‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the office
All the computers were off; on the door the “closed” notice.
Cards were pinned on the board, garlands decked all the doors
Crumpled ad copy and proofs littered the floors.
The staff were all finished with tidying their desks
And were heading off home for short holiday rests.
The paper was finished; all were raring to go,
We were getting our coats on; Al was ready to follow.
When out on the street there arose such a clatter
We all ran to the windows to see what was the matter.
We stared out the windows and stood in the doorway
But could hardly believe what was out on the roadway.
Half hidden in clouds the moon’s light was quite dim
But the Christmas lights were bright on the Office roof rim.
There, to our mutual astonishment, did appear
A miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer
With a driver in red, so lively and quick,
Jill said with a laugh – “it must be St. Nick”.
So rapid, yet silent, the reindeer they came,
While St. Nick whistled and shouted and called them by name:
“Now dash it! Oh darn it! Oh please, oh you Vixen!
Oh come on, don’t be silly, darn you Blitzen!
We’ll stop here and ask for directions and maps
They’re sure to know where we can find all those chaps.”
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly
And emulate feathers in a race for the sky,
So down to the stop sign his reindeer they flew,
With a sleigh full of presents – and St. Nicholas, too.
The Star/Journal Office has no fireplace or chimney
(Baseboard heaters and air conditioners aren’t nearly so cheery)
so he climbed out of the sleigh and came up the stairs
And came through the door (politely ignoring our stares).
He was dressed all in red from his head to his feet,
And from his back pocket trailed a very long sheet.
He asked very nicely – had we a spare map
As his GPS unit had had a mishap.
His eyes, how he blinked them! His dimples, how merry!
His cheeks blushed like roses, his nose like a cherry.
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard on his chin was as white as snow.
The stump of a pencil was tucked behind his right ear
(No sign of a pipe – perhaps he’s quit this year?)
We pulled out a map of the North Thompson area
The one with Barriere and Clearwater data.
We gave him a copy of our last Summer Guide
As it may have directions that may serve as a guide.
He was a chubby and plump, slightly frustrated elf
Yet he laughed with us cheerfully in spite of himself.
He thanked us and smiled and nodded his head
And explained what had happened ere he went back to his sled.
“Computer technology is great when it works,
But when it breaks down – oh boy – how it irks!
I’ll have to get backups that are printed on paper –
Say, can you tell me who prints your newspaper?”
He went back to his sleigh and picked up the reins
And as the reindeer took off, tossed us all candy canes.
And we heard him exclaim, ere he got out of sight:
“What a Christmas! I’ve never had such a night!”
By Margaret Houben
(with apologies to Clement C. Moore)