It might just be the beginning of November, but Disney has today released its magical new Christmas advert to mark the start of the festive season, supporting long-term charity partner Make-A-Wish®.
“The Gift” is a three-minute animated short film that celebrates themes of family, generational change, nostalgia and new beginnings, all in a beautifully crafted Disney-style format that is guaranteed to tug at the heart strings of even the most jaded Grinch.
The advert is the final instalment of Disney’s ‘From My Family To Yours’ trilogy, which touches on concepts that many UAE viewers will be familiar with, including blended cultures, passing down old traditions to a new generation, and starting a family away from your motherland.
The films all feature a Filipino family as they grow through the generations, with the first short ‘Lola’ (which is an informal term for ‘Grandmother’ in Tagalog) introducing the character of Nicole and her grandmother, and spanning from 1940s Philippines to 2005 Europe as we see their festive traditions and treasured belongings being passed down from elder woman to little girl.
In this latest film Nicole is all grown up with two children of her own, and is now expecting her third child with their stepfather. We see the action through the eyes of youngest daughter Ella, as she adjusts to her family’s changing dynamic; at first resentful of her mother being too pregnant to go ice skating with her, and then transformed as she meets her new baby sibling and welcomes them with the gift of her own beloved Mickey Mouse soft toy.
The visuals are all set to a rousing soundtrack sung by the star of Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Oscar-winning 2021 film Encanto, Jessica Darrow, who performs the song ‘A Little More’ – written exclusively for the advert by LA-based songwriters PARKWILD, Sofia Quinn and Rose Tan. You can download the song here.
Children and parents will recognise Jessica Darrow’s powerful vocals from her performance of the character of Luisa Madrigal in Encanto, specifically her showcase in the viral sensation ‘Surface Pressure’, which reached the top three in the UK single charts earlier this year, with over 276 million YouTube views.
Jessica Darrow said: “The holidays hold such a special place in my heart and what better way to come together with family and loved ones than through the joy of music? It was such a wonderful song to perform, and I can’t wait for everyone to see the heart-warming story which concludes this inspiring trilogy.”
Making wishes come true
Disney’s 2022 ‘From Our Family To Yours’ campaign is again supporting long-term charity partner Make-A-Wish®, which is dedicated to granting the wishes of children with chronic suffering from chronic or terminal ailments. Make-A-Wish has a strong presence in the UAE and has made hundreds of UAE little ones’ dreams come true.
Creating this year’s Disney Christmas advert played a role in fulfilling wishes for three Make-A-Wish® children across Europe, Italy and Australia. Eagle-eyed viewers will be able to spot the three Make-A-Wish® ‘Easter Eggs’ – including the Frozen design on Sanka the dog’s jacket seen in the ice-skating scene, which was designed by 12-year-old, aspiring fashion designer Sienna from Reading, UK.
Luciano Manzo, President and CEO at Make-A-Wish® International, said:
“We’re proud to be continuing our long-standing partnership with Disney and delighted that fans can continue to get involved by giving a gift of hope and joy to children with critical illnesses, helping us grant even more life-changing wishes.”
While cynics might roll their eyes (not us!) at the sentimentality of the advert and the tie between emotion and commercialism, there is no denying the good cause behind it. And as sugary sweet as the presentation might be, the films’ message remains one of nourishment: multiculturalism, tradition and family.
Roll on the holidays!
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