'Twas the morning of Christmas, when all through the house,
The children were active, disturbing a mouse.
The stockings, all hung by the chimney with care,
Gave ample proof that Saint Nick had been there.
The children all jumped with glee from their beds
And pounded our door, as we lifted our heads.
And Mother, who was rather irritable said,
"It's four in the morning, now get back to bed!"
Then Mama in her gown and I in my cap,
Settled to bed for a four hour nap.
At eight that same morning, there arose such a clatter,
I sprang to my feet to see what was the matter.
Away from my bed, I jumped like a flash,
It had come from the kitchen, and there I did dash.
The tree was alight, the candles did wink
And the light from the kitchen caused me to blink.
Then what to my wondering eyes should appear,
Then my children looked guilty, and close to tears.
My daughter, Molly, so lively and quick
Gave a gulp of her throat and a lick of her lips
And with these two gestures she began to explain,
As her story poured forth, this is how it came:
"We was just a' breakfast fixin'
An' I did the cookin' an' Joe did the mixin',
An' Joe gave the pancake batter to Paul,
An' Paul tripped and dropped it! Dropped it all!"
And she was right, for there on the floor
Were batter and broken dishes and more.
Then I gave a sigh, and smiled as I said,
"Let's get this cleaned up before Mom comes from bed."
As they cleaned it up I went, on bare foot,
To the fireplace, swept up the ashes and soot,
I lighted the fire, and then I went back.
They were sweeping the last of it into a sack.
The tree, how it twinkled, the presents, how merry
The paper and wrapping as red as a cherry
And each little gift was drawn up with a bow
And the window revealed the fresh falling snow.
But I could hear Mama's pattering feet
And the children still needed something to eat.
So I went to the kitchen, and filled each belly
With some lightly browned toast covered in jelly.
Then Mama came down and as she drew near
She said very softly, "What happened in here?"
A wink of my eye, and a nod of my head
Soon gave her to know she had nothing to dread.
With a great many words the kids went to work
They emptied each stocking and turned with a jerk.
Then focused their eyes on the gifts on the floor
And the wrapping and bows piled up more and more.
And though, on Christmas it's the giving that counts,
The spirit of getting is what this amounts.
And so my final words to say:
"Merry Christmas to all and to all a good day."
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.