Ernestine Northover

(25th March 1943)

A Family Christmas


Sitting in front of the fire, Auntie Flo's reciting a story,
it's one about her first Christmas as a newly wed,
the same one she broadcasts every year,
but no one is listening.

Uncle Fred, 'out to the world' snores rhythmically
on the sofa.

Mother exhausted, having cooked the lunch,
without help, as usual,
stifles a yawn.

Dad, brow furrowed, is trying to piece together
Eddy's lego set,
whilst Eddy glowers,
after all, it was 'his' present.

Joe, playing with a set of 'disco lights'
is sending flashes of colour across the room,
straight into Grandpa's eyes,
making him feel even more bilious
after having consumed too many chocolates.

Grandma's knitting.
Grandma always knits on Christmas Day,
and every other day, come to that,
probably yet another scarf for what she believes is
still the war effort.

The cat, curled up on her lap, purrs contently,
oblivious of the knitting needles, waving precariously
in front of his sleepy eyes.

Susan is gazing at the TV screen, .
glued, for the umpteenth time to, 'The Sound of Music' movie,
singing every song, word for word,
at the top of her voice.

'Turkey was nice', said Auntie,
'I was given too much', moaned Grandpa, belching loudly.
'Your problem is, you never can refuse a second helping', said Grandma, 'so it's your own fault'.

Mother grins and asks,
'Would anybody like another mince pie? '

Submitted: Monday, November 28, 2005
Edited: Saturday, April 02, 2011

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Comments about this poem (A Family Christmas by Ernestine Northover )

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  • Roseann Shawiak (10/16/2013 2:54:00 AM)

    Great poem about family memories. Thoroughly enjoyed reading it. I'm the oldest of eight so family memories are always touching to me. Thank you for sharing yours. RoseAnn (Report) Reply

  • Stephen Stirk (3/2/2009 7:16:00 AM)

    I like the way you have put so much into this. It's like a full blown essay of memories, but so succinct. Characters will remember their cameo roles long into the future. I love Christmas, and have written over 50 poems about it. This one is really special.
    Steve (Report) Reply

  • Meggie Gultiano (12/3/2008 4:42:00 AM)

    I will never forget this poem of yours, Ern, esp. Christmas is here again.That's why i came back and look again this piece. Thanks for this wonderful Christmas treat.
    Merry Christmas..Maligayang Pasko po sa inyo.
    Love,
    Meggie (Report) Reply

  • Robert Howard (5/25/2008 4:14:00 PM)

    Lovely! It makes me want to find an empty armchair, pour a steaming cup of hot chocolate and join you all for the holiday. (Report) Reply

  • Daphne Grant (10/3/2007 4:53:00 AM)

    Takes one back reading your poem Earnestine! To good christamases of the past. Makes one a bit tearful. Thanks for the memories.
    Daphne Grant (Report) Reply

  • Meggie Gultiano (8/19/2007 10:26:00 PM)

    The usual family reunion, an expected activity during christmas..Wish my family is still intact, but the Lord wanted them (my sister, my father and mother) to celebrate christmas in His home forever..I love this, Ernestine, it brings memory again to my close knit family. Thanks for sharing this.

    love and hugs,
    Meggie (Report) Reply

  • Melvina Germain (7/19/2007 7:01:00 AM)

    I love the whole feel of this family scene and can certainly relate to the after the turkey syndrome when everyone is in slow mode or sleepy-eyed. A wonderful Christmas story Ernestine.-Melvina- (Report) Reply

  • purple moon (6/20/2007 9:15:00 AM)

    brilliant and a typical family christmas the world over i'm quite sure, full of wonderful nostalgia, a bit like a scene from the tv programe ' the royal family'. well done. xx (Report) Reply

  • Jim Foulk (1/31/2007 3:37:00 PM)

    nothing is better than when familys get together for christmas. beautiful piece you wrote, very touching. (Report) Reply

  • Goldy Locks (5/26/2006 11:43:00 AM)

    My favorite is 'Miracle on 34th St.' you write with such peace & contentment, Ernestine. i aspire to be like you. (Report) Reply

  • Eve Clements (2/7/2006 3:27:00 PM)

    Thank you for this poem. It's wonderfully descriptive and makes me feel all cosy, remembering Christmases past when I lived in Scotland and had a family. Love Eve x. PS Thank you for taking the time to read my poems and comment on them. x (Report) Reply

  • Duncan Wyllie (1/18/2006 2:05:00 PM)

    Dear Ernestine
    This makes you want to curl up and sit it in the middle of their Christmas for a while.
    So natural
    Thankyou for this heartwarming write.
    Love Duncan (Report) Reply

  • Michael Morris (1/2/2006 4:24:00 PM)

    Ernestine, were you at our house this year? Everything fits except the Aunt's name is Eileen.(And I did peel the potatoes!)
    Many thanks and best wishes for the New Year, Mike (Report) Reply

  • Cj Heck (12/8/2005 4:40:00 PM)

    I feel as though I've had a visit to your family Christmas, Ernestine. Your words paint it beautifully, like actually being there. Excellent.
    Love,
    CJ (Report) Reply

  • Simon Whild (11/30/2005 9:50:00 AM)

    Love it! It's just like a Giles cartoon - a lovely slice of Christmas Day life. (Report) Reply

Read all 25 comments »

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