‘Twas the Night Before: Chapter 21: Santa Plays Favorites (That One Kid)

Noella calls Tom to tell him all about The Miracle of the Resealed Letter.  This being 1998, she gets his answering machine.  She then calls her own machine, and gets a message from Fat Ugly Rufus about the family she interviewed.  Remember, with the little girl who still believed

The dad wants to have A Talk with Noella.

But before that reveal, Tom and Noella meet up and share their Christmas morning miracles.  I just can’t help but feel that Tom got the better end of the deal:

Tom:  Honey, guess what???  Santa came to my apartment and left me a personalized letter and decorated my empty Christmas tree and got me to look for my very own special Forever and A Tree necklace!!!

Noella:  Babe, that’s great!  Santa visited me, too!  He…resealed a letter.

They head off to Betsy’s house together and it starts to snow.  Tom is delighted by this Christmassy event, so I guess he’s no longer worried about the plight of silly non-Santa believers like LaShawna Jackson and her four kids.

Turns out little Betsy got HER VERY OWN Forever and A Tree necklace from Santa, and the dad thinks Noella gave it to her, and that it’s inappropriate and too expensive.

(Despite being the only believer in her family, Betsy got the necklace for the same reason Noella got hers: the making of a selfless Christmas wish.  Noella wished for a nice Christmas for her cousin; Betsy wished for a restful Christmas for her father.)

This throws into relief the true idiocy of Santa’s Forever and A Tree necklaces.  Noella was lucky: she was given her necklace during a family gathering when possibilies for the potential gifter were up for grabs.  But little Betsy only has her father, and he knows he didn’t give it to her.  That leaves only Noella, who has a necklace just like it.

The other piece of this is that Noella came from an upper-middle-class family where expensive gifts were not unusual.  How does Santa know that poor families won’t take PLATINUM NECKLACES and trade them in for things like, oh…dunno…FOOD AND CLOTHES???

Noella explains that she didn’t give the necklace to the kid, the father (for obvious reasons) doesn’t believe her, but it’s all swept under the rug almost immediately.

Oh, and the final BIG REVEAL of the story: Betsy’s necklace is THE ONE TOM MADE IN FAIRYLAND.

Now, this does provide in-story proof that Santa is real, but (as I mentioned earlier) I can’t help but feel that Betsy got robbed here.  Shouldn’t she be getting a necklace made by Santa himself, not some dork who writes a newspaper column? 

Anyway, those are the Christmas miracles from Santa.  He does bang-up work, don’tcha think?  😀

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Posted on December 30, 2011, in Books, Christmas, Twas the Night Before. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. That’s the problem with being fictional and taking on the form of the viewer’s image of you: you end up doing whatever stupid shit the viewer wants you to do. (Anyone else got a sudden image of Santa as a boggart from Harry Potter World?)

    So Betsy got her free (and overly expensive and thus inappropriate) tree necklace. But did her overworked and overly stressed daddy get his restful Christmas? Oh, right. Silly me. He’s not a Really Truly Believer so he gets NOTHING for Christmas!!!!! Santa doesn’t actually GRANT your unselfish wish; he just wants you to make it. It’s the thought that counts!

    • The goofy thing about the wishes is that the two we have seen would have happened regardless of Santa.

      Noella made a wish for her cousin to have a good Christmas, because she and her mom were poor. And the cousin got lots of gifts from her grandmother and Noella’s parents, who weren’t poor. Santa had nothing to do with anything, unless Jenkins is implying that Santa mind-controlled them all into the local Toys R Us.

      Betsy wished for a restful Christmas for her father, but HE HAD ALREADY ASKED THE KIDS TO BE QUIET WHILE HE HAD TIME OFF AND THEY HAD PROMISED THEY WOULD BE. So, he was already getting the wish when Betsy asked Santa for it.

      Unless Santa is going to cast an additional Spell of Muteness on the children for the rest of the winter holiday.

  2. Meh, most of the necklaces are stamped out in a sweatshop in China, Santa just signs them.

    Grammar Police, I suspect that’s actually an important theological point: the important thing about making a selfless wish is the satisfaction you get from having made it! So you deserve the reward, not the poor schlub you made the wish for. Yes, very RTC…

  3. By now, whatever parallel Jenkins was hoping to draw to Jesus is pretty much irretrievably garbled.

    Since we’ve referenced the Mexican Santa Claus before, this bit reminds me of poor Lupita getting her doll at the end, even as her family remains poverty-stricken and without income. “Well, it’s an extremely shallow miracle with very short-lived consequences, but what the hey.”

  4. I hate this book. I can’t think of witty things to say about it. I’m just disgusted by the fundamental selfishness of RTCism. Blech.

    • It’s amazing how not too long ago, when we were just a few chapters in, it was still possible for I and others to say that this book seemed Not All That Bad, Actually. Ah, those were innocent times.

  5. I have my own idea on how to construct a proper Sinterklaas/Knecht Ruprecht story…

    1. They are NOT elves; they’re DWARVES (more specifically, duergar). And yes, Sinterklaas is aware of the irony of Scottish fae using Dutch names. He’s only based in the Netherlands because he wants to be as far away from the powries and caoineags as he can, while still able to work with the kobolds.
    2. They don’t deal in toys, but rather mystic/holy wards. A worldwide network of kobolds (who love the work just for the chance to see the world beyond Germany, with an excuse that won’t make the wichtlein overly jealous) keeps watch for children who very much NEED warding against particular woes to reach their full potential. They feed this information to Sinterklaas, who uses it to custom-design the wards. He can only make about 150,000 wards a year, though. Ruprecht is ESPECIALLY grumpy about the necessary triage.
    3. As a nod towards his inspiration St. Nicolaus (enough that he uses the Dutch version of his name as a sort of nom de’plume), he and Ruprecht do the ward-dispensing between the feast-day and Christmas. Half the wards, the ones dispensed by Sinterklaas, are protective wards, that the children at least won’t be overly distracted by constant hardships. Ruprecht’s half, meanwhile, are revelatory wards, allowing children to realize what they’re dealing with (that they so often become strident and [nobly] willful is why he’s often mistaken for BEATING the children in question, and that they must have been the disobedient bunch).

    Come to think of it, this sounds more like what a Gnostic sect would do for a Santasy…

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