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A month before Christmas

I submit this poem as a protest against what we as a society may have allowed Christmas to become, as Santa himself says, “This garish display of commercialized greed is so very un-Christmas it make my heart bleed.”

At this time of year, let’s get back to the real reason for the season.

’Twas a month before Christmas and all through the store

Each department was dripping with yuletide décor.

The muzak was blaring an out-of-tune carol

And fake snow was falling in Ladies Apparel.

I’d flow a long distance from the North Pole this day

To check on reports which had cased me dismay.

I’d come to this store but for one special reason

To see for myself what went on at this season.

I hid in a corner and in a short while

I saw the store president walk down an aisle.

He shouted an order to “Turn the store tree on”

And also the “Noel” in blinding pink neon.

Up high grandly hanging from twin gold supports

Four hundred pink angels flew over men’s shorts.

And towering over the rear mezzanine

A 90-foot day glo nativity scene.

The clock on the wall said two minutes to nine.

The floorwalkers proudly all stood in a line.

I watched while the president smelled their carnations

Then called out his final command, “Man your stations!”

When out on the street there arose such a roar

It rang through the rafters and boomed through the store.

It sounded exactly like street repair drilling

Or maybe another big Mafia killing.

I looked to the doors and there banging the glass

Was a clamouring, shrieking, hysterical mass.

And I felt from the tone of each scream and each curse

That the Spirit of Christmas had changed for the worse.

The clock, it struck nine, and doors opened wide

And that great human avalanche thundered inside.

More fearsome than Sherman attacking Atlanta

Came parents and kiddies with just one goal — “Santa!”

In front stormed the mothers, all brandishing handbags

As heavy and deadly as 10-kilo sandbags.

With gusto they swung them, the better to smash ears

Of innocent floorwalkers, buyers and cashiers.

Straight up to the fifth floor the mob penetrated

And soon reached the room where the store Santa waited.

I followed them closely the better to see

This bearded imposter who dared to play me.

He stood two metres-five, and weighed all of 130.

He’d lost half his teeth and his costume was dirty.

His beard dangled down like a wad of cheap cotton

His breath needed Scope and his “Ho-ho” was rotten.

Egged on by their parents, the kids had one aim

To get to this man who was using my name;

They mobbed him and mauled him the better to plead

For the presents they sought in their hour of greed.

The president watched with a gleam in his eye

At the thought of the toys that the parents would buy.

Of all Christmas come-ons this crowd would attest

That a visit to “Santa” was clearly the best.

It was all too much for my soul to condone

And I let out a most unprofessional moan;

The crowd turned around and I’ll say for their sake

They knew in an instant I wasn’t a fake.

“I’ve had it,” I told them, “with fast-buck promoting,

With gimmicks and come-ons and businessmen gloating;

This garish display of commercialized greed,

Is so very un-Christmas, it make my heart bleed.”

With that I departed and shouting a farewell

Went barrelling up an emergency stairwell.

On reaching the roof, to my sleigh I went forth.

Where my reindeer were waiting to take me back North.

The crowd swarmed behind me to beg me to stay;

Before they could speak I was off in my sleigh.

But I turned to exclaim as I flew from the mob,

“Happy Christmas to all — I’m resigning my job!”

Wes Stickel

Red Deer



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