Christmas Eve with Nana
On the night before Christmas our parents were busy
We children excited and jumping and dizzy,
The twinkling fairy lights made Granddad dozy
While sensible Nana was warm, calm and cosy.
“Please tell them a story,” said Mum to her mother,
So Nana sat down with us, sister and brother.
“We’ll go on a journey,” she said, “around Britain.
Get a scarf and a hat, and where’s that lost mitten?
We’ll give Father Christmas a hand on his sleigh,
He’ll tire us out, so we’ll sleep till next day!”
With cushions, bells, blankets the sleigh ride was fun,
Much faster – and greener – than on the M1.
We started in Cornwall, at the tip of Land’s End
Giving out surfboards and Fisherman’s Friends
The reindeer pranced and broke into a canter –
Father Christmas shook hands, saying “Just call me Santa.
Now Rudolph, now Rosie, don’t be so hasty:
You do know I always stop here for a pasty.”
Then on over Dartmoor, so dark and so wet,
Those hard-working reindeer got up a sweat!
Along the south coast past Bournemouth to Brighton
The Pavilion dazzling with all its bright lights on.
In London we slid down a big helter-skelter
Delivered some gifts to the Hackney Night Shelter.
We feasted on vine leaves and rice and kebab
As Santa said that wouldn’t add to his flab.
Then back to the West past Oxford and Bath
At last we saw snow on the Welsh coastal path!
When a ship was in trouble off Giant’s Causeway
Santa sent lifeboats to show them the way.
We swooped past the diners and clubs of Manchester
Had saltfish and ackee and then went to Leicester.
“Some children don’t celebrate Christmas,” he said
“I’ll still leave some gifts at the foot of their bed.
At Christmas we always help people in need,
Just as we do when we celebrate Eid.”
We went past grand houses with blue swimming pools
Bright stars scintillating on water like jewels.
We squeezed down the chimneys of rich and of poor
If Santa saw presents were few, he gave more.
When Santa got hungry again in Kirklees
He pulled up the sleigh and picked up a Chinese.
All tangled in noodles he feared we’d gone wrong
And checked on the SatNav. But we weren’t lost long
For look! There was Durham, all sparkling glory!
The cathedral was shining as bright as Diwali.
The choir was singing for comfort and joy
Handing spicy mince pies to each girl and boy.
Up North it was colder and down in the street
The homeless were shivering under the sleet.
Santa entered a pub. It was full of good cheer:
“Please offer a bed to this poor couple here.
It’s Christmas, no-one should be out in the cold,
A Bethlehem innkeeper helped, I’ve been told.”
“You have only to ask,” said the landlord, “I’ve room!”
When sure they were settled, off Santa went – zoom!
Edinburgh next and how Princes Street glittered!
Santa gave everyone boots – and they fitted!
Then the Highlands and Islands, bleak fields and sheep
Shepherds snowed in on the dark hillsides steep
And hardly a soul there to give presents to –
“Thank heavens for that!” Santa said, “’cos I'm through!
That last chimney was squeezing me closer and closer
I knew I should never have had that samosa.
Thanks for your company – made me feel perky
I’ll be thinking of you when I’m eating my turkey.”
He turned his sleigh round to drop us off home,
Over fens, and past airports and waves high with foam.
Nana tucked us in bed with a smile and a kiss
Whispering, “Best not to tell Mum about this…”
Exhausted but happy we slept until late
And woke up for Christmas Day well after eight!
© Jessica Norrie 2016