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1963

Elizabeth’s favorite time of the year, Christmas, is extra special this year since it’s also baby Jack’s first birthday. Lucas is putting on a Christmas festival for the entire town inspired by his time overseas as a child. Rosemary shops for the perfect gift for Jack’s birthday while Elizabeth tries to get baby Jack to say his first words. Lucas shares one of his favorite holiday memories of releasing paper lanterns out into the sky.

Nathan is torn when he learns about an inspector position in a new town that is his if he wants it. He decides to think on it and not tell anyone just yet. Allie insists they find the perfect Christmas tree and Elizabeth shares she has a great spot to find one. Later on the three go on the hunt for the tree. Elizabeth notices Nathan seems off, but when pressed Allie discovers the perfect Christmas tree, which makes it easy for him to avoid the question. Bill confides to Nathan that he knows about the new job and promises to keep it quiet until Nathan makes up his mind. Faith shares that she won’t be able to make it to Hope Valley for Christmas after her brother’s wife becomes ill, which results in her having to stay to care for her father. Carson decides to leave town and surprise Faith.

When Faith arrives in town to everyone’s shock, she leaves a message for Carson back home in the hope that he gets it when his train arrives. The saloon, overwhelmed with local and out of town guests, runs out of food. The town comes together and brings dishes from their home to help feed everyone. Fiona tries to stay by the phone waiting for Carson but when she steps away to get food she misses his call. Lucas surprises everyone by setting off a series of lanterns in the sky.

Carson hitches a ride back to Hope Valley with Walter, a traveling salesman. The two are slightly delayed after a flat tire, but are thrilled to make it in time. Before seeing Faith, Carson helps Walter with a checkup after he says he has no money to visit a doctor and has been battling a cold. When Carson finally appears, Faith is overjoyed to see him.

The town gathers for the Christmas concert. Allie tells Elizabeth they have decided to stay in town and Elizabeth is thrilled. Faith and Carson drop off presents and food for a family in need. Rosemary, Bill and Lee gather with Elizabeth to celebrate Baby Jack’s first birthday, and to Elizabeth’s delight he says “Mama” for the first time!