Now, I should say that I love Christmas, and I like a bit of magic. But, just to be contrary, I have decided to de-magic* the classic poem The Night Before Christmas.
The (Real) Night Before Christmas
‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
The children were shrieking, like they’d seen a mouse.
The stockings weren’t hung by the beds anymore;
The children thought they looked better thrown on the floor.
The children should have been nestled all snug in their beds.
Instead they were manic, as every parent dreads.
And Daddy and I, in utter despair,
Were trying to calm them (we hadn’t a prayer).
Out on the road there arose such a clatter,
The drunks passing by with their yells and loud chatter.
If they’d woken the children, finally sleeping,
They’d have received quite a browbeating.
The drunks finally passed on, into the night;
I noticed there wasn’t a snowfall in sight.
Though ‘magic’ oats by the children had been sprinkled liberally about,
There were no reindeer in view (but there was a fox with a glittery snout).
Now I had to enter the bedroom, stealthy and quick;
Filling up stockings, playing St Nick.
I crept into the room and the children sat up, asking, ‘Who’s there?’
As I ran from the room, I began to quietly swear,
‘Now bugger, now feck, now piss it and shit!
Oh bollocks, oh arses, oh crap and dammit!
To the bathroom to hide: oh what a close call!
Dash away, dash away, dash away all!’
So I was stuck in the bathroom, until all was clear;
While the children were up and now drawing near.
Rather suspicious, they called through the door;
While I pretended to be bathing, splashing and all.
How clever it would be if this were all a diversion,
Drawing the children away with this little excursion.
If the real St Nicholas had merrily climbed down the chimney,
And delivered his presents while the children were yelling at me.
Alas, it was not to be:
The presents had to be delivered by me.
So, until the children slept, there must I remain.
How long could this bathing pretense I maintain?
Perhaps Daddy could rescue me from this quagmire,
Leading the children to bed with stories so dire.
Of how they must go to sleep for St Nick to arrive;
For he could not be seen for the magic to thrive.
The children were back in their room, but not yet asleep.
I was free from the bathroom, downstairs I could creep;
Though it may yet be some time until I could return
To deliver the presents, and to my own bed adjourn.
(Perhaps I was not cut out to be St Nick: it’s true my beard is not white.
Indeed, with appropriate tweezing, it’s not even in sight.
And, whilst certainly not washboard flat, my belly
Has yet to shake when I laugh like a bowlful of jelly.)
The children remained wide awake in bed,
While an idea began to enter my head.
Telling the children St Nick could not visit while they observed,
I would take the stockings outside for the big man to fill undisturbed.
As the children listened for the sound of St Nick in the night sky so still,
Downstairs in the living room stockings and sacks I could fill.
Then I rang a bell for the children, sleigh bells just out of sight.
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!