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Love is a Gift: The Christmas film that's touching hearts

love is a gift

Picture: Love is a Gift/Phil Beastall

A short film about missing someone you love at Christmas has touched millions of hearts and been praised for how it reflects upon bereavement.

Filmmaker Phil Beastall’s Love is a Gift has been making waves – and moving people to tears – with 8.6 million people sharing it within just a week.

The tearjerking two-minute film charts a man’s countdown to December 25, when he opens a box containing old cassettes and a portable player.

Putting on headphones, he hears his mother say: “Merry Christmas, poppet.

“Another year has passed. I wanted to start this one by saying something I haven’t said yet, which is thank you.

“Thank you for taking the time to remember me.”

Grief support charity Child Bereavement UK has praised the message that Love is a Gift conveys.

It said: “This touching film captures how difficult Christmas can be when someone special has died and the importance of remembering.”

Phil said he’d been inspired by retail giant John Lewis’s much-anticipated festive TV ads to create his own special take on the meaning of Christmas.

The film – which cost just £50 to make, in 2014 – went viral after Phil posted it on Facebook group for his local community in Gloucestershire. The filmmaker said he’d been “blown away” by the reaction since sharing it a little over a week ago.

“I can’t believe what’s happening,” he told Gloucestershire Live.

“The thing that really stands out to me is the shares. I love that people are taking the time to share it and talk about it.”

Love is a Gift conveys just how important it can be to tell someone just how very much they are loved.

One viewer tweeted: “I adore my mom and couldn’t imagine life without her but this just put so much in perspective.”

Another posted: “Having lost my brother, mam and dad (two of them around Christmas time), I can’t begin to describe how much this resonated with me. You’ve captured the ‘love’ effortlessly.”

Phil said he had been reading through hundreds of “amazing” messages from people who’ve been touched by the story.

a still from phil Beastall's short film, Love is a GiftPicture: Love is a Gift/Phil Beastall

He tweeted: “There’s a huge amount of loss I’m reading about, but what I’m also reading is that you guys are staying strong which is incredible.”

Dad Ivan Hollingsworth shared how the film had inspired his nine-year old son, Seb, to write a touching letter in felt-tip to Santa.

Seb wrote: “I now know Christmas is not about presents, or tree decorating. It’s about the care that we share, the heart that we show and the family we love.”

Seb revealed that this will be his family’s second Christmas without his grandpa, but that he would always live on in their hearts.

Sharing Seb’s letter to Santa to his own followers, Phil revealed that the Hollingsworth family is raising money for the children’s heart unit that has cared for Seb, who was born with a congenital heart condition, and is helping save many other young lives. Find their Just Giving page and read more about their journey here.