December 12, 2013

Aimsel Ponti’s heart grows three sizes

A quest for holiday spirit yields renewed zest

By Aimsel Ponti
News Assistant

(Continued from page 1)

click image to enlarge

Aimsel Ponti searches for her Christmas cheer by giving a gift to a baker at the Corner Room in Portland.

Jeffrey Blackwell photo

click image to enlarge

Aimsel Ponti went looking for – and found – Christmas cheer at Portland's Victoria Mansion.

Shannon Bryan photo

Additional Photos Below

You too can experience “Joy to the World” through Jan. 5. (


Contuining on my poinsettia-lined path, I followed my heart into the Old Port for a stop at Videoport and was pleased to see a special section of Christmas-related DVDs. Scanning the array, I was reminded of some of my favorites and knew that at the bare minimum I would have to watch “Love Actually” and “Christmas Vacation,” and hopefully also will find time for a little Jimmy Stewart and Ralphie.

I was also reminded of another gem that is easy to let slip through the snowy cracks of holiday movie merriment. Remember “Scrooged?” It’s with Bill Murray, Karen Allen, Bobcat Goldthwait and Carol Kane, among others. It’s from 1998 but still stands up as among the best the season has to offer. Murray’s “Frank Cross” character is as mean and heartless as they come until he’s caught in a nightmarish – and hilarious – version of “A Christmas Carol.” There’s so much to love about this film, but for me, it comes down to Murray’s inspirational speech at the end. “It's Christmas Eve, it’s the one night of the year when we all act a little nicer, we smile a little easier, we cheer a little more. ... For a couple of hours out of the whole year we are the people that we always hoped we would be. It’s a miracle because it happens every Christmas Eve and if you waste that miracle you’re gonna burn for it – I know what I’m talking about. You have to do something, you have to take a chance. You do have to get involved. There are people that are having trouble making their miracle happen.”


The next thing I did to fan the flames of holiday spirit was to perform a random act of silly kindness. Every morning during my walk from where I park my car to the Press Herald newsroom at One City Center, I walk by a local restaurant. Even when it’s super early, like 7:30 a.m., I see a few people in there through the window hard at work making bread and such. It’s been two and a half years now that I’ve been walking by this place and I always glance in but never wave or smile. I’m usually too preoccupied with what I need to do first when I get to my desk, or am only half-awake trudging by with my coffee. But that’s no excuse. Waving hello and cracking a smile are quick and painless and they go a long way.

It occurred to me what I had to do. I made some signs, stopped at The Cookie Jar in Cape Elizabeth for cookies, and one morning last week I did it. I acted out my variation of a scene from “Love Actually” in which a lovestruck fella declares his feelings for his friend by holding up sweet signs as he stands on her doorstep.

There was one guy working when I stopped and held up my first sign. His expression was one of slight confusion, which soon gave way to a smile, so I proceeded. About a minute or so later, I held up my last sign and then he opened the door. He told me his name was Mike and I flung a hug on him without warning. Bless his heart for humoring me. I told him to enjoy the cookies and was on my way.

The entire episode lasted a mere handful of minutes, but days later I’m still grinning, Christmas spirit running through my veins. I know that now, from time to time, I’m gonna look up and wave as I walk by. Maybe I’ll even crack a smile.

May you find your own path to fill your heart with the holiday spirit. Whether you find it in a church, with a mall Santa, by helping out a homeless person, singing an off-tune Christmas carol, decorating cookies or wrapping yourself in mistletoe and holly, you can make it happen for yourself.

I leave you with the immortal words from “Christmas Vacation” said by Mr. Clark W. Griswold: “We’re gonna have the hap hap happiest Christmas since Bing Crosby tap-danced with Danny (expletive) Kaye.”

Aimsel Ponti can be contacted at 791-6455or at:

Were you interviewed for this story? If so, please fill out our accuracy form

Send question/comment to the editors

Additional Photos

click image to enlarge

Aimsel Ponti at Videoport, where she found some of her favorite Christmas classics.

Shannon Bryan photo


Further Discussion

Here at we value our readers and are committed to growing our community by encouraging you to add to the discussion. To ensure conscientious dialogue we have implemented a strict no-bullying policy. To participate, you must follow our Terms of Use.

Questions about the article? Add them below and we’ll try to answer them or do a follow-up post as soon as we can. Technical problems? Email them to us with an exact description of the problem. Make sure to include:
  • Type of computer or mobile device your are using
  • Exact operating system and browser you are viewing the site on (TIP: You can easily determine your operating system here.)


More PPH Blogs

Get the GO RSS!