Yes, he comes every year. If we’re lucky, this year will be a lot like last year, and the year before and the year before. I know I always expected to find some Silly Putty and Chap Stick in my stocking every Christmas morning, and as long as I was patient and believed in Santa, I was never disappointed.
In the great tradition of tradition-keeping, I’ll reprise an old bit of holiday doggerel from 1994. This is intended to keep the spirit of Clement Moore alive through sheer spite. Wherever he’s buried, the ground above is warm – the result of friction from a body spinning in its grave and the heat generated by the large amounts of psychic energy that it takes for a dead man to plot revenge.
I would not be surprised some midnight when mama’s in her kerchief and I’m in my cap, to find Clement Moore shaking his fist and railing at me from the front lawn. I picture him rising from his long winter’s nap to spend a single night plaguing everyone who has ever mocked him. But given the number of times his old poem has been parodied, he’d have a very, very busy time of it.
‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house,
every door had been locked by myself or my spouse.
I shut off the lights and proceeded to arm
our state-of-the-art infrared burglar alarm.
I thought not of peace though it was Christmas Eve.
For the nighttime brings anger, or so I perceive.
A regular, permanent case of the blues
I contracted from watching the 10 o’clock news.
When out in the yard there arose such a din
I jumped up real quick (for the shape that I’m in).
First to the window I flew at a run
And then to the phone to dial 9-1-1.
For what I had seen was so very bizarre
Should I call out the cops or the state DNR?
A musher and dogs from some marathon race
were lost and had somehow wound up at my place.
Eight dogs in the snow – they were icy and furry.
They must have been racing … they looked in a hurry.
And the guy in the sled was a sight in himself.
I expected Will Steger … He looked like an elf!
I opened my mouth to say, “Buddy, move on
before all your animals ruin my lawn!”
When all of a sudden … this plump little guy
called out to his dogs and they started to fly.
“Now Lassie, now Fido, now Benji and Bowser!
On Beethoven, Petey and Pluto and Towser!
Pull back your ears and put down your tails!”
And they took to the wind as though they had sails!
And then I could hear it … the physical proof.
The dogs and that sled were destroying my roof!
He came down the chimney! I swear this is true.
He grunted and struggled to squeeze through the flue.
His eyes were so jolly, his beard white like cream.
He stepped into the infrared burglar beam.
The place just erupted. The siren went wild.
St. Nicholas chuckled. He winked and then smiled.
“You’re crazy!” I told him. “The cops will be here!”
He just shook his head. St. ick felt o fear.
“I know eery cop between here and beyond.
I trip every alarm and they never respond.”
“I used to just enter wherever I please,
But I got tired of hearing ‘POLICE, Fasto. FREEZE!”
And so to avoid an embarrassing mess
I get legal search warrants for every address.
He showed me his papers, then emptied his pack.
“Some homeonwers fire. I never shoot back.
These days the generous have to be brave.”
Then back up the chimney he went with a wave.
On the roof I heard scraping, the tearing of shingles,
then running and barking and shouting and jingles.
And I heard him exclaim as they started to soar …
HAPPY CHRISTMAS TO ALLLLLLLL!”
Then they landed next door.
If you could visit every home on earth tonight for the purpose of leaving a gift – the very same one in each house – what would it be?