Christmas Rules and Promises

My first rule for this Christmas is
__No carrot sticks for me.
They might have been a snowman’s nose,
__So I will let them be.

My second rule this Christmas is
__Your gift I will remember;
So if it turns out kind of cheesy,
__I’ll match it next December.

My third rule for this Christmas is
__Don’t change the songs I play.
When you are in my house you must
__Endure them for the day.

I’ll gift-wrap empty boxes nice,
__Then give a warning dire.
If you won’t listen, or obey,
__I’ll throw one in the fire.

And if you breathe a bad word to
__My Christmas company,
I’ll douse your head with eggnog,
__ Throw you through the Christmas tree.

Politely say “Thank you” for every
__Photo, gift, or box,
Even if it’s handkerchiefs
__Or just a pair of socks.

You’ll wish to all a “Merry Christmas,”
__When meeting them this yule.
That is my final Christmas wish,
__And final Christmas rule.



Cat Versus Christmas Tree

The house cat was excited:
At what was in his room.
It looked just like a tree,
And smelled like pine perfume.
The cat thought to himself,
This must be my reward.
Perhaps my family knew
That I was getting bored.
Another miracle
Appeared before his eyes:
They’d decorated it
Much to his great surprise.
They hung up pretty balls
That swung to and fro,
Then strings of blinking lights
That had a pretty glow.
Then they tried to warn him:
“Do not play with that,”
But they don’t know the longings
Of a pussy cat.
Pretty packages
Like dancing sugars plums
Were left there in the room.
He thought: “My chance now comes!”
He batted the first ball he saw
On the lower limb.
It had a fun reflection
That looked a lot like him.
Time to climb up in
The boughs of this pine tree;
To see what made that blink,
And study it closely.
He climbed up to the top;
Then chewed upon a wire.
The cat received a shock
That stung his mouth like fire.
He scrambled in the boughs,
And jumped immediately.
Crashing down on him,
Fell too the Christmas tree.
The family came arunning
“What terrible sound was that!?”
And there beneath the tree
They found fried pussy cat.



We’ve Given Our Best

We’ve given our best to our family.
It’s better to give than receive.
We taught them to love and be happy.
We taught them what they should believe.

We’ve given and so little taken.
We wish them wherever they are
That they’ll have a Merry Olde Christmas,
And follow the Bethlehem star.

They all won’t be home for this Christmas.
It’s enough to know they’re doing well,
And the Miracle born in the manger
Is the One in their hearts that will dwell.



LTC Roy E. Peterson, US Army Military Intelligence and Russian Foreign Area Officer (Retired) has published more than 5,000 poems in 78 of his 101 books. He has been an Army Attaché in Moscow, Commander of INF Portal Monitoring in Votkinsk, first US Foreign Commercial Officer in Vladivostok, Russia and Regional Manager in the Russian Far East for IBM. He holds a BA, Hardin-Simmons University (Political Science); MA, University of Arizona (Political Science); MA, University of Southern California (Int. Relations) and MBA University of Phoenix. He taught at the University of Arizona, Western New Mexico University, University of Maryland, Travel University and the University of Phoenix.

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14 Responses

  1. Julian D. Woodruff

    Thank you, Roy. Our Boots never went so far as the poor cat in your poem, but a distant predecessor did make a habit of felling the tree every year.
    On “Best,” this year I’d thank God for knowing my dear ones ARE well: “doing well” never seemed more like icing on the cake. But I think they’re getting there …
    Thanks again, and Merry Christmas!

  2. Norma Pain

    Oh dear! I hope “Cat vs Christmas Tree” is purely fictional. Thanks for these three poems Roy. My favorite one is “We’ve given our best”. Merry Christmas to you and your family.

  3. Brian Yapko

    All three of these poems are delightful, Roy. I especially like your Christmas rules and I promise to abide by them! I feel bad for that fried pussy cat, but very much take to heart your lovingly-phrased hope and confidence for your family that “the Miracle born in the manger/Is the One in their hearts that will dwell.” Merry Christmas!


    • Roy Eugene Peterson

      Bless you, Brian, and Merry Christmas! I am thankful for my family believing. I am sure there are exceptions that can be made to the rules! LOL

  4. Paul Freeman

    Those rules should be taught at school.

    Alas, poor pussy.

    Followed up by a poignant piece of poetry.

    Thanks for the reads, Roy.

  5. Jeff Eardley

    Roy, sounds like you run a tight ship in your house. The cat thought he could get away with it, but he will get you back next year, with one of his remaining lives. Sounds like you do your best for your family, so I really.hope you didn’t just get socks in return. A Merry Christmas to you and yours.

  6. Susan Jarvis Bryant

    What a trio of poetic treats, Roy! I’m with you on those rules, I am sure many poor pussies have lost a few lives to Christmas tree shenanigans, and I love the message in “We’ve Given Our Best” – a message that will speak to many, I’m sure. Here’s wishing you a Merry Christmas and a bright and beautiful 2023!

    • Roy Eugene Peterson

      Your poetry, Susan, is always a treat to me! Thank you for your wonderful comments, especially the one about giving our best. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year that I am sure will brighten mine with your great talents on display!

  7. Margaret Coats

    Nice set of Dad-enforced rules, Roy, and a great accompanying picture found by Evan of Dad surprised by a gift certificate for something he really wants. It is wonderful how cats (much more than dogs) respond to Christmas trees. Our current house cat goes out for a few hours every day, and therefore a tree is nothing new to her, but she loved the ornament boxes brought in from the garage. Fortunately, even our climber cat never ventured high enough in the tree to topple it. A Merry Olde Christmas under the Bethlehem star to you and your family!

  8. Roy Eugene Peterson

    Bless you, Margaret, and Merry Christmas to you and yours, as well! Getting a useful gift for Christmas can indeed be the greatest surprise. I love watching cats with Christmas trees and ornaments! As Tiny Tim said, “God bless us everyone!” As a Christian I really appreciate your thought about the Bethlehem star.


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