A time for laughter
A time for fun
Time to ask Santa
For a new BB gun.
If your family doesn’t know
That you’re left alone
Do your best to protect
From burglars your home.
Way up in Vermont
Where snow is so white
Yet it’s not seen at all
Until the last sight
A toy super cool
Was promised to get
Many antics so crazy
And Sinbad were met
His wish was granted
He hadn’t been born
But life without him
Was truly forlorn
Past, present, and future
The one thing that stays
People won’t miss you
If you don’t change your ways
Try to steal Christmas
You won’t get away
‘Cause your heart will increase
To three sizes that day
With the man in suit red
You take his place
Since you made him dead.
Born as a human
Yet raised as an elf
Went to find his family
Met Zooey Deschanel
Santa’s not real!
Why won’t you quit?
That man’s just a bum
He’s an alcoholic.
A sad little tree
Made new by some friends
The true message of Christmas
You’ll hear by the end
His mama’s so sick
She’s gonna die
If only these shoes
You’d help him to buy
What do I want for Christmas? What should I get my family? Which store carries what I’m looking for?
This is the time of year when many of us ask those and many other similar questions. From the day after Thanksgiving until Christmas Eve each year, people spend so much time and energy looking for that perfect gift, fighting crowds and traffic to find “the one present they’ll never forget.” But I bet if you ask enough people, they’ve forgotten more gifts than they can remember, especially if they’ve lived long enough. Sure, a gift here or there might stand out in memory, but think back five or ten years. Do you even remember who gave you what or what you gave to other people for Christmas?
Every December, people get so caught up in the madness of the season, but how many people ever stop to ask themselves WHY? Why do we give gifts? What is the purpose of this annual tradition that puts so many people into debt and causes so much stress? We spend so much time hunting, buying, wrapping, giving, opening, and then quickly forgetting the presents, and in that there’s a hollow emptiness. You can go through the same ritual year after year, but you’ll always find yourself with things that eventually break, disappear, gather dust, or just leave you feeling empty when you finish. In the gift-giving process, it’s so easy to lose sight of what’s important, or rather whom.
When gifts are given, they should point us to something greater; they should remind us of the relationships we have, rather than being an end in themselves. It’s a far greater gift to have meaningful relationships you can’t buy than to receive the most expensive things someone else can. We can give gifts to people we love and care about, but then as recipients, we might get so caught up in the gift itself, we quit thinking about the person who gave us that gift and quickly become ungrateful. Just go online and you’ll see people making big stinks about the gifts they didn’t get. They’re even willing to take out their rage on the people who didn’t give them the gift they wanted or supposedly deserved, all to the amusement of others, instead of being grateful for the gifts they did get or recognizing that someone else loved them enough to want to get them something at all, perhaps at great expense, just for a trinket the recipient won’t remember in a few months. And that’s a great sadness.
But it’s not just the world who does this. How often do we who are Christians forget the ultimate Gift Giver, while seeking to enjoy the gifts we’ve received? We can get so focused on the gifts themselves, instead of remembering the relationship with the One who gave us those gifts. When we get some gift we didn’t ask for or want, or when we don’t get what we want, we throw a fit and get angry at God or other people in our lives. Or we get the gift we want, but then we lose focus on the One who gave us that gift, and we turn the gift into an idol that eventually leaves us feeling empty.
So this holiday season, as you spend time trying to find gifts for other people or trying to figure out what you want yourself, take some time out of the seasonal chaos to remember giving gifts should not be about the gifts themselves but about the relationships you have. Whatever you get someone else or someone else gets you, those gifts will likely be forgotten or go unused in a few years or months time. Instead, remember it’s about the people you have in your life; besides, sometimes the best gift you can give someone else is time.
(To the tune of “Let It Snow”)
Oh, YouTube is rather frightening,
Watch people get hit by lightning,
Better upload my video
Watch my show! Watch my show! Watch my show!
There are people who do dumb things,
Even people who cannot sing.
If you want one that’s full of win
Think again! Think again! Think again!
There’s that video you can’t find.
Was that ninja just owned by a mime?
And if you’ve really lost your mind.
You’ll be here all of the time.
Brain cells are quickly fleeing
After all the stuff you’re seeing
If you’ve got nothing else to do,
Watch YouTube! Watch YouTube! Watch YouTube!
You know that feeling of excitement kids get when Christmas approaches? The gifts, the music, and so on. And the thoughts of so many people, “What am I going to get so-and-so for Christmas?” I know the feeling.
When kids’ birthdays approach, they probably get excited about that as well and even wonder, “What am I going to get for my birthday?” But for some, it’s more a question of “will anyone remember my birthday?” Do you know that feeling?
It’s the “most wonderful time of the year,” unless your birthday falls between Thanksgiving and Christmas. People get so busy during this time, and what could be a special day for a kid might go by without acknowledgement. Or maybe it does get acknowledged with a combination birthday-Christmas gift, while everyone else around you also gets gifts independent of their birthdays. One might think you’d get twice as many gifts at one time, but how often does one clean up so well? Besides, it’s less special if everyone else is getting gifts too. And each year is about the same; your birthday can become a day that doesn’t stand out and nobody else remembers, even one’s own mother. (That happened to me, but it’s now just a memory of yesteryear.)
But you know what? You get older. You survive. And you celebrate in your own way. You eventually might even realize you’re not alone.
Today is my birthday, and having it so near Christmas used to be not so great, but it’s really not too bad now, even as I look back. Depending on a birthday’s proximity to Christmas, work/school could be a non-issue. Other kids aren’t so lucky; after all, birthdays don’t get most people out of work/school for a day. Now that I’m older, I’d rather be working on my birthday than be unemployed (though being off would be nice occasionally).
You know what else? I got to come home from the hospital for the first time in a stocking. One I still have. Now that’s pretty special.
I’m sure there are other reasons to enjoy today for what it is, my birthday being so close to Christmas. I may not even try to celebrate the way I used to as a kid anyway, but I still enjoy having my birthday, even if I don’t do much with it. Not to mention, there aren’t really any material possessions I want so badly, and I find it more fun to give gifts than receive them.
So if your birthday is close to Christmas, I know how you feel (unless your birthday is on Christmas, which I don’t). It stinks as a kid to be so overshadowed by such a monumental holiday, but it will be okay. Just hang in there.
This was one of my earliest rewrites; although, I didn’t actually write it down back then. Basically this is one of the earliest parody attempts I remember doing, but I still remember the words.
O Christmas tree,
O Christmas tree,
How ever brown your branches.
We bought you in the early fall.
We didn’t water you at all.
O Christmas tree,
O Christmas tree,
Why did you have to die?
Original Poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas” by Clement Clarke Moore
‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
Except there was someone wrapping last-minute gifts
Trying to be silent but trying to be swift.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
They’d been on our feet and smelled really gross
First thing he’d notice is the smell of our toes.
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
Am I sure about that? How do I know?
Since this is my story, it’s because I say so.
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled down for a long winter’s nap,
It’s called “hibernation.” That’s what we do there
Bet you didn’t know this poem’s about bears
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
I opened my laptop, went to Facebook
Posted “Someone outside, I’m gonna take a look.”
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
I had grabbed my shotgun from out of the den
If in for fight, that person wouldn’t win
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,
To say the least, it was rather bright,
Even though it was the middle of the night.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,
I recognized them at once, knew them by sight
But photos online hadn’t gotten them quite right
With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
But what if a thief or a sleigh jacker
What if this person was a late night attacker?
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;
The middle of the night, didn’t anyone tell him
There’s no need for all of that yellin’.
“Now, DASHER! now, DANCER! now, PRANCER and VIXEN!
On, COMET! on CUPID! on, DONDER and BLITZEN!
Shouting out names for the neighbors to hear
Waking them up seemed the least of his fears
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!”
But was he coming or going, I wasn’t quite sure.
Why say “away” when he really meant towards?
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,
Those are some visuals for you to imagine
Now for no reason, just picture a dragon.
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too.
All of that movement made the vehicle shake
If it fell from the sleigh, it would surely break.
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
That better be Santa and not some thief
Thinking this thought gave me no relief.
As I drew in my hand, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.
Being quite cautious, I still had my gun
I know how to use it to protect everyone.
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
I still wasn’t sure. Was this Santa Claus?
No need to fire yet, so I stood with a pause.
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.
Was this stuff stolen or was it legit?
I wondered aloud, “Where did he get it?”
His eyes — how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
Was he feeling well? Was he contagious?
To become sick by Santa would be outrageous?
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;
He smiled at me, gun still in my hand,
But he wasn’t afraid, I didn’t understand.
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;
Yes, Santa smokes. He’s still a role model.
He also had whiskey, drank straight from the bottle.
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly.
Bet you didn’t know that jelly can laugh
A misplaced modifier can be quite a gaffe
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
I had given a chuckle, still somewhat nervous,
Had this fat man in a suit come here just to hurt us?
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;
So I lowered my gun from its steady aim
Thankful it wasn’t his life I had claimed.
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
It was probably the foot smell that made him react
Unless it was his smoke that caused him to hack.
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;
I’ll never know if it was our feet or his smoke
Which caused dear Santa to cough and to choke.
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
He was really quite silent inside that room
But noisy as traffic when out under the moon.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
HAPPY CHRISTMAS TO ALL, AND TO ALL A GOOD-NIGHT!
He had shouted to all, again without warning.
Then someone cursed and replied, “It’s still early morning!”