Moving Stepdad Tale is Spreading Christmas Cheer

Celebrating family togetherness and the power of storytelling.

Still from The Stepdad, the new Disney short film for Christmas 2021

(Photo courtesy of Disney)

Disney’s just-released, animated TV spot for Christmas, The Stepdad, is a touching short film about family togetherness and the power of storytelling  for the festive season. It shows a newly-minted stepfather, Mike, sensitively navigating his first Christmas with his partner and her children.

A sequel to Disney’s 2020 short, Lola, The Stepdad introduces viewers to a grown-up Nicole, the granddaughter in Lola. She’s now a mother of two kids, Max and Ella, as stepfather Mike moves in to live with her family.

A window into blended family beginnings

Viewers see Mike moving out of his bachelor pad, and the family enjoying outdoor fun in the snow, cozy evenings in, and meeting Mike's family, before witnessing the kids’ bedtime routine. This is when they sit with their mom while she reads from their cherished Disney book.

This precious storybook is central to the advert. Given to the boy, Max, by his birth father, it is packed with Disney and Pixar characters. As Nicole reads the stories to her kids, the 2D characters lift from the page to “magically” become animated, as the Daily Mail reports

The strengthening relationship that stepfather Mike has with the kids is shown in the story through his newfound ability to “lift” the magic of the tales from the pages, for instance in his retelling of the story of Moana, as he’s accepted and welcomed by the children.

A story filled with meaning

The filmmakers didn’t shy away from showing that life in blended families isn’t always plain sailing. The three-minute film spotlights how Mike, an architect by profession, accidently drops the gingerbread house he has built with the family, causing the kids to run off to their rooms in tears. Afterwards, the determined stepfather stays up through the night to build a replacement to make amends, one that charms everyone.

Or as the Disney media release explains: “Viewers will see the family navigate an emotive journey as they enjoy combining existing festive traditions with new ones in the run up to Christmas.”

According to Disney, “The book celebrates how the power of storytelling can deepen family bonds... We hope the story will resonate with anyone who has seen the magic “lift off the pages” of a book through the eyes of a child.”

In honor of this film, double Grammy Award winner, Gregory Porter, performs an original charity song titled Love Runs Deeper, offering a musical narrative through the eyes of stepfather, Mike.

Written by LA-based songwriters PARKWILD, the track also features Cheris. She’s a member of Tomorrow’s Warriors, an organization committed to nurturing diversity and equality across the arts, through jazz music.

Supporting a good cause

This year’s ad is part of Disney’s “From Our Family to Yours” campaign, supporting  Make-A-Wish. This charity for critically ill children strives to build their physical and emotional health, by making their dreams happen. 

For every download of the song, Love Runs Deeper,  before 31 December 2021, 100 percent of the proceeds from the retail price will be donated to Make-A-Wish International.

As Gregory Porter tells Disney about the theme song he delivers with so much emotion, “The lyrics of the track are so powerful, and underline that behind everything there is love.”