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Author: Michael Rielly
Category: Christmas History
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The Santa Claus Oath
I will seek knowledge to be well versed in the mysteries of bringing Christmas cheer and good will to all the people that I encounter in my journeys and travels.
I shall be dedicated to hearing the secret dreams of both children and adults.
I understand that the true and only gift I can give, as Santa, is myself.
I acknowledge that some of the requests I will hear will be difficult and sad. I know in these difficulties there lies an opportunity to bring a spirit of warmth, understanding and compassion. I know the “real reason for the season” and know that I am blessed to be able to be a part of it.
I realize that I belong to a brotherhood and will be supportive, honest, and show fellowship to my peers.
I promise to use “my” powers to create happiness, spread love and make fantasies come to life in the true and sincere tradition of the Santa Claus Legend.
I pledge myself to these principles as a descendant of Saint Nicholas the gift giver of Myra.
 
All words, contents, images, and descriptions of the Santa Claus Oath including the Santa Claus Oath Crest are copyrighted under an attachment with Arcadia Publishing 2008 by Phillip L. Wenz. ISBN # 978-0-7385-4149-5 and LCCC # 2007925452 - All rights reserved.
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Author: Michael Rielly
Category: Christmas History
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Born in 1908, James (Jim) D. Rielly was a lifelong resident of Bristol Rhode Island whose love for his country and his community was immediately evident when you met him. In many ways, he was Bristol’s unofficial Ambassador. To paraphrase Yeats: There were no strangers to Jim Rielly; only friends he had not yet met.
Jim Rielly was well known throughout New England for his kindness, generosity, and countless charitable acts. He was featured in the New York Times on multiple occasions and in hundreds of other newspapers throughout the United States. In 1982 he appeared on the television news program, PM Magazine hosted by Sheila Martines and Matt Laurer.
In recognition of his efforts, Jim Rielly was the recipient of numerous awards and commendations. He was a member of the Knights of Columbus and an honorary member of the Bristol Rotary Club, which presented him the Paul Harris Fellowship Award. He was a life member of the Bristol Elk Lodge No 1860 and the Cup Defenders Association. He also received awards from the Bristol Jaycees, the Rhode Island House of Representatives, the Leonardo DaVinci Lodge, Sons of Italy, and the Seabees of Davisville.
The Coast Guard Cutter Spar honored Jim Rielly for the loving and compassionate time he shared with crew members and their families. He also received awards from the Naval Air Station at Quonset Point, the US Naval Construction Battalion Center, the USS Hammerberg and the USS Essex.
In 1989, the Bristol Town Council presented Jim Rielly with the Bristol Citizen of the Year Award.
Over the course of his lifetime, Jim Rielly received numerous letters of recognition from celebrities and dignitaries from all over the world including: Eleanor Roosevelt, Senators Theodore Francis Green, Claiborne Pell, and John Chafee, Presidents Dwight D Eisenhower and Richard M Nixon, and even his Holiness, Pope John Paul II.
For 10 years Jim Rielly portrayed the character Charlie Weaver, appearing in Bristol’s Fourth of July Parades and at various places throughout Rhode Island. He once received a letter from the real Charlie Weaver, Cliff Arquette, who wrote “Keep up the good work but don’t take any checks”.
In 1976, the year of our nation's Bicentennial, the town of Bristol appointed Jim Rielly as official Town Crier. His duties were to call to order the Patriotic Exercises and officially begin the Military and Civic Parade. As Town Crier he participated in all Bristol Fourth of July Parades from 1975 to 1989. He also participated in the official capacity of Town Crier in numerous other community and civic events.
But Jim Rielly’s most notable role was that as Rhode Island's own "Santa Claus." His first appearance as Santa Claus was in the beginning of the Great Depression. In 1928 at the age of 19, Jim Rielly appeared as Santa Claus for a family living in an abandoned chicken coup. For more than 60 years, he would visit various orphanages, hospitals, nursing homes, schools, churches, charitable organizations, military bases and the State House.
As Santa Claus, he traveled by helicopter, plane, Coast Guard vessel and sleigh to bring joy, laughter and cheer to literally hundreds of thousands of people. Accepting no payment for his appearances, his only fee requirement was that we share the true meaning of Christmas by loving one another. Close to his heart were those occasions when he spent time at the homes with mentally and physically handicapped children.
In 1970, the town of Bristol named a street in his honor, Rielly Lane, and in 1975 the town dedicated the James D. Rielly bench at Rockwell Park. In 1979, the United States Senate entered his name into the Congressional Record for his kindness to people as “James D. Rielly, A Truly Remarkable Santa Claus from Rhode Island.” And on December 22, 2010, James D. Rielly was honored posthumously as one of the inaugural inductees into the prestigious International Santa Claus Hall of Fame in Santa Claus, Indiana.
Today, at the entrance of Bristol’s Town Hall, hangs an oil painting of Jim Rielly; welcoming visitors to his beloved town as Bristol’s unofficial Ambassador.
James D. Rielly died on November 26, 1991 at the age of 83.
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Author: Michael Rielly
Category: Literature
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Christmas Day
by G. Weatherly
 
I.
'Tis Christmas-tide, when joy-bells ring,
A merry welcome to the morn!
'Tis Christmas-tide, when children sing
Glad carols of the Saviour born!
'Tis Christmas-tide, and one sweet strain
Seems every heart and voice to fill—
The old, old story told again
Of "peace on earth, to men good will.'
II.
"We wander down the village street,
And past the hedge-rows white with snow,
And many an old acquaintance greet
With loving welcome as we go;
For full of rest is every heart,
The very air is wondrous still:
Christ's birth sweet promises doth impart
Of "peace on earth, to men good will."
III.
We linger by the old church tower,
And hear the glad bells' merry peal;
They seem endowed with wondrous power
To speak the thoughts which we but feel.
They tell of right for every wrong,
Of glad release from every ill;
They sing the herald angels' song
Of "peace on earth, to men good will."
IV.
And now within the church we stand,
And hear the joyous anthem ring
From high-arched roof with cadence grand—
A carol of the Saviour King;
And children's voices greet our ear,
Soft as the tones of babbling rill,
Telling in accents sweet and clear,
Of "peace on earth, to men good will."
V.
Anon we leave the church, and meet
Old friends around the Christmas fire,
And hearts to hearts responsive beat
With all the love the hours inspire;
All angry thoughts must pass away,
Resentment we must strive to kill,
Since on the first glad Christmas Day
Came "peace on earth, to men good will."
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Author: Michael Rielly
Category: Literature
Post Date:
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The Littlest Christmas Tree
by Amy Peterson
The littlest Christmas tree
lived in a meadow of green,
among a family,
of tall evergreens.
He learned how to whisper
the evergreen song,
with the slightest of wind,
that came gently along.

He watched as the birds
made a home out of twigs,
and couldn't wait till
he, too, was big.
For all of the trees
offered a home,
the maple, the pine, and the oak,
who's so strong.

"I hate being little,"
the little tree said,
"I can't even turn colors
like the maple turns red.
I can't help the animals
like the mighty old oak.
He shelters them all
in his wide mighty cloak."

The older tree said,
"Why, little tree, you don't know?
The story of a mighty king
from the land with no snow?"
Little tree questioned,
"A land with no snow?"
"Yes!" said old tree,
"A very old story,
from so long ago".

"A star appeared,
giving great light
over a manger,
on long winter's night.
A baby was born,
a king of all kings,
and with him comes love,
over all things."

"He lived in a country
all covered in sand,
and laid down his life
to save all of man."

Little tree thought of the gift
given by him,
then the big tree said with the
happiest grin,
"We're not just trees,
but a reminder of that day
There's a much bigger part,
of a role that we play!"

"For on Christmas eve,
my life I'll lay down,
in exchange for a happier,
loving ground.
And as I stand dying,
they'll adorn me in trim.
This all will be done,
in memory of him."

"Among a warm fire,
with family and friends,
in the sweet songs of Christmas,
I'll find my great end.
then ever so gently,
He'll come down to see
and take me to heaven,
Jesus and me."

"So you see, little tree,
we are not like the oak
who shelters all things
beneath his great cloak.
Nor are we like the maple
in fall,
who's colors leave many
standing in awe."

"The gift that we give
is ourselves, limb for limb,
the greatest of honor,
in memory of him."

The little tree bowed,
his head down and cried,
and thought of the king
who willingly died.
For what kind of gift
can anyone give?
Than to lay down your life
when you wanted to live?

A swelling of pride
came over the tree.
Can all of this happen
Because of just me?
Can I really bring honor?
By adorning a home?
By reminding mankind
that he's never alone?

With this thought, little tree
began singing with glee.
Happy and proud
to be a true Christmas tree.

You can still hear them singing
even the smallest in height,
singing of Christmas
and that one holy night.
© Amy Peterson
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Author: Michael Rielly
Category: Christmas History
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On October 3, 1789, President George Washington issued a proclamation naming Thursday, November 26, 1789, a national day of Thanksgiving. In it, Washington called upon all Americans to express their gratitude for a happy conclusion to the nation's war of independence and the successful ratification of the United States Constitution. Especially this year, as we prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving, we should reflect on the full meaning of the day. Let’s strive to be truly thankful in our hearts this Thanksgiving. What better way to enter the holiday season?
 
By the PRESIDENT
of the UNITED STATES of America,
A PROCLAMATION.
Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and—Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me “to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:”
Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favor, able interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquillity, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted; for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.
And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations, and beseech Him to pardon our national and other trangressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally, to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.
Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.
Go. Washington
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Author: Michael Rielly
Category: Literature
Post Date:
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Born in Germantown Pennsylvania, Henry Jackson van Dyke (1852-1933) was an American author, clergyman, and English literature professor. He authored numerous books of poetry and devotion. Among his popular writings are two Christmas stories: The Other Wise Man (1896) and The First Christmas Tree (1897). One of his more notable books was,The Spirit of Christmas (1905); a collection of Christmas themed writings that includes short stories, prayers, and the following sermon entitled, Keeping Christmas.
 
Keeping Christmas
By Henry van Dyke (1905)
It is a good thing to observe Christmas day. The mere marking of times and seasons, when men agree to stop work and make merry together, is a wise and wholesome custom. It helps one to feel the supremacy of the common life over the individual life. It reminds a man to set his own little watch, now and then, by the great clock of humanity which runs on sun time.But there is a better thing than the observance of Christmas day, and that is, keeping Christmas.
Are you willing to forget what you have done for other people, and to remember what other people have done for you; to ignore what the world owes you, and to think what you owe the world; to put your rights in the background, and your duties in the middle distance, and your chances to do a little more than your duty in the foreground; to see that your fellow-men are just as real as you are, and try to look behind their faces to their hearts, hungry for joy; to own that probably the only good reason for your existence is not what you are going to get out of life, but what you are going to give to life; to close your book of complaints against the management of the universe, and look around you for a place where you can sow a few seeds of happiness--are you willing to do these things even for a day?
Then you can keep Christmas.
Are you willing to stoop down and consider the needs and the desires of little children; to remember the weakness and loneliness of people who are growing old; to stop asking how much your friends love you, and ask yourself whether you love them enough; to bear in mind the things that other people have to bear on their hearts; to try to understand what those who live in the same house with you really want, without waiting for them to tell you; to trim your lamp so that it will give more light and less smoke, and to carry it in front so that your shadow will fall behind you; to make a grave for your ugly thoughts, and a garden for your kindly feelings, with the gate open--are you willing to do these things even for a day?
Then you can keep Christmas.
Are you willing to believe that love is the strongest thing in the world--stronger than hate, stronger than evil, stronger than death--and that the blessed life which began in Bethlehem nineteen hundred years ago is the image and brightness of the Eternal Love?
Then you can keep Christmas.
And if you keep it for a day, why not always?
But you can never keep it alone.
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Author: Michael Rielly
Category: Literature
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Known as the Island Poet, Celia Laighton Thaxter (1835-1894) was one of the most published American authors of the 19th Century. Thaxter lived much of her life on White Island off the coast of New Hampshire.Thaxter is best remembered for her non-fiction books “An Island Garden” and “Among the Isles of Shoals”. She also published a volume of poems, many of which are favorites with children, including the Christmas themed poem entitled, “Piccola”. The poem is about a poor French girl on one Christmas morning.
In 1914, Francis Jenkins Olcott (1872-1963) published a book of stories for young children entitled, “Good Stories for Great Holidays”. In the book, Olcott wrote a Christmas story based on Celia Laighton Thaxter's poem entitled, "Little Piccola".
 
Piccola
By Cellia Lalghton Thaxter
As fell to this little maid of France.
'T is seldom Fortune such favor grants
What happened to Piccola, children dear?
Poor, sweet Piccola! Did you hear
Only to live till summer again.
Striving with poverty's patient pain
Could hardly drive the wolf from the door,
'T was Christmas-time, and her parents poor
St. Nicholas nothing would bring to her!
Their little darling no joy might stir,
When dawned the morning of Christmas-day;
No gifts for Piccola! Sad were they
And so she slept till the dawn was gray.
Every child upon Christmas-day,
That something beautiful must befall
But Piccola never doubted at all
'T was plain St. Nicholas had been there!
Such sounds of gladness filled all the air,
She stole to her shoe as the morning broke;
And full of faith, when at last she woke,
And mother and father must peep inside.
See what the good saint brought! she cried,
Never was seen such a joyful child.
In rushed Piccola sweet, half wild:
Had crept into Piccola's tiny shoe!
A sparrow, that in at the window flew,
There was a little shivering bird!
Now such a story who ever heard?
And danced with rapture, she was so charmed.
While the starving sparrow she fed and warmed,
She cried, as happy as any queen,
How good poor Piccola must have been!
Children this story I tell to you,
Of Piccola sweet and her bird, is true.
In the far-off land of France, they say,
Still do they live to this very day.
 
Little Piccola
by Frances Jenkins Olcott
In the sunny land of France there lived many years ago a sweet little maid named Piccola.
Her father had died when she was a baby, and her mother was very poor and had to work hard all day in the fields for a few sous.
Little Piccola had no dolls and toys, and she was often hungry and cold, but she was never sad nor lonely.
What if there were no children for her to play with! What if she did not have fine clothes and beautiful toys! In summer there were always the birds in the forest, and the flowers in the fields and meadows,—the birds sang so sweetly, and the flowers were so bright and pretty!
In the winter when the ground was covered with snow, Piccola helped her mother, and knit long stockings of blue wool.
The snow-birds had to be fed with crumbs, if she could find any, and then, there was Christmas Day. But one year her mother was ill and could not earn any money. Piccola worked hard all the day long, and sold the stockings which she knit, even when her own little bare feet were blue with the cold.
As Christmas Day drew near she said to her mother, "I wonder what the good Saint Nicholas will bring me this year. I cannot hang my stocking in the fireplace, but I shall put my wooden shoe on the hearth for him. He will not forget me, I am sure."
"Do not think of it this year, my dear child," replied her mother. "We must be glad if we have bread enough to eat."
But Piccola could not believe that the good saint would forget her. On Christmas Eve she put her little wooden patten on the hearth before the fire, and went to sleep to dream of Saint Nicholas. As the poor mother looked at the little shoe, she thought how unhappy her dear child would be to find it empty in the morning, and wished that she had something, even if it were only a tiny cake, for a Christmas gift.
There was nothing in the house but a few sous, and these must be saved to buy bread.
When the morning dawned Piccola awoke and ran to her shoe. Saint Nicholas had come in the night. He had not forgotten the little child who had thought of him with such faith.
See what he had brought her. It lay in the wooden patten, looking up at her with its two bright eyes, and chirping contentedly as she stroked its soft feathers.
A little swallow, cold and hungry, had flown into the chimney and down to the room, and had crept into the shoe for warmth. Piccola danced for joy, and clasped the shivering swallow to her breast.
She ran to her mother's bedside. "Look, look!" she cried. "A Christmas gift, a gift from the good Saint Nicholas!" And she danced again in her little bare feet.
Then she fed and warmed the bird, and cared for it tenderly all winter long; teaching it to take crumbs from her hand and her lips, and to sit on her shoulder while she was working.
In the spring she opened the window for it to fly away, but it lived in the woods near by all summer, and came often in the early morning to sing its sweetest songs at her door.
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Author: Santa John Gable
Category: Literature
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The Empty Workshop
by John Gable
 
What’s in Santa’s workshop?
Let’s take a look around.
They should be busy making toys,
But no elves can be found.
One should hear tiny hammers,
See bouncing balls and bears,
But all the shelves are empty,
The tables and the chairs.
There’s not a doll or train in sight.
No jump ropes or toy cars.
No Jack-in-boxes, building blocks,
Toy drums or toy guitars.
Perhaps we should be worried
At this toy making reprieve,
But for tonight we’ll worry not
For this is Christmas Eve!
The toys are packed and ready
Up there on Santa’s sleigh.
Tonight we rest , and then start work
For next year’s Christmas Day!
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Author: Michael Rielly
Category: Christmas History
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For many, decorating the Christmas Tree with a pickle ornament is a beloved holiday tradition; however the origin of the Christmas Pickle remains somewhat of a mystery.
Details vary, but the most common explanation is that the Christmas Pickle or Die Weihnachtsgurke is a centuries old German tradition where the last decoration hung on the Christmas Tree was an ornamental pickle; hidden deep within the branches of the Tannenbaum. And the first person to find the briny bauble on Christmas morning would receive an extra gift from St. Nicholas or be blesses with good fortune the coming year.
The Bronner's CHRISTmas Wonderland website offers several varieties of Pickle ornaments and includes this explanation of the legend:
“According to German tradition, the pickle brings good luck. After all the other ornaments were hung on the tree, the pickle ornament was hidden somewhere within the branches. On Christmas morning, the first child to find the gherkin was rewarded with an additional small present left by St. Nicholas."
Unfortunately, there are a couple of holes in the story. Firstly, in Germany, Saint Nicholas arrives not on Christmas Day, but rather on the day of his feast, December 6, Saint Nicholas Day (Sankt Nikolaus Tag). Second, in Germany, gifts are usually opened on Christmas Eve (Heiliger Abend), not Christmas Day morning.  Of course there is also the fact that most Germans have never heard of the tradition; and those that have, believe it to be an American tradition.
So if most Germans have never heard of this tradition, then how did it get started? There are at least two Christmas pickle ornament stories floating in the Internet brine of speculation.
The first story takes place during the American Civil War. As the story goes, Bavarian-born soldier, Private John Lower (Hans Lauer) of the 103rd Pennsylvania Infantry was captured in Georgia by the Confederate Army and taken prisoner. On Christmas Eve, Private Lower, starving and in poor health, begged the prison guard for just one pickle. The guard took pity on Lower and granted his request. The pickle gave Lower the strength to live on. Once reunited with his family, Lower began a tradition of hanging a pickle on the Christmas tree every Christmas Eve.
The second story, recounts a tale of two boys trapped in a pickle barrel. There are several variations of the pickle barrel story; however, they mostly center around two Spanish schoolboys who are kidnapped by an evil innkeeper and placed into a pickle barrel. That evening, Nicholas, the Bishop of Myra (St. Nicholas) arrives and rescues the children.
It’s probably no coincidence that this story sounds very similar to the legend of St. Nicholas and the three children in a barrel. As the story goes, a malicious butcher lures three children into his shop where he kills them and places their remains in a barrel of brine to cure, planning to sell them off as ham. Nicholas finds the children and resurrects them through prayer. This legend accounts for St. Nicholas as the patron saint of children and barrel makers and why the saint is often depicted in statues and paintings alongside three children in a barrel.  
Despite evidence showing that the Christmas Pickle tradition likely did not originate in Germany, there is however a connection to Deutschland. Both Christmas trees and Christmas ornaments originate from Germany. The small mountain village of Lauscha is considered to be the birthplace of the glass-blown Christmas ornament. In 1847, Hans Greiner began producing the first glass ornaments in the shapes of fruits and nuts. Soon after, the glass blowers of Lauscha were manufacturing ornaments in other shapes such as hearts, stars, and angels. By the 1870s, Christmas ornaments were being exported throughout Europe.
But it wasn’t until the 1880s that glass ornaments became a regular fixture on Christmas trees in the United States. In 1880, a traveling salesman called on 28-year old Frank W. Woolworth at his store in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. The salesman wanted to sell German glass ornaments to people for decorating their homes at Christmas. Woolworth was unconvinced of their appeal. He felt that Americans would not waste money on them because they didn't 'do' anything. Reluctantly, Woolworth purchased one case of 144 ornaments, but insisted on sale-or-return terms.
Much to his surprise the ornaments sold out in one day, generating a profit of $4.32. The following year Woolworth doubled his order and sold out again. It seemed Americans loved the idea of decorating their Christmas trees with these unique glass ornaments.
Regardless of its origins, the tradition of the Christmas Pickle survives and adds a layer of whimsy to the joy and merriment of the holiday season. And for many, no Christmas Tree is complete without it.
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Author: Michael Rielly
Category: Literature
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English poet and novelist Rudyard Kipling (1865–1936) is perhaps best known for the children's book The Jungle Book. In addition to The Jungle Book and other novels, Kipling's works include many short stories and poems.
Kipling often wrote about Christmas. His poem Christmas in India, published on Christmas Eve 1886, was written during a Christmas family reunion. The poem describes the feelings of homesick British officers; who yearn for a traditional English Christmas. Instead of snow, mistletoe, and holly, the homesick officers have to make do with white dusty roads, stench in the byway, and clammy fog.
Kipling’s Christmas in India reminds us of the things we associate with Christmas; home, family, and the need to be with those we love.
 
Christmas in India
by Rudyard Kipling, 1886
Dim dawn behind the tamerisks -- the sky is saffron-yellow --
As the women in the village grind the corn,
And the parrots seek the riverside, each calling to his fellow
That the Day, the staring Easter Day is born.
Oh the white dust on the highway! Oh the stenches in the byway!
Oh the clammy fog that hovers
And at Home they're making merry 'neath the white and scarlet berry --
What part have India's exiles in their mirth?
Full day begind the tamarisks -- the sky is blue and staring --
As the cattle crawl afield beneath the yoke,
And they bear One o'er the field-path, who is past all hope or caring,
To the ghat below the curling wreaths of smoke.
Call on Rama, going slowly, as ye bear a brother lowly --
Call on Rama -- he may hear, perhaps, your voice!
With our hymn-books and our psalters we appeal to other altars,
And to-day we bid "good Christian men rejoice!"
High noon behind the tamarisks -- the sun is hot above us --
As at Home the Christmas Day is breaking wan.
They will drink our healths at dinner -- those who tell us how they love us,
And forget us till another year be gone!
Oh the toil that knows no breaking! Oh the Heimweh, ceaseless, aching!
Oh the black dividing Sea and alien Plain!
Youth was cheap -- wherefore we sold it.
Gold was good -- we hoped to hold it,
And to-day we know the fulness of our gain.
Grey dusk behind the tamarisks -- the parrots fly together --
As the sun is sinking slowly over Home;
And his last ray seems to mock us shackled in a lifelong tether.
That drags us back how'er so far we roam.
Hard her service, poor her payment -- she is ancient, tattered raiment --
India, she the grim Stepmother of our kind.
If a year of life be lent her, if her temple's shrine we enter,
The door is hut -- we may not look behind.
Black night behind the tamarisks -- the owls begin their chorus --
As the conches from the temple scream and bray.
With the fruitless years behind us, and the hopeless years before us,
Let us honor, O my brother, Christmas Day!
Call a truce, then, to our labors -- let us feast with friends and neighbors,
And be merry as the custom of our caste;
For if "faint and forced the laughter," and if sadness follow after,
We are richer by one mocking Christmas past.
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