Westport native helps start the ultimate holiday card experience

WESTPORT — With holiday season in full swing a Westport native has helped start a creative new way to celebrate the times — Winter Wondergram: The Ultimate Holiday Card Experience.

“The idea was that people who would not be able to be with their families during the holidays would want a way to send something special and personal,” said Scott Weinstein, 33.

Winter Wondergrams offers a roster of unique holiday characters that prepares custom video messages. Videos can range from singing and comedy, to dancing and acrobatics.

Weinstein, who serves as creative director, said the idea was first brought to him by his colleague Holly Weis, creator and executive producer of Winter Wondergram.

“With her I got to put together a group of amazing artists, some that I knew really well and I worked with before, and some that were knew to me,” he said. “We were able to come up with some fun and unique characters.”

Weinstein, who graduated from Staples High School in 2006, has worked as a director for the past 10 years. He credited the theater community in Westport as an integral part in his career.

He said he has met a litany of talented artists throughout his career, and many were open to participating in the creative holiday card experience.

The cast of actors include a touring member of the musical “Hamilton,” an award-winning hula dancer who lives in Hawaii and other theater performers.

The diverse range of new holiday characters they play includes Santa’s ex-wife the First Noel, an Acrobatic Elf and Comet the Jazz Singing Reindeer. Weinstein said creating the characters was a collaborative effort between him, the actors, and Weis that focused on the actors’ skills, their sense of humor and what performances they enjoyed.

“What was great is it was one of the fun things that really brought joy to the performers as well,” he said. “These are all collaborations that they and I, and Holly, got to come up with.”

Everything is done live-to-order and is custom made to create a unique experience for whoever receives the gift, Weinsetin said.

“No two videos will ever be the same,” he said.

People can visit winderwondergram.com to order their custom messages. Cards cost $25 each and are electronically sent to the recipient.

Weinstein said 50 percent of the proceeds go directly to the artists in the videos. It also serves as a fundraiser for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and two local theater companies in the Chicago suburbs.

“The impact that COVID has had on the arts and I think particularly on live theater is immeasurable,” Weinstein said. “Everyone I know in the performing arts has been taking this very seriously since March.”

He said many have been without jobs since March. This did not only stop at actors, he said, but impacted crew members, designers and others in the field.

Weinstein said the moment the idea was brought to him he was happy to help.

“It’s certainly not hundreds of people working on it, but to get the 20 or so people involved working again and all for a good cause felt like such a great use of time and energy during the holidays,” he said.

dj.simmons@hearstmediact.com