This is a reprise of last year's Christmas story. Hope you like it. And Merry Christmas, everyone.
Twas the day before Xmas, when all through the mall
the shoppers were hustling, heeding the call
of sale upon sale by merchants galore,
who were trying to entice them into the store.
Last minute shoppers were desperate to buy
anything merchants still had in supply.
Finding a parking place a half mile away
we forged ahead eagerly and dove into the fray.
“You go to that end and I’ll start right here,”
I shouted our plan with bogus good cheer.
“We’ll cover all stores and little by little,
having shopped till we dropped, we’ll meet in the middle.
So my wife trotted off both brazen and bold,
her gucci filled with plastic, both platinum and gold.
My own pockets bulged with my own set of cards,
which the companies sent with kindest regards,
my charging to the limit their insidious goal
so eventually they’’d own me body and soul.
I checked over my list, so I’d know where to begin,
but its length just added increasing chagrin.
On it were family and friends, both far and near,
all of them worthy at this time of year.
I’ll have a gift for each before my shopping ceases,
something for all aunts and uncles, nephews and nieces.
There will be a cell phone for Suzy, an xbox for Jim
and an ipod sized right for wee Tiny Tim.
Liz gets a sweater, and a skirt nicely pressed.
If she wears them together she’ll be fully dressed.
A knit hat and scarf for my cousin Paul,
new sneakers for Tom, and still that’s not all.
For Lynn a neat dolly that cries and wets,
and Ralph gets new poker chips for when he bets.
A bottle of brandy for old uncle Fred,
for Aunt Sophie a...oops, cross her off, she’s dead.
Grandma will get that nice warm stitched quilt.
A new Barbie for Ashley (wow, is she built).
For Carrie I’m stumped, dont’ know what to do,
maybe some cash for another tatoo.
I know just what Jerry would like,
a specially pimped out red mountain bike.
A new calculator for Jon on which he relies
to sort out the figures that dance in his eyes.
For Katie I stopped in an import store
and got something Asian I know she’ll adore.
Some earrings for Mary would be about right,
or a necklace with diamonds, ooh I just might
max out the Visa if I buy so much bling,
but there’s still MC, Discover, and Amex to fling.
By the time I exhausted the names on my list
I had just enough credit left, so I couldn’t resist
that special last gift from me to me,
a giant screen hd plasma tv.
As I finished covering my end of the mall
I spotted my wife and gave her a call.
But she sat simply staring and at once I saw
that her nerves were all frazzled, stretched thin and raw.
This last minute shopping had taken its toll
and though we went forth and achieved our goal,
it was like a descent into Dante’s hells,
accompanied by a raucous rendition of Jingle Bells.
We gathered our boxes and bags of gifts
and joined the exodus of the other spendthrifts.
We passed Santa’s castle where he sat on his throne
ho hoing to kids in groups and alone.
A bit further on we saw him once more,
enticing the unwary into a store.
He must have been cloned, so buyer beware,
Jolly St. Nick, the guy’s everywhere.
Again on the left with a pudgy hand wave
and a wink of his eye I swear that he gave
a mocking salute to our supposed Xmas spirit.
We hurried along, did not want to hear it.
I thought as I passed I heard him retort,
“See you all next month in bankrupcty court.”
We found our way out and as we passed through the door,
he was there again assailing us once more.
With his right hand a bell he was ringing,
the sound melding well with the carolers singing.
Rotund and bedecked in his red and white suit
with misty eyes and wry smile he noticed our loot.
His gesture was subtle as he blinked at his pot,
all red it stood empty, no coins in the slot.
Guilt overcame me as I set down my load,
my wife doing the same without being told.
We both started fumbling in pocket and purse,
overcome by the plastic credit card curse.
No cash could be found after all we had spent,
neither of us found a single red cent.
Mumbling apologies we slithered away,
there really was nothing we could possibly say.
We loaded the Volvo, filled it up tight
all the while feeling that something’s not right.
We nearly made it out of the lot
when we both noticed it in a new spot.
Someone installed a brand new machine,
that dispenses new bills, all crisp and green.
We jumped from the car, this wouldn’t be hard.
Thank God we still had our ATM card.
We maxed the card out and collected the cash,
scurried back to the car and made a mad dash
back to where Santa stood ringing his bell.
By the twinkle in his eye we knew he could tell
that we returned from the end of the lot
to stuff all our cash into his pot.
We drove away happy, but when we got back around
that new ATM was nowhere to be found.
As we passed by the spot where we knew it should be,
only new fallen snow was all we could see.
But we both swear that as we drove passed the sight
we heard Santa shout, “Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.”