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On the first day of Christmas my banker gave to me,

a twenty-five dollar overdraft fee.

On the second day of Christmas my children wrote their lists,

with assorted gift ideas,

and a note requesting snow on Christmas Day.

On the third day of Christmas the banker did insist,

“Hello, it’s me again,

your account is in the red;

here’s another hefty overdraft fee.”

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On the fourth day of Christmas my calendar was filled:

holiday pot-luck parties,

classroom gift exchanges,

calls for Christmas treats,

not to mention property taxes are due.

On the fifth day of Christmas disorder ruled the home,

with five bloat-ed pil-es of un-washed clo-othes…

Four dozen cookies to bake,

three parcels to mail,

two costumes to sew,

and my column’s looming deadlin at noon.

On the sixth day of Christmas the postman handed me,

this month’s tuition bill,

and an-oth-er pain-ful over-draft fee-ee…

Still more cards to send,

plus three pets to bathe,

two bathrooms to clean;

by the way, a deer ran into me last night.

On the seventh day of Christmas our mechanic pointed out:

“Estimates for parts and labor,

besides a smashed front end,

those coun-try road-ways must be real-ly rou-ugh…

All four struts are shot,

and your tires are bald,

both the front and back;

but good news, Michelins just went on sale.”

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On the eighth day of Christmas my husband said to me,

“All my shirts are dirty,

staff party is tomorrow,

could you bring a main dish,

and my truck is mak-ing an-oth-er str-ange noi-ise…

Have you seen my flash drive?

And in your spare time,

would you balance the books,

before we close the year in debt like you-know-who.”

On the ninth day of Christmas the minister announced:

“Annual committee meeting,

extra choir rehearsals,

canned goods to be collected,

gift bags for needy neighbors,

and the gar-lands are love-ly in the fel-low-ship ha-all…

Four workers still needed,

for the three productions

of two nativity plays,

and our soloist is home with the flu.”

On the tenth day of Christmas my inbox remained full,

with December household bills,

holiday press releases

(another Nutcracker ballet),

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concert rehearsal notes,

charitable aid requests,

and the wea-ther fore-cast is still pre-dict-ing ra-ain…

Four more gifts to buy,

three loaves left to bake,

plus two excited kids,

who can’t wait to trim our artificial tree.

On the eleventh day of Christmas my family went to sleep.

Aaa-aah

With carols serenading

softly in the background,

I wrapped presents, folded laundry,

and baked one last batch of cookies,

then I cuddled on the sofa

with a clean but drowsy puppy,

and gaze-d at the tree with droop-ing, squint-ed eyes…

angel-564351_640watching sparkling colors

of the twinkle lights

turn into tiny stars;

then I promptly nodded off and fell asleep.

On the twelfth day of Christmas, once evening settled in,

between hot sips of cider,

phone calls to distant grandmas,

doing dishes, lighting candles,

filling stockings, plumping pillows,

and shifting ceramic figures

in the humble manger scene;

peering out the frosty window,

I stood a-maz-ed to see th-ick cl-ouds had fill-ed the sk-y-y…

Through the open door

I slipped into a world

where frosty jewels dressed

earth’s sod in winter’s best

that tranquil Christmas night.

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