John, a children’s book writer and editor, was a willing reader of Hugh’s children’s Christmas poem: Santa Quits. His reaction? “Poetry is hard.” Read on for the whole poem.
The day after Christmas, in his big comfy chair
Santa sat back thinking, with only one care.
He sat and he thought and he thought and he thought.
About all the kids and the toys that he brought.
He started to wonder, “Why do I do it?
Why do I put all my elves through it?
Year after year, hundreds and more.
When parents can get the same toys at the store.”
“The kids that believe are fewer each year.
The naughty list grows longer. And so soon I fear.
That the naughty will be so much longer than the nice.
I’ll only be going to one house. I may have to go twice.”
“So maybe it’s time I hang up my bells.
I’ll park the sleigh, put the bows on the shelves.
Unhitch the reindeer, let them graze in the field.
Sit down with the wife and have a regular meal.”
So he called to Morty, the head elf in charge.
“I have an announcement, Morty. I assure you it’s large.”
And Morty walked off a meeting to prepare.
Worried about the change that hung the air.
All the elves sat in the great room by dozens.
Mrs. Claus sat up front. The whole room was buzzing.
In came Santa, no smile on his face.
The cough he admitted silenced the place.
“Elves, Mrs. Claus, thank you for coming.
As I sat after Christmas, my whole head was humming.
I can’t help but think that maybe it’s time.
To stop this whole operation of mine.”
“Stop all the toys, the building, the trips.
Kids today aren’t deserving, I have to admit.”
And Santa stopped talking with a tear in his eye.
As he’d said the one thing that could make Santa cry.
That’s when Santa saw it, one empty chair.
The chair that belonged to elf Barney O’Dair.
You see, Barney O’Dair was the postmaster elf.
And his job could never be put on a shelf.
So if he was missing, Santa wasn’t surprised.
But he didn’t want any elf to miss this plan he’d devised.
To Barney O’Dair, off Santa went.
Since Barney was busy with the letters kids sent.
Through the door of the post office Santa entered.
When Barney saw Santa, he stood front and center.
“Santa what is it. What’s causing this fuss?
The kids are already writing for next Christmas.”
And Santa looked sadly down at the letters.
“Barney O’Dair, I just don’t know if that matters.”
The gasp that Barney let out was so loud.
He was surprised that it had drawn a large crowd.
“But Santa,” Said Barney. “The kids all love you.
If you stop giving them gifts, what would they do?”
Santa just looked down and said,
“Barney, you know I always think of the kids.
But there are fewer and fewer each year.”
“Who need me to sit there and lend them an ear.”
Barney O’Dair sighed and handed Santa a letter.
“I think you should read this, since I can’t say it better.”
Santa sat down, adjusting his glasses.
And held up the letter for the elven masses.
“Let’s see what this child has written to say.
I don’t see how it will change my mood on this day.”
And so he read the letter he’d been handed.
His full attention Barney O’Dair demanded.
“Dear Santa,” The letter began as all of them do.
“The gift that I want is a gift just for you.
I made you this gift , it took me three weeks.
I could have spent longer just working out tweaks.
So Santa I hope you like what I made.
Signed, I love you a lot, Becky McCade”
And Santa looked up and saw his mistake.
For little Becky had made him a cute macaroni cake.
It wasn’t the kids who were naughty that mattered.
But the kids who were nice, no matter how scattered.
So Santa walked off to get the elves back to work.
And he felt kind of bad, like he’d been such a jerk.
Barney turned with a grin and caught Mrs. Claus’ ear.
“This is exactly what happens every year.”
Outro sequence used Free Sounds from SoundBible licensed under the Creative Commons