Debbie Croft: A modern take on '12 Days of Christmas'

December 21, 2012 


On the first day of Christmas, my banker gave to me, a $25 dollar overdraft fee.

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

with numerous 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.'

On the fourth day of Christmas, my calendar was filled,

with holiday potluck parties,

classroom gift exchanges,

requests for Christmas treats,

and a reminder county 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 the deadline for my column by 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.'

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 stra-ange noi-ise ...

Have you seen my flash drive?

And in your spare time,

would you balance the books,

before we end 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 families,

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 10th day of Christmas, my inbox remained full,

with December household bills,

holiday press releases,

(another Nutcracker ballet),

concert rehearsal notes,

charitable aid requests,

with the wea-ther fore-cast 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 phony, plastic tree.

On the 11th day of Christmas my family went to sleep.


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 droo-ping, squin-ted e-eyes ...

watching glittering colors

from the twinkle lights

turn into tiny stars;

then I promptly nodded off and fell asleep.

On the 12th day of Christmas, once evening settled in,

between hot sips of cider,

making 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-maze-d to see thi-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.

Traditions spoken of in the 18th century song, "The Twelve Days of Christmas," originated in France and England. Feasting and gift-giving began on Christmas Day, or on Boxing Day, Dec. 26. The holiday lasted through Jan. 6, which was Twelfth Day, also known as Epiphany.

I modernized the song a bit to describe the 12 days of preparations before our Christmas, as viewed from my little corner of creation. Hope you don't mind.

No matter how hectic this season gets, or what surprises may or may not sit wrapped underneath the tree (or on the invoice from the automotive repair shop), never forget the miracle of the very first Christmas: when a babe was born to be the savior of the world.

A very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all!

Debbie Croft writes about life in the foothill communities. She can be reached at

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