Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Holiday Memories

by Stephanie Osborn

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 Tree
by Stephanie Osborn
excerpted 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 field
Brown and sere, toward the clump of trees near the edge.

Cedar trees grow here. Thickly clustered
On the hillside, they are the only green visible
For miles. We circle each one carefully, inspecting
And commenting to each other about this one
Or 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 strokes
The living tree has fallen, the scent of cedar
Borne to our nostrils on the crisp December air.
We breathe deep the fragrance of evergreen.

At home, measurements are carefully made
And Father trims the base of the tree,
affixes the stand, and brings it inside.
We oooh and aaah with excitement
Before Mother opens the ornament box.

Fairy lights and tinsel, snowballs and mercury glass
And garland ropes, antique balls and strands
Of silver bedeck the tree in quick order. Each
Of us has his or her apportioned task, and even
The youngest has a special ornament for the tree.

The oldest ornaments, the family reserves for me
To place carefully. They know my love for them
And 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 off
The room lights, and we all sigh with happiness.
Glimmering proud, the tree stands as a symbol
Of love, of family, of tradition, of faith. The room
Grows quiet, as we all settle back to enjoy.


Later, the gaily-wrapped gifts will emerge to be
Placed beneath the decorated boughs and enjoy
Their rightful place. For now, the cat slinks her way
Underneath, finds a spot where she can gaze up
Into the multicolored phantasia, and settles down.

Outside, the snow comes down softly. Father
Lights a fire in the fireplace. Mother gets out
The homemade candies and puts them nearby. There is
The 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

-Stephanie Osborn
Christmas Eve 2014