It’s not just the dodgy jumpers covered in reindeer and snow which have become a Christmas tradition in the last few years.
So have Christmas TV ads, with Aldi’s Kevin the Carrot the pick of the bunch this year.
Now a Christmas video from a Manchester taxi company is proving to be a big hit on social media.
In the video, a little boy with Downs Syndrome is at home with his family practising his lines for the school nativity play later that night, only for the family car to break down on the way and put his performance in jeopardy.
But taxi heroes Street Cars come to the rescue and the child and his parents are delivered to their destination.
The child is played by 6 year-old Stephen Lundon, who seems to have found his calling following an extremely difficult start to life.
For the first seven months of his life, he was confined to hospital undergoing a battery of tests, with his parents living in constant fear that any day might be their last with their precious son.
“Stephen was born pretty grey and limp and it was immediately apparent that all was not well,” says mum Simone.
“He was whisked away to paediatric ICU, and I was left alone to deliver a placenta that did not want to come out – probably because of stress.
“When I could eventually see Stephen, he was in an incubator, attached to an array of machines. The paediatric transport team from Alder Hey were already there preparing him to be moved to Alder Hey where he could receive specialist care.
“I was given two photos of Stephen in case he didn’t make the journey. We let the ambulance leave with him, not really sure if we would ever see him alive again. It was a very distressing time.
“When we arrived at the hospital, there was already a team around Stephen. The cardiologist sat me down and told me there were multiple issues with Stephen’s heart and that he would need to have an open heart bypass as soon as possible to save his life.
“We were told that Stephen would be in hospital for about three weeks but in fact we were there for seven months.
“At seventeen days old, Stephen needed further heart surgery and was in and out of hospital, mostly ‘in’ for the next three years. He has spent three Christmases in hospital, Easters, birthdays. We nearly lost him on several occasions.
“Stephen does have health issues, his heart still needs monitoring to ensure no more problems arise and to check that his transplant aorta is big enough and wide enough to service his heart.
“Long term venting has left him with chronic lung disease which requires daily medication and chest physio and he still has home oxygen, although he is using it less and less. Stephen also has lymphocytopenia and he aspirates.
“Despite the polyp removal leaving him with vocal chord palsy on the left side, his speech is really coming along, as is his sign. And last May, aged 5yrs 6 months, he finally found his feet and took his first steps.
“Anyone meeting Stephen for the first time today would never imagine the shaky start Stephen had in life, and how far he has come.
“Stephen is such a happy and funny little boy. He loves Christmas, birthdays and Halloween and literally talks about all three every day.
“He is endlessly loving and cuddles me and kisses me constantly. Every day he kisses me and looks me in the eye and says ‘Happy Mothers Day, Mummy’. And he’s right. I am blessed to have had Stephen and I have been even more blessed to be allowed to keep him. Every day really does feel like Mother’s Day.
“Stephen is a real little character. He has a very vivid imagination and loves pretend games. He loves singing and when he picked up a microphone and sang to a room full of people without batting an eyelid at a party that I realised that not only did he have a lovely little voice, but he had amazing confidence. He loved to perform and loved even more the clapping, praise and attention that followed.
“I put Stephen into drama school and he flourished. He performed several times on stage at theatres and events, even singing solo on stage. I felt that he was born to be seen. I signed him up to Bonnie and Betty, one of the top children modelling/acting agencies in the UK, and he has done amazingly well.
“This year he has been in catalogues and designer kids boutique brochures as a model. He has done the SEN fostering and adoption campaign for Barnardos. He has starred in two M&S TV commercials. He has done a Summertime promo for Disney. He has even had a part in a London stage show Sydney and The Old Girl, where he plays the son of Miriam Margolyes’ character Nell.
“This is his new Christmas commercial for Street Cars Manchester. I am so proud of Stephen for getting this part. Not only is he the ‘star’ of the advert, but this is a huge achievement for Stephen as it is his first speaking role.
“Stephen worked so hard to learn his lines for this, which was an extremely difficult undertaking for him. When I first saw the line I was unsure to be honest, but once I had spoken to Alex the director via email a few times and realised their enthusiasm for the part to be delivered partially in sign, and their commitment to working with Stephen on this, I knew we had to do it.
“And this is the finished result. I am so proud of Stephen and grateful to Shoot Business and Street Cars for being inclusive and forward thinking, for choosing Stephen, believing in his potential and giving him a moment to shine.
“I am really hoping people will get behind Stephen and ‘like’ and ‘share’ this Christmas commercial. It would really help him along in his little acting career. He is a good advocate for children with Downs Syndrome and what they can achieve.”
Nomi Farooq from Shoot Business, the production company which shot the advert, was very impressed with Stephen.
“We have produced hundreds of videos over the years. This one is a bit special with Stephen. He is an amazing talent and think his ability should be celebrated more. He is actually better than some of the mature actors we have worked with”.