An unapologetically sentimental Christmas poem

Night after night
I would tiptoe into the living room
and sit in the glow of the Christmas tree.
The lights reflecting off the ornaments and tinsel
illuminated the rarely used space with colors and magic
and lit up my young heart
with dreams about the contents of each package that bore my name.
I sat in silence
but the distant laughter and shared time of
my parents and sisters watching television
drifted through.
TV may have been my best friend,
but it was the one time of the year
that immediate gratification lost out
to cardboard boxes
decorated with festive paper and glittery bows.

Now, I sit in the glow of the Christmas tree again,
exhausted and half delusional from work,
the tree devoid of boxes,
two of the wise men taken out by the cat’s tail.
My father, long dead, sits in the next room,
within the fanciest container in this place.
I live in the guise of acting as caretaker to my mother,
but it is likely her still taking care of me, as always.
My sisters are scattered,
hours and thousands of miles away,
one drowning herself in materialism,
the other just trying to find her way.

I sit in the glow of the Christmas tree
and watch the cat settle in.
Perhaps she is auditioning for the role of baby Jesus,
perhaps she is in communion with the Lord right now,
perhaps she is utterly, utterly insane.
Perhaps I am utterly, utterly insane.
All I know is that there is no longer any laughter from the next room,
and I would trade every single forgotten present
to convince myself to forget the dreams,
go to the family room,
and make more memories and share more laughter,
in the hope
that it might be enough
to keep me warm
and insulated

– December 1, 2021