T’was two nights before Christmas and all through the mall
Last minute shoppers began a calamitous crawl.
The stockings were hung, their insides still bare
Wives’ expectations were high, so buyer beware!
The children were texting from their designer beds
While visions of foreclosure danced in my head.
And mama in her Gucci and I on the couch,
(That will teach me to be a Holiday Grouch.)
When out on the street there rose such a ruckus
I slumped back in the leather, hoped it was bupkus.
It just got louder so I turned on the TV
That’s all you can do when the sun sets at 3.
Before the Wii fired up, a knock at the door
There stood a man claiming, “I’m poor.”
His eyes were sunken, overall he looked sick
But he kept saying his name was St. Nick.
“Prove it,” I said, “where is your sleigh?”
“It got repoed,” he sighed. “The deer ran away.
I’ve been living in the park under the trees.
My life is over; no one believes.”
I asked him to come in, got him a drink
Which he gulped right down, thanked with a wink.
It was in that little moment I knew
what this old man was saying had to be true.
“Start from the beginning. What happened, St. Nick?
What happened to Santa, so lively and quick?”
He started speaking as the clock gently ticked
“It’s the children,” he cried. “They don’t see the magic.
They have their fancy gadgets and expensive jeans
They have lost all concept of what this holiday means.
All they care about is what they get at the store
They certainly don’t need elves and me anymore.”
As he sat there crying I suddenly realized
I had become what I’d always despised:
Someone focused on what I could buy,
Time with my family? I hardly ever try.
I’m living to work and ignoring my life
I can’t remember kissing my wife.
When the kids climb on me, I tell them to scat
Really, what kind of father treats them like that?
It is all so vapid, those boxes and bows
Substituting time watching them grow.
In a few short years they will be on their own
What happens then to my baby birds flown?
“Santa, what can I do to make it all better?”
From his foul coat he pulled out a letter.
I recognized the envelope though it was ripped
It was my very own childhood script.
“There was a time when you did believe
In the magic that this season weaves.
Remember that feeling and pass it along
And soon we can right this terrible wrong.”
I promised I would give it a try
and hugged him as we said goodbye.
Then he turned as he walked out of sight
“Now go give your family a big kiss goodnight.”