Merry Christmas everyone, 

I hope all your wishes come true

but I have to ask if you’re reading this, 

What’s the matter with you?


I suggest you immediately make it a point 

to bring this foolishness to an end

turn off your computers, 

your IPADS 

your phones 

your devices…

and spend time with your family and friends.


Wait! I just realized as I’m writing this…

I need to take my own advice…

So, though I am usually long-winded,

I shall make this poem concise….


I’m turning off my computer now

and with my friends and family I shall play.

before I go let me wish you all peace 


and may you have a joyous and safe Christmas Day.


Like many families who believe in Christmas 

either religious or spiritually

Deborah and I set out each year 

in search of our perfect tree.


And we usually find it right away…

with so many trees to choose this is a plus

Which always makes me wonder if we are choosing the tree 

or if the tree is choosing us?


Because when we stand it up…when we look it over

when around it’s trunk we roam

we smile simultaneously knowing…this one’s coming home


And when we add our ornaments 

with their corresponding memories

it transforms from just another Frasier Fir 

into our family Christmas tree.


Each ornament adds to the story of our life 

as we’ve watched our family grow

most are significant only to us 

and carry meanings only we would know. 


There’s an ornament for Whitman (what a great dog he was) 

and Ryan’s baby shoes

that old photo of Ali and me at the cabin, 

Bryan’s manatee and pickles for the grandchildren too.


And each year when we’re finished trimming 

Deborah marvels and always adds,

“I think this years Christmas tree 

is the best Christmas tree we’ve ever had!”


And that was true one year ago…

but with this tree I can avow

we’ve added another year of memories 

to place upon her boughs.


So as wonderful as last year’s tree was 

it’s the new memories we’ve amassed

that make this year’s Christmas tree the best tree…

and so much better than the last.


In that way our Christmas tree is a little like our life…

we fill it with memories of our joys, our laughters…our tears

And just like our life…our Christmas tree…

gets a little better every year.


I suppose that’s why when the right tree speaks to us…

both Deborah and I are glad

Knowing it will take its rightful place 


as the best Christmas tree we’ve ever had.

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Blending families is never easy…sometimes it may feel strange

as the people, places, the customs…the traditions around us change.


We knew when we brought our families together years ago…we needed to find a way

because…when it came to celebrating Christmas…we couldn’t all have Christmas Day…


So we decided with our children…a new tradition we would weave

that we would celebrate our Christmas…with pizza…on Christmas Eve…


And for years that is what we did…a Christmas tradition all our own

but then our children grew up…with lives and families of their own…


So we decided with our children and grandchildren…a new tradition we would weave

That we would celebrate our Christmas…still with pizza…sometime around Christmas Eve.


And that is what we do now…in our household Christmas is still a must…

but in order to celebrate together…we cheerfully adjust…


We come together on a day we mix with joy and love and laughter

It doesn’t matter if it’s Christmas day…a little before…or after.


It seems we found along the way… the secret to Christmas lives…

of all the unlikely places…in the interrogatives.


As we create our new traditions…as the years go flying by

HOW we celebrate Christmas isn’t as important…

as to the reason WHY.


WHEN we celebrate Christmas isn’t important…it’s only important WHERE

A place we’re all together…a place we choose to share.


Yes, through the years…as our traditions have changed…

the key to Christmas…I think we found it!

WHAT’s under the Christmas tree is not as important

as WHO is gathered ‘round it.




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He had worked hard for this moment…

He’d been focused…driven…undaunted

He’d reached a point in his life

where he could give his daughter anything she wanted…


He proudly asked her to make a Christmas wish list.

She wrote…focused…driven…undaunted

hoping ‘Santa’ would be able to bring her 

the one thing she ever wanted.


She finished quickly…her list was short…at first he wondered why

Once he read it he closed his eyes…then he began to cry…


‘Dear Santa’, it read, ’this Christmas ‘all I’m looking for…

I want to be with Daddy…I want to see him more.’


And as he clutched that letter to his heart

he realized what he should be working for…

and that Christmas he made a vow 

to be with his daughter more.


That Christmas she unwrapped an envelope

with a letter inside that read:

‘I promise to be home for dinner every night

I promise to tuck you into bed.’


‘I promise to spend more time with you…

I promise I will find a way.

I promise starting this Christmas

to spend much less time away.’


And so he did…he gave his daughter

a gift that didn’t cost a dime…

He gave her exactly what she wanted

He gave his love…he gave her time.


Yes, she got her wish that Christmas

and lived ever after…happily

and through the magic of a Christmas wish



so did he.

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Although the holidays can be a festive time…it can also be a time when we’re reminded of the precarious and fragile nature of life…a time we remember those not celebrating with us this year…a reminder of how our life is changed without them…It’s not that we will stop celebrating…only that our celebrations will never be the same…




A death leaves us forever somber…

surrounded by a cloud….

It’s not that we will never laugh again…


we’ll just never laugh as loud…

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Her only wish that year was to have a Christmas tree…

for she lived where no trees grew…

“I do not wish it to be very big,” she said

“a little one would do.”


She had been sick for a while and her children were bereft…

wanting to make her wish come true

not knowing how many Christmases she had left…


So one day off they went…leaving their tiny home by the sea

and walked until they came to a place

of winter snow…

and Christmas trees.


Halfway up a mountain they stopped…they knew their search was done.

Their mom’s little tree sat in a clearing…illuminated by the sun.


They told the little tree about their mom…about their tiny house by the sea

and asked if she would be so kind…as to become their Christmas tree.


The little tree stood tall…at least as tall as a little tree could.

Would I like to be your Christmas tree?…she said. 

“Of course…

of course I would.”


Tenderly they cut her down…and carried her to their tiny house by the sea

and when their mother woke up that Christmas morning…

she awoke to her Christmas tree.


Their mom recovered fully…and is to this day content…

happy as can be

and she tells her children the best gift she ever received…

was that little Christmas tree…


But when she thinks about it…

when to that Christmas her mind drifts…

she understands the the importance of that tree

but she knows 

the journey


was their gift.

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From the city of No in the south of Japan…

came a flue bug…but it didn’t cause the flu in one man…

or one woman for that matter…No, the virus that year

only caused flu symptoms in Santa’s reindeer.


Two weeks before Christmas that bug went on a roll

and soared up the coast straight to the North Pole.

The reindeer’s eyes watered and their noses…they blew

for this was the year of the No Reindeer Flu.


“Santa!” Cried Mrs. Claus, “what are we to do?

All of our reindeer have come down with the flu.

Rudolph’s nose is all stuffy, it is not shining red,

he and the others are all sick in their beds.


They’re too ill to get up, and their fevers are high,

they’re cold and their achy…why, they’ll never fly.

They can’t help you on Christmas Eve…not this sickly old group.

They’ll be resting and drinking my hot chicken soup.


It’s a cinch you can’t pull the big sleigh by yourself.

So what will you do…my once jolly old elf?”

Santa thought for a moment, then said, “Send out the word

this year Santa’s looking for an entire new herd!”


“Tell all the world’s animals,” and Santa started to beam,

“tomorrow we pick a new sleigh pulling team.

Tell them we need help on this one Christmas Day.

Tell them the reindeer are sick…and to bring resumes.”


As the news spread all over the world on that day

many animals came…you could’t keep them away.

When they heard Santa’s in trouble, they all caught a ride

To the North Pole they came…from far…and from wide.


There were tigers from Burma and llamas from Peru

There were yaks from Nepal and goats and cows too.

They came by the hundreds. They came every which way

just for the chance to pulls Santa’s sleigh.


Santa interviewed every animal who came

no matter how big, how little…how wild or tame.

and after screening and searching the entire collection

Santa was ready to make his selection.


“The choice wasn’t easy…everyone was so great,

but as you all know…I can only pick eight.

So will the following animals please wander up here.

You’ll be subbing tonight for my ailing reindeer.


Salama from Africa…I’m proud to declare

you’re one elephant I can’t wait to see fly through the air.

And Erik the moose from the land of Norway

I believe you have some experience pulling a sleigh.


Barakah the polar bear from off in the distance

tonight of all nights I could use your assistance.

And Jake from Australia, that’s right, the red kangaroo

come on up, and by all means, bring your didgeridoo.


Isabella the rhea…now please don’t you cry

I just think it’s about time you learned how to fly.

Next, Buford, the buffalo, from out on the plains…

thank you for coming, we can sure use your brains.


And Priscilla, the penguin, you already know how to fly.

you soar under the ocean, now let’s try the sky.

Lu Si, the panda, from China…yes…you.

I’ve alerted the elves to find some bamboo.


There you have it my friends! I think we are through.

I have made my selection of Santa’s new crew.

Shout out the good news from every rooftop and basement…

Santa has found himself eight reindeer replacements.”


Then Santa turned to the crowd that had gathered around,

He raised up his hand…and they quieted down.

As the cold of the North wind showed up on his cheeks

He smiled and nodded…then started to speak.


He thanked them for coming…he shook every hoof

and when he was finished…he jumped on the roof.

“Thank you again,” he said as it started to snow.

“I will always be grateful…and now you must go.”


“For their isn’t much time…why I can’t believe

How can it already…be Christmas Eve?

There’s so little time and there’s so much to do

We’ve got eight animals to get ready…and toys to pack too.”


Then remembering the animals assembled about

He didn’t want them to feel bad…to be sad…or to pout.

So he winked at the elves and his beard he did stroke…

Then he turned to the animals and once again spoke.


“To thank you for coming, the least we can do

Is to make your trip home…fun and easy for you.”

Then the snow began sparkling as it fell from the sky

And all of the animals started to fly.


“Thank you my friends.” He said to the hovering pack.

To show you my gratefulness…you may all now fly back.

You came from as far off as China and Rome

the least I can do is to help you fly home.”


The animals cheered and they laughed and they cried.

They soared and they dove…and some learned how to glide.

The sky at the North Pole came alive on that day

as thousands of animals all flew away.


Everyone waved, watching the animals depart

Then the head elf, named Ava, turned with a start.

“Santa,” she said in a voice frightened and loud,

“But who’ll light the way through the fog and the clouds?”


“Rudolph’s so sick, and his nose light is low…

Just then the sky around Santa’s head started to glow.

“Meet Sparky the firefly.” Santa said with a grin.

“And if his light’s not bright enough…he brought all of his kin!”


“Santa,” Ava asked as they both turned around

and looked at their team and the sleigh on the ground.

“Do you think they can do it? How will the sleigh run?

In the history of Christmas…it has never been done!”


Santa thought for a moment then looked over his brood

“It’s time to get ready, better get them some food.

And Ava, don’t worry, you have nothing to fear

I was once asked the same question about eight tiny reindeer.”


“We’ll put Erik and Salama at the front of the squad,

followed by Buford and Jake.” Santa said with a nod.

“Lu Si and Barakah will be next on the tether.

with the last spots reserved for our two birds of a feather.


“We may not look normal; we may look bizarre…

as we head off to the heavens and fly through the stars.

Why I’m not even sure the whole thing will fly

but I know that when night falls I can’t wait to try.


“So let’s get to work. There is no time to lose.

These animals all need to be ready…to cruise.

There’s so much to do and the time’s getting tight

I’ll meet you all back here at the first sign of night.”


The elves took the animals to the VIP stables

Where they ate and were pampered…Hey! They even had cable!

They were measured and brushed and dressed all in red.

They were readied for Santa and led to his sled.


They walked tall to their harnesses and as they were connected

they all stood at attention as Santa inspected.

He touched each animal’s face and patted their heads,

“I can’t thank you enough.” was all that he said.


Then he entered his sleigh as the wind started to blow

and he lifted the reins and asked, “Are we ready to go?”

Each animal nodded without looking back.

Santa ran through his checklist and rechecked his sack.


As snowflakes again sparkled down in the dark

Santa unlocked the brake and nudged the sleigh out of park.

The sleigh started shaking as it moved up and down

and in no time at all was ten feet off the ground.


Then Santa remembered as he squinted to see

he’d brought along Sparky and his whole family.

As the fireflies flew around each animals head.

“Light ‘em up Sparky!” Santa smiled and said.


In an instant the fireflies started to glow

And with the checklist complete they were ready to go.

For the first time in history on that Christmas Eve night

Santa’s sleigh was equipped with eight tiny headlights.


“Merry Christmas to all!” He yelled from his sleigh

As they soared to the stars and were well on their way.

“We’ll see you at first light with the dawn of the sun

When our sack is all empty and our mission is done.


So this Christmas Eve if you see high in the sky

A moose or a penguin and a sleigh that can fly

with a polar bear, panda and a kangaroo too

It means all of the reindeer have come down with the flu.


Just be thankful for animals…Oh…and for jolly Saint Nick…

who will still bring you Christmas…even when the reindeer are sick.







Yesterday we packed away our Christmas decorations…

delicately packing our old ornaments with the new.

And as we closed the lids on the boxes

we packed away our memories too.


Its one of the many things we love about Christmas…

part of what Christmas is all about…

How, when we open our boxes of decorations,

the memories come spilling out.


Memories of Christmases past

Memories we hope will never end…

Memories of times and pets and food and places…

Memories of family and friends.


Because creating memories is what makes Christmas special

And so, when we bid each Christmas adieu,

We delicately pack away

our old memories with the new..


Where they will rest together safe and secure

without a care…without a fear…

until we open up the boxes

and unpack them all again…


next year.

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Every year when it arrives we rush to put on our Christmas sweaters

Sit down in front of the fireplace and read their Holiday letter.


In this age of social media, when each day our senses are assailed…

It’s wonderful to slow our pace a little and read their letter received in the mail.


Their letter outlines the year they’ve had…there on the paper for us to see

The highs and lows, but mostly highs, of our good friends and their family.


In what ways were they blessed this year…what set their world aglow…

How their family has grown and what has changed from a mere 12 months ago.


The traveling they’ve done, the places they’ve seen, the what, how, why and who…

What their children have been doing…and, of course, their grandchildren too.


We love reading about their adventures…how their lives all intertwine…

But what we love most about their letter…is what we read between the lines.


The sentiment is lovely, and while reading, we are thoroughly engaged…

We wonder at how the words stay fixed upon the paper 

but the love flows off the page.


For part of the beauty of their letter is the beauty we cannot see…

How the love that went into the writing…floats out onto Deborah and me.


That’s why we can’t wait for their letter to arrive each year

because for a moment our lives are intertwined….

as we sit down in front of the fireplace…


and read between the lines.

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