Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
Oh no, wait! Don’t be silly! Of course there was Mother
wrapping one gift, then two, then wait, there’s another.
There were piles on tables and piles on chairs
Some wrapped like patchwork, others with care.
There were gifts to the left and gifts to the right
And still gifts to go: This could take all night.
The stockings were hung, not with care, but a nail
There were cards to stamp and get into the mail
There were cookies to frost and a pie still to bake
Candy canes to hang and icing for cake.
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While Lego and Xbox dreams ricocheted in their heads.
They’d eaten the sugar plums, devoured the sweets
Gone to bed without brushing high fructose teeth.
Mother was settling down with some tea–alright then, wine
(A 2012 Pinot Noir, rather fine)
When out on the lawn there arose such a noise
She swore out loud “F*ck’s sake! You’ll wake the boys!”
She trudged to the window, threw the sash open wide
And stretched her neck long to see what was outside
When what to her weary eyes should appear,
But a souped up red sleigh, and a fleet of reindeer.
And just like the poem she then heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
She grabbed for her glass and was turning around,
When down the chimney St Nicholas came with a bound.
“Oh, it’s you”, Mother said with a heave and a sigh
“You. You fat, old Santa Claus guy.”
“You, who get all the credit for working ONE day!”
Whereas I slave the other 3-6-4 away!”
“You squeeze down the chimney and leave some small gifts
While I cook the dinner and mend family rifts.
You drop stinky pipe ash on my new hardwood floors
and leave sooty fingerprints all over my doors.”
“You come in here all full of your ‘Hos’ and good cheer
It’s easy when you only work one day a year!
Try cooking and cleaning and washing the clothes
Can you do all of that with just a finger aside of your nose?”
“Didn’t think so,” Mother said, with hands on her hips
Already, more questions poised on her lips.
And how about driving the children all day?
You get to sit your big butt in a sleigh!”
“No driving to football, to the movies, the mall
You’ve even got nine deer at your beck and call.
Don’t stand there and give me that look, ” Mother said,
“With your pipe smoke making a wreath round your head.”
“I shop for the gifts, for the food, for the toys
And it’s “Santa, Santa, Santa” from the girls and boys
I suppose you want organic carrots to feed all the deer
and artisanal cookies and micro-brewed beer?”
“But because I’m a parent, I’ll do my best
I’ll bake gingerbread houses, I’ll do all the rest
Buy for the in-laws and buy for the sisters
write out the cards until my fingers get blisters.”
“I’ll make sure there is turkey with stuffing and sauce
make sure there are batteries lest the children get cross.
I’ll bake all the dinner rolls and frost all the cakes
I’ll make christmas happen, whatever it takes.”
“I’ll trim the damn tree and untangle the lights
Vacuum up pine needles and referee fights.
I won’t rat you out, not this Christmas Eve
My kids are still young, you get a reprieve.”
“Someday when they’re older, the children will get it
That parents do all the work and get none of the credit
So take your Ho-ho-hos and your jolly old merries
Take your mouth like a bow and your nose like a cherry,”
“Unless you’re ready to roll up your sleeves and do some real work,
Take a left by the stockings and turn with a jerk.
Take your jolly old self right back out to your sleigh
Tap your nose, light your pipe and get back on your way.”
“Tell Dasher and Dancer and all of the others
To remember to thank their fathers and mothers
Without us, Christmas would be just another old day
So out of here, Santa, without any delay.”
“I’ve got parcels to sort and stockings to stuff
and turkey to baste as if that weren’t enough
The tinsel is wilting, the star is askew
I’ve got to be back up at five, I’ve too much to do!”
Santa sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah,” said Mother as she turned to her work
“Ugh! He left sooty boot prints AGAIN, the fat jerk!”