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Heart, Soul, and Rough Edges — A Gypsy Journey of Words and Wonder

Let's Write a Holiday Poem

English: Modern Bubble light

In honor of  the winter holidays, let’s write a poem celebrating one. Stumped for ideas? You won’t be for long.

Jot down your very brief answers to the following questions:

  1. What is the first time you remember celebrating this holiday?
  2. Who was there with you?
  3. Which was your most memorable celebration of this traditional holiday?
  4. What is the favorite scent you remember from this holiday?
  5. What was the most special gift you received during this holiday?
  6. What is your favorite sound associated with this holiday?
  7. What is the favorite food or beverage you associate with this holiday?
  8. What is the holiday decoration you remember best from this holiday?
  9. What texture or tactile memory do you have of this holiday?

My answers were:

  1. The year my Dad hung balloons and streamers from the ceiling for Christmas morning.
  2. My little sister and two older brothers and our parents.
  3. The first one I remember.
  4. The smell of the blue spruce tree branches.
  5. A huge stuffed panda bear.
  6. The metal bells we got to hang from the lower branches that would tinkle as we swept by.
  7. Pumpkin pie topped with whipped cream.
  8. The angel hair spider webs that diffused the light around the oil-bubbling candle tree lights.
  9. The cozy feel of red and white candy-striped flannel nightgowns

Now, work these memories into a free-verse poem. Nothing has to rhyme. You can rearrange or delete or add more ideas as you go along. Try for a natural flow and pleasing sound of the words you choose.

Here’s my poem:

 

The Big Christmas

Santa came! Santa came! I shout with my four-year old squeal

 

Streamers cascade from the ceiling where balloons hover,

Held in place by static electricity and pieces of tape

The room, to me, a fairyland of bubble lights and halos

Pungent scent of  blue spruce tree, needles sticky

 

Tinkling bells as we pull out presents

My package wrapped in bright paper so big I ask,

Is it a horse?

No horse, better yet, a giant panda, black and white

Contrasting with the chaos of color around me

 

The memory of my sister and me, in our peppermint-striped

Flannel nightgowns as we hug our new stuffed animal friends

My brothers follow two strings leading outside,

To discover bicycles hung in the trees

 

Our excitement intoxicating my parents as they share

A Christmas hot toddy and  slice of pumpkin pie

Smiles tired but satisfied,

At this big Christmas

 

©2011 Lin Neiswender

When you are satisfied with your poem, print it out or email it to the people with whom you share these memories. It will be a holiday gift to them like no other. Perhaps you’ll inspire them to write their special poems too.

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10 thoughts on “Let's Write a Holiday Poem

  1. I like this exercise and will compose something later today

  2. Lin, of course, I read your nice prompt and promptly wrote a rhymed poem, not about Christmas!

    • Glad the prompt wasn’t wasted. Can’t wait to read your poem!

      • Writer’s Cramp
        by Margaret Fieland

        One cold winter day, I selected a pen
        to write down a poem or two or three, when

        there cam a rap, rapping, a tap on my door.
        “Oh, bother, oh, darn it,” I said. “What a bore.”

        “I have to stop writing.” And then I stood up,
        gulped down the cold coffee dregs left in my cup.

        The front door swung open, and who should I find?
        The poet police, who said, “Dearie you’re fined.”

        “The poetry fashion is all for free verse.
        Yours has rhyme and meter. It couldn’t be worse.”

        “We hereby command you to cease and desist.
        You cannot evade us, so do not resist.”

        I slammed the front door and slumped down,, debating
        how long the verse coppers would stand outside, waiting

        to haul me away, place me under arrest
        from penning my rhymingest poetry best.

      • I hear from your poem You are at your best Now make some fresh coffee Before you go rest

        On rhyme, on meter, On alliteration and metaphor Catch that imagery, Maggie, before The poetry coppers are back at the door.

      • {grin} Thanks, Lin

  3. Lin Neiswender on said:

    Looking forward to seeing your poem, Carlton!

  4. Lin: This was too good to pass up {looks innocently up at ceiling}. Oh, well, I was never very good at following directions.

    1. What is the first time you remember celebrating this holiday?
    My mind is a blank
    2. Who was there with you?
    My sister
    3. Which was your most memorable celebration of this traditional holiday?
    None of them were memorable
    4. What is the favorite scent you remember from this holiday?
    I have none
    5. What was the most special gift you received during this holiday?
    Don’t remember– but Blackie, a stuffed wired hair fox terrier my aunt and uncle gave me when I was two (don’t remember that) was extremely well loved
    6. What is your favorite sound associated with this holiday?
    Bells
    7. What is the favorite food or beverage you associate with this holiday?
    at the moment, egg nog
    8. What is the holiday decoration you remember best from this holiday?
    don’t remember any
    9. What texture or tactile memory do you have of this holiday?
    Sorry, no memory

    Somehow my mind is all a blank,
    no memories remaining.
    However hard I strain my brain,
    all I get is complaining.

    Recall’s a stall of holidays
    or gifts both great and small.
    So lift a glass to my old past.
    It’s passed beyond recall.

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