Deck the Halls and Old School - two for Christmas

 Weekly writing prompt 296 from

Until I started writing more from prompts I never notice how sometimes words want to be put down in prose rather than the poetry I intended for them.  So, after writing the prose below I decided it was too un-cheerful and tried to force the words into a poem! 

Prompt words in red.  

Deck the Halls

As I unpack the boxes of decorations for their annual pilgrimage out of the attic, I notice the manger backing has been chewed by rodents.  I can stick my thumbnail right through, and the chalkware shepherd’s head has been completely torn off.  More likely gnawed off by yellow bucked teeth, and swallowed, as it’s not in the box.  Great.  Rodents in the attic, what a surprise.  Not.  It makes me want to deck my ex.  He put off sealing those vents winter after winter; “I’ll get to it this spring.  It’s too slippery up there in the winter. 

Deck my ex…” what a sweet seasonal sentiment.  Isn’t it supposed to be “Deck the halls…” or some such sappy nostalgic lyric?  I like mine better.  Not quite the Hallmark moment, although it would probably sell well.

 “Deck the Ex with strands of holly, wrap them tight and make me jolly… 🎵🎵🎵

I have to sit down on the brick hearth before I crash.  I need to escape the memories.  My mind spins a fable of Christmases that never existed in this house, but it’s my fable, my story, my make-believe and my happily ever after with my Prince Charming, complete with sealed vents in the castle.

I close my eyes, and see, as if snaps in an album, gingerbread villages covered in icing snow, with peppermints lining the green coconut grass.  Stockings bulging on Christmas morning, the living room floor littered with the wrapping remains, colorful paper, ribbons and bows.  I hear, as on the spinning of vinyl, children’s laughter, the snaps of Christmas crackers, and carolers on the sidewalk.  I raise my head, eyes still closed, expecting to breathe in the aroma of pine, cinnamon, and baking ham. 

My nose curls up involuntarily.  With a start I come to, alone in my own living room, to find the headless shepherd in my hand.  No cinnamon and ham, only the reek of rodent pee emanating from the box.  I carry it to the trash and dump it right along with my fable.  

🎄    🎄    🎄    🎄    🎄    🎄    🎄    🎄    🎄    🎄    🎄    🎄    🎄    🎄    🎄

 Old School

I prefer

old torn snaps

in albums

to thumbnail images

on my phone.


My phone may crash.

Gingerbread manger

with peppermints,




Like a deck

held up with icing

in a fable,

one rainy night

it all spins and falls down.


©2020 Lisa Smith Nelson. All Rights Reserved


  1. Both pieces really captured a mood and feeling - and raised a smile

  2. I too was looking through old photo albums the other day and I thought exactly the same. Progress is not always a good thing! However it is still better to prepare for Christmas earlier to avoid the panic search for now damaged items!

    1. I tell my kids that all the pictures are now "trapped." Some are trapped on an old computer that won't start, so until I get something that can take files off its hard-drive, they're stuck. I don't even know what I'm missing. I used to have some printed out, but I am so far behind (years) that I couldn't possibly do anything much by now.


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