A Nice Family Christmas

by  Phil Olson

Full Length Play, Comedy  /  3m, 4f

From the playwright who brought you A Nice Family Gathering comes a follow-up play for the holidays!

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A Nice Family Christmas

by  Phil Olson

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  • Cast Size

    Cast Size

    3m, 4f
  • Duration


    105 Minutes
  • SubGenre


  • Accolades


    1st Place Winner, The McLaren Comedy Festival
  • Audience

    Target Audience

    • Appropriate for all audiences
    • Adult
    • Senior

Additional Info

It’s Christmas Eve, and a young newspaper reporter on the brink of being fired has been assigned a last-chance story about a typical family Christmas – his family’s Christmas. He goes home to his recently widowed mother, his crazy uncle, his eccentric grandmother, and his battling siblings and their neurotic spouses, who provide no shortage of material. One by one, we learn each family member’s secrets, problems, and dysfunctions, and when they learn that he’s writing an article with some very personal family information, the fruitcake hits the fan. The question is, will the magic of Christmas bring this family back together?

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“From the first opening lines to the surprising joyous conclusion the entire audience was in almost constant laughter!” / LA Post-Examiner

“Critics Pick! 5 out of 5 stars […] It’s a howler a la Neil Simon with a laugh about every two seconds! […] Go see A Nice Family Christmas!” / BroadwayWorld.com

“The humor is outrageously frank and downright funny!” / Norwegian American Magazine

“A laugh a minute!” / LA Splash Magazine

First Place Winner - The McLaren Comedy Festival

Second Place Winner (out of 125 plays) - The Robert J. Pickering Award for Playwriting Excellence


Performing Groups

  • College Theatre / Student
  • Community Theatre
  • Dinner Theatre
  • Professional Theatre
  • Large Stage
  • Blackbox / Second Stage /Fringe Groups


  • Caution Mild Adult Mild Adult Themes

License details

  • Minimum Fee: $90 per performance



  • Time Period: Contemporary
  • Duration: 105 Minutes
  • Setting:

    Christmas Eve in the living room of Mom's apartment in a suburb of Minneapolis.

  • Additional Features: Physical Comedy
  • Features / Contains: Contemporary Costumes / Street Clothes


3m, 4f

CARL - 20's - 30's. The middle brother. Grew up in the shadow of his older brother, Michael, the doctor. Has a little inferiority complex toward Michael. He writes a column for the Minneapolis Star Tribune newspaper.
MOM - 50's - 60's. Very nice. Always putting on a happy face, her goal is to keep the peace and get thru the family event without incident. Mom’s husband, Carl (senior), died three years ago. She's doing her best to get over the loss and keep everyone happy.
GRANDMA - 70's - 80's. A real character. Grew up in a one room house with 10 brothers and sister on a farm in northern North Dakota. Had a very tough life growing up. She is tough as nails, and wants everyone else to be, too. Think Estelle Getty on "The Golden Girls."
MICHAEL - 20's - 30's. The older brother. The doctor. A little nerdy. Wears a bow tie. The favorite son, at least at first. He’s a little self absorbed, a little blind to what he needs to do to keep his marriage to Jill, his wife, intact. 
STACY - 20's - 30's. The younger sister. Nice. Kind of a wholesome innocence, even given what we learn about her. Overlooked, but not angry about it. 
UNCLE BOB - 50's - 60's. A partier. Fun loving. Has an agenda. Everyone has a crazy Uncle Bob. 
JILL - 20's - 30's. Michael's trophy wife. Emotional from being hormonal. Sometimes a little spacey. The only one who seems to understand Grandma’s crazy sayings.

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Cast Attributes

  • Strong Role for Leading Man (Star Vehicle)
  • Strong Role for Leading Woman (Star Vehicle)
  • Parts for Senior Actors



Phil Olson

Phil Olson grew up in Edina, Minnesota, home of the first indoor mall. His father’s grandparents came over from Norway and homesteaded a farm north of Fargo, North Dakota. His mother’s grandparents also came over from Norway and ended up in Virginia, Minnesota; the iron range. Mr. Olson played varsity football, basketb ...

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A Nice Family Christmas premiered at the Group Rep Theatre in Los Angeles in November, 2016, starring Tony Award Nominated Broadway actress, Marcia Rodd. The play went on to open in 7 other cities within a few weeks of the world premiere.

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