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Video takes the traditional Christmas letter to a new level

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Christmas cards have long been outstaged by email, eCards an other digital Christmas messages that arrive more quickly and are more entertaining. Now, a Raleigh family is at the leading edge of a trend that just may render everything else obsolete.

The Holderness family created a Christmas greeting that takes the genre to a new level. The couple and their two children created a video that, like the traditional Christmas letter, tells of their accomplishments in the past year, but in rhyming rap set to Will Smith’s Miami. Their booty-shaking dance moves – in matching pajamas – has made the video an Internet sensation.

The couple is above-average in glamor – Penn Holderness is an anchor of WNCN TV news and Kim Holderness is a good-looking former TV reporter. Among the couple’s accomplishments in 2013 are Penn’s interview with the governor and Kim’s small role in an Ironman sequel. But the video has enough routine news (e.g., their son enrolling in hip hop classes) and stuff that’s probably more interesting to the family than outsiders (e.g., Penn getting a vasectomy) to qualify as typical of the Christmas letter genre. Still, the video’s driving beat, choreographed dance moves and skillful editing have taken it viral.

Since being posted on YouTube Dec. 11, the video has been shared on countless blogs, web sites and Facebook pages. It had been viewed almost 13 million times as of Dec. 24. The video also has been featured in news reports all over the country, including CNN and ABC News.

This is the second year the Holderness family had made a video Christmas card, but this year they had an extra incentive – the video announces toward the end (in a buried lead that would incur the wrath of any news editor) that Penn is leaving to work full time for the company he and his wife are part of, Greenroom Communications.

The popularity of the video took the company by surprise.

“Many people have asked us if we expected this to happen,” said Sharon McCloud, managing partner of Greenroom. “Ummmm, no. …We have other videos that have surpassed the 100,000 mark this year. But 12 million is a whole other inconceivable notion we’re thrilled to be experiencing, to say the least. Before this viral firestorm took off, we were a little video production company in Raleigh, N.C.”

How the video will affect the company is yet to be seen, but suffice it to say that The Holderness family should have some good news to report next Christmas.



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