December 27th, 1963. Don and his children sit on the floor under a sparsely decorated tree in a small apartment lit only by the light of fourteen candles stuck in empty whiskey bottles. In the corner, Freddy Rumsen plays Christmas carols on his zipper.


Don: Would you like to open presents?

Bobby: Yes!

Sally: Didn't you make any cookies? Mommy had lots of cookies at Christmas.

Don: I think there's a box of Baronets in the kitchen.

Sally runs into the kitchen. Don hands Bobby an oddly shaped package wrapped in newspaper.

Don: Merry Christmas, Bobby.

Bobby unwraps the gift voraciously. It is an old baseball glove.

Bobby: What's this? A used glove?

Sally returns from the kitchen, carrying an entire sleeve of cookies in the front of her dress like a basket.

Bobby: Daddy got me a used glove.

Freddy Rumsen transitions from "Jingle Bells" to "Silent Night." Sally forms three cookies into a cookie sandwich.

Don: Not just used, but used to catch the ball that got the out that won the 1941 Jefferson County High School Baseball Championship game. That glove has seen years of hard work and practice, and every ounce of blood and sweat that that athlete poured into winning, he also poured into that glove. It's been lubricated not with some synthetic oil bought at a sporting goods store, but with love of and devotion to the game. It's not an old glove, Bobby – it's a championship glove.

Bobby: Wow!

Sally: That's a good present, Daddy! What did you get me?

Don hands Sally another package wrapped in newspaper. Sally opens it with one hand while eating a cookie with the other. It is a doll wearing a stained dress.

Sally: Caroline! I thought Mommy threw her away after I spilled grape juice on her.

Don: She did.

Sally: So… you got me a doll out of the garbage?

Don: That doll didn't just come from the garbage, Sally. She came from your childhood. Caroline reminds you of a simpler time, when we all lived in the same house. A time when mommies didn't throw away dolls or daddies just because they'd gotten a little dirty. As you grow older, that time will become an increasingly distant memory. You'll get new mommies and new daddies and new dolls, but if you hold on to Caroline, she'll help you remember your life when it was happier and less complicated, when you had one mommy, one daddy, one house, one brother, and one doll, and that was all you needed.

Sally tilts her head to one side like a confused spaniel.

Sally: Thanks, Daddy.

Don: Presents aren't done yet. Bobby, this is also for you.

Don hands Bobby a small brown paper bag. As Sally puts the last cookie in her mouth, she gets up and returns to the kitchen for the rest of the cookies. Bobby turns the bag upside-down and a pack of Lucky Strikes falls out.

Bobby: Daddy, I don't smoke.

Don: You didn't smoke.

Bobby: I don't want a pack of cig-

Don: You want to be big and strong, don't you?

Bobby: …Yes?

Don: Then you want these cigarettes. Because, you see, they're not cigarettes. They're an introduction to manhood. Now that we're living in separate places, it's important for you to be the man of the house. Nothing will make your neighbors or potential burglars stop and say, "There's a man I wouldn't want to cross," like watching a first-grader flip open his lighter and set something on fire that's so close to his face.

Sally returns from the kitchen with a cereal bowl full of cookies.

Sally: Oh neat, cigarettes!

Bobby: I'm a man now.

Sally: Can I have one?

Bobby: You'll get cookie crumbs all over them.

Sally shoves the remaining cookies into her mouth and holds up her hands to show that they are clean. Bobby shakes his head "no." Don takes an old ankle sock from the windowsill above the radiator.

Don: Sally, why don't you see what's in here instead?

Sally: Whose old sock is this?

Don: It's your stocking. Santa filled it.

Sally warily reaches into the sock and pulls out a succession of small gifts.

Sally: Tell Santa I said thanks for the empty picture frame.

Don: It's not an empty picture frame. It's a place to keep your new memories.

Sally: Is this a macaroni necklace?

Don: It's Italian jewelry.

Sally: …Can I eat it?

Don: No. Santa worked very hard on it. If you're still hungry, check the breadbox.

Sally frowns at the necklace and returns to the kitchen. Bobby lights a cigarette off the flame of one of the candles. Sally comes back with a hunk of bread.

Sally: This bread is stale.

Don: It's toasted.

Sally: This isn't a very good Christmas, Daddy.

Don: Wait. There's one more gift. This one is for all three of you.

Don presents them with a slightly rusted bicycle wheel with a jack of clubs stuck between the spokes. Bobby chokes back a surprised cough. Freddy Rumsen freezes mid-zip.

Sally: What are we supposed to do with somebody else's bike wheel?

Don: It's not a wheel…

Bobby: It's definitely a wh-

Don: It's a carousel.

Thanks to Chase "Nuts Roasting on an Open Fire" Mitchell for input.