(Sidewalk outside a store next to a nativity scene. Mary kneels behind an imaginary manger. Irving and Ethel are off stage left. Bum is off right. Rod is off stage, up left.)
ETHEL: (Entering stage left; Irving is not far behind) Oh Irving, isn’t this a pretty Christmas tree! Just look at all those pretty lights and…
IRVING: (Interrupting) It’s ugly, Ethel. Ugly!
ETHEL: Oh Irving, it is not; It’s beautiful. You just don’t like Christmas.
IRVING: You got that right. That’s the first sensible thing you’ve said all day, Ethel. Don’t you understand, Christmas is just a bunch of crazy people buying silly gifts for people they don’t care about. All they want is to get a gift in return. All Christmas is, is greed. Greed and money, Ethel, greed and money.
ETHEL: Oh Irving! You don’t know the first thing about Christmas if you think it’s all about greed and money. It’s about giving love, peace on earth, Irving, it’s about Jesus, that’s what…
IRVING: (interrupting) Sure, sure, giving love, HA!! Giving headaches is what you mean. Ethel, do you not realize what I go through every holiday season? (Ethel starts to speak) No! A big fat N-O NO!! It starts all the way back at Thanksgiving. Every Thanksgiving I have to go up in the attic and bring down all those little pilgrims and turkeys. Then I spend about eight hours and thirteen minutes putting little decorations all over my house. A turkey here, a turkey there, everywhere a turkey. Those have got to be the ugliest birds that walk on this earth of ours, Ethel. Then, Ethel, then comes the big dinner and all those good-for-nothing relatives of yours. It takes lots of money to make lots of turkey and dressing, and I don’t even like turkey. I tell you what, Ethel, your brother sure likes turkey; he doesn’t mind helping himself to four or five servings. No, he eats us out of house and home every year. Then the day after Thanksgiving, the day after Thanksgiving, Ethel, I have to take down all those little decorations and go back up in the attic, bring down all the Christmas decorations and spend three days, seven hours, forty-one minutes putting up lights and bows and tinsel and you know I hate tinsel. It gives me a rash, Ethel. See, look here, little bumps. (points to chin)
ETHEL: Oh Irving, you hate everything!
IRVING: Money and greed, Ethel. I’m telling you, Christmas is nothing more than lights, money and greed. Now come on, and let’s go get that snotty nephew of yours a gift. (turns to walk stage right; both freeze)
ROD: (play twilight zone music; entering from up stage left; crosses Irving and Ethel) Meet one Irving and Ethel Bimmer. Irving Bimmer is a frustrated shoe salesman who has managed to ruin every Christmas for the last 26 years, ever since he has been married to his wife, Ethel. You see, Irving doesn’t understand the true meaning of Christmas. He thinks it is nothing more than money and greed, lights and tinsel, unwanted gifts and Auntie May’s fruitcake. In short, he doesn’t like Christmas. Ethel, however, a newly born again, spirit-filled, water baptized, bible reading, interceding believer has been praying- praying that this Christmas would be different. Praying that God would somehow in His power touch and transform her husband. Little does she know that her prayers are about to be answered. For Irving is about to take an unexpected journey into a new dimension. A dimension not of sight nor sound but of faith. A dimension where love rules over hate, where joy rules over sorrow, where light rules over darkness, and faith rules over despair. For you see, one Irving Bimmer, shoe salesman, is about to enter (music- bum, bum, bummmm) the spirit zone! (exits up left; Irving and Ethel come to life)
ETHEL: (Crosses to nativity scene, ends up stage right of nativity, Irving is left of nativity) Oh, Irving, look at this beautiful nativity scene. Don’t you think it would look wonderful in our front yard?
IRVING: You have got to be kidding, Ethel. It’s ugly, U-G-L-E, ugly!!
IRVING: Because it is.
ETHEL: No, “Y”. U-G-L-Y. Ugly is spelled with a “Y”.
IRVING: (interrupting) Don’t get smart with me, Ethel. Do you know why this store has the nativity scene out here? It’s so simple minded people like you will go in their store and spend money. They don’t care about the little guy in the hay basket; all they want is your money. (inspecting the statues) Hey, Ethel, look at these statues. I’d say these cost a pretty penny. Huh, Ethel, what do you think, huh? This one probably cost thirty-seven, forty-three, ah, fifty-one dollars and sixty-seven cents. This one must be at least twenty-nine, seventy-three, eighty-six dollars and fifty-one cents. Now the lady must be up over a hundred, huh, Ethel? One hundred dollars, ahh, one hundred seventeen dollars and thirty-nine cents. Hey Ethel, Ethel, would you look who we have here. A cute little shepherd boy, Joseph and Mary. (starts to laugh) Hey Ethel, Joseph and Mary Christmas (laughs). Get it, Ethel, Joseph and Mary Christmas. (laughs)
ETHEL: That’s not funny, Irving.
IRVING: It’s not? I thought it was very funny. Joseph and Mary Christmas. (laughs)
BUM: (Staggering in from stage right goes to Irving) Excuse me, sir, but could you spare a few dollars so I could buy my family a Christmas meal?
IRVING: What did you say?
BUM: Umm, I just wanted to know if you could spare a few dollars for a Christmas meal for my family, they…
IRVING: (interrupting) Ethel, come here, Ethel, listen to this. Tell my wife what you just said.
BUM: I wanted to know if you could spare a few dollars for me to buy my family a Christmas meal.
ETHEL: Give him some money, Irving.
IRVING: Are you crazy? I’m not giving this bum a single penny. Get out of here. You see Ethel, the bums in the store want your money and the bums in the streets want your money. Come on, Ethel, let’s go. (They begin to walk away to stage right and Ethel freezes in walking position)
IRVING: Ethel, come on, Ethel. Ethel quit clowning around and let’s go. I’m telling you, Ethel, I’ll leave you right here standing on the sidewalk. Ethel, OK, that’s it. I’m out of here. (turns to go; music sounds and Irving stops; Irving turns to look at nativity scene; in unison nativity scene comes to life and looks at Irving and smiles; Irving turns in fear to go) Ethel, the mannequins are moving. (in fear) Ethel! I’m outta here!
ALL: “Pssst…” (Irving stops and turns back)
MARY: (in a sing-songy way; almost spooky) Irving…
IRVING: Ethel, the mannequins, they’re talking to me.
MARY: (sing-songy) Irving, come here… Irving.
IRVING: Ethel, they want me, Ethel. How could you do this to me, Ethel?
MARY: Irving, this thing about Christmas, you got it all wrong.
SHEP: You got it all wrong!
JOSEPH: Yeah, wrong!
MARY: Christmas isn’t about lights, money and greed. It’s about love, joy and peace.
SHEP: Love, joy, peace.
JOSEPH: Yeah, peace.
MARY: Irving, Christmas is all about Jesus!
SHEP: All about Jesus
JOSEPH: Yeah, Jesus!
MARY: For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called wonderful counselor, the mighty God, the everlasting father, and the prince of peace. Listen to us, Irving, and get some joy, get Jesus! (begins to sing song)
I lay in Zion for a foundation, a stone
I lay in Zion for a foundation, a stone
A tried stone, a precious cornerstone
A sure foundation, a sure foundation
A tried stone, a precious cornerstone
He that believes it shall, shall not make haste
(Irving is obviously awestruck; he is frightened but in a comical way; Joseph and Shepherd join in singing on chorus; choreograph some dance movement; all three move toward Irving in dance; Irving goes the other way to escape and so does the dance, this gives the appearance that they are following him)
Talking about wonderful counselor
The Mighty God, the everlasting father
Wonderful counselor, the prince of peace
(repeat song with all three singing; as they repeat the song Irving is beginning to enjoy all of this; he gets involved in their dance moves in a very comedic way; Irving can’t dance; at chorus, Irving joins in the singing; at the last line of chorus, the nativity scene goes back to their original positions; on the last “prince of peace” they freeze but Irving sings it again; he is now full of joy)
IRVING: (still singing and dancing) Hey, come on, don’t stop now. I’m just getting started. I now know what it’s all about. CHRISTMAS!! It’s not about lights, greed and money; but it’s about life, joy, peace. It’s about JESUS!
ETHEL: (comes to life) Irving, come on.
IRVING: Ethel, Ethel, you won’t believe this, Ethel, but I know now. Ethel, I know.
ETHEL: Irving, what are you talking about?
IRVING: Ethel, Christmas, I know what Christmas is all about. It’s not about lights, greed, and money. It’s about love, joy and peace. It’s all about (pause) about that little guy in the basket there. Ethel, it’s all about Jesus! I know now; the mannequins told me, Ethel, the mannequins, they told me.
ETHEL: Are you feeling alright?
IRVING: I’ve never felt better, Ethel. In fact, the whole world seems to have a whole new look! (he pauses and looks at his wife; with romance in his eyes) Ethel!
IRVING: Ethel, I love you, Ethel! (gives her a hug)
ETHEL: What’s gotten into you, Irving?
IRVING: Jesus. Jesus has gotten into me and I’m a new man. (looks at watch) Ethel, it’s six thirty; if we hurry, we can make it to that special Christmas program at your, I mean “our” church. Come on, Ethel, we’ve got to hurry.
(Bum enters and Irving sees him)
IRVING: Excuse me, sir. Here’s a couple dollars for your meal.
IRVING: (giving more money) Ahh, here, take all your relatives out for a great big feast.
BUM: Thank you, sir, thank you!
IRVING: Merry Christmas!
(Irving begins to exit stage left, turns back to look at statues; they come to life, smile, thumbs up; Irving returns gesture)
IRVING: Merry Christmas!! (exists left stage smiling)