This time of year, clichés are as abundant as store-bought eggnog (or crappy holiday song covers, or ornaments on trees, or stale fruitcake jokes, or…well, pick your cliché, really.) Nowhere is this more prevalent than in the various renditions of “Twas the Night Before Christmas” — and naturally I saw fit to further this venerable tradition. For what is a cliché if not properly nurtured, cared for, and fed throughout the years?
I offer you one that’s long been apropos in the Noonan house on this, the third day post winter solstice. Merry Christmas, Criqueteers — may you live well, love well, give well, and drink well.
A Criquet Christmas Eve
‘Twas the night before Christmas, when inside the house
The only creature stirring was me n’ some Famous Grouse;
The stockings were scattered by the chimney without care,
Since my toddler pulled ‘em down and left ‘em all there;
He was now nestled all snug in his bed,
Whilst I looked at unwrapped gifts, filled with great dread;
And the missus gone upstairs, and I with my nightcap,
Just sitting on the couch and thinking of a nap;
When out on the lawn there arose such a din,
I grabbed ol’ Louie-Slugger, thinking someone’s breaking in;
Down the chimney he fell and landed square on his ass,
I twice rubbed my eyes and stared at my glass;
No vagrant was he, though the white beard looked a bit odd,
His red fur clothes a mess of ash, soot, and sod;
He was chubby and plump, but looked a bit beaten,
And he walked by the cookies (er…which I’d long ago eaten);
Then, in what seemed like a speech he’d thoughtfully prepared,
He stood in the living room and jolly-ly declared:
“Milk and cookies are no doubt the treats you’ve been told,
but that’s reindeersh*t you’ve been sold…
I’ve been all over the world, every which way,
I’d love a good camembert, or a slice of patê.”
These I had not, and though having just done the dishes,
I offered what remained from the Feast of the Seven Fishes;
He nodded his thanks and sat down to dine
And I felt it right to uncork some reds from ’09.
He spoke not a word as he wolfed down the meal,
Smacking and belching with unbridled zeal;
“That’s more like it,” he finally said with a sigh.
Guess I’d better get going back up in the sky.”
He walked ‘round the room, and gave a nod of his head.
“These gifts for your loved ones…not a bad spread.
Of course, far be it from me to dine and not tip,
How’s a lil’ something nicer for to nip?”
He pointed to my stocking— and next what appears
Is none other than a golden Macallan, aged 25 years.
Then he sprang up the chimney and gave a quick shout,
“Happy Christmas to you, friend — Santa out!”
Finally, I heard him exclaim as into the night he sped;
“And screw all that wrapping, just go to bed.”