Wednesday, December 24, 2014

'Twas the Night Before Christmas...

So, most years I write a Christmas poem fashioned after the most famous Christmas poem of all time. Usually, it encompasses the lessons or sentiments of my year while hanging on to the playful magic of Christmas. This is what I came up with this year.

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
I sat in my living room, missing my spouse.
No stockings were hung, no Christmas tree lit,
Christmas spirit was there, but only a bit.

The year had been hard from May to December, 
Is it best to forget or best to remember?
The cats in my lap as a constant remained.
And for all I have lost, there is so much I’ve gained.

Then outside the house, there arose such a clatter.
Tumbler and Juice wondered what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Turning my head to the sound of the crash.

After this year, I was ready to see
Whatever it was that was waiting for me –
When what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer.

He attempted to hide, but I was too quick,
And I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
Just what was happening wasn’t too clear,
But I learned to expect the unexpected this year.

“Now Dasher! Now Dancer!
Now Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid!
On, Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the roof!
To the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away!
Dash away all!”

I considered the oddness of what had occurred,
But by now I had learned to embrace the absurd.
As I stood somewhat stunned and completely agog,
I thought what a great story it would make for the blog.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As the cats ran away and I turned right around,
In through the front door Santa came with a bound.

He was dressed all in red, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
His bundle of toys he had left in his sleigh
And instead held a package he offered my way.

His eyes – how they twinkled! His dimples, how merry!
He looked full of joy and not a bit scary.
His beard and his hair were as white as the snow,
Like many a sweet older gentleman I know –
For I realized quite soon with a laugh and a smirk
He reminded me of folks at the nursing home where I work.
He gave me a nod and winked like he knew,
Or as though he approved of the work that I do. 

So without hesitation, I took what he gave
And saw that the box displayed the word BRAVE.
I opened it up and found it was bare –
I looked at him puzzled, with a questioning stare.

He spoke not a word, but pulled out a list
So long it cascaded to the floor from his fist. 
He beckoned me closer so that I could see
The list was all names that meant something to me.

It wasn’t a list of who’s naughty or nice.
It wasn’t for shopping or to be checked twice.
As I read off the names, I knew it to be
The list of the people who have been there for me.

My parents were there at the top of the list,
Their names both in bold so they could not be missed.
And then one by one, the names of the rest –
Dozens and dozens, and I truly felt blessed.

Both near and far, they’ve been cheering me on
In all of the days since Rick has been gone.
Whether shoulders to cry on, or weekly distractions,
Whether expert advice or kind interactions,
They’ve given themselves and helped me be brave.
And I knew what to do with the box Santa gave.

Both near and far, they’ve been cheering me on
In all of the days since Rick has been gone.
Whether traveling to me or inviting me in,
Whether making me laugh or remembering what’s been,
Whether sending me messages online or by phone,
They’ve succeeded in making me feel less alone.
They’ve given themselves and helped me be brave.
And I knew what to do with the box Santa gave.

Santa gave me the scissors and I cut up the list
So the names were preserved in dozens of strips.
Then as I said, “thank you,” to every last one,
I tucked them inside of the box and was done.

No longer empty, the box Santa gave
Now held all the things that made me so brave.
And I knew that in moments of pain or despair
I could open it up and see what was there.

With a wink and a nod, Santa waved a good bye,
Then hopped in his sleigh and flew into the sky.
But I heard him exclaim as he drove out of sight,
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”

(c) Arielle Lee Bair, December 2014

Thank you to everyone on my list. I am so grateful for every last one of you for what you have given me this year. With love, Arielle


  1. Beautiful.
    Merry Christmas.

  2. Amazing post! Twas Night Before Christmas is one of my favorite Christmas poems and I've read so many versions (parodies) of it. Most of them are really hilarious. Had fun reading them.


Help me feel less alone.