Thursday, December 24, 2009

At the caroling party

At the caroling party
we hold auditions to decide who gets to sing
"five golden rings" and who has to sing
about silly ol' birds. The Greers don't try out
because they always sing "six geese a-
doin' it." At the caroling party
Ross is a celebrity; he keeps sheet music
in his head but his fingers play by heart.
When we come to Here Comes Santa Claus
my dad or Uncle Mike or someone will say,
"Oh yuck, let's skip this song this year!"
just to rile the children. At the caroling party
we sing The Holly and the Ivy even though
so few people know the words. No, no,
we have to sing it! It's tradition
and Aunt Elaine loves it. At the caroling party
Grandma often requests that Mary and I
hit the high note in O Holy Night, and we
hit it if we can because it's easier than
saying no to her. Singing's always easier
after a few drinks. At the caroling party
cousin David wears a bright red sweater
and mixes rum and cokes behind the bar.
My mother sits close to me and we try together
to pick out harmonies. She'd rather read the words
shaped from my lips than printed on paper.
At the caroling party, there are chairs and couches
but they're reserved for the older people
so you sit cramped on the floor or you stand. Yes,
it's a silly tradition, a Hallmark card tradition,
a mildly embarrassing, cheesy family tradition,
and yet there's never a single seat left empty
at the caroling party.

This poem was written in response to Poetry Prompt #106 on Read Write Poem.

        What's your favourite family Christmas (or other holiday) tradition?


Dorkmaster Flek said...

I think it was trains at my parents house, when we used to have time to do them. :) Either that, or my mother decorating the Christmas tree while John Denver and the Muppets sing loud Christmas carols. :)

Erin Davis said...

These traditions are the best kind. I feel like I just watched a mini home movie. :0)

Andrea said...

I love this entry. :) Merry Christmas, darling, to you and Andrew and also to the Duval's!

Paul Oakley said...

What a wonderful party! Merry Christmas!

Claudia said...

:) I have a few - decorating the tree with my nieces; going to Christmas mass with my fam (and singing with Amanda's fam); and sharing gifts and laughs when we open presents together (which generally ends up being a three hour fest of laughing).

Yay family!

Anonymous said...

oh, pooh! why didn't my family have fun like that? I love this, it's got a sort of improvised feel despite the structure, kind of jostling and a little close. Perfect.

Tumblewords: said...

Not a singer in our group, we play board games with a background of CD carols. I love this picture of a family caroling party - it has heart!

Cynthia Short said...

Your poem made me want to be in attendance! Terrific Holiday memory turned into poetry...

Anonymous said...

I like the self-aware way this exalts the intimacy of family and the legitimacy of sentiment, describing with nice personal detail.

Mary said...

Haha, it is embarrassingly cheesy but you're absolutely right, year over year there's never an empty seat or spot on the floor. My favourite Christmas traditions include the caroling party of course, Christmas Eve with you guys (for obvious reasons of amazing food, company, and getting nice and tipsy before church), and getting to watch classic Christmas movies... Now I'm not talking about "classic" classic movies, I mean MY classic movies, like Home Alone, Elf, Bad Santa, Trailer Park Boys Christmas Special, and now added to the group is A Very Sunny Christmas. These are the things that get me through this time of year as work stresses the crap out of me and probably raises my blood pressure to new heights.

Karen said...

This was great fun and a peek inside the family tradition!