Many are familiar with the poem A Visit from St. Nicholas, commonly known as The Night Before Christmas, by Clement C. Moore, but Ottawa resident Tom MacDonald has re-penned it for COVID times.

A COVID Christmas by Tom & Ken MacDonal

‘Twas the night before Christmas, but COVID was here, so we all had to stay extra cautious this year.”

MacDonald, a retired diplomat for Global Affairs Canada, said he isn’t really a poet.

“I like poetry and every now and then, I do something. But it’s usually this sort of poetry that’s supposed to be more amusing than deep,” he said.

“I came in the door one day and saw the masks hanging there by the door frame. And I thought of a line and I just decided to do a riff on the old visit from Saint Nick.”

MacDonald said he wrote the poem “just to amuse my family and a few friends.”

The idea to make it musical came from his brother Ken MacDonald.

“I sent the poem to my brothers and sisters,” Tom MacDonald said. “My brother is very musical, a great piano player, sings in choirs, and a clarinet player. He made the video using my poem.”

MacDonald said he hopes his poem can give a few people a “good chuckle” this holiday season.

A Visit from St. Nicholas was first published anonymously in 1823, and attributed to Moore in 1837.

This poem was written and submitted to us well before the Omicron surge hit Ottawa. We are sharing this with you, as a bit of gallows humour – because if you don’t laugh, you’ll cry.

A Covid Christmas Twas the night before Christmas, but Covid was here,

So we all had to stay extra cautious this year.

Our masks were all hung by the chimney with care In case Santa forgot his and needed a spare.

With Covid, we couldn’t leave cookies or cake

So we left Santa hand sanitizer to take. 

The children were sleeping, the brave little tots

The ones over 5 had just had their first shots, And mom in her kerchief and me in my cap 

Had just settled in for a long winter’s nap.

But we tossed and we turned all night in our beds

As visions of variants danced in our heads. Gamma and Delta and now Omicron

These Covid mutations that go on and onI thought to myself, “If this doesn’t get better,I’ll soon be familiar with every Greek letter”. 

Then just as I started to drift off and doze A clatter of noise from the front lawn arose.

I leapt from my bed and ran straight down the stairI opened the door, and an old gent stood there. 

His N 95 made him look pretty weird But I knew who he was by his red suit and beard.

I kept six feet away but blurted out quick” What are you doing here, jolly Saint Nick?” 

Then I said, “Where’s your presents, your reindeer and sleigh ?

Don’t you know that tomorrow will be Christmas Day? “.

And Santa stood there looking sad in the snow

As he started to tell me a long tale of woe. 

He said he’d been stuck at the North Pole alone

All  his white collar elves had been working from home,

And most of the others said “Santa, don’t hire us!

We can live off the CERB now, thanks to the virus”. Those left in the toyshop had little to do.

With supply chain disruptions, they could make nothing new.

And as for the reindeer, they’d all gone away.

None of them left to pull on his sleigh.  

He said Dasher and Dancer were in quarantine,

Prancer and Vixen refused the vaccine, Comet and Cupid were in ICU,

So were Donner and Blitzen, they may not pull through.

 And Rudolph’s career can’t be resurrected. With his shiny red nose, they all think he’s infected.

Even with his old sleigh, Santa couldn’t go far.

Every border to cross needs a new PCR. 

Santa sighed as he told me how nice it would beIf children could once again sit on his knee.

He couldn’t care less if they’re naughty or nice

But they’d have to show proof that they’d had their shot twice.

But then the old twinkle returned to his eyes.

And he said that he’d brought me a Christmas surprise.

When I unwrapped the box and opened it wide,

Starlight and rainbows streamed out from inside. 

Some letters whirled round and flew up to the sky

And they spelled out a word that was 40 feet high.

There first was an H, then an O, then a P,

 Then I saw it spelled HOPE when it added the E. 

“Christmas magic” said Santa as he smiled through his beard.

Then suddenly all of the reindeer appeared.

He jumped into his sleigh and he waved me good-bye, 

Then he soared o’er the rooftops and into the sky. 

I heard him exclaim as he drove out of sight

“Get your vaccines my friends, Merry Christmas, good-night”.

Then I went back to bed and a sweet Christmas dream

Of a world when we’d finished with Covid 19.

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