The Christmas People Put this Hat On Me

The Christmas People

put this hat on me.

A bright red hat with 


thick white fur. And

a big ball that blocks one eye.

So it begins.


For the sake of 

the Christmas People,

I climbed a cold ladder today.


Scrabbling crab-like

across rough black shingles.

Putting up the lights.


I could have died, you know.

But if you die falling down from

putting up the Christmas lights


it would be a good

story at the wake.

The Christmas People


love the lights. Almost

as much as the Frasier tree we got,

sweet-smelling as a stand of pine.


They love the tree most of all. 

And that music. One of the People

brought a bunch of music


from the garage.

No, really. Stacks of it. 

It would take weeks to hear it all.


The Christmas People

can’t get enough of

that music.


Now, there are little statues of 

Mrs. Claus and Santa Claus

on tables and shelves.


And reindeer candles,

smiling snowman cups and

red-blue-yellow-green indoor lights.


On a credenza near the door,

four small, green ceramic letters

spell ‘N-O-E-L.’


Sometimes, they spell

‘E-L-O-N,’ which now

I think of it is a 


crazy billionaire. Sometimes,

I make them spell ‘L-O-N-E.’

Like the ranger. Then, 


next morning, someone

has made them spell out



That was the name of a

portrait company, Olen Mills Studio,

where I grew up.


There’s a black-and-white Olen Mills

photo of My Dad and Mom and

my 5 siblings and me.


I look like Charlie 

Brown, maybe 6 years old.

That was about when I


stayed up late one Christmas

Eve. In my sisters’ bedroom

at 303 Beechtree Lane.


They had a second-floor window

that looked out over the 

crabapple tree.


I propped my chin upon

my hands. Stared up at a

starry, moonlit Ohio sky.


Determined to see Santa

and his reindeer cross the

moon that night.


Alright. So, I was once

a Christmas Person,



I will turn ‘E-L-O-N’

back into ‘N-O-E-L.’ And go make a

snowman cup of bedtime tea.


december 2019 | douglas john imbrogno

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