By Laura McClain
SCENE ONE. INT. WATERFORD HOME – DAY
OFFRED, a Handmaid, SITS on a windowsill, eyes closed, BREATHING slowly.
OFFRED V.O.: I never really liked Christmas before. The stress of shopping, the toy commercials, the evergreen air freshener that Karen would spray to make the office smell festive. She was taken by the Eyes one Friday. Sent to the Colonies, I guess. I knew better than to ask why.
SERENA JOY, wife of the COMMANDER, ENTERS.
SERENA JOY: Offred. Please come downstairs at once.
OFFRED: Yes, Mrs. Waterford.
Offred FOLLOWS Serena Joy down the stairs and into the kitchen where RITA, the Martha, is ROLLING sugar cookie dough. A deeply religious Christmas song PLAYS.
SERENA JOY (briskly): I want to let you know that you may have a few cookies. The baby that grows in your womb that, of course, is actually mine should have steady nourishment and a little sugar won’t hurt.
OFFRED: No thank you, Mrs. Waterford.
SERENA JOY: Offred. This is a joyously solemn time of year. Indeed, we have essentially based our society on the First Christmas. Our Lord and Savoir, born of a woman impregnated with no choice by a powerful man! You are one with the Blessed Mother. Except not really because you are a filthy trash whore, like all women, including me. Eat. The cookie.
Offred STARES Serena Joy down and EATS the Jesus-shaped cookie.
SERENA JOY: Praise be.
SCENE TWO. EXT. THE STREET
Offred WALKS down the street with JANINE, a fellow Handmaid, who is CHATTERING away.
JANINE (maniacally): I just love Christmas, don’t you? It’s my favorite, favorite time of year! Last year my Commander let me kneel on a wooden plank facing the wall while he read the Christmas scriptures to his wife and the four children that I birthed for them! Oh, what a blessed day that was!
A Guardian WALKS by, WEARING a Santa hat and CARRYING an AK-47
JANINE: Happy holidays!
GUARDIAN (points gun at her): You say MERRY CHRISTMAS!
SCENE THREE. INT. WATERFORD HOUSE
OFFRED V.O.: Christmas is different in Gilead. No caroling, no crappy Hallmark movies, no hot chocolate. All sinful. At least, that’s what they told us at the Red Center.
FLASHBACK TO THE RED CENTER, WHERE HANDMAIDS ARE INDOCTRINATED
AUNT LYDIA (into a bullhorn): Girls, girls. You must accept that Christmas has become a depraved, hedonistic holiday unfit for His eyes!
She HOLDS UP a Christmas calendar of sexy models in Santa bikinis and arbitrarily SMACKS one of the Handmaids in the face with it.
AUNT LYDIA: Even our beverages have become ungodly! Behold this cup adorned with pagan snowflakes instead of the face of our true savior.
She THROWS scalding coffee from a tattered secular Starbucks cup on another Handmaid, who BOWS in submission.
AUNT LYDIA: And this false god! He hath poisoned your minds and led you from the true path. Take stones in your hands!
A MAN in a bloodied Frosty the Snowman costume is DRAGGED to the center of the room. The Handmaids HURL rocks at him with misplaced fury until he STOPS TWITCHING.
AUNT LYDIA: You shall celebrate a docile, virtuous wife free from ambition. The godliest of all women. Approach and receive your holiday blessing!
Each Handmaid STEPS FORWARD and is ISSUED a red Mrs. Claus cape.
HANDMAIDS (in unison): Praise be.
SCENE FOUR. THE PRESENT. INT. WATERFORD HOUSE.
The COMMANDER ENTERS, WEARING a black suit and a Santa beard over his regular beard.
THE COMMANDER: Ho ho ho. I bring you all blessed Christmas tidings.
He HANDS Offred, Rita and Serena Joy wrapped gifts from a burlap sack.
THE COMMANDER (with a wink): May the Lord open.
The women UNWRAP copies of “’Twas the Night Before Christmas” with all the words CROSSED OUT.
ALL THE WOMEN IN THE HOUSE (in unison): Praise be.
A very loud and ostensibly feminist Joan Jett cover of “Jingle Bells” PLAYS. EXTREME CLOSEUP on Offred’s anguished face.