The fall holidays once slowly morphed into Winter,
Halloween first with black and orange bulletin boards,
A class party: cupcakes, games (Head’s Up, 7-Up)
And finally the big night of trick or treating,
In a costume Mama made from this or that.
Apple bobbing, cake walks, a big night of fun.
Then it was time to learn about the Pilgrims,
Thanksgiving in November with the leaves we cut out,
The bulletin board now brown, yellow, and orange.
Our teacher wrote a play; the parents came to watch,
Who would be an Indian? Who would be a Pilgrim?
Which of us could gobble best and would star as the turkey?
Family blessings in a heated house, sage, allspice,
Togetherness, together-mess. An entire weekend of fun.
Could Christmas come more slowly?
The advent calendar windows, glittery and delicate,
We’d open one by one. We learned the Christmas songs
At school and church. Our teachers helped us craft a present
Only a mother could love: a painted handprint, a potpourri.
We made elves’ hats and snowflakes, a magical transformation.
Vacation came, school let out, and the long days of wondering,
Shaking, snooping, hoping began. Would I get a dolly?
Would my brother get a bike? Would Mama like our presents?
We had time to skip to Grandmother’s, to share our secret hopes
With her. And when the big day came, it was a big day,
Our family in pajamas, every gift a treasure.
Every treasure a memory.
Today it seems one season. It begins after Labor Day.
With Halloween garbled into Thanksgiving into Christmas,
Seasons’ Greetings can mean “Boo” or “Happy Thanksgiving”
Or “Merry Christmas.” The crowds grow frenzied,
Some choose to shop the day after Christmas,
That’s when sales are biggest, that's when you get more STUFF,
And who cares about the holiday itself? There’s always basketball
Or football to watch, and a reason to knock back a few.
I miss the individual joys of the small, old ways we celebrated,
Before it became a competition and Hallothanksmas season.