The elves were all drunk on peppermint schnapps.

Santa sighed and exclaimed, “It’s just as I feared. There will be very few presents this year.

Parts are stuck on ships afloat off the coast. The delivery system’s turned into toast.

Can a child understand, will they burst into tears if stockings are stuffed with gift cards this year?

It’s not quite the same as a shiny new toy that lights up a face with evident joy.”

Mrs. Santa came in with a gluten free snack, gave her husband a hug and sat on his lap.

“I’ve printed out cards for you to hand out. Now don’t turn up your nose or give me a pout.”

She adjusted her glasses on the bridge of her nose and read the card’s tidbit of prose.

“Toys are outgrown, forgotten or smashed. So this year I’m giving a gift that will last.

Look around at your family, your friends and your home. Appreciate that you are never alone.

You woke up this morning and opened your eyes. You took that for granted, it’s no surprise

Or that you stood up and inhaled a good breath, then ran off to see what Santa had left.

This year I give you love and good cheer, if you pass it to others you’ll have a good year.

It’s not what we get, it’s what we give back that makes up for all we imagine we lack.”

Santa smiled sadly, “That’s all very grand but we’re speaking to children, will they understand?”

“I hope that they will, if grown-ups do. If you think this over, you’ll see that it’s true.

We take things for granted that really are gifts. But there is no entitlement, not one little bit.

Of course we all wish that things could be better, but that’s like dreaming we control the weather.

So enjoy what you have, not what you have not. Happiness can’t always be bought.”
Santa still shook his head. “That’s hard to apply when we’re glum and depressed and wondering why.”

 “You aren’t alone, Dear, so why don’t you try a small act of kindness–help someone get by.

A smile that we give mirrors the smile we receive. That’s when the day’s troubles recede.”

Santa mused as he gobbled his gluten free snack. “I love that you always have my back.”

“Then take the cards, Dear, what harm can it do? It’s better than leaving a lame IOU.”

 “Is this the new normal? A card in a sock?”

“Do you fear that the spirit of Christmas is lost? It will always live on as a light in our hearts.

Now pull on your boots, Dear, it’s time to depart.”

The elves were still wobbly but the reindeer lined up, slipped into their halters and then they were off. Santa wished on a star as they drove out of sight, “May the spirit of Christmas last night after night.”

Published in Poems