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On Christmas past, present & future

December 25, 2009
By James P. Whipple

Christmases may come and go . . . a line from a song, but in real life it's hard to believe that I have seen 67 of them.

There are people older then I who have seen a lot more. In the case of World War I veteran Frank Buckles, he has seen more than 100 Christmases and New Years. I still feel that seeing so many Christmases is something to be marveled at.

Over the years, I have written many poems at Christmas. Since 1990, I have written 19 such poems. I thought I'd put three of them in this article to show how each Christmas has been an important time in my life. The first of these is from 1983.

Christmas of old was like a sweet warm dream.

There was the horse and buggy and the long ride

through the snow.

I looked as a child in wonderment at all I saw,

I felt warmness that has lasted

throughout the years.

Each Christmas I grow a little older,

and feel a little sadder.

Each Christmas I think back

to those Christmas's of old, When everything

was bright and I was not too old.

By 1997 I had started to play Santa in Charles Town. I wrote this next poem to give to the kids that sat on my lap telling me what they most wanted for Christmas.

Santa's on his way

I've packed all the toys, they're ready to go.

The smell of fresh baked cookies is in the air.

The trees are all decorated with tinsel and lights.

There are houses full of joy with smiles all around,

Just waiting for me to make my rounds.

The list is all made, I'll add a name or two.

The elves have just finished polishing my sled.

The reindeer are prancing, they're ready to go.

So to bed my children and sleep real sound.

I'm starting to make my appointed rounds.

In all of the Christmases I've seen through the years nothing matches my first few Christmases in Washington D.C. This poem of Washington at Christmas Time was originally written in 1973. There are two other versions of this poem as I got older I changed it from time to time. This was the 1990 version.

Christmas in DC

The streets are all covered with snow.

The White House lights on and bright.

The National Christmas Tree litwith a million lights.

The air is so crisp and Clear.

The stores on G street lit up with Christmaslights, The display of Santa's workshop

inside woodies windows.

The smell of gingerbread.

The sound of streetcars turning up Pennsylvania Ave.

The bright colors of St. Matthews's at midnight mass.

The smell of the incense floating in the cool air.

This is a Christmas time of many years ago,

When Washington was younger and so was I.

So here we are Christmas 2009 and here is the poem for this year.

Christmas is here

The things we do to prepare for Christmas have all been done.

Nature has left us with enough snow to last through Christmas Day.

Packages are sent and cards mailed; we even have hung our stockings with care.

Now all that remains is for Santa to arrive and the presents will be opened

on Christmas day.

All is well and the season is bright it kind of reminds me of Christmases past.

The country at War with out an end in sight and the economy has hit an all-time low.

Through all the worries and there are many, we all take time to brighten each others day.

The spirit of giving abounds in us all and oh yes some how this Christmas reminds me of the middle sixty's when the world seemed on the verge of exploding.

The world did not explode and time moved on and each year Christmas was celebrated anew.

My hope is that time will move on and the biggest gift of all will be the happiest of new year and a great and peaceful 2010.

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