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Santa’s Unseemly Parade

Santa arrived on our street yesterday
spewing considerable exhaust
while riding atop a parade of firetrucks and vans,
floodlit like a nativity display at night,
full sirens and blaring Christmas carols
competing for my Fetal Alcohol daughter’s rapt attention.

Santa rolls at stately parade pace,
while ever more impatiently
my troubled daughter jumps and eagerly awaits to pounce.

For me,
much too soon
Santa spots her leaning out our screen door,
disembarks with great royal dignitary pace
to walk the long quest for prey
on our front porch.

As I feared,
after an unconvincing HoHoHo?,
without waiting for introductions,
Santa goes straight to his task at hand:
What do you want for Christmas, little girl?

I don’t know
Haven’t thought about it.
I’m sure it’s not a stinky and loud Santa parade.
Anyway, I’m still working on what I’m giving for Christmas.

That’s awesome.
I don’t hear a lot of that.

It’s not awesome!
It’s complicated!
My dad said I should only give gifts that by giving them
I will also receive more gifts.

I’m not sure I have any gifts like that.
Last year you asked for an American Girl doll.

Yes, but this year I’m working on giving American Princess me,
instead of settling for your plastic dolls.

Won’t you need costuming and make-up
to become the All American princess?

You would think so,
but my dad says they don’t meet his gift-it-forward
to receive back rule.

So what do you think you’re going to get,
or give,
or both, I guess?
although Santa’s feeling confused about co-redemptive gifts,
and I do still have far to go.

And you left your truck idling.
I’m leaning toward kindness,
’cause princesses are always kind,
but my dad is asking for greater wisdom,
which is something he actually does need.
And I know you don’t have any to offer
or you wouldn’t begin and end Christmas
by asking people what they want,
instead of asking us what we have to give
that might make life feel a little less snarky
come New Year’s Day.

Santa returned to his royal firetruck
somewhat faster than he had arrived
on my wise American princess daughter’s front porch.

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