The following is taken from my collection of poetry, and is a melange of Christmas memories throughout my life, from childhood to the present day. It is warm and sweet and comforting, like hot chocolate on a winter's day. Merry Christmas.
The Treeby Stephanie Osbornexcerpted from Stolen Moments: A Book of Verse, by Stephanie Osborn
The wind blows briskly through the bare tree limbs.It bites my cheeks, turning them a dusky red.The lowering clouds spit snowflakes.We make our way through the harvested fieldBrown and sere, toward the clump of trees near the edge.
Cedar trees grow here. Thickly clusteredOn the hillside, they are the only green visibleFor miles. We circle each one carefully, inspectingAnd commenting to each other about this oneOr that. Finally, it is done. The choice is made.
Father glances at Mother. "Are you sure?"A nod, and he raises the axe. In a few strokesThe living tree has fallen, the scent of cedarBorne to our nostrils on the crisp December air.We breathe deep the fragrance of evergreen.
At home, measurements are carefully madeAnd Father trims the base of the tree,affixes the stand, and brings it inside.We oooh and aaah with excitementBefore Mother opens the ornament box.
Fairy lights and tinsel, snowballs and mercury glassAnd garland ropes, antique balls and strandsOf silver bedeck the tree in quick order. EachOf us has his or her apportioned task, and evenThe youngest has a special ornament for the tree.
The oldest ornaments, the family reserves for meTo place carefully. They know my love for themAnd know I treat them as the treasures they are.Delicately, I position them on each branch, and smile."There," I decide, "perfect. It's all done."
Mother nods, and Father smiles. He switches offThe room lights, and we all sigh with happiness.Glimmering proud, the tree stands as a symbolOf love, of family, of tradition, of faith. The roomGrows quiet, as we all settle back to enjoy.
Later, the gaily-wrapped gifts will emerge to bePlaced beneath the decorated boughs and enjoyTheir rightful place. For now, the cat slinks her wayUnderneath, finds a spot where she can gaze upInto the multicolored phantasia, and settles down.
Outside, the snow comes down softly. FatherLights a fire in the fireplace. Mother gets outThe homemade candies and puts them nearby. There isThe sound of mirth, soft laughter, loving conversation.The season has come to us. Happy Christmas.
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night." ~Clement Clarke Moore
Christmas Eve 2014