‘Twas the Night Before: Chapter 21: Santa Plays Favorites (Tom)

“Boy, Santa’s really into labelling people.”

-Mike Nelson, Santa Claus, MST3K Episode #521


Well, in the story it’s Christmas.  But here in reality, something even better is going on right now:


So, between that and after-Christmas weather, I didn’t get around to posting yesterday.  But since we have only this chapter plus the epilogue left, I think it’s safe to say I’ll be done before New Year’s.  😉

Tom waked up in his apartment on Christmas morning.  Remember, last night he wrote his very first grown-up Christmas list:

Some people, when they make grown-up Christmas lists, wish for an end to all wars and for everyone in the world to have a friend.

Tom wishes his fiancee still believed in Santa Claus.

Given that this is the parable of faith, this is not too surprising.  After all, I’ve seen RTCs claim that God helped them find their missing keys, because God was apparently not busy ending famine and curing diseases.

In the living room, Tom was met with a sight that made his entire body rigid.

“Noella??  Baby, you shouldn’t be here right now.  And where did you find a Naughty Elf costume???”

The tree was beautifully decorated, every inch a stunning masterpiece of color.

That’s what Santa did at Tom’s house: he decorated Tom’s Christmas tree.  Because I guess he didn’t have anything more pressing to do.

[Tom] laughed and cried and whooped until he remembered the neighbors and pressed a hand against his mouth.

“Oh my God Santa!  It’s a Christmas miracle!  This is SO MUCH BETTER than you bringing toys and clothes to poor children, which is what I thought you should do before I met you!”

This is upsetting, really.  Tom is the same guy who, back in Chapter 8, said:

“Kids in the ghetto actually believe Santa is going to bring them something to make their lives all right.”

To which Noella responds:

“If those parents really believed, the outcome would be different.”

So now, not only is Tom okay with the poor kids getting nothing, but he’s okay with the reason they get nothing: because the childrens’ parents don’t believe.

This really is a parable of faith: Tom is behaving exactly as Rayford Steele and Buck Williams in the Left Behind series: even though neither of them believed for DECADES, and would have gone straight to hell had they died then, they immediately find hell to be completely just once they convert.

It’s the classic I’ve Got Mine, Screw You mentality of RTCs.

Another way in which Rayford and Tom are alike: each is presented with much better evidence of the existence of Jesus/Santa than almost everyone else.  Rayford, to cite just one example, is visited by the Archangel Michael.  Tom got to MEET Santa, visit his workshop, and craft a special Santa necklace (THIS WILL BE IMPORTANT SOON), and now, he gets a letter back from Santa:

Dear Thomas,

Merry Christmas.  Enjoy the gift I sent home with you, which seemed only appropriate under the circumstances. 

Your friend,


Tom gets all confused, because he doesn’t remember any gift, and the only thing he brought back from Fairyland was the bag with the victims’ belongings that he looted. 

So he goes to the Tribune office to check his mail.  There he finds a package from the wife of one of the Canadians.  She thanks him for his “thoughtfulness” in looting her husband’s corpse, which is pretty nice of her considering that she no doubt would have gotten his wallet back if Tom had just left it alone and not left the crash site.


Oh, and we find out the Canadian’s name: Marcus Kroeker.

I really, REALLY hope that is not a play on the fact that Marcus “croaked” in the plane crash.

I really do.

The wife has sent back something that was not her husband’s:


Except where it’s different:

Instead of “Forever And,” it says “A Day.”

(Sadly, it does not say “A Tree.”)

Also, it has Tom’s birthdate.

Also also, the tree is embossed instead of cut out.

Also also also, it has “KK” (Santa’s initials) on the back.

So, Tom has his Christmas tree decorated by Santa himself, and his letter from Santa, AND his own “Forever and a Tree” necklace.

Sucks to be you, poor kids!


Posted on December 27, 2011, in Books, Christmas, Twas the Night Before. Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.

  1. Hang on. Hers says “Forever and” and his says “A day”. Her back says “A tree”, does his back say anything? Because this is starting to sound like those “Be fri” “est ends” necklaces… embossed/cut-out rather than half hearts

  2. The back of her necklace doesn’t say “a tree.” It doesn’t say anything. We started calling it the “Forever and a Tree” necklace because it says “Forever And” and nothing more, and it’s tree-shaped.

    And yes, “Forever and a day” is evidently what Jenkins is going for.

    • Exactly. Noella’s necklace has “Forever And” on the front and her birthdate on the back. A tree shape is cut out of the pendant.

      Tom’s necklace has “A Day” on the front and his birthdate on the back. A tree shape is embossed into the pendant.

      Both pendants are circle-shaped.

  3. (ticks the “Freudian” box again – of course the necklace for him has something extra, and the necklace for her has a gap)

    It’s one solution to the problem of pain – you only get Divine Goodies if you’re really truly buddies with God, and God just ignores everyone else – but not a terribly convincing one. RTCs die in random accidents too, at just the same rate as normal people. (Mind you, I don’t find any of the explanations terribly convincing.)

    • Headless Unicorn Guy

      More like the necklace for him has CONVEX decoration and the one for her has CONCAVE.

      See How Clever the Author’s Symbolism is?
      (And how expected, given the Author…)

      The only reason this guy’s a best-seller is because RTCs are forbidden from reading real fiction. He writes consolation prizes for the Church Ladies whom REAL fiction and REAL (i.e. Heathen) Xmas stories might contaminate.

      Anybody got the South Park Xmas episodes with Mister Hanky? They were done as parodies of sappy TV Xmas specials. (Though “Woodland Critter Christmas” is still too over-the-top for me…) And RTC plus Sappy Xmas Story demands brain-bleach.

  4. Headless Unicorn Guy

    Oh, and we find out the Canadian’s name: Marcus Kroeker.

    I really, REALLY hope that is not a play on the fact that Marcus “croaked” in the plane crash.

    I suspect it is. Remember who the author is, and his known tin ear combined with his “See How Clever I Am?” trope for character names.

  5. Actually the letter and pendant were from Kim Kardashian.

  6. So Santa is a douchehat jeweler who ignores almost everybody on earth except the favored few who believe without question and who live alone or with families who also believe, but at any rate, only gifts the believers once in a lifetime? Sheesh.

    • So why should Jenkins change his style now?

      If this is a Jenkins-style allegory about religious faith, and Santa represents God, and Christmas presents represent salvation…then it’s true enough that children won’t believe unless their parents do, and teach them those magic words. And “unsaved” is unsaved, regardless of age. Sucks to be them.

      (There is a strong strain of PMD belief which denies that children of unsaved parents will be included in the Rapture, which will go by household. So Jenkins is kind of contradicting his own previous work here.)

      Another way in which Rayford and Tom are alike: each is presented with much better evidence of the existence of Jesus/Santa than almost everyone else.

      Only the great saints are favored with heavenly visions, or smacks upside the head a la Paul on the road to Damascus. Or Tom in the Black Forest/Santaland.

      You don’t think Tom is much of a saint? Well, neither do I; but God chooses whom he will. (At least he’s better than Rayford or Call-Me-Buck. Marginally.)

      I can’t get over those embossed/cut-out necklaces. Snicker.

      Otherwise, this allegory makes my head hurt. Mean-spirited and ridiculous at the same time.

  7. All I want to do at this point is swear. This faith is vomitous.

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