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Dec 22 2012

Christmas, Present

‘Twas the night before—really, the name doesn’t matter—
The goose we’d be roasting just couldn’t be fatter;
We’d trimmed out the tree, feeling ever-so-jolly,
The mistletoe shimmered, and so did the holly
The Yule-log was glowing; each flame, and each ember
Reminded us all it was late in December
In the house, we were warm, but it can’t be denied
While inside we were cozy, ‘twas freezing outside

This Christmas was different from Christmas of old
We were safe from the dark; we were safe from the cold
We were safe from the worries of Christmases past
Why, our worry was whether the cookies would last!
No honest Bob Cratchit, no poor Tiny Tim
No crutches to show us his future was dim
No polio, measles, pertussis, or poxes,
Just bountiful dinners and brightly wrapped boxes

The wine wasn’t mulled, and the rum wasn’t buttered,
The double-glazed windows weren’t, technically, shuttered—
They held out the wind, and they held out the snow,
So the house remained cozy at twenty below
A cold that the furnace could easily handle;
No fire was needed, ‘cept maybe a candle.
Though the ancients knew this was the longest of nights,
When the sunset arrived, we just flicked on the lights

Our Christmas, our solstice—midwinter, or Yule
Is the work of the present, not past, as a rule;
We spend it with those whom we love, as we should,
We invited them here. And, you know… that is good.
They are here cos we love them. No need to apply
The religious proscriptions of eras gone by
We’re not at some church, out of blind obligation,
But home—where the heart is—in fun celebration

Nostalgia is nice, but the malcontent masses
Are looking behind them with rose-colored glasses
At Christmases, really, that never existed—
Their view of the past is a little bit twisted—
Dickensian stories with outdated morals
Cannot be the answer to modern-day quarrels
If you have a view of what Christmas is for,
And see my view is different… don’t call it a war!

A modern-day Christmas should not be the same
As the ancient traditions that share just its name;
These myths you’ve been handed? These stories you’re told?
I suspect you are less than two thousand years old!
Or even the hundreds, twixt Dickens and us,
That lets you see Christmas as worth all the fuss.
The Christmas you know hasn’t been here that long,
So it’s silly to think that we’re doing it wrong

And why should it matter what Christmas once meant?
Cos it’s ours now, to honor or just re-invent!
I’m keeping the family, losing the Christ,
Giving gifts (just a few, and those reasonably priced)
We’ll meet round the table, and not in the church
Feeling humbled, a bit, by our privileged perch.
So remember the past, but no matter how pleasant,
It can never compete with this Christmas, the present.

7 comments

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  1. 1
    Nathair

    But why be hatin’ on Dickens?

  2. 2
    blogofmyself, writer of papers

    I love this. I think this is my favorite thing I’ve read about Christmas this year. For me, Christmas was always about family, love, and giving. It was that way when I was Catholic, and it’s still that way now. Taking the Christ out of my Christmas certainly hasn’t ruined it for me. If anything, it’s made me focus on the things I really liked about Christmas in the first place.
    I hope that you and your family are having a good Christmas, Cuttlefish.

  3. 3
    Ron Sullivan

    Nifty. Thank you, and merry Whortlemas!

    Or do we keep the X in Xmens?

  4. 4
    Yellow Thursday

    I’ll have to share this with the family (some of them quite religious) who were sharing an image on Facebook saying that the best thing about Christmas is spending time with family. I agreed and shared the image. I didn’t share the private chuckle, though, that the image contained no mention of religious observences.

  5. 5
    martin_z

    Just lovely, Cuttlefish. Thanks. And a very Merry Christmas to you and yours.

    (I still enjoy reading A Christmas Carol, though…)

  6. 6
    Spanish Inquisitor

    Cuttle, you inspired me to try my hand at versifying, though I wrote this before I read yours. I think it was back in my deep subconscious from reading your stuff. ;)

  7. 7
    rq

    Slowly catching up and whatnot. Too bad I missed this on the holiday itself, but very well-said! Hope you had a great time!

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