Dear Friends, I hope you are well and coping with modern life. Whether you are among family or not I hope you are not too lonely. I have heard that some of my Christmas cards haven’t made it to their destinations–the world’s post offices are under more pressure than usual. Somehow these things surprise me even though they shouldn’t. I nurture my innocence.
Here is a Christmas poem I felt I should get out; it will have a short shelf life.
Best wishes for 2021. May the New Year see you safely to the other side of this crisis.
Best Gift of 2020
Mom says this December won’t go as planned,
What with contagion rolling over the land,
How I’d like to believe that everything is just fine,
Dad’s got a Christmas tree and he’s mulling red wine.
But my friend Sammy who has texted through lockdown,
Says Santa’s health may not be too sound,
He can’t ho-ho-ho; he’s not at his best,
Sam says the jolly fat man’s had a covid test.
So now what to think? What could be worse?
Will the reindeer be dragging a holiday hearse?
I hope St. Nick gets better, he has to because,
I want a PlayStation Five from Santa Claus.
My sister Sarah sits watching Fox News,
Where four angry people are shouting their views,
One lady cries out: “Your Santa’s all done!
Long ago I predicted this Christmas wouldn’t come!”
I shudder and ask: “Could this be true?
Could Santa’s Noel flights really be through?
Where will we get presents for under the tree?
Who will take care of little kids like me?”
Sarah says: “Tut-tut, don’t be naïve,
Stories on this channel often deceive.
I learn most things that I need to know,
From National Public Radio.”
“Alexa,” I say, “Alexa tune in!
I need to hear news without any spin!”
Will old Kris Kringle be in condition,
To fly out the reindeer on his holiday mission?”
I sit by the set while I wait for Santa’s story,
And I text all my friends while I fidget with worry,
I picture St. Nick feverish, shivering with cold,
Wondering what brought him to live at the North Pole.
Or is he surrounded by a bunch of groveling elves,
Sitting amid long rows of over-packed shelves,
All stacked to the rafters with toy trucks and dolls,
And iPads and iPhones for making fancy calls.
Perhaps there are skates and bikes, like you’ve never seen,
And great bins of candy canes, striped red, white and green,
Christmas cheer on standby, ready to go,
But we’ll all get zip if Santa doesn’t show.
Hark! The radio begins to sing,
The story of Santa on a downswing,
A lady interprets from a Russian translator,
The rumor that St. Nick is on a ventilator.
Next she brings on two other journalists,
For something she calls news analysis.
One says: “It’s high time that the whole world moved on,
Santa’s long been outdone by Amazon.”
The next says: “Government should save the situation,
By spending tax money on gifts and education,
And tapping into the wealth of our treasury,
To ensure the future of Christmas equity.”
My father walks in and begins to scoff,
“Alexa,” he says, “Alexa turn it off!”
To me he says: “Don’t listen during the day,
Experts flap their lips but have nothing to say.”
My confusion runs on, all the way to Christmas Eve,
And I go to bed not knowing what to believe,
Covid has changed life in every way I can name,
But somehow I thought that Christmas would stay the same.
It won’t be much fun to look at the Christmas hoard,
If it has been all drop-shipped, wrapped up in cardboard,
And who wants the same gifts, all across the nation,
As everyone else at any level of taxation?
What can I expect? Whom can I trust?
Will this be the first time that Christmas goes bust?
I lay awake and think about all the opinions,
Some sweet, some stinky, like a mixed bag of onions.
I nod off then awake to some sound on the roof,
A tap-tapping of feet and the clump of a hoof,
What I see out my dormer gives me a start:
Eight reindeer in line, harnessed six feet apart.
I wonder if this could be the very first instance,
Of reindeer flying while observing social distance.
And then from downstairs there comes a muffled thump,
Maybe I’ll see Santa! Out of bed I jump.
I creep down the steps and what do I see?
Jolly St. Nicholas next to the tree,
Tucking in gifts as quick as can be,
Wearing a white mask and other P.P.E.
He spots me and laughs; he’s such a jolly fellow!
And his belly shakes like a big bowl of Jell-O,
With his twinkling eye he gives me a wink,
And rises up the chimney before I can think.
I open the window to watch the reindeer take flight,
Hauling Santa’s sleigh in a blue bath of moonlight,
And then carried to me over the cold, crisp air,
I hear: “Good night and Merry Christmas back there.”
And so now alone my mind quickly switches,
To the presents inside and my Christmas wishes,
I know if I open gifts Mom and Dad will freak,
I won’t go all the way; I’ll just sneak a peek.
So what do I find? Boxes of N-ninety-five masks,
Gloves and hand sanitizer in self pumping casks.
It’s not what I expected, but that’s fine because,
At least now I can believe in Santa Claus.