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Just days before Christmas, the house is a mess,
and I'm feeling rattled with holiday stress.
My slim Christmas budget was spent weeks ago.
The weather's prediction: rainstorms, but no snow.
A fine Christmas wreath, once on the front door,
lies coated with cat hair and crushed on the floor.
The Christmas tree's wilting, tinsel's shredded and worn,
and all Christmas boxes are crumpled and torn.
Cards clutter the table, not written, not sent.
My energy's lagging and has almost been spent.
Cats, done wreaking havoc, are peacefully napping,
but many a gift needs fresh bows and re-wrapping.
I'm feeling defeated amidst the debris.
It's time for some tea and a snack-attack spree.

As visions of Christmas tasks dance through the haze,
"Next year I'll go somewhere," I say in a daze.
"Just think, no more shopping, no presents, no tree!
I'll celebrate Christmas in Aspen. I'll ski!
Or perhaps some place warm," I continue to muse.
"Oahu or Maui! A Caribbean cruise!
But, wait! What to do with my kitties?" I say.
"I can't leave them alone, not on Christmas Day.
They need cuddles and snuggles, and TLC.
And when I return they'll all ignore me!"
Then, I take a deep breath and count up to ten.
Better. I'm ready to dig in again.
I hang up the stockings with all my old flair.
I'll fill them tomorrow with candy and care.

Soon, at the back door, there comes a fierce bang.
My family! My friends! The neighbors! A gang!
We settle in talking, and laughing and drinking . . .
I can't dismiss Christmas. Just what was I thinking??!!
While the cats steal hors d'oeuvres and knock over wine,
I order Chinese. We sit down to dine.
We share memories, we joke, demolish the food
and feel quite delighted with our boisterous brood.
For what is a Christmas without excesses:
friends, family, and cats and their stresses and messes?
So, here's to a season of love and good cheer!
Let the madness resume in less than a year!