Wednesday, December 20, 2017


On television they're trotting out the Christmas classics, from The Grinch (he's a mean one, isn't he? Until he's not) to It's A Wonderful Life (yes, I still cry every time I see it) to seemingly-infinite versions of A Christmas Carol (my favorite, as you probably know by now, is the 1951 version starring the incomparable Alastair Sim).  

Here at Creation Point we have a long-standing Yuletide tradition, a short Christmas tale of mine called The Truth About Santa Claus—offered annually as a kind of cyber Christmas gift, 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 three wonderful illustrations by my friend and Augusta Wind collaborator Vassilis Gogtzilas.  So grab a plate of Christmas cookies, pull a chair up close to the fireplace and enjoy.

Here's to a new year filled with health, happiness, prosperity, abundance, creativity, magic—and love above all.

See you all in 2018!



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 2017 J.M. DeMatteis
Art ©copyright 2017 Vassilis Gogtzilas


  1. We go through this every year Dematteis, there IS NO Vassilis Gogtzilas.

    And we all know your favorite Christmas movies is Lethal Weapon, Eyes Wide Shut, Gremlins, or It Happens on Fifth Avenue.

    Of course this does get me thinking about an interesting shift in storytelling.

    A lot of people born in in the 60s-80s, talk about how kids films were darker when we were kids, or at least with more weight than much of what has been put out since.

    I think that is both true and untrue. I catch some of these films on TGV from time to time. And yes kids aimed at kids were often darker in teh 70s, 80s, and early 90s. Een happy movies had gut punch moments.

    However, I think that in reality, something went away. All Ages movies... all ages much of anything. All Ages is no the same as for kids. It means just that All Ages, young and old.

    I think it still pops up, but mostly as adaptions. Without a comparison, kids stuff will always skew only for kids. But All ages should push the kids mind up, and allow an adult mind to I don't know, enjoy the less serious.

    I think Indiana Jones is a good example. Something you can take a kid to, or if you have no kid a date.

    Pixar still does it.

    I would say this story falls under "All Ages"

    Now Admit I am right about your favorite Christmas movie.


    1. You're wrong. Sorry.

      All Ages vs. Kids is an interesting question. It's a fine line and one that can be easily crossed. I see parents taking kids to movies that are filled with violence and other not-kid-friendly elements because, hey, it's a fantasy or a super-hero movie or whatever. But I learned as a parent that every child is different, what's good for one is terrible for another (I remember one of my daughter's friends who could easily gobble up violent anime but was terrified of the stepmother in CINDERELLA).

      That said there are other things that truly are clearly geared for kids but written in such a way that an adult can take great delight in them. The WINNIE THE POOH or MARY POPPINS books come to mind. And of course DR. SEUSS. Is that children's entertainment or all ages? The answer may differ from person to person.

      Of course I'm not sure I'm making any sense because I've had a rotten cold for a week and I can hardly think straight!

    2. Oh, I see the problem. You misunderstand, wrong means INcorrect. So with that is your favorite Christmas movie:

      a)It happened on Fifth Avenue
      b) Gremlins
      c) Eyes Wide Shut
      D) Lethal Weapons
      E) There is no E. There are only four choices.

      The kids thing IS weirs. I think parents often underestimate what kids can handle. The processing is different.

      I saw a movie on TV a few years ago that used to watch as a kid, and it was a kids movie, and I was wondering why I was aloud to watch it. It was dark as all get out.

      As a kid, I just kept rolling.

      I think it comes down to the basic setup of perception.

      The Cinderella thing makes perfect sense, the stepmother is designed to scare kids. Not to mention the natural inverting of the a core caregiver in a child, giving a more cataaclymics world view, as well as the idea of death to that caregiver.

      Kids view themselves as immortal... up to a point. The idea that your parent could die, and it would be usurped by someone who doesn't care about you would be the equivalent of a nuclear wasteland to kids.

      Things that irk adults tend to be larger scale. Massive shifts, facing tehir own mortality, that kind of thing.

      Children are more a adaptable to big changes, they don't face the idea of death except in the most basic concept of being food to a monster. Even that is a reflection of a basic root of childhood fear. Adults fear facing mortality, kids fear facing their own powerlessness.

      Why don't violent fatntasy movies scare them.. Because kids know it is fake, and even if they don't... Spider-Man will win. Those are the rules. You and I might see him as a young adult in over his head by the real world. Kids just see him as an adult. What are adults SUPPOSED to do, win.

      Of course that is all a theory from someone who has no kids, is an adult, and never took a pysch class.

      If it makes you feel better, your first Holiday special, Was an issue of MTU. Captain Americ...something, guest starred. You wrote him and his personal life at teh same time.

      Earlier this week a bought something from a young Jewish woman I know who blows glass for a living.

      That HAS to mean something... even if it is just proof that comics rot your brain and distort coincidences in reader's mind.

      There, cold fixed.


    3. Nope, cold still here. But getting better.

      My favorite Christmas movie is actually that little known classic GIFFEN & DeMATTEIS' HOLIDAY Huntz Hall, Bob Denver and Cher.

    4. I don't recall that being one of the choices. So, I will just assume it is "It happened on fifth avenue' (who doesn't love a story about unemployed WWII vet and hobos taking residence in a mansion?), with scenes from gremlins and Eyes Wide Shut randomly spliced in.

      No thoughts on my theory? Fair enough.

      If that anecdote didn't cure your cold, you may want to be sick.

      Finally, see how the web-slinger spent Christmas eve (or Christmas , or the day after, depending on when you click on the link... of course there is a calendar to go back) here:

      In the end, isn't that what Christmas is REALLY all about, Spider-man?


    5. Clearly, that Spidey strip is the Christmas classic of all time. Move over, Charles Dickens!

    6. First of all, I should have written "In the end, isn't that what Christmas is REALLY all about? Spider-man?

      More importantly, you mentioned A Christmas Caol. I caught a part of it on TV over the the Christmas weekend. Now, I don't remember how exact this is to the book, but I think noticed something I never noticed before.

      Did Jacob Marley petition the three spirits to see Ebeneezer Scrooge, as a n act of friendship?

      This may be something everyone else noticed, but me. However, I do think it is assumed that he was just sent as a type of herald to the spirits arrival.

      This however was the first time I noticed it in the words Marly spoke. Not long after one of my favorite lines from the story "There is more of gravy than of grave about you."


    7. I've always felt that it was an act of compassion on Marley's part that brought the three spirits, Jack. He didn't want his old friend and partner to endure the tortured afterlife he'd been experiencing. There's a scene at Marley's deathbed where he tries to warn Scrooge and I think the haunting is a direct follow-up.

      We actually didn't have time to watch ACC on Christmas Eve so we're planning on watching it tonight. Can't wait!

  2. Love this story!

    I hope you have a very merry Christmas, JMD--and happy belated birthday!


    1. Thanks so much, David! May you and yours have truly magical holidays!

  3. Merry Christmas!!! I hope your cold goes away. Chicken soup from the deli should take care of it.

    1. Thank you, Douglas! Happiest of holidays to you and yours!

  4. Ah man, I loved this! So charming and warm! What a thoughtful ,kind gift for us all! Have a safe, Merry Christmas, sir. Thanks for all the great gifts you've given us over the years!

    1. You are VERY welcome! Happy holidays to you and yours!

  5. Merry Christmas JM. Great story. I love Christmas. Have you ever read "The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus" by L Frank Baum? That's one of my personal favorites. I hope you get well soon. Oh, and happy belated birthday. One year from retirement?

    1. Retirement? Never! That's the beauty of being a writer. You can keep going as long can keep going.

      I know, and love, the Baum story. In fact, some years back I worked with a producer on a film adaptation of the story that, sadly, died in development. It would have been great, though.

      Have you ever read Mike Ploog's graphic novel adaptation of LIFE AND ADVENTURES...? It's fantastic and well worth seeking out.

      Happiest of holidays to you and yours!

  6. "Have you ever read Mike Ploog's graphic novel adaptation of LIFE AND ADVENTURES...? It's fantastic and well worth seeking out."

    Yes, I own it and it's great. That story works very well with illustrations. I have multiple editions of the book actually. My favorite edition is illustrated by Michael Hague. I also own the stop motion video. A lot of folks who grew up with Rudolph as their stop motion introduction don't like the "Life and Adventures" TV special, but I think it's great. My kids enjoy it as well. Great, great story.

    I'm glad you don't see retirement on the horizon. I am sure you've got some things you're working on for 2018 that you can't disclose yet. I can't wait to see what the new year brings. Merry Christmas!

  7. Thanks, George! Yes, lots of things brewing for 2018. First up is the animated John Constantine series on the CW Seed streaming network: CONSTANTINE: CITY OF DEMONS.

    Didn't realize there was a stop motion LIFE AND ADVENTURES... I'll have to seek it out!