The Day Before Christmas
by Karen Brooks
Twas the day before Xmas, and all through the shops,
Were the strains of Bing Crosby, no rock or hip-hop.
Last-minute presents were marked down, dollars sliced,
While cards and decorations were less than half price.
I recalled the whole Grand my true Rudd gave to me,
How I’d blown it all on a day-long spending spree.
X-boxes for the kids, Andre Rieu for Gran,
Red shoes for me and DVDs for my man.
I tried not to think about what I had spent,
Or what my last credit statement really meant.
How I’d be paying for this Christmas for ages,
How a small bit of plastic soaks up my wages
Instead, I thought on what tomorrow would bring,
A slew of boring reles and tons of tacky things.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a sale bin full of bras and lots other gear.
I reached into grab a lacey number quick,
Wearing it I was gonna’ love myself sick!
More rapid than me, the other shoppers came,
Tugging, screaming, and calling each other names.
‘Now let go!’ ‘That’s mine!’ ‘Get off!’ ‘ I saw it first!
‘On your bike!’ ‘On your horse!’ ‘You cow,’ they all cursed.
Shocked by their anger, I moved back to the wall,
Like ants at a picnic, they dashed away all.
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,
I found my courage and to one shopper, I flew,
Grabbed back my bra (and the matching knickers too)!
I bolted to the till and put down my card,
Gave the man all my items, and bravely stood my guard.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the aisle St Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his toes,
His clothes were tarnished with child snot and God knows.
He gave a big sigh and placed a hand on his back,
Reached in his pocket and pulled out his ciggie pack.
His eyes how they were blood-shot! His teeth how stained.
His cheeks were like a moonscape, his nose all veined.
His droll little mouth was drawn up in a sneer,
His breath smelled like he’d indulged in Christmas cheer.
The stubble of his chin wobbled as he spoke,
‘God, I hate Christmas. It’s become one big joke.
Ratty kids demandin’, sittin’ on me belly,
Tellin’ me they’re good and smart and that I’m real smelly.
What are they turnin’ into, this web generation?
No respect for their elders. No more veneration.’
I watched him shake his head, scratch his bum and belch.
Obese, a smoker, drinker – a right jolly old elf.
I spoke not a word, but glanced at my day’s work,
Sales items from snatching: I felt like a jerk.
What was Xmas about, if not love and caring?
Setting an example by kindness and sharing.
I paid and wondered; ‘what’s happened to my Christmas spirit?’
Turned and gave my new lingerie to the woman nearest.
But I heard her exclaim as I walked out of sight.
‘They were mine anyway; I know me’ consumer rights!’
Before I take my leave, I have one last thing I want to say,
May you have a magical Eve and a loving Christmas Day!