Below, you will find a fictional dialogue between two unusual friends, Justin and Justina. In this conversation, Justina demands that Justin tell her what he wants for Christmas. Justin declines, believing that her Christmas present struggle is conducive to her improving character. The agony of gift-giving! Who will win the war of holiday wills? Read on to find out. You can find other Justin and Justina dialogue posts in our series.

Act I 〜 Demanding

Justin and Justina are walking through Metro Tech, Brooklyn, a few days before Christmas. The snow has only just begun to melt, making walking slightly less perilous than it had been. While the ground is no longer too icy, the same cannot be said for the conversation below.

Justina: Tell me what you want for Christmas!
Justin: I cannot.
Justina: Why not!?
Justin: You will only gain something from this experience if you overcome the Christmas present struggle on your own.
Justina: The point is for you to gain something from this! A present! Tell me a present!
Justin: We seem to be starting from different premises.
Justina: You seem to be a different premise.
Justin: Wow! Look at that Christmas Tree.

(Justin points to a large Christmas Tree erected in Metro Tech, Brooklyn.)

Photo of a large Christmas Tree set up in Metro Tech, Brooklyn, in 2020.
I took this picture of a large Christmas Tree erected in Metro Tech on December 22, 2020, using the Open Camera App on my BlackBerry Classic. It came out a bit fuzzy, but Victor retouched it so that we could present to you the Christmas Tree that Justin and Justina are talking about.

Justina: It’s pretty!
Justin: They should have put presents under it.
Justina: Why don’t you tell them what presents to put under it? Better yet, tell me.
Justin: You want your picture taken with the tree?
Justina: That’s a good idea!
Justin: (Pulls a bow from his pocket and hands it to Justina.) Take this bow and go stand under the tree.
Justina: …
Justin: …
Justina: Fine. But only because that was kind of funny.

Act II 〜 Pleading

Justina drops the topic of presents after having her picture taken under the Metro Tech Christmas Tree. They ambled about for a while until they ended up in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Cobble Hill. There, Justina remembered that she had something important to do.

Justina: Are you really not going to tell me what you want today?
Justin: I want you to grow from this experience, overcome your Christmas present struggle.
Justina: Nothing you say makes any sense.
Justin: You still have much to learn.
Justina: I hate giving presents! Especially to you!
Justin: Oh no!
Justina: What?
Justin: Look at those pumpkins with snow hats!

(Justin points five snow-covered pumpkins on five consecutive steps on a stoop.)

Five pumpkins on a series of five steps, covered in snow, in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn.
I took this picture of five snow-covered pumpkins in Cobble Hill with my BlackBerry Classic camera, using the Open Camera App. It too came out fuzzy, but Victor worked to make it presentable so we could share another event from Justin’s and Justina’s journey.

Justina: That’s hilarious. It really does look like they’re wearing hats.
Justin: Don’t touch!
Justina: What?
Justin: Have you learned nothing?
Justina: Oh… oh no.
Justin: The Pumpkin Taker left those pumpkins for who-knows-how-long. Freezing, thawing, freezing again. One touch and the whole game could be up. I shudder to think of it.
Justina: But they’re still orange.
Justin: Don’t trust their appearance. Pumpkin Taker would have taken them if his only criterion was their being orange.
Justina: Will he take you if I paint you orange?
Justin: He’d mistake me for a red panda and throw me in the river.
Justina: Wait … why would he throw you in the river?
Justin: All mammals can swim.
Justina: I didn’t know that … but wait, that doesn’t answer my question.
Justin: What was the question?
Justina: I don’t know anymore.

Act III 〜 Eureka

Justin and Justina forget the Christmas present struggle as they walk around some more, have coffee, and look inside a few stories. We find them again walking along the periphery of the Cobble Hill-Carroll Gardens border in Brooklyn.

Justina: Tell me what you want for Christmas unless you want to die.
Justin: It’d me mighty heroic for me to sacrifice my life to help you improve your character.
Justina: A clue! Give me a clue!
Justin: Do you know how Santa Claus gives the perfect gift to every good child around the world?
Justina: Justin…
Justin: Seriously, look at him. Look at him right there.

(Justin points to an inflatable Santa Claus standing next to an inflatable penguin which in turn is standing next to an inflatable dinosaur with a present in its mouth.)

An inflatable dragon with a present, penguin, and Santa Claus outside a brownstone home in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn.
I took this picture in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, using the Open Camera App on my BlackBerry Classic. Victor retouched it a bit for publication. Santa actually sparkles, but you cannot see the lights in this picture. The dinosaur head rotates back and forth. What is it with reptiles this holiday season? You may recall I covered a Halloween/Thanksgiving dragon in an earlier post. (Update for 4/3/2021: I called the dinosaur a “dragon” initially. It is clearly a dinosaur, not a dragon. I swapped the references so the dialogue makes more sense.)

Justina: Why is Humpty Dumpty dressed as Santa?
Justin: Focus! Focus on the key point.
Justina: Fine.
Justin: See the inflatable dinosaur with a present?
Justina: Yeah.
Justin: It’s the perfect present. I know it without looking inside.
Justina: Right.
Justin: How does Santa always deliver?
Justina: Because you tell him what you want for Christmas?
Justin: That used to be how he did it. But no one writes letters anymore.
Justina: That’s true … I don’t think I ever wrote a letter.
Justin: So how did he adjust?
Justina: How?
Justin: Preternatural intuition.
Justina: Come again?
Justin: He has a miraculous ability to always know what a good child wants for Christmas.
Justina: So this doesn’t help me at all.
Justin: You’re still in the cave staring at shadows. Break free. Go outside. Santa is waiting with his holiday dragon.
Justina: Will you tell me what I want out there?
Justin: Your Santa Clausian intuition will tell you.
Justina: I got it! I know what I’m getting you!
Justin: What is it?
Justina: Coal.
Justin: What did I tell you? I’ve been meaning to get my start in the coal-fired power plant industry. Perfect. You’re awash in intuition.
Justina: …
Justin: Merry Christmas!
Justina: …Merry Christmas.