and made it such a special
Christmas, but it shouldnít cost you your
MAXWELL HANDS FRAN A WATCH CASE.
FRAN: (TOUCHED) Oh, Mr. Sheffield.
MAXWELL: I got the name of the pawn shop from Val.
FRAN: I donít know what to say. (SHE OPENS
THE CASE) This isnít my grandmotherís watch.
MAXWELL: Oh, the man in the pawn shop is an idiot.
FRAN: Valís uncle. Mr. Sheffield, donít feel bad.
Things could be worse. Have a seat. At
least I still have my beautiful Ė
MAXWELL PLOPS DOWN ON THE BENCH
NEXT TO FRAN.
SFX: BREAKING GLASS
FRAN (CONTíD): -- vase.
ANGLE ON: OUTSIDE OF CONFESSIONAL
MAXWELL (O.S.): Owww!
CHURCH BELLS AND HYMN SINGING MIX IN WITH
THE YELL, AS WE:
INT. EMERGENCY ROOM Ė A SHORT WHILE LATER
MAXWELL IS LYING ON HIS STOMACH SURROUNDED
BY FRAN AND THE CHILDREN. NILES IS DECORATING
THE ROOM FOR CHRISTMAS.
FRAN: Oh, Iím really sorry, Mr. Sheffield.
Talk about ďThe Nightmare Before
Christmas.Ē Tim Burton has nothing
MAXWELL: Itís quite alright. Itís not the pain so
much as the humiliation.
FRAN: Thereís nothing to be humiliated about.
(ASIDE TO NILES) They really should
get backs for those gowns.
MAXWELL: I hope C.C. can handle a benefit by
herself. She must be in the air by now.
NILES: There go the friendly skies.
GRACE HANGS A TINSEL ON MAXWELLíS HEAD.
MAGGIE: Gracie donít decorate Father.
MAXWELL: Itís all right.
HE SMILES AT GRACE AND MAGGIE.
SANTA (O.S.): Let me go! Itís Christmas Eve.
Iíve got things to do.
NURSE: In here.
ORDERLIES BRING IN SANTA IN A WHEELCHAIR.
SANTA: Donít you know who I am?
ORDERLY #1: Yes we do. And weíve been good all year.
THE ORDERLIES HELP HIM ONTO THE BED.
ORDERLY #2: So why donít you be good and lie still
until the medication kicks in.
FRAN: What happened to him?
ORDERLY #1: Some drunk lady at the airport knocked
him out with his own bell.
SANTA: My ears are still ringing.
THE ORDERLIES START TO CLOSE THE CURTAINS
BETWEEN THE TWO BEDS.
GRACE: Thank you, Santa.
HE WINKS AT HER AS THE ORDERLIES CLOSE THE
CURTAINS COMPLETELY AND EXIT.
BRIGHTON: What are you thanking him for?
MAGGIE: I thought you didnít believe in Santa Claus.
GRACE: Well, I do now because my Christmas wish
MAXWELL: What wish, sweetheart?
GRACE: That youíd be with us on Christmas.
MAXWELL: Funny, that was my wish too.
FRAN: Isnít that a positive way to look at
SFX:CHURCHBELLS RING IN THE DISTANCE.
NILES: Oh listen, itís Christmas and not
a cranberry in sight.
FRAN: And look at this. Weíre together, weíre
happy, weíre healthyÖ well most of us.
AS EVERYONE AD LIBS ďMERRY CHRISTMASĒ, FRAN
TAKES A PHOTO.
FRAN: Why donít we invite the old man to join
us? No one should be alone on Christmas.
AS FRAN CROSSES TO THE CURTAIN
AROUND SANTAíS BED.
FRAN (CONTíD): Excuse me, Santa. Are you decent?
FRAN OPENS THE CURTAIN. THE BED IS EMPTY.
FRAN: Where did he go?
SFX: SLEIGHBELLS RING IN THE DISTANCE.
SANTA (O.S.): Ho. Ho. Ho.
ALL THATíS LEFT IS AN OPEN WINDOW.
FX: SNOW GENTLY BLOWING IN THE WINDOW.
ON A SHOT OF THE WHOLE FAMILY REACTING.
THEN, FRAN LEANS TOWARD THE WINDOW AND
TAKES A PICTURE, AS WE: