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 indoors 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Dickensian stories with outdated morals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
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.

So far, this Christmas has been wonderful.


  1. AlexanderZ says

    Sorry, but your blog is broken :(
    I can see only the first part of your poem, some weird links to a different poem and your home page is malfunctioning.

    I think it’s because you forgot to close the “more” tag on this poem.

  2. Cuttlefish says

    I hope it is fixed now, AZ–Never done that before, quite. I hope I repaired whatever I broke. Happy cephalopodmas to you and yours!

  3. Johnny Vector says

    Excellent! It’s just what we do! (Though I think you still have a missing or damaged </em> tag in the second stanza.)

  4. StevoR says

    I like it but I think you’ve got a broken unclosed italics tag in there, sorry.

    Dickens rocks though – and so do you.

    Scrooge was a nightmare and sadly today,
    The rich haven’t learnt what old Charlie had to say,
    The point of the season was kinda being kind
    To others less well off and using your mind
    Not bicker bout greetins but to feed the less well off’
    Pity today the rich stiffs are still toffs!

    They’ve got theirs and are happy
    So screw you they say
    Forget that its ever a true Xmas day!
    For the moral o story these fools quite forgot,
    Its about being nice to others you sots!

    (Yeah, okay that don’t rhyme so good and sure you can do better with that doggrel than I. My humble offreing here anyhow FWIW.)

  5. William Humenansky says

    Hope all is well, no post since Dec 24 has me worried along with a lot of others.

  6. Cuttlefish says

    Aw… thanks!

    To be honest, I’ve been doing some mulling over of things–which I do, every so often. Contemplating whether to do more (I’ve been talking with someone about that, actively), or when that leads to anxiety, contemplating folding up shop altogether. Not contemplating moving anywhere, though, so this is the place where I will be if and when I come back.

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