The 25 Days of Christmas are in full swing and some of the great holiday specials like Pop Up Santa Holiday Special and Disney Fairytale Weddings: Holiday Magic are bringing viewers all the feels. I've watched Pop Up Santa and I'm telling you right now, have tissues handy. It's an emotional rollercoaster.
For the first time ever as a 90-minute holiday special, Freeform’s “Pop Up Santa Holiday Special” has teamed up with sponsors to celebrate the spirit of the season through heartwarming moments including a home giveaway, a surprise baby shower at a military base, a family reunion of epic proportions, a celebration for two very special children at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and more. Hosted by Stephen “tWitch” Boss and Allison Holker, the special follows celebrity guests including ballerina Misty Copeland, former NFL athlete DeMarco Murray, “The Fosters’” Sherri Saum, Tommy Martinez from new Freeform drama “Good Trouble,” a special Marvel guest and, of course, Freeform Santa as they team up with Freeform to spread holiday cheer.
Thank you to Disney for bringing me out to LA for the Mary Poppins Returns and 25 Days of Christmas event.
We got a chance to talk with Boss and Holker to find out what it was like hosting these holiday specials and learn about some of their family holiday traditions.
Bring on the tears
Does it every crack you bringing such joy to these families lives?
“Of course. This was our first time hosting the Pop Up Santa special, but we did the Disney Fairytale Weddings and we had some moments then that we were like ugh (pretends to wipe tears away) right before we went on camera,” Boss said. “It's really real moments. It brings us back to our wedding day, so being able to see grooms watch their bride walk down the aisle. That was an ugly cry moment for me.”
They are a part of these couples monumental day. Of all the people I would want hanging out at my wedding it would be these two. The way they look at each other is #RelationshipGoals all day long. Find someone that looks at you the way these two look at each other! They piggy-back back and forth in our interview and light about these two wonderful shows.
Allison Holker jumps in to share why Pop Up Santa was so special for her this year.
“For Pop-Up Santa Holiday Special this year it was really personal to me, my brother is actually from an army base out here in California in Fort Irwin and when they approached us about being apart of Pop Up Santa they said we were going and doing a baby shower for 75 women on an Army base at Fort Irwin, Holker said. “I was like ‘my brother and his family are there and they have four kids,' and it almost brought me to tears because I've seen everything that they have gone through being in the Army, and the families how strong they are, but the women really have to unite together. I just thought it was special to be a part of something that was really personal to me.”
“One of the greatest parts is that they think they were there for a military documentary,” Boss said. “Being able to see that switch when they were like, ‘oh we're getting gifts!' The emotions were already there with montages playing, there were a couple of different surprises from family members.”
“It's really special what we get to do and being a part of that is just really something that I feel like more people should do in their lives,” Holker said. “Give back and be a part of that process because it changes you, it really does.”
We were all tearing up just talking about it.
In a tear-jerking sneak peek from “Pop Up Santa,” the Brantley Family of Clarksville, Tennessee, is about to experience some holiday magic. After a devastating fire in December 2017, Army veteran Stephen Brantley, his wife Iliana and their four children lost their home and all of their possessions, including photographs and Stephen’s war medals. With the help of former NFL athlete DeMarco Murray and his wife, actress Heidi Mueller, the Brantleys are in for an incredible surprise that will change their lives forever.
Disney Makes Everything Special
We wanted to know what they loved about working with Disney.
“The work ethic! Everyone that works for Disney, the Cast Members are 100% on board and supporters and love what they do, Holker said. “Genuine, heartfelt love their jobs. It's inspiring being around people that genuinely love it. Everyone comes together and makes a great quality product together.”
“The attention to detail and making it very personal,” Boss said. “One thing that stands out on last years holiday special, there was a couple that came out with a choir that involved the groom's daughter and the choir sang what I believe was the grooms' mother's (who had passed) favorite song. Those little things, even though it is this huge magical machine that is Disney, it still feels very very personal to every person as opposed to just ‘You get a Cinderella wedding. You get a Frozen wedding.' Walt kind of ingrained into the company, everything tedious to the very last detail to make sure that you have the perfect day. And honestly, there hasn't been a letdown to any of them that we have seen. The detail is incredible.”
“A woman said her favorite color is pink so they lit up the castle pink for her,” Holker said.
Let's get personal
What are some of your family holiday traditions?
Twitch told us that they take Santa photos together as a family and each year they choose a theme. One year they dressed as the Grinch, Martha May and their daughter was a Who. This year they are going as a gingerbread man, snowman, reindeer, and their youngest with be Santa!
“We wanted to start this tradition because it's really fun to do something with our kids,” Boss aid. “Also in a couple of years, they will be too embarrassed so we are getting it in before they get too embarrassed.”
They also make their own ugly Christmas sweaters.
“The uglier the better!” Boss said.
Working with Disney means they get to go to the parks a lot for filming.
“We are at the parks a lot,” Holker said.
“We got to witness that moment when a kid meets Mickey for the first time and completely loses it,” Boss said. “Our son was like ‘forgetY'alll, it's Mickey!'”
“And then he saw Pluto too and he held onto Pluto's leg,” Holker said.
Twitch starts to pull out his phone to find the picture of their son at Disney.
“I'm about to be that dad!” Boss said.
“People were in line to take pictures and he didn't want to leave and everyone was very understanding, but he was in all of their family photos.” Allison
We watched the moment their son met Mickey and the joy in his eyes, and he was feeding Mickey! Just the sweetest.
Pop Up Santa aired on December 3rd but they will be replaying the holiday special throughout the 25 Days of Christmas. Disney Fairytale Weddings: Holiday Magic airs December 8th at 8 p.m. EST.
This holiday season, Disney|ABC Television are teaming up with Disney store, ShopDisney.com, and Toys for Tots. Fans and families can celebrate 25 Days of Christmas by dropping off a new, unwrapped toy at a U.S. Disney store or on shopDisney.com until December 15th and Disney store will contribute $5 per toy to Toys for Tots, up to $1 Million! For more information on Toys for Tots, go to ToysForTots.org.
To watch your favorite holiday content go to 25DaysOfChristmas.com.
Post a selfie with your toy on social media using the hashtag #25DaysOfChristmas