A Different Christmas Carol

When his friends had told him Santa wasn’t real, Winston had not wanted to believe them. How could Santa not be real? He had given him all the presents he had asked for every Christmas.

“It must be your parents, Winston. Once I found a very cool model plane in my mom’s shopping bag just before Christmas. I thought it was for my cousin whose birthday was in a few weeks but on Christmas day I unwrapped my present and it was the same model plane.”

“Maybe Santa brought you the same gift because he knows how much you like planes, Jess.” Winston retorted.

“Well, Nick says when he caught Santa sneaking presents under his tree last Christmas and that’s when he noticed that Santa resembled his dad a little too much.” Jess said with a smirk.

Winston knew Santa had to be real and he wanted to prove it to his friends. For two years Winston had tried to get a glimpse of Santa for himself. He had sat behind the curtains where he could keep an eye on the tree and waited patiently. He had planned that when Santa came, he would greet him and ask him to take a picture with him so his friends would know that it wasn’t just his Dad pretending to be Santa. But somehow Santa always came after he had mistakenly fallen asleep and he never got to see him.

That year, Winston had had a new trick up his sleeve. If he could not see Santa or whoever it was who got him his presents, he would ask for a present which only Santa’s magical little elves could possibly make. Something that could not be found anywhere else on the planet. This time he would ask for a time machine!

Winston had taken extra measures to be a very well behaved boy that year. He had eaten all the green vegetables without complain and had finished all his homework on time. He had even kept his room clean and had helped his mother in the kitchen whenever he could. So on Christmas day when he had woken up to find a bright little package under the tree like he did each year, he had almost choked on the cupcake he had been munching on. So Santa was real after all. And he had gotten him a time machine!

His heart was thumping as he knelt down to pick up the neatly wrapped box, weighing it in his hands and wondering what it would look like. He had always imagined time machines to be the size of a bike, one in which you sat and were transported into the distant past or a faraway future, like in his favorite book, The Time Machine. Maybe this one was small like Hermione’s time turner in Harry Potter. He began to carefully tear open the bright sparkly wrapping paper, holding it gingerly in his hands. He thought of all the times in the past he could revisit. He could relive all of the happy moments of his life. All the times he had wished he could go back to, he now really could. He could go into the future and see what the world will be like tomorrow. Or the next year, or the next century or even the next millennium. Oh all the things he could do and the places he could see!

When he had unwrapped the gift enough to reveal the box inside he was more than dejected. It was no time machine. It was a remote control car. It was second on his birthday wish list. He purposely hadn’t put it on his Christmas wish list. Perhaps his friends were right. Santa wasn’t real. It must have been his parents all along.

Winston’s parents could not understand why he looked so disheartened. All their attempts to cheer him up simply went in vain. They had Christmas dinner with the entire family like they did each year and Winston, who was always so cheerful had remained gloomy and glum through the day.

Once home, Winston went straight to his room. He was jumping into bed when his hand fell on something. It was a cuboidal plastic object with a black knob at the center. The knob had little markings around it like the ones on the face of a clock. Puzzled, he turned the knob just a little. Downstairs he heard his mother call, “Come on Winston, we’re going to be late for dinner!”

This was it. A little time machine! He jumped with excitement. Santa was real. And he had brought him a time machine! The rest of his Christmas wasn’t the same. He spent all night playing with his friends and showing off his newest possession.

Winston not only became a frequent time traveler, he even discovered the underlying technology (it wasn’t entirely magic after all. On Christmas Eve many years later, he finished making the first replica of his wonderful gadget. At night, as he sat clutching his first time machine, a strange thought hit him. He turned the knob and went back to the day and he had gotten the present from Santa. He sat down on his childhood bed in his parent’s room, reminiscing the day. It was the best day of his life.

When he got up from his bed, a new time machine he had just made slipped out. He turned the knob once again and returned to the present, leaving the time machine for his young self to find.

– Nikita Mandapati

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