Thursday, December 23, 2010


A few years ago—born out of my inordinate love for this heart-filling, soul-transforming, sacred and transcendent season—I wrote a short Christmas tale called The Truth About Santa Claus.  Last year, I offered it here at Creation Point as a cyber Christmas present:  my way of wishing all of you who visit this site the happiest of holidays and the most magical of Christmases.  I offer it again this year:  call it a Christmas rerun.  So grab a plate of Christmas cookies, pull a chair up close to the fireplace and enjoy. 

Here's to a healthy, happy, joyful, abundant, prosperous, peaceful and -- most important of all -- love-filled 2011.  See you all in January.



He’d been thinking about it for days—ever since he heard Big Mouth Jenny Rizzo announce it on the school bus—and he didn’t believe a word of it, not one word.  (Well, maybe ONE.)  But Cody had to be sure, absolutely, positively sure—

—and that’s why he was hiding behind the couch at midnight on Christmas Eve.

His mother was there, asleep in his dad’s old easy chair, the reds and blues of the Christmas tree lights making her look peaceful and happy and impossibly young.

The tree, by the way, had not ONE SINGLE PRESENT underneath it.

That didn’t make sense.  If there WAS no Santa Claus, if his mother was the one who bought the presents, wrapped the presents, stacked them under the tree, then how come she hadn’t done it?  How come she wasn’t awake RIGHT NOW arranging them all?

He got scared.  Maybe there wasn’t going to BE a Christmas this year.  Maybe Mom had lost her job and they didn’t have any money and so she COULDN’T buy him any presents and—

And then Cody glanced over at the windows and noticed that it was snowing.

Or was it?

If that was snow, it was the WHITEST snow he’d ever seen.  It was snow as bright as moonbeams, as bright as sunlight, as bright as...


Quickly, but quietly (he didn’t want to wake his mother), he scurried to the window and looked out.

It was coming down and coming down and COMING DOWN all across town, whirling and whipping, spinning and gyrating, out of the night sky.  Glowing so brightly that it almost hurt his eyes to look at it.  And Cody saw that it certainly wasn’t snow, and it absolutely wasn’t rain, it wasn’t ANYTHING he’d ever seen before.  But each drop, no...each flake, no... each BALL of glowing WHATEVER IT WAS, seemed to pulse and spin, soar and vibrate, as if it were alive.

And the stuff, the magical WHATEVER IT WAS (and he knew now that it was magic.  He just KNEW), wasn’t collecting on the streets, wasn’t piling up on the rooftops.  It was MELTING INTO (that’s the only way he could put it:  MELTING INTO) every house (no matter how small) and apartment building (no matter how big).

EVERY house and apartment building.


He looked up.

And there it was:  coming RIGHT THROUGH THE CEILING of Apartment 3F, HIS apartment, swirling, like a tornado of light, around the chandelier and then down, down, down—


At first he almost yelled out a warning, “Mom!  Wake up!  MOM!”  But something made him stop.

Instead of yelling he ducked back behind the couch and watched, eyes peering over the top.

Watched as the light-tornado wheeled around his mother, so fast, so bright, that he could hardly even SEE her.  But he COULD see her.  Most of her, anyway.

And what he SAW...

The light poured in through the top of her head, through her eyes, through her chest, through her toes.  It lifted her up—still sleeping!—and carried her out of her chair and across the room.  And as she floated—

—she started to change:

Her hair became white, her nose became red, her belly ballooned like the most pregnant woman in the history of the world.  Her feet grew boots, her head grew a hat, her nightgown grew fur.  An overstuffed sack sprouted, like a lumpy angel’s wing, from her shoulder.  And then—

AndthenandthenandTHEN, it wasn’t his mother there at all, it was him, it was SANTA CLAUS!  STANDING RIGHT THERE IN CODY’S LIVING ROOM!  Santa Claus who, with a laugh (exactly like the laugh Cody always knew he had, only better) and a twinkle in his eyes (exactly like the twinkle he’d always imagined, ONLY BETTER) reached into his sack and pulled out package after package, present after present, and placed them, carefully, like some  Great Artist contemplating his masterpiece, under the tree.

When he was done, Santa Claus stood there, grinning and shaking his head, as if he couldn’t BELIEVE what a beautiful tree this was, how wonderful the presents looked beneath it.  As if this moment was the greatest moment in the history of Christmas, as if this apartment was the only place in all the universes that such a Christmas could ever POSSIBLY happen.

And then the MOST amazing thing happened:

Santa Claus turned.

He turned slowly.  So slowly Cody couldn’t even tell at first that he was moving at all.  And—slowly, SLOWLY—those twinkling eyes, that Smile of smiles, fixed itself on the two boy-eyes peering, in wonder, over the top of the couch.

And what Cody felt then he could never really say:  only that it was better than any present anyone could ever get.  Only that it made his heart so warm it melted like magical WHATEVER IT WAS, trickling down through his whole body.  Only that it made him want to reach out his arms and hug Santa Claus, hug his mother, hug his father (and FORGIVE him too, for running out on them) and his aunts and uncles and cousins (even his Cousin Erskine who was SUCH a pain) and Big Mouth Jenny Rizzo (who really wasn’t so bad most of the time) and all his  friends and teachers and the kid in his karate class who always smelled SO BAD and, embarrassing as it sounds, it made him want to hug everyone and everything in the whole world including rabbits and snakes and trees and lizards and grass and lions and mountains and, yes, the EARTH HERSELF.

Cody wanted to hold that gaze, to keep his eyes locked on Santa’s, forever. (Or longer, if he could.)  Wanted to swim in that incredible feeling, drown in it, till GOD HIMSELF came down to say:  “Enough!” 

Except that he blinked.  Just once.  But in that wink of an eye, Santa was gone.  Cody’s mother was asleep in the chair again and, for one terrible moment, the boy thought that the whole thing must have been a dream.

Except, under the tree:  THERE WERE THE PRESENTS.

Except, out the window:  THERE WAS THE SNOW, the rain, the magical WHATEVER IT WAS, shooting up, like a blizzard in reverse, from every house, every apartment building.  Shooting up into the heavens, gathering together like a fireball, like a white-hot comet—

—and fading away into the night:  going, going...   


Without so much as a tinkling sleigh-bell or a “Ho-ho-ho.”

Not that it mattered.

Cody looked at his mom.

Cody kissed her.

“I love you,” he said.  And he was crying.  Happy tears.  Christmas tears.  Like moonbeams, like sunlight.  Like stardust.

Mom stirred in the chair, smiled the softest sweetest smile Cody had ever seen. “I love you, too,” she said. 

And then she drifted back to sleep.

Cody sat at her feet, warming himself, warming his SOUL, by the lights of the tree. 

And soon, he, too, was drifting off to sleep.  And as he drifted, a wonderful thought rose up, like a balloon, inside him.  Rose, then POPPED—spreading the thought to every corner of his mind.  Giving him great comfort.  Great delight:

“One day,” the thought whispered, “when you’re all grown-up, when you have children of your own.  ONE DAY,” the thought went on...

“It will be YOUR TURN.”

Merry Christmas.

© copyright 2010 J.M. DeMatteis


  1. Have some Beatles Christmas cheer- on me!

  2. I love a good rerun.

    Merry Christmas!

  3. Thanks, Jeff: I love those Beatles Christmas messages. Have a great day tomorrow!

  4. Same to you! Hope your 2010 comes to a terrific end and that 2011 holds lots of amazing surprises for you!

  5. As my mother used to say, Jeff: "From your mouth to God's ear"! And thanks to you -- and all the other wise and witty folks who post here -- for all the comments you've shared over the past year. I profoundly enjoy our cyber-talks here...and I'm looking forward to many more in 2011.

  6. Merry Christmas! Thanks for taking the time to not only post on your blog, but also for responding to people's comments.

  7. A pleasure, Dru: Have a great holiday!

  8. That was a great story; and I hope you had a great Christmas! :)

  9. Thanks, Neil. Yes, it was a great Christmas and we're still having it. (These things tend to last for days around here.) Hope yours was great, as well.

  10. Any Best of 2010 lists on the way, JMD?

  11. Hadn't thought about it, David -- still recovering from the onslaught of Christmas guests and gearing up to get back to work -- but I did just finish a fantastic book: James Kaplan's honest, compassionate and absolutely compelling biography of Frank Sinatra, FRANK: THE VOICE. Nearly 800 pages and I couldn't stop reading. I'm sure there are a few 2010 biographies that are as good. I can't imagine there are any better.

    Happy New Year!

  12. 800 pages! Wow. Must have been a good biography.

    Happy New Year!

  13. 800 pages and it only covers the first forty years of Sinatra's life, David: here's hoping another volume comes soon.

  14. Just read yet another Beatles book: You Never Give Me Your Money, about the Apple/Klein disaster and its aftermath, extending through Anthology and concluding with an epilogue covering the deaths of George Harrison and Neil Aspinell. Extremely well done! There haven't been many books which have covered the post-Beatle years for all the players involved, and this one gives all the details. There's always one or two great Beatle-related books per year still coming out- pretty remarkable! Happy 2011!

  15. Haven't read it, Jeff (although I've peeked at bits and pieces while traveling the aisles of Barnes & Noble). I am familiar with the author: using the pseudonym John Robertson, he wrote a fantastic -- and little known book -- called THE ART & MUSIC OF JOHN LENNON.

    Happy New Year!

  16. Hey, JMD, have you ever seen the AVATAR: THE LAST AIRBENDER cartoon? NOT the film--that's an entirely different creature.

  17. Haven't seen it, David, although, after seeing the film (and watching the interviews with the AIRBENDER creators on the DVD extras), I got the sense that the cartoons are probably very interesting...and that they deal with themes that resonate with my work and interests.

  18. That's exactly my thoughts. It's unfortunate you saw the film first, though.

    If you get the chance this year, I HIGHLY recommend you watch them. All three seasons are available via Netflix streaming.

    It's arguably the best animated series I've ever seen...and I've seen B:TAS!

    But yeah, right up your alley. A story with a clear beginning, middle and end with lots of adventure along the way. And no time like now, because the creative team is doing another cartoon about a different Avatar this year.

  19. Though I personally do prefer Batman: the Animated Series (different strokes for different folks), Avatar the Last Airbender is amazing. In terms of Classic tales I would say that it is some combination of Tolkien and 1001 Arabian Nights. Also there is plenty of masked Buddhist philosophy and a little superhero style. All in all, very interesting.

    Wishing you nothing, but goodwill and hipness from here to the stars,

  20. Thanks for your added endorsement, Jack: it only furthers my interest in the series.