’Twas the week before Christmas, and all through the store,
Each department was dripping with Yuletide décor.
The music was blaring an off-tune old carol,
And fake snow was falling on Ladies’ Apparel.
Santa flew a long way from the North Pole this day,
To check on reports that had caused him dismay.
He’d come to this place for but one special reason,
To see for himself what’s gone wrong with the season.
He stood in a corner and in a short while,
Saw the store manager walk up the main center aisle.
Then he shouted an order, “Turn on the fake tree!”
And the flashing Noel sign for shoppers to see.
Up high near the ceiling hung from supports,
A hundred white angels flew over men’s shorts.
And towering over the rear mezzanine,
A 90-foot Day-Glo Nativity scene.
The clock on the wall read one minute to nine,
The store clerks were dutifully standing in a line.
He watched while the manager donned his carnation,
Then called out, “Everyone, go to your station!”
When out on the street there arose such a roar,
It rose to the rooftops and boomed through the store.
It sounded just like a runaway train,
Louder than thunder, and darker than rain.
Santa looked to the doors, and there banging on glass,
Was a clamoring, shrieking, hysterical mass.
He knew from the tone of each scream and bad curse,
That the spirit of Christmas had changed for the worse.
The clock now struck nine, double doors opened wide,
And that great human avalanche tumbled inside.
Drag the kids to the line to see Santa and village,
Then tables of discounts and close-outs to pillage.
In front stormed the mothers, all brandishing handbags,
As heavy and deadly as 20-pound sandbags.
With gusto they swung them, past noses and ears
Of innocent customers and even cashiers.
The manager watched with a gleam in his eye,
As he thought of the toys that the parents would buy.
Sales would boom, the top store they’d be voted,
If fake Santa would help him, he might get promoted,
It was all too much for Santa’s soul to condone,
And he let out a sad un-Santa-like groan.
The crowd then grew quiet, no ordinary day,
This round man in whiskers had something to say.
“That’s enough” he scolded, “of fast-talk promoting,
With gimmicks and come-ons and big business gloating.
This garish display of commercialized greed,
This isn’t Christmas, this makes my heart bleed!”
So count up your blessings it’s not like that here,
Durango is grounded in tradition, good cheer.
A generous community with a few that are vocal,
On one thing we agree, to be sure to shop local.
And Santa is watching all you good girls and boys,
When shopping for presents, great gifts and cool toys
It’s more about caring, and a feeling of spirit,
Merry Christmas to all, with hope that you share it.
firstname.lastname@example.org. Bob Kunkel is the downtown business development manager for the city of Durango.