Girl Meets World – Girl Meets a Christmas Maya
By: Kim Olson
Christmas has never met a bigger fan than Riley Matthews (Rowan Blanchard)! Her whole room is festive – from a Christmas tree, to hanging lights, stuffed snowmen and a nutcracker pillow! It’s easy to see where her love of Christmas comes from – her family. Christmas has overflowed to her whole house and home! There are wreaths, garlands and gigantic baubles that are hanging from a ginormous tree! Meanwhile, Maya’s Christmas is so much different. Because Maya (Sabrina Carpenter) comes from less money than Riley, her Christmas is embarrassing to her. Because of this, Maya is nervous to spend Christmas with her mom (Cheryl Texiera) and her new step-dad, Shawn (Rider Strong) as a family for the first time. Maya’s afraid she’ll scare Shawn off by showing him her crazy tradition with her mom – Gimbo the Elf. When Maya was a kid, her mom told her Santa really loved them too, but he was too busy with the people uptown so they got Gimbo the Elf. As Maya explains to the Matthews her mom “came in through the hole in the wall and said, “Hole hole hole little Maya. Have you been a good little girl?’” And Maya would say, “Not especially.” And then she’d ask her mom to stay in the hole because at least it kept the wind out. “Merry Christmas, Shawn Hunter. Welcome to us,” Maya says. To escape her home and avoid the holiday, Maya tells Riley she’s her Christmas present and she’s staying with her “sweetie” for the holidays so they can have an epic Christmas together. Riley is happy and excited to have Maya there, but wants the best for Maya so she pushes her to go home to her family. “What could you have if you’re not even there?” Riley asks. Even though it’s hard for Riley, because she wants to keep Maya for herself, Riley gives Maya the only gift that could make her truly happy. She gives Maya back to her family.
To show Maya what went wrong with her Christmas past so she can improve her Christmas present, the Matthews put on a play, ala A Christmas Carol. Through the play, Maya learns the true meaning of Christmas and that her mom tried really hard, harder than she realizes. Topanga (Danielle Fishel) plays the part of Katy (terrible Southern accent included) and Ava (Ava Kolker) acts as Maya Penelope Hart, a troubled kid with a heart of gold. Maya learns her mother gave her one of the greatest gifts of all – going to school with Riley. In the scene Topanga and Ava act out “Gimbo” doesn’t gift “Maya” toys she wants, but he does give her something she might need – “a permit that says that next year she can go to school with her new little friend, Riley, and maybe meet other friends too.” Going to school with Riley resulted in Maya having the life she does today. It made Riley and Maya best friends and gave Maya all her other friends. Katy gave Maya all her friends. Maya apologizes for not realizing how important that gift was, but Katy tells her “baby girl” it’s ok. She was just a little girl. In return, Maya tells her mom. She says, “Thank you for every Christmas past. You always gave me everything I needed.” Then, with Cory (Ben Savage) as Chet Hunter and Auggie (August Maturo) as Shawn, Maya learns another lesson – other people have bad Christmases too. In his youth, Shawn didn’t get to spend much time with his family during the holidays because they were in and out of his life all the time. In the words of “Chet Hunter,” he says “This time I’m gonna stay forever. Well… Gotta go.” Maya realizes Christmas isn’t about the kooky traditions. It isn’t about the presents, no matter how big or small. She learns Christmas is about spending time with the ones you love, if you’re fortunate enough to have them around. “Shawn” tells her, “At least you had people that cared to be there. That’s all I ever wanted.” Maya realizes Shawn’s past of bad Christmases will influence their future together and she is okay with Shawn being a part of her crazy now and for the rest of their lives. Maya and Katy excuse themselves from the Matthews’ because they have to go home; they have someone waiting for them. “Isn’t that wonderful?” Katy remarks. Merry Christmas, everyone.
It’s time once again for Secret Santa! Riley organizes a Secret Santa gift exchange for her friends like she does every year. She insists they do it because it gives them all a chance to dig deep, think about someone else and find out how well they really know each other. But everyone is tired of doing Secret Santa, especially Lucas (“the smartest man alive”) who is not even there. He went to Texas for the holiday to specifically get out of having to do Secret Santa since even Riley can’t reach him from 2,000 miles away. Maya is so tired of hearing about Secret Santa that every time Riley says, “Secret Santa” she pinches her. Instead, Riley starts saying “Egret Ahh Ahh.” The rules of Secret Santa are simple: They each pick a name, but they can’t say who they have and then they have to buy a present for that person. Maya won’t even tell if it’s a him or a her. The Secret Santas do a great job. It’s another brilliant year for the Secret Santas! Just kidding! The whole Secret Santa gift exchange starts out a disaster. They guess they don’t really know each other at all. Everyone acts kind of rude accepting their presents that they do not want. But, in the end, they end up loving their presents once they figure out why these horrible gifts are great and realize they came from the bottom of each other’s hearts. Overall, Riley’s friends agree, she did a good job with Secret Santa.
Ava is spending Christmas with the Matthews. Topanga reads The Gift of the Magi to Ava and Auggie and Ava criticizes the story so much that Topanga forgets why she thinks it’s one of the most beautiful stories ever told. Ava tells her, “Let me get this straight…. she sold her hair to buy a thingy for his watch and he sold his watch to buy a thingy for her hair? …Great! She turns herself into a bald chick and he don’t even know what time it is! The end. The story has holes, man.” Auggie tries to get Ava to understand the book. “They loved each other so much,” Auggie says. “They knew each other so well that they proved their love to each other (ala Secret Santa).” Auggie even tries to explain it to Ava in terms of their love. “Ava, the man sold his favorite thing in the world. “What’s your favorite thing in the world?” she asks. “You are,” he replies. “Who’s a good boy?” she asks playfully. “Me!” he says, barking like a dog. “Better story and I didn’t have to buy him nothin’,” Ava tells Topanga. Done with reading, Topanga has them make cookies with Cory and Ava eats straight frosting! Crashing from a sugar high, “Freako Morgenstern” runs around the apartment, bouncing off the walls. Ava is “freakin’ out, man!”
- Riley: A suitcase! Where are we going?! Somewhere?! Maya: Nowhere!
- Riley: Whatever you do, do not say who you have. That’s the egret part of egret ahh ahh. Smackle: I got Maya. Riley: Smackle! Smackle: This is who I am. Riley: *quietly picks a name.* Smackle: It’s Farkle. Riley: *freaking out* SMACKLE!!!
- Maya: We throw snowballs at the skaters in Rockefeller Center. Cory: That was you? I almost died!
- Maya: You carry glitter in your pocket? Riley: I used to carry butterflies, but…
- Katy (about Topanga): She’s me. All this time I wanted to be her and she’s me.
- Riley: *throws confetti* Maya: Boy, you love drama. Riley: I know I do.
- Topanga (to Ava): I’m going to kill you right now, on Christmas.