Monday, December 16, 2013


On television they’re trotting out Miracle on 34th Street, A Christmas Story, It's a Wonderful Life and seemingly-infinite variations on A Christmas Carol.  

Here at Creation Point we have our own Yuletide tradition.  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.  Since then, I’ve been offering it annually as a kind of 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—along with a trio of illustrations whipped up last year by my friend and collaborator Vassilis Gogtzilas.  So grab a plate of Christmas cookies, pull a chair up close to the fireplace and enjoy.



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.

Story ©copyright 2013 J.M. DeMatteis
Art ©copyright 2013 Vassilis Gogtzilas


  1. That's great, JM! Glad you keep posting this story every year. The illustrations go with it wonderfully, too!!

    1. Thanks, A. Jaye! HAPPIEST of holidays to you and yours!

  2. Dematteis, I think that you are old enough to know (actually you should have learned this years ago,) there's no such thing as Vassilis Gogtzilas. He was just made up to comfort people. I'm sorry I just thought that you should know the truth. The good news is that he is real in all of our hearts.

    Anyway, I posted some continuation of the black and white sci-fi stuff. did it not come through or something else. Either way is fine, I just want to know if I should repost.

    ALso... night of the Meek, best Santa story ever in my eyes. Obviously after the the Mexican Movie where he fights Satan and shoots missles at Sputnik . Sorry the black and white thing reminded me of it.


    1. Yes, Jack, there IS a Vassilis Gogtzilas. And he'll be coming down your chimney on Christmas Eve! : )

      I think your other post got lost in the shuffle somewhere, so feel free to send it along again.

      "Night of the Meek" is one of the Christmas greats. A beautiful Serling story, beautifully played by Art Carney.

    2. Yes Dematteis, when we do good deeds, or help someone out, or give to the needy he is there. I suppose that in that way Gogtzilas is "real." In our hearts.

      In never liked Miracle on 34th Street. But "Night of the Meek." that was the Santa Claus for the post war years... for all the children of the 20th century, from 1900-1999, that's the Claus we can believe in.

      Well, I don't have my momentum from before, but it was sort of along the lines as:

      There was a suggestion for black and white adaptions of "knock" by Fredric Brown, "The Embassy," and Bradbury's "Zero Hour."

      Then I mentioned that with the rise in nostalgia in recent years and the fact that fantasy is starting to wane and Sci-fi is rising the idea for this show probably could work and be a hit. The problem is that most networks don't want to chance an anthology... especially one with out name recognition. Too many variables for network TV. ANd despite the high view as of Mad Men, Breaking Bad, and Justified, they are following a formula of hour dramas that go back almost a decade. They also probably wouldn't do anything. So, in the end I was just saying that it was a drag.


    3. I think the anthology form—especially for fantasy series like DIMENSION X and TWILIGHT ZONE—is as perfect a story vehicle as you can find. That said, you're right: networks find them risky. No continuing characters, no big stars. But the rewards are incalculable. I'd drop everything and run if I had a chance to work on a show like that.

      All that said, rumor is that there's a new TWILIGHT ZONE in the works. (We may have talked about this before.) We'll see what they come up with this time! ( TZ guys: have I got some ideas for you!)

    4. The Twilight Zone has name recognition though. And while that may help with getting it started, it is a double edged sword. The last two incarnations had their share of good stories, they just were not necessarily good Twilight Zone Stories. This is also an issue with the new Twilight Zone comic written by J. Michael Straczynski. I am optimistic, and he is a good writer, but can he capture the right feel? Maybe and maybe not. There is also the question of if it was just the era that crated the Zone. Maybe it can't REALLY be reproduced at all.

      The perfect place for an anthology of any kind would be cable. Besides that seems to be the only place drama is really working, it is also the place that goes against convention. Who would have thought a show based on an increasingly bad person (breaking bad), and ass in the 60s (Mad Men), or a western (Justified), would get any traction. Not to mention adapting a a comic book (Walking Dead). However as I said as daring as it seems, it is a formula started by FX a decade ago, it just took 5 years or so to catch on.


    5. I pretty much agree with everything you say here, Jack. And you never know: one good anthology makes its way out there and others will follow!

    6. Oh, I am sure that one good anthology will spark many. Television, movies, even comics (from the business end anyway) always copy and ollow what is big. Always have always will.

      So, is there any chance old JMD will stroll into a comic book store and pick of the JMS Twilight Zone on December 31st?


      P.S. I notice that there is still time for one more Christmas post... any chance there will be a discussion of Night of the Meek, or some weirdo listing thing again?

    7. I rarely go to any comics shops, Jack (there are very few in my area and they're not close), so I don't think I'll be buying the TZ comic. Maybe I'll find it down the line.

      I've been thinking of posting a link to "Night of the Meek"...since the whole thing is on YouTube (or was the last time I looked).

      Finally: HAPPIEST of holidays to you and yours!

    8. I think that you already mentioned your lack of comic shop entering. How you enjoy it when you do, but you think that we, the comic buying public are all filthy swine to be spit on. Or something like that.

      I think Night of the Meek could bring about some fascinating conversations.

      And don't tell me what to feel on and around holidays.


    9. Honestly, Jack, I would never even joke about my readers that way. I genuinely appreciate the audience and the folks who in turn, appreciate my work.

      We'll see if I can't get MEEK up here in the next couple of days.

    10. Of course you wouldn't, and you didn't. I did.That's our thing. We can do it. You can't even if you would, you can't. Its sort of like how its okay for a polish guy yo tell a polish joke. Your fandom is world you will never truly understand because you'll never be a part of it. like the word Dematti-geek. that's our word, not yours. Don't. Let. Us. Catch. You. Using. It.

      Anyway, the link to what you ACTUALLY said, is here (some scrolling will be needed):

      boom! "Night of the Meek"ed.


    11. The whole episode in one piece? Thanks, Jack! I'll probably put it up tomorrow! Merry Christmas!

    12. One piece. Although there are some small subtitles at the bottom, but the sound is in English.

      Don't tell me how to feel on Christmas.


    13. To quote Jack Benny: "Now CUT THAT OUT!" : )

    14. Cut what out? looking for "Night of the Meek?" why would I keep looking if I already found it?

      If you mean about the wishing thing, then you have to pick a side. You said have a MERRY Christmas and a HAPPY holidays. Well, as someone who isn't much of a holiday guy, what does make me happy and merry is telling people people not to tell me what to do.Yes taking a stand against even polite orders makes me happy. Its called being an America and I love my country. You know who doesn't take arbitrary stands? Mother Russia. God bless America!


      (believe it or not every sentiment expressed is 100% true)

    15. Yeah? Well, Merry Christmas anyway! And thanks again for the link!