Lost in the Twilight Zone Marathon | S2 Ep 4 | The Christmas Wish

“What is Christmas really about?” I ask my students as they stuff themselves into their coats and gloves in anticipation of the afternoon bell marking the start of winter break.

“Presents!” they shout in unison.

Every year I ask this question. Every year the response is the same.

I want to shake my head and say, “No, you’re wrong.” But it will only lead to angry complaints from parents, my swift firing with enough time to find a replacement before the children return in January, and my eventual exile from ever teaching in a Florida elementary school again. All because I suggested that a person more significant, and definitely less imaginary, than Santa Claus could be the true reason why we celebrate this increasingly commercialized winter holiday.

Instead, as the bell rings, I tell them over their shrieks and scurrying feet as they stampede for the door. “Remember to show love and kindness to others this holiday season. And most important of all, it is more blessed to give than to receive!”

I fear I may be admonished for using the word “blessed.” Funny how our politicians pick and choose what they want to be religious about. But I doubt the students have heard anything. They’re too excited to be out of school, to play in the snow, to bake cookies and decorate trees, to write their Christmas wishlists to Santa and be on their best behavior so they get everything they want.

As for me, it’s another Christmas alone with my naked tree and unanswered prayers that God will send a man I can make Christmas memories with.

I suppose I’m no better than my students.

hand holding a snowglobe
Photo by Lisa Fotios on Pexels.com

On my way home I stop by a small Christmas shop to buy something that can lighten up my drab apartment and fill it with holiday cheer.

“Snow globes 75% off,” the shopkeeper says as I enter.

On a teacher’s salary that’s barely enough to cover rent, 75% is definitely within budget, so I make a beeline for the snow globe aisle.

There are so many to choose from, but one type I will be steering clear of, like a coughing person during peak COVID, is anything featuring the jolly fat pink elf himself. That eliminates nearly half of the aisle.

There are a few globes showing the Nativity scene, some with Mary and Joseph and the baby in the manger, others that include the camels and donkeys and sheep and the three wise men with their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. In keeping with the true meaning of Christmas, I should choose from this collection, but something about them seems nonsensical. For one, it’s highly unlikely that Jesus was born on December 25th. And the only explanation I can provide for snow in Bethlehem is global warming.

So I shift my focus to a globe depicting a tiny Christmas town square, where a grand Christmas tree stands in the center and the people gather around, exchanging gifts, singing carols, and embracing each other as flakes of sparkling snow swirl around. This is the Christmas I can only dream of in this capitalist society—a Christmas where we all become the Whos of Whoville.

And it’s only five dollars.

“Have a wonderful Christmas,” the shopkeeper says as he bags my gift to myself.

“It will be,” I say under my breath, as soon as I get home and unwrap my present under my tree and make a final wish: to live in a world where it is always Christmas, where people are selfless and spread the joys of this holiday everywhere they go. I can just imagine the organ playing, the choir harmonizing in “Silent Night,” the star atop the tree that’s ten people tall twinkling in the moonlight.

And just before I close my eyes, I hear sirens wailing in the distance, growing closer. There are flashes of what I assume to be strobing red and blue Christmas lights, and then everything turns white as snow.

© 2022 Nortina Simmons

This story is brought to you by “A Stop at Willoughby,” with a subtle nod to “The Changing of the Guard,” which is also a Twilight Zone Christmas episode about a dejected teacher.

You may have also noticed that I drew some inspiration from one of my favorite Christmas movies.


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